Our take The Tahoma is more affordable than some packs half its size, but it doesn’t skimp on features. Its foam shoulder straps are perforated for breathability and support loads up to 25 pounds with help from a rigid plastic backpanel. The interior has a reservoir sleeve and a mesh pocket for valuables, while the exterior has a pocket for sunglasses and snacks, two mesh water bottle holders, and trekking pole attachments. And it won’t fall apart: The 300-denier polyester on the front and 420-denier nylon on the sides and bottom survived a season of testing.
The details Thick elastic bands at the top of the shoulder straps allow the straps to self-adjust as you walk; after six months of testing they show no signs of wearing out. “I also love the two daisy chains on the front,” one tester says. “I often clip on my yoga mat when I hike up Tumalo Mountain in Oregon.”
Trail cred “The slight stretch in the shoulder straps made the pack feel like it was moving with me, not fighting my natural gait,” said a tester after traversing the steep scree fields of Washington’s Liberty Bell Mountain.