Backpacks

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Granite Gear Meridian Vapor Pack

Granite Gear Meridian Vapor Pack

Combining the attributes of two winners, the Meridian Vapor ultralight pack weighs under 3 pounds and can handle gear for weekend trips to thru-hikes! Flexible HDPE plastic frame sheet with soft foam padding and padded ergonomic harness offers enough support for loads up to 30 pounds. Dual-density foam lamination in backpanel and hipbelt effectively cushions the load and absorbs shock. Brought by popular demand, the floating lid turns into a waistpack with a waterproof RiRi Aquazip™ zipper to keep the elements out. Full-length, zippered front panel opens wide to give complete access to the contents of the pack. Inside of middle panel an internal compression system keeps pack contents stable and in place. Durastretch side pockets are large enough for quart water bottles or fuel bottles and do not snag on brush. Front straps let you lash on camp chair, sleeping pad or other bulky item. Reflective dual ice axe loops for strapping on tools and trekking poles help you be seen at night. Side compression straps and top straps double as extra lash points for tent poles, camp trowel and other gear.


Arc'Teryx Bora 80 Pack

Arc'Teryx Bora 80 Pack

For a week's trek or longer, count on the Bora 80 with thoughtfully designed suspension and loads of room for backcountry and mountaineering use. Main compartment features top-loading and side-zippered access for extensive entrance to all corners of the pack. V-stay suspension system with load-transfer rods helps distribute the load evenly between shoulders and hips. Laminated four-layer foam hipbelt is thermo-formed to fit the shape of your hips and reduce pressure points; adjustable angle offers an individual fit. Thermo-formed foam backpanel with ventilation channels and anatomically curved, padded shoulder straps add comfort. High-density polyurethane (HDPE) framesheet protects your back from bulky and pointy items and supports heavy loads. New, injection-molded external occipital cavity creates a permanent 3D space for full head mobility. Large, self-draining front kangaroo pocket holds bulky or wet gear and is accessible from top or front. Zippered, lower sleeping bag compartment is created by the adjustable, roll-up divider. Eliminating zipper flaps, the easy-to-use WaterTight™ zippers are designed for protection in extremely wet weather. Top lid pocket can be removed to become a waistpack for summit attempts or short day hikes. Underside of lid features a hydration zip pocket for holding a reservoir plus an exit port for its drinking tube (reservoir sold separately). Includes dual daisy chains, wand pockets and dual ice axe/tool loops for carrying bulky gear outside the pack. Made of RipStorm™ nylon and 420-denier WaterTight™ fabric, with an impregnated polyurethane backing, for abrasion- and water-resistance.


REI Mars 85 Pack

REI Mars 85 Pack

Built to handle heavy loads with the creature comforts, the updated REI Mars handles extended backpacking in any season. Enjoy dual access to pack via the top-loading opening and the horseshoe-shaped, zippered front panel opening, which works much like a duffel opening. With a ''rip-and-stick'' torso adjustment, shoulder strap system easily slides along pack's frame to fit torsos of varying lengths. Removable top lid pocket with water repellent zipper lets you stash your essentials to bring into tent, so pack can stay outside or in vestibule. Zippered pocket under lid stores maps and keys, spare batteries and other small essentials. Front panel features a welded, water-repellent zippered pocket for storing often-used gear. Precurved shoulder straps match your anatomy for nonbinding comfort on and off the trail. Dual-density foam padded backpanel provides a comfortable and supportive fit when carrying heavy loads. Precurved hipbelt is designed to cradle hip bones for a natural fit and to distribute weight without sagging. Hipbelt webbing system allows you to use a natural forward pulling motion for quick, easy cinching and precise adjustment. Internal sleeping-bag compartment is created by a zippered divider, separating it from gear and clothes in the main compartment. Utilizing four buckles, the pack's streamlined compression system lets you cinch and strap down loads for jostle-free carrying. Concave head pod at the top of pack gives your head freedom of movement—no more staring at the ground. Two side pockets—one zip and one mesh—hold water bottles, energy bars and other essentials you want close at hand. Side hipbelt pocket stores those small essentials you want at your finger tips, such as lip balm and sunscreen. Lash points on the other side of hipbelt let you attach camera and GPS pouches. Lash straps on bottom of pack let you attach sleeping pad.


I have two main backpacks.

Granite Gear Vapor Trail 3600 Pack

I use this ultra-light pack for day trips and for multi-night ultra-light climbs. Because it expands and has lots of tie straps on the outside, I can load it up. So far, it’s been a dream pack, at least compared to what I was using before. Below is the Vapor Trails next size up...maybe a better option if you need that one perfect pack?

Arc’Teryx Bora 80

This is a large capacity, high end durable pack built for frequent use. I only bought it because I got it for a screaming deal. In reality, I could be just as satisfied with the large capacity REI brand pack. It’s not built as tough but since I use this pack a lot less than the Vapor Trail, it would be fine. People tend to overbuy their packs for their intended use. If you are only going on 4-5 overnight trips a year, don’t spend more than $200.

REI Mars 85 Pack

This is what I would buy if I was looking for a multi-night backpack for traditional use. Good quality, lots of space but no fancy stuff to drive the cost too high.
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