This pack manages what politicians can only aspire to: It really is all things to all people. Numerous testers praised the AT 55 for apparently conflicting benefits, but they were all correct. It carries comfortably even when overpacked for a long weekend yet is compact and light enough to deploy as a catch-all daypack; it boasts a simple design yet an abundance of features. The stiff frame is complemented by a perfectly padded hipbelt, which wraps snugly for a no-slip fit and rotates slightly to match your stride. Only a suitcase has easier packing: A panel zip accesses the AT 55's main compartment; four stretchy sleeves hold water bottles, layers, and fuel; and hipbelt pockets stow snacks and sunscreen. 4.1 lbs, 2,838 cu in; www.mountainsmith.com
Bonus: A white internal coating makes it easier to fish through contents in low light.
Bummer: Mesh on the hipbelt shredded easily.