Perfect all-around medium/large pack
When researching packs, I chose this one due to a combination of size (I liked the expandability option), comfort (Vario auto-sizing) and the Futura venting feature. I have used this pack exclusively for the past 10 months trekking around Southeast Asia, and it has surpassed nearly all my expectations. The pack is bombproof, as it has sustained no damage to any of the it's functions yet. The pack itself is fairly compact and easy to wear over one shoulder for short distances, with both shoulder straps for longer flat-land hikes, or with the padded waist-belt for broken-ground hikes or ascents (or heavy loads, like a case of beer). I originally looked at the Futura 42 pro, but found the size a bit limited by the rigid venting system. The Vario 50+10 provides better load access, as well as an expansion option. The separated compartment options and mid-pack zippers allow for separated load distribution and quick access. I have carried more than 25 kg in this pack, but with the waist-belt, the pack always felt well-balanced and secure. The padded waist belt and venting arch in the back prevent it from being used as carry-on luggage for flights. Another drawback is the lack of external strap options to secure items to the pack. The rain cover is an excellent feature, even if simply discouraging prying fingers while you are away from the pack, although mine has acquired a 2"x2" rip from some particularly brutal baggage handlers. I was initially a bit skeptical about the Vario auto-sizing feature, but after handing off my loaded pack to people more than a foot shorter than my 6'3" height, I was amazed at how the pack adjusted to their frames. Overall, a great all-around pack that is a fantastic value for its quality and features.
My travel companion
After searching and reading reviews for other bags, I finally decided for this one. This bag is awesome! I have pack the following in it: - MSR Whisperlite Internationale - Rock 32 tent with footprint, rain fly, and poles - MSR Base 2 cook set - Two Nalgene Wide-mouth 32oz bottles - One shorty, three shirts, two pair of socks, three underwear in a Sea to Summit 10L eVent compression sack. - One Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro Sleeping Pad - One Lafuma XL sleeping bag - One multi towel lite XL - Petzl Tikka Plus 2 LED Headlamp - Two flashlights - eTrex GPS - Camp food packs - One 3 liters CamelBak Antidote Reservoir - One Leatherman Blast Multi-Tool - One MiniWorks Ex Water Filter - Some spare batteries, waterproof matches, duct tape, and miscellaneous So, it has a LOT of space in it. I gave it 4 stars because I would like it to have some straps at the bottom of the bag, so I can strap the tent or sleeping pad outside of the bag. Also, the shoulder straps makes some squeaking noise while walking.