"It looks awfully hard to fit 40lbs of stuff into a pack this small to take advantage of it's rated carrying capacity. With a 'total volume' of ~45L, it appears the main bag is ~30-35L."
You're right, Dan, but these characteristics make it ideal for carrying coal into Highland bothies. That comment is almost tongue in cheek, but not quite. Next time I go to Bearnais, the place will be toasty. I think the design brief was for a sack which could contain a lot of food and a little super ultralight camping gear, which would explain the sumptuous hip belt and firm shoulder straps.
I totally agree with John and Eric. The sack needs more loops at the edge and it should come equipped with some nice grey cord.
In a controversial article, Roger suggested that things could fall out of mesh side pockets. At the time, being familiar only with mesh pockets on the Jam, I disagreed. However, the slant on the Absaroka's pockets make me suspect that he could be right in this case. The pockets do not feel all that secure, another argument for supplying the sack with a slightly stretchy, grey cord.
I'll know better after Easter when I at last get a chance to take the Absaroka for a walk.