Columbia Shadow Falls

WHAT WE LIKE This all-around pack per­formed well in ev­ery cat­e­gory.

Backpacker - - GEAR -

Hy­dra­tion

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.

Com­fort

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.

Or­ga­ni­za­tion

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.

Ven­ti­la­tion

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.

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