Why we like it This top-loader is big-load friendly, built like a tank, and has the best access in the category.
Access The giant, U-shaped front zipper affords quick access to the pack’s entire contents. “I could carry a week’s load easily and quickly find gear mid-hike without emptying the pack,” reports one tester who shuttled three 40-pound loads of supplies into a remote fishing camp in Hell’s Canyon, Idaho. The key is the three beefy zipper sliders (most packs have two, max), which allows you to position them on either side of the U, minimizing the need to keep moving them around the track.
Durability The 140-denier ripstop nylon packbag (the bottom is made of tougher 600-denier stuff) proved remarkably durable through 42 days of testing. Zippers are indestructible (#10 YKKs, which have the biggest coils of any in this review), and the included rainfly kept contents dry, even in gully-washer conditions that sent our Hell’s Canyon tester racing for high ground.
Suspension Testers agree: The pack ably handles 50-pound loads. Credit the stiff, curvy, H-shaped nylon framesheet (which is removable to save 13.7 ounces) with twin aluminum stays, and the well-contoured, dual-density* hipbelt.
Gripe There’s a single port on the right side of the pack for a drinking tube, which led one of our lefties to cut his own access hole in frustration. Mesh bottle pockets are easy-to-reach, but too shallow (bottles tended to pop out). $199; 4 lbs. 8 oz.; 60 liters, 1 size; marmot.com
*Dual-density Foam that consists of two laminated layers: a stiff one on the outside to sustain weight transfer and a softer one inside for comfort.