I'm looking to pick up a hopefully-cheap pack to fill the middle ground between my daypack and my long-distance trekking pack. The daypack is an REI Flash 18, which is awesome - weighs 10oz, rolls up very small, the only thing I'd add to it would be mesh pockets on the sides. My big backpack is the REI Flash 65, whose size is really pretty excessive for my uses - but I picked it up on clearance a while back and its served me well.
Right now I'm in the Middle East, which means lots of hikes in the near future where I'm either day-hiking with LOTS of water (5-6 liters to start the day, since there's often no chance for a refill), and when I'm back in the States, in moderate weather I don't think I'll need more than 35 or maybe 40L of capacity for most backpacking trips.
Given how much it sucks carrying even 4L of water and light snacks in the Flash 18, I'm interested in finding a pack that can do heavy-day-hike duty and some backpacking duty as well. A friend of mine has an Osprey Talon 33, which might fit the bill perfectly, but I'm wondering if there are any other packs out there that might suit my criteria.
-30 to 40L range
-Weight under 2 pounds
-Hopefully can be found on sale for under $100; if I can get it used or on clearance for less, that's great
-Most of all, it's comfortable with a relatively heavy load for its size - water weighs a lot
What are your favorites that fit into those specs?
Also, my only gripe with the Osprey was that the side pockets aren't mesh; it would be a lot easier to fit a map in there if they were.