Mountainsmith Dart TLS
Perfect for hikes of 1-3 hours, the Dart TLS allows your hands to be free and for minimal weight around your center of gravity, so you'll feel balanced and able to push of your quads on tough climbs. Storage room for an energy bar or two as well as a nice compartment for a gel.
- Storage space (not too much, not too little)
- Lightweight (sits at center of gravity, so its weight isn't noticeable)
- Water bottle (hard plastic, so you can't squeeze and jettison water into mouth)
This hip pack was incredibly comfortable for me on a moderate 3-hours hike. I typically wear a handheld bottle, but the Dart TLS freed my hands, which was much more comfortable.
The bottle is hard plastic, so you won't be able to squeeze water into your mouth. Take a brief break and kick your head back for big gulps; while you're at it, pull out some trail mix or an energy bar from the storage compartment for fuel.
On descents, I didn't notice the pack bouncing around a lot; the waist band can be adjusted should such an issue arise.
Overall, 5 stars. When it comes to smaller hip packs, the Mountainsmith Dart TLS is the best around.
Source: received it as a personal gift
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Historic Range: $19.95-$54.95