CHEYENNE, WY â€” OutdoorGearLab.com revealed today the results of the 2012 Editors' Choice Awards for the backpacking backpack category, listing this year's best and best value for packs. The OutdoorGearLab Review Editors chose the following winners after extensive field testing everywhere from week-long backpacking on the Pacific Northwest coast to cold weather, high altitude mountaineering on Denali. They wore them Alpine climbing in the Cascades and humping big loads in Patagonia and even bigger loads to the base of El Capitan in Yosemite. Not only did OutdoorGearLab editors take part in this review but they traded packs with our friends and climbing partners to take into account more body types and to give a better review. Most importantly, they took them out on real world trips and lived out of them, taking notes along the way. Comfort, weight, suspension, ease of use and adjustability were observed and measured. Each underwent extensive side by side tests to evaluate these key performance metrics. View the complete Backpacking Backpacks Review
The winners are:
Arcteryx Altra 65 â€“ winner of the Editor's Choice Award for 2012 . According to Gear Editors Ian Nicholson, "The Arc'teryx Altra 65 is our Editors' Choice backpack because it is supremely comfortable, light, has great organizational ability and it is easy to pack and retrieve deeply buried items."
Osprey Aether 60 - winner of the Best Buy award for 2011. This award is given to a product that balances an extremely high score in our tests and a very reasonable price. According to Ian Nicholson, "The Osprey Aether 60 is our Best Buy winner in the backpack category. It is one of the highest rated packs, one of the lightest, and also one of the least expensive. So if you like to go fast and light like we do, then the Aether is certainly the best value in backpacks."
Gregory Z65 - winner of the Top Pick award for 2012. This award is given to a product that excels at a specific application. According to Ian Nicholson, "We gave the Gregory Z65 a Top Pick award because it is our favorite pack for moving fast and light. It has the best comfort-to-weight ratio â€“ it's not the lightest or the most comfortable but strikes a great balance between the two. It is ideal for climbers and backpackers who want to pack lighter but aren't ready for, or don't want, a truly ultra-light frame-less or minimalist frame pack."