Rating: 5 / 5
The Cilogear 60L pack (mine is version 1) is the one pack that can handle everything, and excel at everything. It is light enough for backpacking but durable enough to abuse with bushwhacking, alpine climbing, and toting pokey rock climbing gear. This in itself is not too incredible. However, the innovative dee-clip system and simple but effective suspension make the pack stand out. The dee-clip system allows you to use any combination of straps to control the load or use none at all to save some weight. The straps can link together to go around bulky items like snowshoes. I even use the straps to turn my trekking poles into a pyramid tent pole. The online manual provides guidance on what strap combinations provide the best support, but I don't use them at all half the time, since the pack is full enough with backpacking guiding gear, or I just wing it. (I have used a Golite Gust as my primary pack for years, though, so I'm used to a rucksack with minimal compression.) The suspension is refreshingly simple, but can still handle big loads - I've carried about 70 pounds on several occasions (both going ultralight to make up for rock climbing gear or to carry lots of group gear for backpacking guiding - including 15.5 Liters of water! Heavy loads are never fun, first because of the load on the legs, and secondly because any suspension will hurt, but it supports the load if you really feel the need to carry that much... I have guided backpacking trips without the framesheet and stay in, just the stiff foam and a rolled up 3/4 ridgerest, and it works fine for loads of 40 pounds or so.
The pack is designed primarily for mountaineering, where you can use the same pack for the approach and the route, or get the 20L or schoolbag and clip it on for a summit pack. Since it is an alpine pack, it has no side water bottle pockets or hipbelt pockets, but the crampon pocket on the back holds a water bottle just wonderfully, as well as wet tarps, sandals, or even crampons!
The hydration tube slit is too small to fit my camelback bite valve through, so I just cut it longer and sewed the raw edge up.
I know Cilogear is primarily aimed at mountaineering, but most of us do normal backpacking most of the time, so a backpacking version would be nice, especially since the dee-clip system isn't available elsewhere. I'd put on a big mesh pocket in the back, waterbottle holders on the sides that can be used while hiking, hipbelt pockets, a silnylon lid, and lighten up the overall fabric selection just a little bit. Of course, most of these would be easy modifications for those of us that sew.
An optional fabric hipbelt would be nice too, as long as it is nice and wide, but with minimal or no padding.
My pack will get used until it dies, or until Cilogear comes out with an even better version that I just can't resist.