The Lakota’s price tag is eye-popping, but its bare-bones suspension made testers skeptical. Can a single aluminum framestay support a weekend’s worth of gear comfortably? After three weeks on the trail, our crew agreed: This pack hits a sweet spot for affordability and performance. “It’s a legit load-hauler,” says a female tester who maxed it out with 55 pounds and carried it for 14 days on Alaska’s North Slope. When she tightened the load lifters and hipbelt stabilizers, the pack controlled weight well enough that “it didn’t throw me off balance when we were descending talus on Mt. Chamberlin.”
The nonreinforced hipbelt sagged under the full load, but overall comfort was adequate thanks to the well-padded shoulder harness and backpanel. Testers easily accessed gear via a wide top opening, a zippered front panel, and a sleeping bag compartment. Quick-release side compressors and sleeping bag straps make it easy to lash on bulky gear or to shrink the pack’s volume for side trips and summit climbs. The fit is best for longer torsos (19 inches and up for men; 16 inches or more for women). $145; 4,000 cu. in.; 4 lbs.