Rating: 5 / 5
Five Stars! I love the new 2009 Revelation from Mountain Laurel Designs! I haven’t wrung it out like Ryan Jordan did for the pack he recently reviewed, so I don’t have his detailed data base, but this is the closest to a perfect pack in the light category that I am aware of (it is pricey, but I made the little wifey scrub more floors). If I remember, the Golite Ion is 1500 cubic inches, and the Jam2 is 3100, so the Revelation at an even 2000 fits right in between. The 2009 MLD Cuben Revelation does NOT feel like hauling a log even if there is no pad at all inside, and does not roll and bobble, because the sectional shape is rectangular, not circular. This means that a flat panel rests against the hiker’s back. The old Revelation fills out into the shape of a "log," which is what does NOT happen with the new one. The new pack has a wide, flat sheet of fabric in front and in back, and a narrow sheet of fabric on each side, with four seams providing a noticeable and effective structure. And when you add a pad inside, there is enough rigidity for some of the weight to be transferred to the lower back, and then to the hips, relieving the shoulders of some of the burden. This means that the hiker’s ability to carry a load will NOT depend primarily on the strength and conditioning of the trapezius and deltoid muscles. This couldn’t happen without shoulder straps that adjust from very long to very short, letting you determine where you want the pack to rest. The padded shoulder straps ARC inward, minimizing any tendency to slip off the shoulders, and the winged hip belt stabilizes everything. The hip belt also helps to transfer weight to the hips, if that is the configuration you want at any particular moment. The big pocket is mesh, allowing wet items to drain, and there is a non-mesh pocket on each side. The top snaps shut, then it can be rolled down for water protection, and held in place with stretchy cords that slip through cord locks, allowing the top to be rolled down an inch or two, or way, way, down. For a thorough discussion of the Revelation’s Cuben fiber, refer to Ryan Jordan’s article, “ZPacks Blast 18 Backpack Review.” In short, the Revelation also uses the best Cuben fiber suitable for pack construction available on today’s market.