BEST FOR: The heftiest loads.
THE TEST: The Aircontact Pro weighs a bit more than other packs here, but it’s also the most adept at mitigating oversize loads. The secret is in the padding, which hugs the torso but breathes exceedingly well; it’s the same material found in a Mercedes-Benz carburetor—and another reason to believe in German engineering. “Most breathable big pack I’ve ever worn,” said one tester. Little extras—a lid that transforms into a summit pack, a rain cover, trekking pole straps, hipbelt pockets—made a big difference on long outings.
THE VERDICT: The most comfortable suspension system we tested. 7.3 lbs.
HAULING COMFORT: 5