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“What this pack lacks in the ultra-light department, it more than makes up for in the functionally designed and easy-carry department,” one tester said after carrying 35-pound loads in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana. “You don’t notice the pack’s extra weight because the burly suspension system actually makes everything feel lighter.” The fully adjustable harness holds the weight close enough so testers never felt off-balance, but far enough away to prevent sweaty backs. A roll-top closure allows for stuffing in extra equipment, and it shed water during an afternoon storm in Rocky Mountain National Park while providing a perfect spot to put a rope, held in place by the dedicated strap. Other external straps are designed for the securement of a helmet and ice axes, and an outer front pocket provides a place for snacks, guidebook, a rain shell, and phone. “No-nonsense foam-padded straps proved really cushy on a 10-mile backpacking trip through the James Peak Wilderness,” one tester said. Downside: What makes this pack so great—the suspension system—is also what makes it a subpar climber.
A perfectly comfortable pack to haul all your gear and then some to the base of a climb, the Mystery Ranch Pitch 40 is top-notch, but if you want to climb with it too, look elsewhere.
$225; 59 oz.; mysteryranch.com
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