I admit, I was concerned about this pack's ability to carry a load comfortably after reading another review and from talking to another vendor. I used the on-line chat help and was assured from their customer feedback that this pack was "bomb-proof". I purchased the pack and have since used it numerous times hiking and snowshoeing on steep, rough trails with loads of 12-20 pounds, often with snowshoes strapped to the sides. The pack carries the load extremely well, the packstraps and waistbelt are very comfortable, workmanship is excellent, and I love everything about the pack, although I have not used the hydration sleeve. The toughness of the materials used allow me to crawl over, through and under windfall without any worry of pack failure. I would definitely recommend this pack.