The Al Fresco has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best daypacks for 2020.
Yes, I have carried 26 lbs for 7 hours backcountry skiing.
That's a little heavy for comfort, but not by much. With the stiff framesheet, half-hipbelt "wings" (hard to explain), and teardrop shape this is an excellent rucksack. I strongly recommend it for anyone who needs a strong comfortable pack. Be aware that the external pocket is so small that it is nearly useless, and contrary to what the guys at MEC tell you it really is 25l (which is fine in the summer, but too small in the winter).
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 26lbs
Height of Owner: 180cm (6ft)
Price Paid: $47 CDN
MEC's Al Fresco proves that a bag can have character, with a purpose for the use; Al Fresco is just that. The unique design, material and engineering: cordura nylon bottom, tear drop shaped, quilted back panel, and compression straps makes this bag contender for success.
As for many MEC bags, the straps show its durability without any agony of pain. From my own experience, this bag has very few problems; with the exception of space. It seems to lag in the capacity it carries and if you are a "stuff it" type of person; this bag may prove you good, if you are taking courses which require lil' notebooks and some textbooks. The bag seems to be ergonomically shaped for the human back, so go ahead and use it for what-ever condition or purpose.
Personally, I think this pack is great for the biker; as for, it is designed so that you can stuff a helment without the looks of a helment in the bag; hence, teardrop design. There is also a wide waist belt and one ice axe loop for all you climbers. In conclusion, MEC's Al Fresco is all set for your extreme demanding conditions of hiking, biking, skiing, back-country and campus trekking conditions - A GREAT BAG!
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: Uncertain
Height of Owner: You really want to know?
Price Paid: $47 (CND)