A:Well, for big loads, youd be out of luck; nothing is going to be all that good at keeping a load comfortable when youre running. But it sounds as if you plan to carry something fairly light. And thanks to the adventure racing scene, a number of packs will work well.
For instance, Gregorys new Z30 ($120) has a suspension designed to keep the load stable and close to your body, so you and the pack move as one unit. Its not a huge pack1,800 cubic inchesbut it can handle a light load for day trips or super-frugal overnights. Plus it has six pockets to help with organization. Its slightly bigger cousin is the Z35 ($159).
Id also suggest Ospreys Stratos 24 ($129). It too is designed to keep loads stable when youre running, bouldering, and that sort of thing. The harness is entirely sewn into the bag, so that really helps stabilize the pack and the load. Its even a little smaller than the Z30 (1,500 cubic inches), so youll have to pack carefully. But it will work.
Lastly, theres Salomons Raid Revo 30 ($80). It draws directly from Salomons extensive adventure racing experience, so its very light (one pound, six ounces) but has a good suspension and a stable fit. And its actually quite large3,000 cubic inches of capacity. So if you need a bit more space for your stuff, this may be the pack for you.
The 2008 Summer Outside Buyers Guide is now online. From riding to trail-running to camping, get reviews of nearly 400 gear must-haves.