Osprey Switch 14
Price Paid: $120
This is the most versatile pack I've ever owned. The stiff side walls and wrap around compression straps allow it to compress snugly enough to run with comfortably, and allow it to expand enough to fit all the gear I need for long day back country skiing, or even an overnight.
As long as you're not one of those guys that bring along 100lbs of the lightest gear made, it is big enough for most stuff, and small enough to make you think about what you really need.
The compression straps also allow it to strap things on and carry them well. It can carry a full 60m rope easily this way. I've even had occasion to strap on a full bicycle for a hand over hand on a cable. By far this is my go to pack for almost everything.
Size: 900 cubic inches
Max. Load Carried: 15 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: forget
pros: this thing is extremely durable. it has taken a ton of abuse and is still not damaged - no tears. the hydration system works well and fits a 2 liter pouch well. your liquid is much less likely to freeze due to the hydration sleeve. pockets on the hip belts are perfect for cliff bars, map and compass, etc.
cons: too dang small, even for day touring. don't even think about strapping a board onto it. sure, the straps hold it in place, but the pack is just not big enough to hold that kind of weight, especially when it's spread out over 160cm (or whatever length your board it). board smacks the back of my head on the way up. plus, if you try to fit shovel, probe, down jacket, thermos, gloves, 1st aid kit, etc. into it, you'll find yourself struggling.
if you want to ride the lifts and have a few snacks and things along, sure, it's great. low profile. but if you're wanting to earn your turns, get a bigger pack. i'd still recommend getting an osprey (although not the atmos...but that's a whole other review).
bottom line: great pack for short day hikes, maybe some cycling, or riding the lifts. but if you need to bring along some gear, get something bigger. even another 3 or 400 more cubic inches would be better. for backcountry riding/skiing i would highly recommend the dakine poacher. it has been a dream. hope this has been helpful.
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