First, I found this pack in the "bargain bin" of returns/scratch…
Design: panel loading medium size
Number of Pockets: 3plus 2waterbottle
Max. Load Carried: 40+
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $70 EMS Clearance
First, I found this pack in the "bargain bin" of returns/scratch and dent/outdated etc at my local EMS (Rochester, NY). Apparently EMS never even carried the product, but since someone returned it and insisted that they be given store credit in return, EMS swallowed the loss, and I got a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS backpack for less than half of retail price.
This is not my first piece of Marmot gear, but it's my first serious Marmot purchase. It will be the first of many. The pack is simply the most comfortable I've ever worn. It's funny how it sucked me into a "fast and light" philosophy. I find myself wanting to carry less, wanting to move faster, wanting to go farther. And like Dana Design's packs which Marmot's parent company K2 recently acquired and shifted marketing to Marmot's hands, the pack has the best suspension system in the business.
Really, no pictures online give this pack its due. The chest buckle slides up and down to resize using this innovative structure that I would compare to a spine. The most comfortable and easily adjustable strapping system I've ever used. The waist belt adjusts using a two-point strap system, which is visible in the pictures. Simply, this makes adjusting your belt the most intuitive and error-proof task ever. I adjust it regularly, to each activity, as each adjustment makes it just slightly more comfortable for my degree and range of movement.
I've strapped a lot to this thing. My TNF Tadpole 23 tent, sleeping bag, therm-a-rest, and some clothes inside. WAY TOO BIG for the pack, but with enough tie downs, the suspension system carries it just fine. I noticed something on the "care" tag inside the bag. It lists the item as a Backpack/Harness. That's exactly how it feels. Like a harness. It's that secure and that comfortable.
I've danced A LOT in this pack. My center of gravity is always predictable. I start to feel like my pack is an extension of my body when it's really attached well. The waterproof-ness is remarkable. The outside smaller pockets are entirely waterproof as far as I can tell. they were exposed to about two hours of torrential downpour and I didn't find a drop. The main compartment seems reasonably waterproof.
I can't recommend this enough. I know there's stuff I'm missing. Knowing what I know, I would say REI's price of $100 is totally fair. I'm considering buying the larger Vapor 35, but right now I'm enjoying my self-inflicted smaller loads. I can't take this pack off. Oh, and the hydration sleeve holds my 100oz Camelbak.