To make a long story short, I had one hell of a time finding a backpack. I am a thin, petite girl with little to no extra padding to protect me from the pressure of thick straps - supporting dozens of pounds of gear - digging into my shoulders and hips. I went through backpack after backpack, and each one left my collar and hip bones bruised, cut, and rubbed raw, and my back aching. Each time I would wear one of the other backpacks, I would be in pain and close to tears after just a few minutes on the trail. It got so bad, and I had been through so many backpacks with no improvement, that I was about ready to give up backpacking all together. Which was a heartbreaking thought.
Then, my husband saved the day and found me the Banchee 50 from The North Face, and my backpacking days were saved! The Banchee 50 is comfortable and durable. My collar and hip bones remained bruise free. I was able to actually enjoy myself while trekking into the mountains with 20-30 pounds of gear on my back. I couldn't wipe the stupid grin off of my face during my first trip with the Banchee 50. We were a match made in heaven.
My Recommendation: Ladies, TRY THIS PACK. I can't rave about it enough. Comfortable, efficient, durable...what more could you ask for?The Banchee 50 ($199 at www.thenorthface.com)