VauDe Asymmetric 50
Bought mine at barrabes.com. Vaude packs easily compare…
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 60
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $115
Bought mine at barrabes.com. Vaude packs easily compare in quality and fit to Arc'teryx or Gregory. They run a little lower in volume/capacity than their published #s -- a 55 liter Vuade is about 3000 in^3 ... it should be more. The tergoform suspension is amazing ... lots of ventilation on the back and concentrates the weight on the hips, where it should be. The suspension comes in size I and II. Size II is for anyone over 5'7"; my boyfriend (6'1") and I (5'10") can both wear this size with total comfort. Shoulder straps are lined with a nice fleecy, but tough fabric that is even soft on bare shoulders. The hip belt has a neato mesh area in the middle that keeps you cool and leaves the hipbones out of the weight-bearing work. And these packs can take a lot of abuse ... I tend to cram a lot of stuff in mine -- sleeping bag, bear can, cookpot, tent -- and the seams are still perfect. Their Cordura 500D is very strong yet weighs little. I won't use any other pack now that I know Vaudes are so well made. I'd recommend the 50 or 55 liter pack for light overnights or hauling a couple ropes and a rack (climbing). I'd get a 65 or 75 liter pack for longer backpacks or snow camping.
I just bought a 65L Astra 65II (from mickiesplace.com -- great site!). Go there!
I purchased this one when I had to return my Eagle…
Design: Internal Frame Rucksack
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 45
Height of Owner: 5'11"
Price Paid: ~$100
I purchased this one when I had to return my Eagle Creek Backcountry Alpine for warranty repair. In one word...it's NICE !! It's got features that I have on my larger packs, including a separate sleeping bag area with zip-out divider. It's got all the ice axe loops you need, and its compression straps are the only thing that I've got a minor complaint with: they aren't stitched back to help prevent them from undoing themselves from the buckle. It's got hydration pockets, one for a Platypus/CamelBak, and two that could fit the new Nalgene sport bottles. Its frame is rigid enough, yet flexible to not restrict your movement. It's definitely worth looking at.