Why we like it It has the benefit of a trampoline-style backpanel—killer airflow—but none of the drawbacks, like compromised stability and awkward loading.
Breathability “The Friluft carried my 40-plus pounds of gear and water, with no back sweat whatsoever,” says a tester who appreciated the pack’s ventilation during four days of 90-plus-degree temps in the Grand Canyon. Credit the mesh-encased, butterfly-shaped perimeter stay that suspends the packbag a good inch away from the spine. Shoulder straps also have cut-out vents to increase airflow.
Volume Most trampoline-style frames have a stiff nylon framesheet that’s curved by a high-tension perimeter stay. The curvature keeps the bag from touching your back, but inevitably pinches the packbag in the middle and makes loading difficult. This pack is different: The negative space is created with a curved lumbar cross bar and perimeter wire, no framesheet required. The packbag still stays a full inch off your back without compromising loading, volume, or stability.
Comfort The uniquely shaped frame splays at the bottom: The “wings” actually come forward and hug the hips. “The weight was extremely well distributed across my hip shelf,” says one tester. “The hipbelt stuck to me like a baby koala.”
Durability Burly 500-denier ripstop nylon reinforcements make this bag one of the most rugged in its class. $200; 3 lbs. 1 oz.; 55 liters; 1 size; fjallraven.com