Happy hikerwrote a review of Arc'teryx Needle 55 Backpack - 3234-3661cu in on July 14, 2005
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.