I looked at these packs at last summer's Outdoor Retailer show and thought they had enormous potential. They have a very simple, even spare, suspension, and to be honest, I didn't feel they carried as big a load as some other packs. But the clean design and waterproof construction are big selling points, and the suspension really is fine for moderate loads. These are expensive packs, thoughup to almost $475 for the largest pack (www.arcteryx.com), which is barely big enough to handle a week's worth of stuff.
Mountain Hardwear has a new line of packs out as well, called the Exodus. If the Arc'teryx packs show the way to a new kind of pack, Mountain Hardwear's packs take more traditional design and tweak it to perhaps its very limit. Which is a compliment, not a knock, because the Exodus packs are beautiful packs, and carry spectacularly well once the somewhat fussy frame geometry is dialed in for your body. Prices are high but not stratosphericup to about $400 for the big Solitude (www.mountainhardwear.com), a 4,800-cubic-inch pack.
So, yes, new stuff is coming out, and all of it very exciting for us backpackers and climbers.
For a slew of the best haulers, check out Outside Online's Backpacks Buying Guide.
Filed To: Backpacks