Finally, a prototype that's sorta ready for a few photos :)
Don't have a release date yet. We have one more prototype cycle scheduled. We may do a small production run for July 1 delivery if there is interest, given our sorry economy which needless to say should drive us all to the mountains anyways!
Weight range 1.2-1.8 lbs, volume 46L+ (we're also working on a similar but simpler and lighter 32L+ version). Great fit, aesthetics, function, solid load carrying ability, a new and very durable silnylon fabric developed just for packs, built in a factory that specializes in packs so construction quality is superb. I'm excited about this one!
This prototype has dual daisy chains, axe/trekking pole strap, removable bivy pad, padded belt, zip pouches on the hip belt and shoulder straps (4 total), haul loop, upward-tapered (bigger at top) packbag, 42L capacity, fabrics on the "more durable" side of things, and comes in at 23 oz.
So some questions.
1. Do you guys want a hydration sleeve?
2. Keep, or skip, the shoulder strap pockets?
3. Keep all three outside mesh pockets, keep just the two side pockets (and replace the center pocket with a bungee system), or keep the center pocket and ditch the side pockets?
4. Proto above has a cinch closure - simplest and lightest option that preserves the max capacity of the packbag, but not weather resistant. Do you need a flap, roll-top closure, etc., or can you live with simple/light for the top?
Now the big questions: fit.
5. Do you like short torsos where the hip belt crosses your belly, or long torsos where the hip belt crosses your iliac crest?
6. Provide "load lifter straps" (which don't really lift the load off the shoulders) which provide some latitude in fit, or skip'em and provide more pack sizes to dial in fit to your torso length, then bring the shoulder straps right over your collarbone crest?