Are old-school backpacks worth buying, or has technology advanced too much?
I have the chance to purchase an old, never-used Dana Design Bomb pack to replace my Dana Sluiskin 30, which has proven to be a bit small. I do a lot of peak bagging and some light overnights in Colorado and occasionally take friends who don't have packs. What do you think? Mark Topeka, Kansas
Ah, the Dana Design Bomb. Possibly the most classic daypack of all time. I still have one somewhere. Purple and red. Very 80s.
Osprey Variant 52 BackpackVariant 52 Backpack
If you can, but it just to have it. What a cool thing to have in 20 years! Otherwise, much as I love the Bomb, pack technology has progressed. Take Ospreys Variant 52 ($199). Its lighter than the Bomb, for starters. And it has a feature that is heir to the Shovit pocketa handy place to stuff jackets and ropes thats expandable and outside of the main pocket. It also has a much trimmer suspension than da Bomb that still makes 30-pound loads easily manageable. Or more in a pinch. So the Variant would a great choice.
For more of a daypack-size pack (the Variant holds 3,200 cubic inches and is a small overnight pack for todays gear), try the Gregory Z35-R ($159), Its a 2,100 cubic inch pack that does very nicely carrying big day loads. And it has a front bucket” pocket that is the same thing as a Shovit. I have the version that doesnt have the bucket pocket (the Z35) and like it a lot. Very light, good suspension, and good load-carrying ability.
I have more advice: Get your friends to buy their own damn packs!
The 2008 Summer Outside Buyers Guide is now online. From riding to trail-running to camping, get reviews of nearly 400 gear must-haves.