Mountainsmith Ghost MT
The Ghost has apparently gone through some re-designs…
Design: panel loader internal frame
Size: about 2900 ci
Number of Pockets: 2 outside side mesh
Max. Load Carried: 35 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6 ft. 0 in.
Price Paid: $87
The Ghost has apparently gone through some re-designs since its introduction. I believe mine is a 2004 model. I purchased it new on eBay (close out?) for less than $90.
In October 2004, I was completing a 7-day Grand Canyon trek and gaining egress via the Bright Angel Trail. I was carrying a large internal frame Jansport. We had been soaked by rain. The pack and contents absorbed so much water it weighed 45 lbs. even without any food and empty water bottles. Then and there, I swore I was getting a lighter pack.
I did a lot of research on possibillities and was turned off by the frameless rucksacks. I have used the pack in a number of scenarios and just completed a 5-day winter backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon using this pack. If you plan on carrying a North Face synthetic bag and a conventional 2-wall tent (and a change of clothes for that matter), this baby is not for you for extended trips. I have been using a 30 deg down bag (small compressed volume) and either a Tarptent Virga (slaps on one side of the pack in the pocket) or during the last trip an OR Basic Bivy. I got 5 days worth of food, started down the Boucher Trail carrying 4 L of water, all my gear and clothing and yeah the pack was maxed out, but it worked.
The side pockets are quite large and accessible with the pack on. You can put a lot of stuff in them and it won't fall out. The bungee on the back adds more capacity (I had the bivy, a nalgene L bottle, and my ECW polypros stuffed under it). I use a 3/4 Z rest that fits perfectly in the cargo straps on back. This pack carries well even if you have a big frame. It cinches into the small of your back and has full typical internal frame pack straps/adjustments. The zipper seems to be well designed and made, although the potential for failure makes me a bit nervous (that's why I have para cord and duct tape right?). The zipper didn't give me any trouble even when I stuffed the pack to the gills. The load lifter and other straps are thin and they do slip, so you just keep cinching them. This pack is lighter than most day packs. It is an interesting and unique design.
One of the reasons that I bought this was a review from an AT thru-hiker that complained that after they carried it for 4 months at 10 lbs. over the mfr's recommended max load, the delrin rods finally poked through their nylon anchor points...sounds pretty durable to me. I'd recommend it heartily, and only dropped a star because the straps slip.