Pieps Alpinist Pro


$200; libertymountainclimbing.com


A “workhorse for a variety of climbing” is how our main tester described the burly, 36-liter Alpinist Pro after using it for everything from ice routes in Washington’s Cascades to rock climbs in Arizona’s Cochise Stronghold. Despite weighing only 2 lbs., 10 oz., the pack has plentiful features: a lightweight, secure, and removable helmet carrier; full-length zipper in the back for quick interior access; a waterproof top pocket for maps or wallet; and wire gear loops on the waist belt that were “way more functional than the typical fabric ones, which are floppy and hard to clip and unclip from,” our tester said. His wish list included more secure ski straps and ice tool slots on the back instead of the side. But overall, this pack got high marks for its solid construction, burly fabric, and “a surprisingly comfortable carry with the stiffly padded back panel, given the lack of a frame or frame sheet.”