One of the champion packs in that size and price range is the Lowe Alpine Contour IV. It'll hold up to 6,000 cubic inches, depending on how you configure the storm collar at the top of the bag, has a better-than-average suspension, yet costs a mere $229. Hard to beat without spending another $150.
Another really intriguing pack is the new Kelty Mystery Ranch Bigfoot ($250). It's one of the first Kelty packs to take advantage of the suspension design licensed from Dana Gleason's Mystery Ranch pack company. Gleason, of course, was the founder of Dana Design, and has long been among the more innovative thinkers in the pack world. The Bigfoot is a nice pack with 5,200 cubic inches of capacity, top-loading design with panel access, provision for a hydration system, shovel pocket, and two accessory pockets. Both the Lowe and the Kelty should fit you nicely.
Finally, for just a bit over your target= - $260 - you could get a Gregory Shasta. That's really a nice pack for the money. It has 5,300 cubic inches of capacity (in size large), a great suspension, and is made of super-tough materials. It's one of the better buys on the market - a high-end pack at a midrange price.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →