Your perfect weekend: packing a frying pan, camp chair, fishing gear, and 12-pack and marching 12 miles to a secret trout pond. Your perfect pack: the Catalyst. It features a dynamic suspension with a wide, firmly padded hipbelt linked directly to a pivot point in the middle of the frame, creating a supremely comfortable carry for supremely impractical loads. As befits such a monster, the pack is outfitted with a weight-be-damned collection of bells and whistles, like numerous compression and lashing options, panel and sleeping-bag-compartment zippers, and molded rails that accommodated a fly rod quite nicely on a hike along Oregon's Deschutes River. The quick-and-easy torso adjustment is smart if you're pack-sharing, but check hipbelt fit, as some testers had trouble with it creeping down. 6.6 lbs, 3,650 cu in; www.thenorthface.comBonus: The removable reservoir sleeve converts to a run-oriented hydration pack.Bummer: At more than six pounds, it's a load all by itself.
Need a Gear Fix?
Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.