Best for customisation and versatility
Plusses: Versatile, storage options, robust
Minuses: Expensive, average comfort
50l, 1450g (m) / 1280g (w)
Features: The Prospector 50l is designed as a lightweight, overnight men’s pack (the women’s version is the Sun Dog 45). It’s made of tear-resistant recycled nylon and combines a roll top and duffel-style back zipper for dual access, with secure attachment loops for trekking poles, ice axe and gear.
There are three external stretch pockets, and removable hip pockets for additional storage. A compression moulded back panel and aluminium frame provide rigidity and comfort, while compression straps keep weight close to the body. The pack includes a hydration sleeve and removable rubbish sack.
Fit: It’s built in medium and large sizes. The latter fitted me well. However, perhaps because of the full-zip back panel, adjusting the back length is not possible, which may be a deal breaker for some. The chest strap slides up and down for a customisable fit and the articulated Open Range Hip Belt provides decent top and bottom adjustment.
Comfort: This was hit-and-miss for me. The hip belt is well padded and its dual adjustment buckles provide fine tuning on the top and bottom. It’s well supported and there were no pressure points, even under a heavy load. The moulded back panel, however, was not to my preference – though some may enjoy it.
In use: The pack offers excellent versatility, and despite its comfort issues for me, I did enjoy its features. The zipped back access makes packing and organisation a breeze, and with so many attachment points, this is a pack that can be seriously customised.
At 1450g, it’s more than half a kilo heavier than ultralight alternatives, but considering its features and padded harness system, it remains relatively lightweight. The pack’s thin profile and effective compression straps hold packweight close to the body, which keeps it balanced and reduces bounce.
Value: There’s plenty of bang for buck here in this versatile offering from Big Agnes.
Verdict: An extremely versatile and customisable pack, let down somewhat by the moulded back panel which wasn’t as comfortable as I’d like.