After two seasons with the GoLite Breeze, I wanted…
Size: 3100 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 35 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $165
After two seasons with the GoLite Breeze, I wanted a pack with better access. After much searching, I found the Six Moons Design Essence '07. It's an Ultralite panel loading pack that weighs just 17 ounces. This allowed me to go out for a four day/four night hike with 29 pounds on my back; including food and two liters of water. I love being able to access any piece of gear without having to dig down through a top-only access. This pack allows me to pack my tent last, so I'm able to pack up all my gear while inside my tent if it's raining, put on my rain gear, then take my tent down, roll it up and stuff it into the long outside mesh pocket.
The Essence carries very well for a frameless pack. Better than the GoLite. Internal or external frame packs will still do a better job of shifting most of the weight to your hips, but for loads under 30 pounds, and particularly loads down near 20 pounds, the Essence is a great pack. There's a main zippered compartment for most of your gear, plus a separate, zippered top compartment where I like to carry my first aid kit, GORP supply, Steripen, headlight, the kind of stuff I might need to grab even more quickly. If you're looking to go really light and you're tired of pulling stuff out of a top-loader, check this pack out!