Mountainsmith Circuit 5400
Got this pack new from Ebay for $85. It is a well-made…
Design: internal frame top-loader
Number of Pockets: Many, eleven including all "pockets-within-a-pocket"
Max. Load Carried: 45 lb
Height of Owner: 5'8"
Price Paid: $85
Got this pack new from Ebay for $85. It is a well-made pack with plenty of space for long backpacking trips. Took it on a 5-day trip into Chisos Mountains at Big Bend NP and it performed very well. I was able to fit my tent including rain fly and ground cloth in just the side pouches.
There is a drink holster on each side that holds a 32 oz Nalgene bottle perfectly. The holsters have a plastic ring to hold the pouch open for easy re-insertion. It has good straps to secure your sleeping pad to the bottom tightly. There are lots of extra partitions in various places to compartmentalize your contents. There is an interior pouch for your water blasser, which I do not use. The helmet pack converts into a hip-pouch or shoulder bag for day hikes.
My only complaint is that the helmet pack does not fit as well when empty. The fabric is durable but not much waterproof. The padded back is very comfortable even with 45 lbs load. The shoulder and hipstraps are well padded and have many straps for fine-tuned adjustment and comfort. The zippers are just average, I've had no problem with them but they seem less durable compared to the high quality of everything else on the pack. Also this is not your ultralight or low-profile pack. At 5400 cubes it is bulky and has a wide profile when the side pouches are stuffed.
I used an REI pack of similar size in the past and the Circuit compares very favorably.
Solid pack. I used it on a North Cascades traverse…
Max. Load Carried: 60 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $149
Solid pack. I used it on a North Cascades traverse that included five summits and plenty of cross country. Organizes gear well, rides well. A bit clunky, but for the price it performed well.