I've got a friend looking for a bag. We went hiking for a week together in Ireland (the Sheepshead Peninsula) last year. We hadn't really discussed gear too much before we flew to to Dublin (I was trying to reduce overlap, but gave up because he didn't really have things together).
I brought my Zpacks Blast 20 with me and he started laughing when he saw it because a) it was half the size of his pack (and probably 1/5 the weight) and b) because the pack is so ugly. He actually asked if I put shoulder straps on a trash bag. I laughed with him, because I think cuben is a terribly ugly material, albeit extremely functional.
Anyway, in typical fashion (I'm sure everyone here has a story like this), as the hike went on, he soon realized I was infinitely more comfortable than he was and able to hike faster/able to go continue when he was ready to set up camp. He started asking me questions about the pack, the gear I was using, etc.
Anyway, he decided he wanted to ditch his 6 pound pack and started looking at lighter packs.
I'm American, he's German and I feel like the UL stuff isn't so popular quite yet in Europe as some materials are harder to source (I know there are some smaller cottage guys here and on the UK variant of this site, but he's not familiar with them). Anyway, I can order things from the US and ship them here easily, so he has lots of options.
He asked me if I could find a light pack that he can carry a good amount of stuff in. I have no idea what his pack now, but it's ridiculous big/heavy. For a frame of reference, he was looking at the Granite Gear Virga, he wants something in the 55L realm, but I think he would prefer a frame, so I'm trying to steer him away from that. His budget is around $200 (or 150EUR). He's a good friend (invited me to Christmas with his family, and on hiking trips with him and his son) of mine so if something is a little more than $200, I'd gladly cover it for him.
I could research for hours on here, but I figured it'd be easier to some rough requirements and a price limit and get everything consolidated in one place than search through pages and pages, where information might be outdated.
Personally I think the Gossamer Gear Gorilla is a nice pack, but I haven't browsed the market in about three years (last time I really looked was when I bought my Blast).
Thanks in advance for any advise :)