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“I thought I had the perfect pack with the original Cinder, then designers went and made it even better thanks to a new fabric with more water resistance, a tapered shape that’s easier to carry, and a better top-loading design.”
We gave this pack Editors’ Choice when it came out a few years ago thanks to the ultra-ultra-durable fabric, comfy carry, and minimalist but essential features, and this year’s revamp of the Cinder 40 ups the ante. By switching to the Base Camp material for the body of the pack, the new Cinder is just as durable as the original, but it’s also much more water resistant. A tapered design that slims down even more at the bottom “improves the carry tenfold and makes it feel lighter and more streamlined on my back,” especially for smaller testers. (Ding: It doesn’t stand up on its own as easily as the first Cinder, but testers were willing to sacrifice that feature for the improved carry.) It has the same simplicity of a bucket hauler with a few key zippered pockets, removing the roll-top closure and putting in its place a cinch-and-hook design that is easier to open and close. A minimal suspension system of stiff foam and a thinly padded hip belt let our 120-lb. tester carry up to 35 lbs. with ease.