i'm a big fan of a good pack. this was my second time purchasing a good name brand pack so i knew more what i was looking for this time around. it has everything i insist on having in a backpack.. bottle pockets, a built in rain tarp, and a mesh open air backboard. this backpack set the standard for me, and influenced a later purchase of a bigger one. it may even be... my favourite!
that being said, this pack is considered 'small'. it's 35 liters fully extended, and 30 liters compressed. it has a compression zipper built in around the bottom half that will pull the bag closer to your body when it isn't completely full, making lighter loads more comfortable to carry without the pack sagging down. it also has a zipper access to the bottom of the main pocket, a zip-up divider for the main compartment, and a whole separate front compartment with little mesh elasticized pockets to organize tools, gadgets and other small necessities.
there is a small zip-up pocket on the inside to hide small important things, and a pocket for a water bladder down the inside of the backboard. i personally never switched over to using such things, i've always been a classic nalgene bottle type of gal. hence my insistence on bottle pockets, perhaps sometime in the future i'll give the tube a try.
this bag is incredibly versatile. given all the zippers and straps this pack can be shrunk down for day use, or expanded out [and stacked upon] to carry enough gear for a multi-week long journey. i was a little nervous at first about all the moving parts, but after weeks and even months straight of daily use, and being my main pack for years since, everything still works. there is expected wear and tear on things like some of the elastic, and the mesh has worn little holes, but everything is fully functioning, even the fly.
there are many loops, solid and velcro, on the outside of the pack. they are positioned to support hiking poles which i haven't used in a while, and they are now used to hang my damp extra pair of fivefingers or wet washcloths to dry, cups or dishes, or whatever extra bits i may have to carry. i even used the bottom loops and the frame to tie my sleep mat to the bottom with a bootlace.
this is the perfect mid-sized pack for me, and with proper arrangement, all the gear a person could need [in warmer weather] fits comfortably on this little pack. the suspended mesh-lined backboard keeps the weight from sitting directly against your back allowing for airflow, and for sweat to evaporate instead of sitting against your skin. certainly comfortable to hike with for many hours of the day. when this pack finally breaks i will likely get something similar or the same. i have seen the newer makes with slight improvements to things like the mesh pockets [better reinforced] and the straps. big win, would certainly go with a Vaude product again.