There are two camps right now in outdoor gear with not a whole lot of in between. On the one hand, you have the light and fast gear. A decade ago it was on the fringes, now it's primarily what you'll find at the large retailers. We like it for tents, sleeping bags, and insulating garments. For packs, it's a poor choice. So much attention is given to cutting the weight of the empty pack that you end up with a piece of gear that makes you work much harder than necessary due to poor load carriage characteristics. Furthermore, they're not engineered for much in the way of strength or longevity.
On the other hand, you have overbuilt "tactical" packs slathered in heavy PALS grids that are built for the military and wannabes. Ironically, most of those packs have poor load carriage characteristics as well. And just because they're built with heavy materials doesn't mean they are durable -- you have to engineer for durability with an eye towards failure points and such.
Our goal is to build packs with enough durability to get you reliably through any backcountry misadventure without any unnecessary weight. You'll find that our packs are uncommonly efficient with very low empty pack weights relative to the chassis capability. Here are the principles we use to meet that goal:
- Made in the US at a very high quality factory that is the culmination of decades of textile manufacturing experience
- Materials include 500d and 1000d (very little) Cordura, hypalon, mil-spec webbing, and ITW buckles
- YKK zippers backed up with straps to ease zipper strain and ensure load integrity in the case of zipper failure (frustratingly common with all but #10 zippers which we make extensive use of)
- Tabs and straps sewn inseam, edge bound, and bartacked for strength
- Minimal use of zippers
- Suspension and compression components removable / replaceable