Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Photo: Jacek Macias
Here's a testimonial from Dave in Tucson - a longtime desert adventurer who has put some miles on the new Lightning 60 pack:
Let’s cut to the chase: the Lightning 60 is an awesome pack. Need a pack that is very light, yet handles heavier loads with ease? Look no further than the Lightning 60. This pack is amazingly comfortable.
Hey, I’m on board with the notion of packing light for sure, but here’s the rub: I love backpacking in arid regions of the southwest like the Grand Canyon. On warm and dry backpacking trips, water is the one item that you cannot skimp on in order to save weight – life depends upon maintaining adequate hydration. When faced with the prospect of having to carry enough water for a dry camp in hot weather, it is not uncommon to load up with 8, 10 or even 12 liters of water before leaving a reliable water source. This means that pack weights can easily approach or exceed 40 pounds, even if you have taken care to keep the base weight under reasonable control. Maybe it is just me, but I have had problems carrying weights like this in packs with an inadequate suspension; an aching and sore back being the main problem. I want a pack that is both light and will support heavier loads.
Well, here is where the Lightning 60 really shines: the suspension does a magnificent job of handling heavier loads even though the pack checks in at a very reasonable 2 lb. 8 oz. Turns out you can have your cake and eat it too! The shoulder straps are quite comfortable, the hip belt is surprisingly well padded and luxurious, and the simple adjustment system makes it easy to get a perfect fit. My suspension hero is the single aluminum stay, which is incredibly effective at moving heavy loads off the shoulders and onto the hips. At 2.5 pounds, this pack rivals the comfort of packs I’ve used that weigh much more than twice as much. Another bonus of the single stay design is that it allows tremendous freedom for the hips to rock up and down under a load even when the hip belt is snugged up tight -- great for bushwhacking and various other canyoneering maneuvers.
I must also mention a few other nice touches. The overall profile of the pack is nice; clean and not cluttered with unnecessary features. The roll-top closure is just the ticket; saves weight and works great. The stretch side pockets mounted on the hip belt are almost perfect: not too big, not too small, smooth zipper action – very useful.