Rating: 5 / 5
I have the SARC Chasm version and would recommend this pack to anyone who has suffered with ill fitting mass produced packs. It's a tad on the heavy side, but for me, that's not a problem since I'm over 6 feet tall and have a large frame. The smaller UL packs just don't feel comfortable. With my choice of options, this pack weighs in at 48 ounces.
I have the front pouch, the removable summit bag lid, and two water compartments on either side. Over all construction is beyond rugged - this is a tank of a pack that has withstood rock scrambling, bushwhacking through a dense pine grove, and still manages to look brand new.
The absolute best "hidden" feature of the McHale packs is the removable back rest pad. A quick tear of the hook and loop and it's a nice cushioned seat on a cold rock. The collapsible design allows for minimal weekend trips or longer journeys thanks to the removable frame bayonets that support larger volume loads.
The unique shoulder strap system is useful on heavy loads, but I have removed the slide through load lifters. For small loads, they are of no benefit and the pack easily handles the load without the needed assist. When a larger volume load is carried, it takes a few minutes to slip the strap system back in and effortlessly takes control of the added load.
The difference on my first trip with the pack was very eye opening. I could not believe how much more enjoyable backpacking was since I wasn't stopping every few minutes to fiddle with the straps to find a new place to inflict pain. If you have a large frame and can't seem to get a store pack to fit, a McHale pack is work a look.