My main goal is here comfort. Features such as tiedowns are nice too. I don’t have any preference for brands.
The last one you will ever need.
It can be custom made to your particular size.
If you want smaller go with the Black Crag
I am a big and tall old fat guy and this is the ONLY day pack that actually fits–most Wallmart crap-bags are made for 12 year olds to carry books to school.
Support local/made in USA business.
One that fits you properly and meets your needs. What size, what features, and how do you plan to use it? There are lots of brands that make excellent backpacks, there’s no single answer to this question.
Size would be around 50 liters for a 2 or 3 day trip. Not needed for a longer trip than that .
Each person is different. For example the old REI Flash pack was a popular choice on the Appalachian trail for thru hikers. It hit all the right points of being light weight (ground breakingly so) for a full internal frame and super comfy for many. However many also found it unbearable.
And how much of a load are you carrying and what is the volume? Generally the advice is by your pack last and it should be sized for that. Too small and you will kick yourself, too large and many will say that’s incentive to bring more crap you don’t need - however I have found too large gives more room to pack how you want.
My favorite website for outdoor gear reviews – lots of information and honest reviews, not marketing hype click-bait:
That nord pack would be state of the art in 1960.
There isn’t enough on that site to even detail the features of that pack but it does not appear to have any kind of internal frame and the hip belt isn’t structured enough to transfer any significant amount of weight from the pack. It certainly doesn’t appear well suited to any kind of overnight backpacking or carrying more than about 10 kg, and at $360 is ridiculously overpriced compared to more functional backpacks.
For the o.p., what do you plan to do with the pack? Prairie hiking, alpine trekking, casual touring, carrying camera gear, what? There are a lot of good options for backpacks with various features and for different applications out there–I prefer Mystery Ranch (by the original producer of Dana Designs) and Osprey–but you should really find a dedicated outdoor store like REI which will have numerous options and will have someone who can help adjust and fit a pack to you. Most modern packs will actually have adjustable yokes and other features to fit a pack exactly to your torso length and make sure you are getting the best load distribution. Trying to pick a pack from internet reviews alone is likely to get you something that just doesn’t quite fit or has features that sound great but are actually useless or even counterproductive.
You should be able to find a 50-60 liter internal frame pack suitable for casual backpacking under $300. I don’t know about the need for “tiedowns”; many packs have daisy chains or PALS webbing for slinging climbing rope, carrying skis, or adding external pockets, but in general you should avoid strapping stuff to the outside of an internal frame pack except lightweight items or clothing that you are trying to dry because it unbalances the load distribution and allows the pack to get caught on things. I say this while looking over at my old SAR pack with MOLLE pouches liberally covering the outside, but that is because I had a bunch of medical supplies and equipment that I want to have rapid access to; my hiking packs are all pretty streamlined, and I stick the few ideas I want fast access into the sternum bag slung between the shoulder straps.
Short backpacking trip 3 days at most is my plan.
Probably getting Osprey Aether from REI , nice thing about REI is I can return it for a year. It used to be lifetime return but sadly too many people abused that by getting a refund 5 or 10 years later
Osprey makes good packs; it should last you a long time. But take the time in the store to get it fitted properly by the staff, and learn how to pack and adjust it properly.
The Aether is a great pack. I have one several generations back that was my second internal frame pack and that I used for all three season desert, alpine, and deep forest hiking for several years, and except for a a lot of ground-in dirt and small cut in in the roll up sleeve under the top lid it is still quite usable, although these days I tend to use an Atmos 50 or 65 for lighter loads and a Mystery Ranch Terraframe 80 for bigger ones or in rough terrain and brush due to the more robust build. Osprey does offer lifetime warranty and at-cost repairs, and the fitment os very flexible so as long as you get it well fittedit should be quite comfortable up to the rated load.