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Sierra Designs Herald 30 Pack : Adapts to Your Adventure

I've owned and tested a lot of packs over the years, but the Herald 30 pack by Sierra Designs is different from any pack I've used before.

It's unique because it seems to be a hybrid pack, combining the minimalist design of a day pack with plenty of backpacking pack features that help me stay comfortable while carrying my gear. The pack is 26 inches long and 12 inches wide--a nice size for day outings--and only weights three pounds. Amazing.

I took this pack on an ice fishing trip into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains on the opening day of trout season. The terrain we hiked to reach the lake was challenging and required stamina and good balance to trudge through the ice and snow. I needed a good-fitting pack that would not slip or slide and that would hold my fishing rods and tackle, extra cold weather supplies, and, of course, my camera and lunch. The Herald 30 pack did a great job of holding all of these items.

The pack has a minimal internal frame structure with fulcrum suspension, flat foam padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a curved hip belt. I liked the form-fitting style, and the hip belt was comfortable and helped hold the pack in place. Several front and side stabilizer straps make it easy to adjust the pack to hug my body.

I like the top-loading design. There are two roomy vertical internal compartments for packing whatever kind of gear, clothing, or extra provisions my adventures demand. On the outside of the pack there's a sleeve compartment with a tabbed buckle enclosure that's ideal for storing a light jacket that I can pull out and use when the weather on the trail changes.

There are also several expanding deep internal pockets that help me keep cameras, navigation tools, and small gadgets and supplies organized. Inside the pack, there's a sleeve for a hydration bladder, and there are deep outside pockets on each side to hold water bottles, gloves and hats, or whatever I might want to easily grab without having to open the pack.

There are a couple of extra pockets that I particularly like – an internal zippered pocket with a key clip for holding my keys in a safe place and two zippered pockets on the front of the hip belt that give me quick access to my Blackberry, Flip camera or GPS unit.

Size: S/M, M/L (Sierra Designs also makes women-specific packs).

Colors: Gator Green, True Blue

Fabric: Nylon with Cordura reinforcement

Bottom Line: The Sierra Designs Herald 30 pack is truly an awesome pack for any outdoorsy person! It's ideal for those day trips when I need some extra storage or for an overnight backpack trip when I'm not bringing a lot of extra supplies. — C.E.W. (May 2011)

BUY ONLINE: $160 ( Now on sale for $127.92 at backcountry.com. ) Posted 5/23/22011.

Manufacturer's Site: www.sierradesigns.com

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.