Rating: 5 / 5
I've now used my GoLite Quest internal frame backpack for two four-day winter mountaineering trips and could not be more pleased. My wonderful older Dana Designs Terraplane was eight pounds on the scale. I have passed the 62 year mark and have arthritis and have realized that going ultralight is the only way that I am going to continue to get up the mountains.
I chose the Quest after reading the State of the Market report on internal frame backpacks. I wanted a pack that had the capacity for a four-day winter hike, and the Quest was one of the larger packs. I also considered several packs that were a pound or so lighter than the Quest's 3 pounds, but concluded that they may not be rugged enough, given the abuse that a pack can get in the winter with scraping branches, sliding down trails with the backpack getting wacked by rocks and tree stubs, and the jaggedness of the alpine rocks. I was also concerned about carrying four days weight in some of the superlight packs, and so I bought the Quest.
The pack appears to be very well made. It carried my 25 or so pound load without a complaint from either the pack--or me! The waistbelt conforms to my hips when cinched and the top lifters easily adjust and so the weight was mostly on my hips. The shoulder pads and straps work well and I found them completely comfortable. The hipbelt pockets worked surprisingly well for a bag of gorp and a packet of tissues. When empty, there seem to be a lot of straps flapping around the pack,but once loaded, the straps become a non-issue and work well in compressing the bag and for holding my Katoolas. On the way down from the mountains we didn't need our snowshoes and the little elastic loops held the snowshoes tightly to the pack and didn't break when the snowshoes got snagged when slideing down on my butt. Though the review said that much capacity was lost from the big front(rear?) pocket, I found that there remained plenty of room to stuff my crampons and my two puffy layers when working up a sweat on the way up. I had one day of moderate rain and another lots of dripping trees, and hadn't thought to bring a pack cover, but everything stayed dry. On my scale, the pack(medium) weighs almost exactly 3 pounds.
I would highly recommend this pack to anyone needing both capacity and bit of additional comfort and ruggedness.