Thanks, Russ. I was going to mention there are several rather impartial reviews out there. Some, of course, are from affiliated trail ambasadors. Google returns at least a half dozen.
I have one on "order" from Gossamer Gear ((Febuary someting as part of the new batch.) I normally use a Murmmur, since it is a whole lot lighter, more than 5oz. Last year I beat the snot out of mine logging close to 50 nights with it. Overloaded more than 50% of the time, I found some serious weaknesses that I have been communicating to GG.
Many have been complaining about slipping buckles. This HAS been addressed by Grant, et al. This was by far the most serious problem.
I have used a 3 piece nightlite pad as a frame. I prefer the longer (52") 5 piece fanfolded Nightlite pads. Unfortunatly, GG no longer offers the longer pad, but Nunatak does as the Luna pad. Note that GG often lost money when people only ordered a pad due to the shipping. Anyway, with the 5 piece pad you can easily carry a load of 25 pounds. I did so with the Murmur regularly, despite the smaller hip belt and lighter padding on the shoulders. A good example was a couple week trip along the NPT and into the High Peaks area in late August.
It IS large enough to fit a sleeping bag, bear ball (with food), my jacket, sleeping cloths and socks, my cooking kit and tarp. Camera, log, raingear, fishing gear all went into the larger outside front pouch. The two pockets, of course, were dedicated to water/drinks. This 15 pound kit went into the High Peaks area of NY for 4 nights (and 7 peaks.) This was in September soo I was carrying my larger sleeping bag.
I missed the internal hydration sleeve that the Kumo has. This is an excellent add on and well worth the weight. The over the top closure was real good for keeping rain out of the pack. In June I spent several weeks on a canoe trip...at least 5 days were raining...HARD.
The map case? Well, I just fold up a map in a baggie and stick it in my pocket. I use it too much to keep it in the pack. I don't see much use for it.
The extra durability of the heavier fabrics would have been nice doing some bushwacking in July/early August. I was a but more carefull that was strickly necessary climbing through blowdowns.