Backpacker - - NEWS -

OUR TAKE Our min­i­mal­ist testers loved this com­pact pack for small-load ad­ven­tures. It has all the features you need for back­coun­try hot laps or fa­s­tand-light hikes—in­te­rior sleeves that fit a stan­dard shovel and probe (rare in a pack this size), di­ag­o­nal ski and ver­ti­cal snow­board carry, hy­dra­tion blad­der sleeve—in a pack­age that dis­penses with any extras. This de­sign made find­ing the es­sen­tials (which may have in­cluded sum­mit whiskey) a breeze on a skin up Ore­gon’s Tu­malo Moun­tain. On the way down, the Poacher’s slim pro­file, thin hip­belt, and ster­num strap kept it nes­tled be­tween our shoul­ders. “There was no bounce or sway, even in choppy snow,” our tester says. Sus­pen­sion is lim­ited to a sewn-in framesheet, but it can han­dle 15 pounds.

THE DE­TAILS Four-inch-wide foam shoul­der straps curve away from the chest, al­low­ing easy ac­cess to jacket pock­ets and a comfy fit for women. The Poacher has an in­su­lated, zip­pered shoul­der strap chan­nel for a hy­dra­tion hose, but it’s tricky to route tubes with large mouth­pieces through it. The ski-carry strap con­nects with a glove-friendly, light­weight alu­minum buckle that’s im­pos­si­ble to break (we tried).

TRAIL CRED “I needed a ski pack in the French Alps that would also work for light-load day­hikes,” one tester says. “The Poacher fit the bill, as the ski straps tuck away, leav­ing the pack­bag un­fet­tered for year-round trail use.” $85; 1 lb. 5 oz.; 12 liters; one size; dakine.com

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