Mammut Trion Spine 50
At just shy of £300 you’d expect the Trio Spine 50 to be good and it is. An alpine-orientated trekking come mountaineering pack, it’s made from super-tough feeling, heavy duty, vinyl-coated fabrics and has a chunky-zipped panel opening along with a regular lid and alpine gear loop, axe attachments and rope top-strap. Its secret weapon though is the Active Spine Technology back system that allows the hip-belt to pivot and your spine and shoulders to move independently. The result is an amazingly natural carry particularly on technical terrain where there’s no feel of splinted restriction from the pack even with heavy loads. You notice it most when you switch back to a conventional pack. Downsides? You can carry skis and ropes, but there are no handy stuff-pockets, just a lid and single hip-belt one. And it’s relatively weighty for a 50-litre pack.
Ferociously expensive, but the yogic back system gives an incredibly natural carry especially on challenging terrain.