I needed a pack that was tough and dependable, so I chose the Osprey...
There's an old military saying that's relevant to the backpacking community: ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain. The more weight you carry, the more physical strength and endurance you'll need to carry it comfortably for a mile — or in many cases, five, ten, or twenty. That's not to say that you should ditch all your survival gear and live out of a fanny pack, but it reinforces the fact that you should carefully consider every pound (or fraction of a pound) you carry into the wilderness.
One effective way to reduce your load is by looking at the pack itself. If you can select an ultralight backpack, that provides a lower overall weight and more headroom for valuable gear. Osprey has released a new series of packs known as the Levity and Lumina. The company designates these as “superultralight” — they weigh between 1.71 and 2.02 pounds, depending on size, but can carry up to 15 times that weight.
The Osprey Levity and Lumina are men's and women's variants of the same design, and each model is available in either 45-liter or 60-liter capacity. All packs feature a 6065 aluminum frame, 3D-tensioned breathable mesh backpanel, Exoform hipbelt, and Exoform harness with a rescue-whistle sternum strap.
The packs' silver exterior is made from NanoFly fabric, which integrates ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) ripstop and Cordura Nylon components, materials the company says “minimize pack weight without sacrificing durability”. The men's Levity features Parallax blue accents; the women's Lumina features Cyan accents.
The 45L versions of the Osprey Levity and Lumina are rated for a load range of 5-25 pounds, while the 60L versions can carry 10-30 pounds. MSRP is $250 and $270, respectively. For more info on these packs, go to Osprey.com.