This back-hugging load monster accompanied one editor to the summit of Mt. McKinley. He came back after 17 days calling it "a superb expedition hauler, very stable when cramponing along the ridgetop, and comfortable enough for day-long carries."
The curved backpanel, well-tailored shoulder harness, and thermo-moldable hipbelt distributed weight so well they made 60-pound loads painless. The deep packbag had more than enough capacity for our bulkiest items, like frozen tents and gallon gas cans. Generous side and front compression straps make it easy to lash on bulky snowshoes, and the stretch bottle pocket on the right has a side port so you can snag energy bars without dislocating your shoulder.
The lack of hipbelt pockets is annoying, but at least the gear loops hold accessory pouches in good position. Our only quibble? The zippered bottle pocket on the left side is awkward to reach and close. $379; 5,300 cu. in.; 6 lbs. 8 oz. Ospreypacks.com
This Big Bear 78 has been updated from last year. It's a durable, versatile and lightweight pack with large capacity, designed for week long backpacking trips.
The series includes the Big Bear 88, 82, 78 and 63.
-Ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps
-Top-loading main compartment with compression hood
-Large front panel sleeve for quick access to key items
-Sliding harness adjustment for a wide range of torso lengths
-HDPE framesheet with mono 6061 tubular stays
-mesh wet/dry pocket
Fabric: 600 Denier Polyester/ 210 Boxcar Dobby Polyester