Climbing gear, skis, snowshoes, or snowboard: If your idea of a weekend trip includes any of the above, this pack is a steal. We dragged the Mountain Guide up crags and through slot-canyon squeezes, and the tough fabric and one-inch quick-release buckles easily withstood the abuse. The pack is a tad heavy, but testers loved the comfort and versatility.
The molded composite backpanel can comfortably carry 35 pounds, and the harness and hipbelt provide a good blend of cushion, mobility, and venting. The backpanel, top pocket, hipbelt, and front shovel pocket are all strippable to shave ounces. Tough, molded rubber fittings on the front compression straps hold tools like snowboards or shovels and prevent their sharp edges from doing damage. $120; 3,350 cu. in.; 4 lbs. 6 oz. Llbean.com
2 zippered fold-open side pockets, top pocket, 2 small valuables pockets on hip belt, cell phone pocket on shoulder strap, top pocket and key fob for easy organization of gear.
Instructions for loading pack, hiking essentials, camping tips, backpacker's checklist sewn into side pockets.
Top loading pack with panel access through front zip pocket.