We may buy a small pack with the aim of paring down, but the Massif's designers know us better than we know ourselveswe'll still cram it full. And thus they have installed the best load-carrying system we've seen in a lightweight pack. Mammut's aluminum Butterfly frame delivers rigid vertical support but flexes in the middle for excellent mobility. After a climbing expedition in Tibet, one tester said, "I carried heavy loadsice screws, ice-encrusted ropes, a week's worth of foodon extremely technical terrain, and the suspension was up to the task." The pack bag is straight utilitarian, with tool attachments, sleeping-bag compartment, compression straps, and three lid pockets. 3.3 lbs, 3,350 cu in; www.mammutusa.comBonus: Hypalon reinforcements bolster an already tough 420-denier nylon sack.Bummer: No water-bottleor even wandpockets.