It can be hard for petite or narrow-shouldered hikers to ﬁnd a shoulder harness that adequately supports a load without feeling bulky and overbuilt, but this women’s pack nails it. Narrow shoulder straps allow free arm-swinging; the straps curve away from breasts so there’s no rubbing or chaﬁ ng. A 6-inch dart in the lower third of the straps allows them to ﬂ ex vertically and wrap better around the breasts. And all ﬁve of our testers agree: The hipbelt’s 9-inch-long, pre-curved pads (one on each side) provide exceptional wrap for hips.
The Habu can handle big-day loads loads up to 20 pounds, thanks to the ripped foam backpanel and unusually padded hipbelt, which is 5 inches wide where it joins the pack.
Two generous hipbelt pockets, two stretchy side pockets, an inside zippered pocket, and smaller lid pocket make organizing easy. Climbers loved the tool carry system, which has rubberized cord that conforms to the shape of axe handles, plus a handy pick sleeve that prevents teeth from snagging. Bummer: Though the system is ideal for ice axes, smaller circumference trekking poles are tough to secure.
The toplid closes via zipper (rather than traditional buckles), which doesn't permit overstuffing.
$124; 2 lbs; 22 liters; montane.co.uk