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Don’t let your daypack turn into a black hole. The compact Ray allows easy organization, thanks to dividers in the main compartment, deep exterior side pockets, and a separate pocket for your hydration system. It’s also light and secure enough for running. I ran the rigorous three-mile Jud Wiebe…

How do you make the Pacific Crest Trail feel like the Pacific Coast Highway? Let this pack smooth out and speed up the miles. I literally ran the San Juan Mountains’ nine-mile Hope Lake Trail with the Arreba stuffed full. Credit the pre-curved harness, narrow back panel, and Wraptor…

Can’t bear to leave anything behind, even on a weekend trip? This sleek pack has the biggest capacity of the bunch, with a suspension that can handle 40-plus pounds and a height that didn’t cause instability when I hiked Colorado’s steep Liberty Bell Trail. The pack is on the…

This standout in Deuter’s new women’s line is the pack equivalent of 1,000-thread-count sheets. Like other models here, it has female-specific features—curved shoulder straps, a shorter torso, and a contoured hipbelt. And it hugged our bodies with just-right padding. Plus you can fine-tune fit with the ladderlike Vari-Quick harness.

Hydration packs don’t come with more features than this. On a day hike in Utah’s Owl Canyon, the Isis’s leakproof three-liter reservoir toted plenty of water, the main compartment stowed lunch and more, and the large exterior pocket and cinch cord held extra layers. Even fully loaded, the pack…

This pack is like the diet that promises all the ice cream you want—lose weight with no compromises!—except the Ki works. At slightly more than two pounds, it’s as light as legit packs get, yet the padded hipbelt and rigid polyethylene frame, combined with excellent compression and stability, let…