I'll try to make it short and sweet. I'm new to backcountry backpaking/camping. I bought this because of the reviews. I have taken 2 hikes so far with this pack totalling 16 miles. This is one amazingly comfortable backpack. I carried 25lb. for 6 miles the first time and 10 miles the second. I had my tent with footprint and fly, foor in a bear boxer, clothes, stove, fuel, water, medkit, etc. The only thing that hurt were my feet.
The thick padded hip belt when pulled snug puts almost all the weight on your hips. Very easy to handle there. The straps keep the pack pulled tight to your back and takes any weight off your shoulders. I have had other packs that hurt as soon as I put them on. This one is frankly amazing. The only complaint I have is that no one told me about this earlier.
Thanks Granite Gear!