Why we like it
This load hauler masquerades as the best daypack in the test.
A 12-inch spindrift collar with a drybag-style closure rolls up tight while the 3-ounce lid detaches for shorter missions. “It worked equally well on one-day and five-day trips,” said one tester after nearly a month in the Amazon. Granite Gear’s customary thin webbing (about half the width of other packs’) still cranks down while saving a touch of weight.
The side pockets swallowed a 1-liter bottle on one side and a snow picket and tent poles on the other. The stretchy, stuff-it pocket on the front provided easy access for a shell, gloves, and warm hat. Ding: It has only top-loading access. “When you need something buried at the bottom, it’s a full-on excavation to get it out,” said one tester after a trip up Muir Glacier in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
“It supported loads up to about 35 pounds, but with any more weight, the suspension was overwhelmed and flexed too much,” says a Rainier tester. He approved of the easy, Velcro torso adjustability, though. It compressed enough to suit testers with torso lengths at the lower end of the range (down to 18 inches for the large size, 14 for the small), but one long-torsoed tester felt that the claimed 22-inch max was generous.
“We trekked through the Amazon for two weeks in the most humid time of year and the breathability didn’t disappoint,” says one tester. “On one section up to Brazil’s Cachoeira do El Dorado waterfall, the foam backpanel’s channels kept it from resting flush against my back and really cut down on sweat.”