> Readers know that the Caffin's do most of their backpacking off trail,
> in thick scrub, in a certain fashion (leisurely, tea breaks, etc), and in
> a fairly particular geographic area.
* Off trail - check
* Thick scrub - some of the time, but not always
* Leisurely - nope, not ever. Flat-out in between the food stops.
* Fairly particular geographical area - depends on how you define that. Scrub and canyons of the Blue Mountains, open alpine regions of Australian Alps, made tracks across Europe, even ski touring.
> the feature sets seen on American designed and produced packs reflect these differences.
Yes, you may be right here, in that the outside pockets are a peculiarly American thing. The rest of the world does not like them. For the rest of the features - not really.
> I'd like to see trail hikers, bushwackers, canyoneers, snowshoers, and skiers giving input.
Well, yes, but we have to get the review written in a finite time! As it was, we spent nearly 6 months on this review. Since we (Sue and me) do in fact cover all the activities listed, we decided that would have to be enough.
However, many of these packs have been farmed out to other walkers for a second opinion, and it may be that over the next 6 months we will see some more in-depth reviews of some of them. Here's hoping.