Received mine in size Large today. I'm disappointed, and will be sending it back.
- Frame design is smart, minimalist, and effective. Combined with the waistbelt, the load is effectively transferred to the hips.
- Fold-over top entry is good, makes a nice barrier to rain and offers good access without the pain-in-the-azz of rolltop designs.
- Easily removable sit pad is excellent, though not a new feature.
- Compression system is simple and effective.
- Modularity is great, and one of the chief reasons I tried this pack. 10 lb load for a quick overnight? Ditch the frame and waistbelt. Packmule because you're taking along the girlfriend or wife? Add those components back for a sweet carry.
- The super wide shoulder straps abrade the sides of my neck. Must have been designed by pencil-necked folks. The straps could easily be made 1" narrower. If the load is heavy enough to need a 3"+ shoulder strap, you should be using the included waistbelt and frame, thus not have much load on the shoulder straps.
- Sternum strap attachments are needlessly gimmicky. One crack in the tiny pieces of plastic that anchor it and boom, failure.
- The elastic on the upper edge of the side pockets is thin and chintzy. I have no doubt it would get stretched out and abraded quickly. Putting a 1L Gatorade bottle in there pushes it almost to the max. I think MLD's sewn dyneema tunnel with bungie cord is far superior. Same thing with the top edge of the rear mesh pocket.
- Multiple, obvious high-stress points have no bartacks, just a single pass of thread. This really bugs me.
- Waistbelt pockets are terribly small, you can't fit much more than 2 Clif bars in each one and that's a tight fit. For fractions of an ounce and a couple dollars more in material (literally), the pockets could be much bigger and useful for exactly the same labor cost.
For the money, I think they took too many shortcuts. The reinforced construction I'd like to see would add maybe 10 grams to the weight, and take the worker 15 minutes more time. They boast that it's made in the USA, but I've seen significantly better craftsmanship from China.
I don't think the pack is a total sham, just a waste of great potential.