Found this in an REI clearance bin, I still don't…
Price Paid: $130
Found this in an REI clearance bin, I still don't know why. An amazing pack; light, tight, and bright green.
The ONE drawback that I would consider: no front access. The hip sway action was completely new on me, and I love it. It is a great transition from conventional over-night backcountry trips to ultralight multi-day outings.
I keep it between 20lbs and 35lbs depending, and it has never been a burden. I'm 6'- 160lbs, skinny hips and butt, if the hip-padding was a tad thicker, I would be a wandering hermit. After two days with 30lbs+ loads, mixing up the carry points (shoulder to waist load ratio from 50:50 to 40:60, 60:40 and back again over the course of 15mi a day) helps significantly.
When on semi-flat sections, I let the crazy hip sway go free, on climbs or sketchy descents, lock up the flex and you have yourself a tight load that's not going to throw you around.
The pack when stuffed full is still skinny and keeps the weight close to your body when you need it. The shoulder straps are articulating, which means that they have a wire connecting the bottom together (via a tube running through the pack), I like that.
The stretchy front pocket holds a lot, but I try not to overload it and wear out the elasticity, it's expanded a few inches from carrying sandals, Frisbee and rain jacket, but still holds a shovel tight when skiing. Great leash design for ice axes, and the hip-belt pocket fits a rain-cover perfectly, with room for Chapstick.
I would recommend gear that is minimalist/ packable; stuffable sleeping pad instead of rollable, because the only place to stow bulky gear is on the side (with two leashing point), or under the brain. No straps on the bottom, which I like. The side pockets hold Nalgenes nicely.