The Impala has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best weekend packs for 2020.
Reviewers Paid: $220.00
I worked for the Forest Service and Park Service for several years as a wilderness ranger and fire lookout (GS-4 to 7) and have carried and owned MANY packs (Kelty, Gregory, Dana, North Face). The Impala is my favorite pack and is always my first choice on trips unless I am carrying a heavy load for more than three days out. The Impala is just about the perfect size and perfect balance for most trips (not so large that it's an unwieldy, heavy burden and not too small to be useful). It's comfortable and versatile. It is almost infinitely adjustable. I love it!! (And my Osprey Silhouette is the best pack I've owned for long hauls, but see my separate review.)
Number of Pockets: two
Max. Load Carried: 40 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 9"
Price Paid: Not sure
Unfortunately, I have owned a lot of packs. Fortunately, I have found the one that does almost *everything* well.
I picked up this pack during my AT thru-hike last year, and have used it ever since. It is a reasonable mega-daypack size that one can live out of for 10 days, or longer in midsummer, if packing efficiently. The remarkable suspension is light and flexible, but can handle "standard backpacking" weights well. The Vector system does add a lot of versatility and, aside from the gimmickry, provides very effective load compression. The the elegant, sleek lines of the pack (like the Trigons of yore) is really a function of the unparalleled back-hugging and load-distributing cut.
It takes abrasion, tear stresses, and general long-term use *flawlessly*.
Hyperbole aside, Ospreys are premium packs, at least equaling Dana and Gregory in materials and workmanship, and edging them in design. I work at a high-end outfitter, and I my Dana and Gregory are both great packs, and AS LONG AS IT IS COMPETENTLY FITTED, you will never regret buying either.
(At $245, the Shasta is by far the most bang for the buck for a premium pack around.)
As with boots and ice tools, the proof is in how well it *feels* to YOU. Don't believe the hype -- get to a shop and make the sorry bastards there load up every pack you like, and make them dial it in too.
But if you're able to get beyond the (well-deserved) Dana hype, have graduated beyond the "50 lbs on an overnight" paradigm, and are genuinely looking for an impeccably designed pack on the market that you will come to use on almost every trip, check out the Impala.
Size: 3600 in3
Number of Pockets: 2 + lid
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $220