Our take The Zulu hits the trifecta of breathability, comfort, and organization, and it weighs less than 4 pounds. That, combined with the 65-liter capacity, makes it a top pick for anyone looking for a versatile multiday pack. After carrying it for two months and across three continents, one tester praised its ability to subdue big loads while still remaining comfortable in heat: “On a 22-mile, 90°F backpack on Spain’s Costa del Sol, the trampoline backpanel and lumbar pad’s geometric cutouts let me power through,” he says. “But the stability and load transfer allowed me to lean over and tie my shoe, even with 35 pounds on my back.”
The details A stiff hipbelt attaches to the tensioned mesh backpanel (and steel frame) via stretchy fabric that allows the pack to self-adjust with every step, making it feel remarkably like a pivoting hipbelt. Hipbelt pockets fit sunglasses, and the giant stuff-it pouch is big enough for a tent and a shell.
Trail cred “The hipbelt padding is some of the comfiest I’ve used, and I never got any hot spots during a week of trekking through the Spanish Pyrenees,” one tester says.