This is an attractively designed pack with a narrow body, low-profile mesh pockets and all the backpacker’s essentials.
There are a slew of pockets, compression straps, walking pole attachments and a single ice-axe webbing-loop. The latter is placed to the side, making it more likely to catch in the bush.
I used it on a three-day tramp, with camping gear and climbing rope, and had room to spare. The chimney and floating lid mean it can be extended to 65 litres for longer, or better catered, trips.
The main body of the pack can be configured to have one or two compartments.
Two vertical zippers, located on each side of a mesh stash pocket at the front of the pack, provide easy access to the main compartment. I found the zips have a habit of slipping, especially if the pack is bulging with gear.
Comfort is the number one consideration when buying a new pack, which is why the Manaslu’s harness is my favourite feature. A full frame sheet, generously padded shoulder straps and a chunky dual-density foam hipbelt make it one of the most comfortable big-load packs I’ve carried.
Surprisingly, for such a stout harness, the hipbelt still has enough movement to swivel with your hips as you walk. The frame sheet fitted my back well and there was space between pack and back for airflow.
It’s an easy pack to adjust: simply pull a tab and slide the shoulder straps up and down.
This lush harness comes at some cost: the pack weighs 2500g.
But if it’s carrying comfort you’re after, the Manaslu is hard to beat