High Sierra Explorer 55 Review

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This 55-liter pack is large enough for multi-day hikes and features adjustable shoulder straps, a separate sleeping bag compartment, and an attached rain cover. Hikers like the contoured frame, size, and comfort.

High Sierra Explorer 55 reviews are consistently positive, making this the best backpack that we found in the Cheapism price range. It boasts the capacity of a larger pack but the price of a smaller one and works well for entry-level overnight hiking. One user posting a review on Amazon bought the pack because he couldn't afford a pricier model but concedes being pleasantly surprised by the comfort, stability, and durability, and was especially grateful for the built-in rain cover the day it started raining. Other High Sierra Explorer 55 reviews commend the padding and overall design, saying these features ensure comfort on multi-day hikes even when stuffed to the gills; one review on Sunny Sports, however, says the ergonomic and adjustable shoulder harness allows the backpack to shift a bit, but not enough to dampen this user's enthusiasm for the pack. The profusion of straps looks a bit messy and confuses some hikers, according to reviews on Campmor, whereas others say they afford numerous ways to adjust the fit and attach useful gear. Users report the seams hold well and the Duraweave and Duralite fabrics seem durable.

We came across a review here and there with a small gripe to share. A few users write that the hip belt and shoulder straps sometimes comes loose while hiking, and while the single main compartment is easy enough to load, sorting through the long narrow pack to retrieve an item can take a while. A review of the smaller High Sierra Explorer 55 (starting at $80, Amazon) on Backpack Gear Test says that airflow around the molded foam back panel is inadequate in warm weather.

This is a 55-liter pack that's large enough for multi-day hikes. The internal frame has a contoured adjustable bar and the waist belt and shoulder straps are padded; there's also a sternum strap for added stability. The sleeping bag compartment loads from the front (some users say it's too small for some bags), and daisy chains, compression straps, mesh side pockets, a hydration sleeve, and a pocket in the lid complete the package. The High Sierra Explorer 55 weighs less than five pounds and measures 30x14x8 inches.

The High Sierra Explorer 55 is a feature-rich and moderately-priced model that performs up to snuff. In our estimation, it's a very good buy.

Maralyn Edid

Maralyn is a veteran reporter, writer, researcher, and editor. From her early years at Crain's Chicago Business and the Detroit bureau of Business Week, then on to a long-term stint at Cornell University's ILR School and now at Cheapism.com, Maralyn has been -- and remains -- committed to getting ...

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