Q:

Which light, mid-size, waterproof pack should I take to Spain?

I’m walking the Cino de Santiago in April, but I can’t settle on a backpack that is light, holds around 35 pounds of gear, and will fight off the wet weather of Northern Spain. Any ideas? Jes Coquitl, British Columbia

Jan 17, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Arc’teryx Naos 55 backpack

Naos 55 backpack

A:

I think you need the Arc’teryx Naos 55 pack. Introduced last year, the Naos 55 is part of Arc’teryx’s “ACC" (for Advanced Composite Construction) line of packs. They’re not sewn together—they’re heat-welded, so there’s no stitching. That means the packs can be made with waterproof materials without fussy (and, in packs, somewhat ineffective) seam-sealing. The result is a light, capable pack that’s completely waterproof. The Naos 55 is a sort of mid-sized pack, with up to 3,400 cubic inches of capacity in the medium size. That should handle your anticipated load nicely.

The down side to the Naos is the price—it sells for $430, putting it in the upper echelons of pack prices. The materials are not cheap, and the assembly method is pretty high-tech.

There are other options. Osprey’s excellent Aether 60 ($219; www.ospreypacks.com) is a little bigger than the Naos 55, and it has a wonderful suspension and the ability to handle more strap-on cargo than the Naos 55. The Aether 60 is not waterproof, but that can be remedied pretty easily with an Osprey (or any brand) pack cover for about $30.

REI’s Cruise UL 60 pack ($130; www.rei.com) is right in this same size range and is lighter than either the Naos 55 or Aether 60. Add a rain cover, and you’re good.

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Send us an e-mail when you hit an Internet café.

You’ve got your winter gear, now get outside and use it. Away.com’s ski and snowboard guide makes it easy to find nearby slopes just begging for fresh tracks.

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