User Review: High Sierra Explorer 55
Price Paid: $56
Bought this for my girlfriend as a beginners backpack (was really cheap new at ebags.com). Has lots of features you find on more expensive bags: compression straps, sleeping bag compartment, convenient water bottle holsters, hole for Camelbak tube, and probably most impressive of all, comes with a rain cover by default! My Osprey Aether was much pricier and didn't even come with a rain cover (sold separately).
Constructed of quality materials although a little on the heavy side (2-3lbs heavier while empty than my Aether, if that's a concern for you).
My girlfriend is 5'0" and slender and seems to adjust well down to her size, which tends to be a problem with most gear for girls of her size, with more adjustments for us to explore (like a torso adjuster which changes where the shoulder straps are anchored on the pack.
In summary, not a fancy pack, but has everything you'd need for a week-long backpacking trip. 65 Liter model is ~$10 more and fits taller folks. Heavier than some pricier models but such a good deal.