Our take Even though it sits in the middle of the size spectrum, the Skarab’s smart design gives it the capacity of a bigger pack. A bellowed stuff-it pouch on the front fits a shell and gaiters, and roomy hipbelt and side pockets make stashing extra layers and snacks a cinch. The Skarab’s U-shaped, zippered closure flips open like a bucket lid and combines with a large, 32-inch maw to facilitate easy loading and unloading.
And while the only internal organization is a salad plate-size mesh pocket under the lid, the packbag’s uncluttered interior let us cram it with lunch, a stove, a blanket, and a teapot on a 15-mile hike on Mt. Hood’s Timberline Trail without having to play gear Tetris.
The details The Skarab’s stiff foam backpanel, along with lightly padded foam shoulder straps and a hipbelt, allowed us to comfortably haul 25 pounds. Bonus: An included 2.5-liter HydraPak reservoir sits in the space between the backpanel and the packbag, freeing up interior room and making it easy to remove for refilling.
Trail cred “The magnetic attachment for the Skarab’s hydration tube kept the mouthpiece from smacking me in the face as I navigated a tricky knife-blade traverse on Mt. Superior in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains,” one tester says.