Testers rarely report that carrying 60 pounds was "comfortable all day." But that's exactly what one staffer said after a Yosemite trek. Credit the Palisade's rigid internal frame; a plastic-reinforced, well-padded hipbelt that doesn't collapse under the heaviest loads; and cushioned shoulder straps that wrap cleanly for no-rub weight distribution. The hipbelt is adjustable to five angles for a customlike fit (and you can tune it on the fly). Plus you get on-trail and in-camp convenience with the fanny-pack-conversion top lid and multiple zipper access points.
Pro It has the payload capacity of a Toyota Tundra.
Con It's heavy. gregorypacks.com
Big-load backpacking on- or off-trail, hero parents on family treks
Steve Howe, Michael Lanza
Duration Aug. to Nov.
Locales/conditions CA, WA, UT; steep mountain trails, cross-country bushwhacking
"When I humped family gear on the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier, the feature-rich packbag kept me organized."