Get a lot of pack for a little money with the Manang. "I hauled more than 40 pounds on a 35-mile trip through the Wind River Range," said one tester, "and this top-loader performed way above its price range." How? The Manang's well-padded suspension includes shoulder straps with extra-cushy gel inserts, and the frame is plenty stiff for big loads, thanks to two aluminum stays and a rigid U-shaped tube.
The packbag is easy to load and organize, with a cavernous main compartment that has a vertical access zipper, lid and hipbelt pockets, and plenty of lashing options. Even more impressive: The mix of 840- and 420-denier fabric is bushwhack-durable, yet the pack is reasonably lightweight for the capacity. The catch? No sleeping-bag compartment, and the ladder-style, adjustable harness is not as stable as the best in this category. $180; 5,190 cu. in.; 5 lbs. 2 oz. Lafumausa.com
With ShockShield laptop protection and multiple compartments, this pack means business.
AirLift shoulder straps
Two large main compartments for versatile storage
Front utility pocket with deluxe organizer keeps essentials handy
Soft tricot-lined top pocket protects valuables from scratching
Shockshield padded laptop sleeve provides advanced laptop protection
Side MP3 pocket
Side mesh water bottle
Breathable mesh back panel stays dry and comfortable
Padded Neoprene grab handle
Fabric: 420 Velocity Nylon/ 840 Denier Junior Ballistic