As a chronic pessimist when it comes to pack design I have a some food for a pack designer's thought:
1. There are no comfortable packs - only packs that are less uncomfortable than others.
2. Pack design, like economics, is a "dismal science". Too many variables to account for. (Of course an adjustable length harness is a big help, as is a "cutout" in the hipbelt for one's iliac crest.)
3. Internal frames are (usually) better than external frames. But "framesheets" are almost useless for load transfer.
4. A frameless pack is miserable beyond 15 lbs. (Jus' sayin'.)
5. Any pack that does not permit the addition of aftermarket side pockets is limiting itself.
6. Pack bottom fabric MUST be very abrasion resistant.
7. A backpack W/O lift straps is cheap and uncomfortable.
8. Finally, a pack W/O the option of a removavle top lid/fanny pack also limits the owner's packing & day tripping options.
Of course most of this applies to backpacks as opposed to daypacks.
Do I sound curmudgeonly?
Do hip belts make my belly seem fat?
Do Lycra pants make my thighs look too big?
Should I write to Dear Abby instead of BPL?
Anyway Brian, good luck with "The Dismal Science". We'll be hoping for an almost comfortable pack from SMD.