Reviewed by PA Jim from Olympic Peninsula, WA on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I used an external frame pack for many years. I took a 15 year hiatus from backpacking and now that I am retired I decided to get the gear out of the attic and take it up again. The old pack had gotten moldy so I bought this new internal frame bag. It is a new concept for me and when it arrived I was unsure whether it would carry all I needed it to. I loaded it up with 40 lbs of gear for a 4 day ocean coast hike and it performed flawlessly. The first two days the tent was on top under the flap and the sleeping pad was lashed to the back. Then I figured out the tent and the sleeping pad fit into the compression straps on the sides, which made for an easier carry. When I didn't use the trekking poles they fit perfectly into the very handy special attachments on the back that looked like they were designed to carry ice axes. I didn't have a compression sack for my old sleeping bag so I loaded it first into the bottom and fit things around it. I now have a compression stuff sack so that will make for a lot more room. The adjustable padded shoulder straps with the chest strap made for an easily customizable comfortable fit, and the padded hip belt made the whole thing easy to carry. The back pocket is large and handy for the 'needed on the trail' items. I like the pull cord top closure - it forms a tight seal that I couldn't even get a finger into. The removable top flap with the zipper pocket covers the top, and the top sealed up so tight under it makes for more security from the elements and small critters. I also snow shoe in the winter months and this pack will serve my needs for that as well. With all the attachment loops I'll be able to carry my snow shoes, poles, etc. It was comfortable to carry and was stable even when I had to do some minor 'mountain climbing' up and over a coastal headland at high tide. It was so steep I had to use the provided ropes to pull myself up and lower myself down the other side. I had to do a lot of twisting and leaning hard to the side to do it, and the pack held to my body like a glove and I never felt 'off balance' because of it. My old external frame pack would have been throwing me off balance for sure in that kind of situation. Very glad I made this purchase!