Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian

Pack up the weekend toys for your outdoor activity of choice in Marmot's ultralight–and ultra cheap–Alpha 25 backpack.
Nimbus Meridian
Price $269.95


Frame Type internal
Load Type hybrid
Min Expandable Capacity (Cubic Inches) 3800
Max Expandable Capacity (Cubic Inches) 4200


Outdoor junkies who dabble in everything–from skiing, peak-bagging, and mountain biking to trail running and fastpacking–were thoroughly impressed by this simple, lightweight, roll-top pack. "I like the easy hip-pocket access to food and sunscreen," said one tester. "And the soft shoulder straps let me reach easily for holds." It's also well laid out as a ski-touring daypack, with a deep shovel pocket and enough capacity for camera gear or climbing toys and a couple of liters of water.

The padded backpanel has no stays or stiffener sheet, so it carries best when packed carefully. Loaded well, it showed great stability and freedom of motion during summit climbs and rough cross-country hikes. Size note: The fixed suspension is best on broad shoulders and torsos from about 18 to 21 inches. $80; 1,550 cu. in.; 1 lb. 15 oz.