I carried the Needle 55 on a 22 mile, 3 day loop combining the North Country and Manistee River trails. My pack weight was about 36 lb. including water and food. The pack supported the load very well and transferred weight to my hips as well as any pack I have used. The hip belt fit snug and the shoulder straps were never too tight. As for the pack bag, I liked the top loading style for its ease and speed of packing my gear, and the front accordion pocket kept rain gear, snacks and other quick access items readily at hand. Another nice feature is the hose port for the hydration bladder. It made removing and packing the bladder an easy task. My only nit pic is the absence of a bladder sleeve. There is a hook inside located near the top of the pack bag which could be used for hanging a bladder, but I found it easier to simply pack the bladder on the side (inside) near the middle of the pack. I think the hook would work best for hanging a bladder if the pack is used as a day pack. The fabric is as tough as you will find and virtually water proof, eliminating the need for a pack cover. Based on this experience I am intending to carry the Needle 55 in the North Cascades this August.
I have read several reviews of the z pack, most of which have been positive.
Well, I've tried the "z" (men's medium)and here are my likes and dislikes:
1. Nice sized main compartment, held most of my 3 season gear.
2. Bucket pocket and rear zipperd pouch.
3. Roomy top pocket
4. Weigth, 3lbs. 2oz.
5. Hydration sleeve
6. Materials seem solid enough for its weight
1. Suspension can not be adjusted
2. Too many staps, but no bottom compression straps
3. Overall fit and comfort
Do to the lack of adjustment, I could not find a size that fit me comfortably. I normally wear a size medium, but the med. Z was too small and the large was too big. Both sizes were basically uncomfortable in the my lower back, and shoulders. I could not effectively transfer the weight (30lbs.)to my hips without feeling alot of pulling on my shoulders.
I ended up returning the Z pack and found what I was looking for in the Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude. In my opinion, this pack is far superior to the Z pack. It weighs 1/2 lb. more but sports a wonderfully comfortable suspension, user friendly pack system, and bomber construction.
I would highly recommend these gloves! They have a super tough reinforced leather palm, they fit very well, have good dexterity, and keep my hands warm into the low teens...did I mention waterproof and breathable? Great for downhill or backcountry skiing, cold weather hiking, and winter camping. Truly a well made, warm, tough and functional winter glove!