Columbia Shadow Falls
WHAT WE LIKE This all-around pack performed well in every category.
4.5 The 2-liter reservoir opens extra wide (6.3 inches) for easy cleaning and filling. The bite valve and tube have good water flow, the same as the Osprey and Cotopaxi reservoirs (all three bladders are made by HydraPak). Elastic loops on the straps that hold the bite valve are secure, but futzier than a magnet.
4.6 “On hot days, I hike in a tank top, so the straps are next to skin,” a tester says. “The light mesh shoulder straps prevented any rubbing, even on a 14-mile sweatfest in Wadi Rum, Jordan.” Triangular mesh hipbelt wings stabilized loads up to 15 pounds.
4.7 A watertight, roll-top compartment between the packbag and framesheet holds the reservoir, allowing us to remove the bladder without unloading the pack. “I stashed a swimsuit there, so it didn’t get stuff wet in the main packbag,” said our tester after hiking near Tulum, Mexico. We used the 10 attachment points on the back to strap on a yoga mat for a hike to a sunrise meditation session.
4.2 Four mesh-covered foam pods on the backpanel bracket your spine and create an elongated channel for air to circulate. “I never got that maddening sweat drip down my back,” our tester says.