The Variant 52 sounds like it's just what...
The Variant 52 sounds like it's just what I'm looking for, but I'm still not so sure about it's overall volume. My older pack was 55 liters, and that pack didn't look like it could handle anything over 5 days, so I'm sure the Variant has the same deal. Does anybody have any tips as to how I could pack this for extended trips (+4 day trips), without stretching the limits of the packs volume?
It's interesting that you say your old pack didn't look like it could handle anything over five days. Did you ever try? I'm no expert, but I can get a week into a 40L pack. There are plenty of people out there who can do it with even less.
The best way to go is to set out the gear you think you need for a trip and purchase a pack that fits that gear. If you want to shrink that load, cut back on extras - you don't need two t-shirts or pairs of shorts. You don't need a giant first aid kit. You don't need a 4L pot for a solo trip. (I'm exaggerating, but you get the point.) Once you know what you're going to bring with you, get a pack that fits everything into it.