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September 2020 Issue
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2020’s best multi-day packs

Featured pack: Macpac Cascade 65 AzTec ($549.99).

Carry everything you need for a long weekend (or week-long) trip with a large-capacity multi-day pack.


Usually between 50 and 80-litres in size, multi-day packs are either single or double compartment, with the lower compartment used to hold a sleeping bag. Double compartment packs will often have a removable divider allowing a reduction in weight and to add versatility. Numerous pockets provide ample storage options.

Detachable day pack lids

Some pack lids are detachable and designed to be used as a day-pack – for side trips to a summit or excursions from the hut. This allows users to fine-tune their pack weight: leave it at home if they won’t be needing it, or carry it and use the lid on short side trips.


The harness keeps the pack stable and – when fitted correctly – will transfer the weight of the load onto your hips. They are usually adjustable to suit the user’s back length. Fixed harnesses usually come in several sizes to ensure a good fit. A suspended ‘trampoline’ mesh or ventilated foam back panel promotes airflow and supports the back muscles.


A padded hip belt cups the top of the hips so that around 80 per cent of the pack’s weight is supported by the hip bones. The belt can be tightened and loosened easily and it should pivot so that it moves with the body – this aids stability over uneven terrain.

External storage

Compression straps, gear loops, stash pockets and daisy chains allow tents, walking poles, ice tools, clothing and other equipment to be carried outside the pack.

Most packs are made from nylon – a lightweight material strong and water-resistant enough to protect against the elements. Canvas packs will be heavier but also tougher and longer-lasting. Extra-durable fabrics are used in high-wear areas like the pack’s base.

Pack access

Top access is standard, but it’s also common to have front zippered access, making it easier to find items. This is convenient, but tends to add weight and is another water-ingress point.


Packs are water-resistant, not waterproof, so extra precautions are required. A waterproof pack liner or dry bags are your best bet to ensure gear doesn’t become waterlogged. Some packs come with a rain cover, but these can be blown off in severe weather and water can still soak through during prolonged exposure.

Women’s packs

Many packs come in women-specific options. These have smaller harnesses and shorter hipbelts. Shoulder straps will be narrower and contoured differently to a standard pack.

Cactus Outdoor Foray 75 $749
Fixed-length harness, single compartment, two ice axe or walking pole attachment loops, crampon patch, compression panel, 3D frame-sheet, lifetime warranty, NZ made. Fabric Ultra 12oz C-Canvas, C-1000D Capacity 75-litre Weight 2995g.

The North Face Banchee 65 $500
Adjust-on-the-go and self-equalising Dyno Lite harness, trampoline back panel, T6 aluminum frame, 8+ pockets, hydration compatible, FlashDry back panel, stretch side pockets, two tool keepers, beaver-tail front pocket.
Fabric 210D ripstop weave nylon Capacity 65-litres Weight 1842g (m), 1438g (w).

Lowe Alpine Cerro Torre $699.95
VT Flex carry system, wrap-around harness, adjustable back length, removable daypack lid, TipGripper walking pole attachment, HeadLocker axe attachment, zippered front and lower entry, side and front stash pockets. Fabric 210D Trishield ripstop nylon, 500D base Capacity 65:85, 80:100-litre (m); 60:80-litre (w) Weight 2900g (m), 2800g (w).

Lowe Alpine Manaslu $499.95
VT Plus carry system, wrap-around harness, TipGripper walking pole attachment, HeadLocker axe attachment, front zippered access, rain cover, side mesh and front stash pocket, daisy chain lash points, hydration compatible. Fabric 210D Micro Rip, 500D base Capacity 55:70, 65:80-litre (m); 50:65, 60:75-litre (w) Weight 2350g (m), 2160g (w).

Macpac Cascade 65 AzTec $549.99
Liberator harness, single compartment with optional base divider, dual ice axe/walking pole attachments, zipped front and underlid pockets, stretch mesh side pockets, compression straps, hydration compatible, optional bungee overload system. Fabric Eco AzTec 8oz canvas, 500D Cordura nylon base Capacity 65-litres Weight 2550g.

Tatonka Yukon $384.99 – $429.99
V2 carrying system, removable divider, walking poles and ice axe attachment, load control straps, reverse-pull hip belt, compression straps, rain cover, hydration system compatible, two-year warranty. Fabric Textreme 6.6 ripstop nylon, Cordura 500D Capacity 50+10, 60+10, 70+10-litre (m); 50+10, 60+10-litre (w) Weight 2300g-2600g.

Macpac Torre 80 AzTec $599.99
Liberator FreeLoad harness, single compartment, dual ice axe/walking pole attachments, zipped front and underlid pockets, stretch mesh side pockets, compression straps, hydration compatible, optional bungee overload system. Fabric AzTec 12oz canvas with 840D nylon base Capacity 80-litres Weight 2940g.

Osprey Atmos AG 65/Aura AG 50 $399.99
Anti-Gravity harness, mesh wrap hipbelt, removable lid, Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, dual ice axe loops, hydration compatible, front and side stretch mesh pockets, compression straps, zipped sleeping bag compartment with removable divider, lifetime guarantee. Fabric 100D nylon, 420HD base Capacity 65-litre (m); 50-litre (w) Weight 2070g (m), 1860g (w)

Macpac Cascade 75 AzTec $599.99
Liberator FreeLoad harness, single compartment with optional base divider, dual ice axe/walking pole attachments, zipped front and underlid pockets, stretch mesh side pockets, webbing side compression straps, hydration compatible, optional bungee overload system. Fabric Eco AzTec 8oz canvas, 500D Cordura nylon base Capacity 75-litres Weight 2650g.

Lowe Alpine Diran 60:70 $399.95
V-Trax carry system, adjustable back length, forward pull hip belt, extendable lid, bellows side pockets, TipGripper walking pole attachment, multiple entry points, lash points, front grab handle, hydration compatible. Fabric 420D dobby, 450D base. Capacity 45:50, 55:65, 60:70-litre (m); 40:50, 50:60, 60:70-litre (w) Weight 2270g (m), 2180g (w).

Aarn Featherlite Freedom Balance Pack $515
U Flow harness and hipbelt, auto-mould suspended backpanel, roll-top closure, stretch front and side pockets, Sport Balance Pockets, water-resistant dry liners, twin hiking pole, ice axe and crampon attachment, pack-raft compatible. Fabric 100D ripstop nylon, 210D Dyneema base Capacity 50+12, 55+12-litre Weight 1730g, 1820g.

Macpac Torlesse $349.99/$399.99
Adjustable AirFlo Flexi-Fit harness, single compartment with optional base divider, lid and front zip pockets, dual ice axe /walking pole attachments, side pockets, compression straps, hydration compatible, rain cover. Fabric 630D Cordura nylon, 210D nylon ripstop Capacity 50, 65-litre Weight 2300g, 2410g.

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