Dana Design is no longer in business, and the Stillwater has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.
Reviewers Paid: $300.00-$425.00
Great pack... minimal bells and whistles. I think of it as a "sack with a flap."
- It is bombproof
- Heavy, BUT that's what makes it bombproof I suppose...
In 2000 I re-walked Colin Fletcher's 1000 Mile Summer. This was my pack and it served me very well (and still does). I see that Dana is still using some of the old pack designs in his Mystery Ranch products. If I ever wear this one out I will give MR products a look.
The only complaint I have is, it's a heavy pack when empty. That being said, I still think a lighter weight pack may have never lasted this long... it was a brutal hike!!!
Back then I was 5'11" 175 pounds and averaged pack weight 65-70 pounds. (Yeah, stupid I know.) The heaviest was 83 pounds in Death Valley due to carrying enough water to get to next food/water drop.
In the last few years I have trimmed my pack weight down a great deal, so if I did The WALK now it would be a lot lighter.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $400
My wife and I have owned my Stillwater packs for approximately nine years and have been all over with them—Sierras, Alaska, first 400 miles of CDT, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia.
Aside from dirt stains, they apear to have no wear of the material or stitching. I have heard that the quality took a drop when Dana moved manufacturing out of the U.S. (One of the reasons I bought Dana was the "US Made" label.)
The Stillwater caries heavy loads and feels solid and supports my back. It also has a strap system that shrinks the bottom to allow for smaller loads. The zippers down the side give great access to your gear. The only complaint is the weight, aprox. 7 Lb.
Design: Internal frame top/side load
Size: 5000 Cubic inch
Number of Pockets: 1, the top lid
Max. Load Carried: 65 Lb (only once on a 10 day trek)
Height of Owner: 5'7"
Price Paid: $425
This pack was great on a hundred mile trek in the Sierra Nevadas. It carried well with the bone crushing load and cinched down tight after all the food was gone.
Not the most waterproof pack ever, but it held up well with the help of a trash bag. Outside shovel pocket was great.
Design: internal frame with shuvit pocket
Size: about 4800
Number of Pockets: one on top
Max. Load Carried: 75 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'6"
Price Paid: $300-400 can find cheaper
I have used this pack extensively on the East Coast and in the Rockies. I have had no problems with it and found ample room to pack for summer trips of of up to 10 days.
The shovit pocket is very useful for wet tent flys and the like. Although the pack is on the expensive side, I feel it was well worth the money and wouldn't hesitate to make the same purchase again.
Number of Pockets: 1 in lid/beavertail on front
Max. Load Carried: 65lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'1"
Price Paid: $400