We loaded the Cobra with 55 pounds of bulky gear and hoofed it 12 miles to a basecamp in Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness. Then we peeled off the lid, hipbelt, and framesheet (slashing the pack’s weight nearly in half—by a pound and a half), stuffed it with a few extra layers, lunch, and a camera, and cinched it down to a sliver of its former size via ﬁ ve compression straps. Then we headed out to bag 14,059-foot Sunlight Peak. The pack’s narrow silhouette didn’t get in the way while scrambling.
It’s optimized for mountain tools with a rhino-tough crampon pouch, a removable helmet sling, secure ice axe loops, and reinforced pick and wand pockets. The bomber, 420-denier nylon packbag with reinforced bottom will take years of serious mountain abuse. Bummer: We found the lightly padded hipbelt and ﬂexible framesheet too light for big loads over multiple days of high-mileage backpacking; we got sore after about a day.
$250; 3 lbs. 11 oz; 60 liters; thenorthface.com