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2013 Reader's Choice Awards: Finalists for Best Backpacking Pack

For Hauling Everything (Including the Kitchen Sink)


Thank you to everybody who voted in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards! The polls are now closed but you can view the final results, see the winners in all 10 About Hiking Categories, and read more about each of the five finalists in this category (below).

1. The Winner: Osprey Ariel 65

  • Sizes: XS, S, M and L
  • Weight: 4 lbs., 4 oz./4 lbs., 8 oz./4 lbs., 11 oz./4 lbs., 15 oz.
  • Capacity (cubic inches): 3,600/3,783/3,967/4,150
  • Access: J-panel
  • Attachments/pockets: Front stretch mesh pocket; hipbelt pocket; detachable lumbar pack; sleeping bag compartment and straps; zip-top pocket; dual ice axe loops; dual trekking pole attachments; dual access side pocket
  • Ventilated? N/A
  • Padded hipbelt? Yes
  • Other features: "AddOn" attachment (loops for attaching a smaller pack)

Read more

2. Second Place: Gregory Z 55

  • Sizes: S, M and L
  • Weight: 3 lb., 13 oz./3 lb., 15 oz./4 lb., 3 oz.
  • Capacity (cubic inches): 3,112/3,417/3,722
  • Access: Top and side
  • Attachments/pockets: Hydration sleeve; front zippered pocket; expandable front bucket pocket; two quick-access waistbelt pockets; two size pockets with pass-through compression; dual ice axe attachment points
  • Ventilated? Yes
  • Padded hipbelt? Unclear; it is moisture-wicking.
  • Other features: Dual hydration ports; side, bottom and top compression; water-resistant zippers

Read more

3. Third Place: Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10

  • Sizes: N/A
  • Weight: 3 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Capacity (cubic inches): 3,050 + 610 (3,660 total)
  • Access:
  • Attachments/pockets: Stretch front compartment; zip-close lid pocket; expandable lid for extra 10-liter (610 cubic inches) capacity; stow pocket underneath lid; lid attachment loops for carrying light, bulky gear; dual ice axe and trekking pole attachments; attachment loops for helmet holder; stretch side pocket; stretch waistbelt pocket; separated bottom compartment with removable separator
  • Ventilated? N/A
  • Padded hipbelt? Yes
  • Other features: N/A

Read more Read the full review

4. Fourth Place: Gregory Deva 60

  • Sizes: XS, S and M
  • Weight: 5 lb., 5 oz./5 lb., 8 oz./5 lb., 11 oz.
  • Capacity (cubic inches): 3,539/3,661/3,844
  • Access: Top and front
  • Attachments/pockets: Hydration sleeve; stash pocket on underside of top lid; zip-close top lid; two side pockets; two dual waistbelt pockets; front pocket; hideaway water bottle pocket
  • Ventilated? N/A
  • Padded hipbelt? Yes
  • Other features: Women-specific suspension; removable top lid becomes a waist pack; easy-feed side hydration ports; DWR-coated water-resistant zippers; dual-layer bottom panel

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5. Fifth Place: The North Face Crestone 60

  • Sizes: Adjustable, locking shoulder harness to fit different torso lengths
  • Weight: 5 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Capacity (cubic inches): 3,700
  • Access: Top and side
  • Attachments/pockets: Daisy chain; single ice axe/trekking pole attachment; zip-close top pocket
  • Ventilated? Yes
  • Padded hipbelt? Yes
  • Other features: Weather-resistant hood zip; Hypalon reinforcements

Read more

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