A 13-inch side zipper lets you access the pocket containing the included 1.5-liter Hydrapak reservoir without removing the pack’s contents. Bonus: The neoprene sleeve kept the tube from freezing on a cold spring ascent of Oregon’s Tumalo Mountain.
The frameless pack is constructed like a vest, with the wide shoulder straps, hip belt wings, and packbag forming one continuous piece of mesh and foam. The whole thing wraps around you like a second skin, but can only handle loads up to 10 pounds (including water).
On long runs and dayhikes in Baja, Mexico, we appreciated the roomy mesh side pockets (each big enough for an orange and extra layer), which close via drawstrings that double as compression for the whole pack.
The meshy hipbelt is breezy, but half our team reported sweaty lower backs on long runs and uphill slogs.