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“Before you scoff at the price, just know that this pack is a unicorn,” one tester said after three months of bushwhacking, ice cragging, snow tunneling, and alpine climbing with this 40-liter pack. “It combines every feature I’ve ever loved from other packs into one beautiful, perfect rucksack.” A roll-top closure, outer bungee, sturdy crampon pouch, secure ice tool carry, top rope strap, external daisies, zippered inner pocket, Dyneema outer (“the most durable pack I’ve ever used”), removable suspension, and comfortable hipbelt are the top bells and whistles our testers loved, and weighing in at just over two pounds, this pack struck the perfect balance of having all the right features and still being lightweight. “It sits close to my back, which is 100 percent necessary for climbing with a pack on.” The waistbelt tucks away to make wearing a harness easier, and testers lauded the Y-shaped strap on top that helped this stay compact when most of the contents were removed. Optional ski modification straps ($25) make this pack ideal for any alpine mission that involves rock, snow, or ice. Each backpack is built to order in Maine.
For anything you’re going to do in the mountains, from skiing to single-pitch ice climbing to mixed multi-pitch, this pack has a smart way to carry your kit. It climbs and handles heavy loads well.
$445; 34 oz.; hyperlitemountaingear.com
Review: Our Top 5 Alpine Packs for 2016