I work outdoors and have been using the North Face Recon backpack as my field pack for about 5 years or so. I find that I try to avoid taking it with me into the forest b/c it lacks a frame which makes it uncomfortable and my clipboard is difficult to get in and out. I have a Deuter Futura 42 that I use for backpacking and long travelling, so when I saw backcountry's price on a smaller, women's Deuter Future 24, I was on it. The top load makes it easy to access my clipboard, lunch and scarf/gloves/hat that I take on and off all day and want to keep dry. The side pockets I use for my compass, leatherman, and other tools. First aid kit, suntan lotion, bug spray, safety glasses, work gloves, and GPS all fit in the external pockets so I can access them easily. The rain cover is also useful for when I'm stopped and I set down my pack in the wet Pacific Northwest. Upon my first use of the pack, the frame made all the difference, and I was happy to carry the extra 30ish pounds with me. The only issue I have is that the side compression straps overlap the water bottle pockets. I really have to push my 2 liter SIGG bottle in there, as well as my 16 oz coffee mug on the other side. However, the snugness of the pocket does keep my machete under control. There are lots of places to attach caribiners to make sure the forest doesn't reach out and try to grab any of your stuff. This pack is going to make field work much easier on my back, neck and shoulders.