Eddie Bauer First Ascent Bacon


$100; eddiebauer.com


Many “summit packs” are little more than stuff sacks with shoulder straps, but the Bacon is as hearty as its namesake. Ultralight (23 oz.) but tough, the 28-liter Bacon has a lightly padded back and internal webbing “skeleton” that kept loads centered squarely on the back and made it comfortable to carry modest loads up to 15 lbs. On winter rock climbing trips to Shelf Road and Eldorado Canyon in Colorado, the Bacon easily held a day’s worth of gear, cold-weather clothing, and a thermos of hot tea (our tester coiled his rope over the shoulders, guide-style). Despite its stripped-down design, it has two pockets in the lid, a hydration sleeve, generously sized and stretchy side pockets, tuck-away ice axe loops and side compression straps, and a removable padded waist belt. The Bacon will really sizzle when carried as a second pack for long trips into the Wind Rivers or Sierra, or hut-based skiing or climbing adventures. It’s about the size of a Nalgene when stuffed and zipped into its top pocket, or fold it down almost as small without stuffing. Toss it into your big approach pack, and you’ll have the perfect sack for day trips from camp.