Bells and Whistles
If you like luxe features and don't mind carrying extra weight, consider this fully outfitted mountain pack. It has a comfortable, supportive, stay-reinforced backpanel; broad, memory-foam shoulder straps and hipbelt; and an easy, secure torso-length adjustment. (But testers noted you need to bend the aluminum X-stays for a custom fit.)
The packbag has a dizzying array of features, from stiffened mesh bottle holsters to a front pocket organizer and reinforced, quick-release compression straps, all with Velcro strap captures to prevent flapping in high wind. You also get a large shovel pocket, rubberized gear loops, built-in raincover, a small organizer pocket near the pack bottom, a three-compartment top lid with clear vinyl map flap, a fleece-lined MP3 pocket, and Velcro lash-on points for poles and tools. The usable capacity is much higher than the numbers suggest. The tradeoff: It's heavy. $249; 3,000 cu. in.; 5 lbs. 9 oz. Wengerna.com
Pack comes in two color options. Blue (model number provided), Black (model number 2000000356).