Osprey Skarab 24 / Skimmer 22*
WHAT WE LIKEThis roomy option is a sweet deal for bargain hunters.
4.0 A long, narrow reservoir holds 2.5 liters of water. Two internal baffles keep sloshing to a minimum and prop it open for faster drying. The Skarab’s bite valve magnet is strongest in the test; it never jostled loose.
4.6 The mesh shoulder straps feature rounded edges that are rolled away from the skin. “There was no discomfort on my clavicle, even when I loaded up with 16 pounds of hardware to hike to Washington’s Index Wall for a day of climbing,” our tester says. Oblong hipbelt wings are foam at the bottom and mesh up top. “They wrapped my hips like a bear hug,” he says. “No dead space meant great load transfer and zero pack-sway.”
4.4 A 28-inch zipper let us open the packbag wide for easy loading, and the Skarab holds trekking poles better than any other pack in the test. The bladder stows between the framesheet and the packbag, making for easy access when the pack is loaded. Bummer: no hipbelt pockets.
3.5 Chevron-shaped cutouts on the backpanel improve breathability. “The shoulder straps, which have inch-long horizontal slots for venting, didn’t wet out my shirt,” our tester reports.