The North Face Banchee 65

Best feature set

Specs

Weight 3 lbs, 5 oz

 

Our take Packs in this weight class are often stripped-down models with little in the way of organizational features and torso adjustments. Not so with the Banchee. A large shove-it pocket with two zippered compartments, bigger-than-average side pockets, a sleeping bag compartment, and a two-pocket lid make this pack easy to load and live out of. And there’s nothing minimalist about the adjustment system: An innovative pull-tab near the hipbelt provides 2.5 inches of torso change. “It’s one of the slickest mechanisms I’ve used,” one tester says. “There’s no futzing with Velcro or buckles, and you don’t have to unload the pack.” We also like the load-lifter straps, which auto-adjust via a single tab.

The details A trampoline-style backpanel enhances breathability, but doesn’t cut into packing space. An aluminum perimeter frame provides stiff support for 35-pound loads, and the hipbelt wraps smoothly, without any pressure points. Ding: The suspension can be a bit noisy.

Trail cred “At first I worried about durability,” says a tester about the 70-denier nylon, which saves weight but looks a little thin. “But I’ve dragged it and sat on it without doing any damage.”