● Padding, support and shaping: Shoulder straps and, on some models, scapula pads, offer plusher padding and great longevity in comfort; some packs include shaped bottoms or structured back panels to prevent loads from sagging, keeping items closer to your back.
● Women-specific designs: Shoulder straps are contoured to comfortably conform to the female form; some offer narrower profiles.
● Tougher fabrics at lighter weights: Discount packs commonly use weightier fabrics purchased in bulk to cut costs; more sophisticated packs may use a rugged 630-denier nylon that offers superb durability at a noticeable weight savings.
● Ventilated back panels: Mentioned previously, these keep air flowing to your back to reduce the amount of sweat.
● Sustainable fabrics and materials: An emerging trend already seen in packs from several leading brands.
● Water-resistant zippers: Eliminates storm flaps, saving weight and creating a cleaner look.
● Waistbelt pockets: Handy for keeping small items (energy gel packs, for instance) within easy but unobtrusive reach.
● Hydration system compatibility: Some packs include sleeves for a hydration reservoir; most offer ports for a hydration hose.
● Tool loops and daisy chains: External attachment points for your ice axe, crampons, climbing gear or trekking poles.
● Gear-lashing systems: Some packs use bungee systems or straps and flaps to allow bulkier gear to be lashed to the outside of the pack.
● Small but useful nuances,
● Padded back panels
● Media pockets, even earbud holders
● Laptop slots or sleeves in school, commuter or travel packs
● Organizers and keyholders