M Paradox Packs Evolution pack system review

by David Chenault

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Article Summary:

The word revolutionary does not lack meaning today, when used to discuss outdoor equipment. Unfortunately that meaning has been perverted by overuse to such an extent that revolutionary is now a functional synonym for soporific. This being the case, I will beg forgiveness for my initial reaction to Paradox Packs' media rollout. In the middle of this summer, when website and forum postings emerged claiming a pack "...that is truly comfortable at 20 lbs, but is still comfortable with whatever weight you want to carry" I did more than my share of eye rolling. I haven't used too many packs that were comfortable with 50 or more pounds, but without fail all those which were felt like back braces on the occasions I used them for dayhikes. When the test pack arrived from Paradox late this summer, I opened it with skepticism.

I was wrong; completely wrong. The Paradox Packs Evolution frame does exactly what it claims. It moves enough that a 20 lbs ultralight backpacking load feels merely as light as it is, yet has no functional limitations on load carry beyond those of the user. If you can pick it up and move it down the trail the Paradox will not hold you back. That right there should be enough to stop the presses, but Evolution pack system is an elegant, simple design which does not sacrifice function or versatility. It's made with quality materials, has just enough features, and with a construction quality which is several notches above just about anything you'll find at REI. It's not revolutionary, but it is a significant evolutionary step, refining elements from the best packs of the last forty years, building them with modern materials, and putting them to work. If you need an ultralight pack to haul big loads, Paradox Packs is a good place to look.

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