Mountainsmith Circuit II
The Circuit II has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2024.
I bought this pack when I was preparing to go to West Africa to serve with the Peace Corps. Before I left, I loaded this sucker full - I'm talking jam packed - so that it just barely made the airline weight restriction of 80 pounds.
Anyway, it's been very comfortable to wear even when moving around for longish (several hours at a stretch) periods of time. I've read some reviews that indicate this pack isn't durable, and that one of the straps broke with only 45 pounds of carry, but I'm not sure I buy that... the pack certainly appears tough, and carrying 80 pounds around for several hours at a stretch didn't do it any harm.
This pack is really adjustable, too, which is nice. Very comfortable to wear after you get it adjusted. The waist strap is beefy and easily accepted the bulk of the pack's weight, allowing the shoulder straps to do little more than keep the pack upright.
If I were to do it again, I'm not sure what I'd do... this pack was so reasonably priced I have to question why such a pack was being sold for so much less than its competition (IIRC it was significantly less expensive). I usually believe that you get what you pay for, so where's this pack lacking? I don't know, and frankly the fact that I don't know after all this time probably means I just got a great deal.
Size: 6000+ ci
Number of Pockets: 2 side, one back, one top, + main compartment
Max. Load Carried: 80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'8"
Price Paid: between $100 and $130 I think
MountainSmith Circuit II is a great pack!
This backpack has enough room for all kinds of stuff. It serves well as a three-day trip up to a week. It can easily hold more than forty five pounds of stuff. Even though it is said to only be able to carry 45 I have easily carried more and it did great.
Can't believe how much a good pack like this makes the trips so much more enjoyable. Between the capacity of the Circuit Two pack and my dog's backpack, we have everything we need. Yes, there are more expensive better packs, but for the money, the Circuit II is great!
Price Paid: $99.99 (mispriced at store, they gave me that price)
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Historic Range: $100.00-$139.99