One of my favorite rides near where I live is up in the Olympic National Forest, near the trailhead for the tremendous Royal Basin trail in the national park. We call it the “Gold Creek look,” but it actually follows a circuitous route down a series of switchbacks, up a Forest Service road, along a fast, steep sidehill, then down another series of really steep switchbacks. It’s about 20 miles, and takes four hours or so.
I always carry a pack on this trip. First, to pack a sandwich, some Snickers bars, and other things to eat. Second, to carry a spare light jacket and first aid kit (we had to rescue one of our guys once after he went off the sidehill and broke a collarbone). And third, to carry water.
The pack I carry is an Ultimate Direction Grind 12 ($110). It’s a great pack for a hard trail workout. Plenty of water capacity (96 ounces); a comfortable mesh backpanel that help keeps me cool; and just enough room to carry some extra safety items. The Grind 12 carries well, too—I hardly notice I have it on.