This Arcteryx expedition-size pack is COMFORTABLE! The V-stay suspension allows the cushy, thermoformed hipbelt and shoulder straps to move independently of each other, which means that you don't have to fight against the pack when you're hiking or scrambling.
A reinforced bottom, quality construction, waterTight zippers, DWR-coated fabric and thoughtful design details (like reinforced seams, straps and buckles), allow you to forget about catastropic equipment failure. The Briza 75 withstood a solid month of technical backpacking in variable conditions - scree, deadfall, tricky climbs & descents, thick brush, river crossings, grossly-heavy resupplies, you name it - and I never had any serious issues with the packs.
Everything on the Briza 75 is placed in a thoughtful, workable, intuitive place that doesn't get in your way. The adjustment straps are always in reach. The external water-bottle holders are perfectly placed so that they don't bang on your arms, hips or pack, but you can always reach them. The kangaroo pockets, the packlid compartment and the internal pack expander & cinch straps meshed so well together that we never had to fight them to get gear in or out. Adjusting the suspension system was a breeze, even when the pack was fully loaded. The detachable pack lid has an integrated hip belt that transforms it into a waist pack with the snap of a Fastex buckle. And there's a multitude of sweet internal zippered pockets for all your valuables.
Some of my favorite details are:
1. the kangaroo pocket with drain hole (great for wet, bulky stuff like tents, tarps & pads)
2. the completely-detachable pack lid for keeping necessities within easy reach of your camp chair, and
3. the fabulous water-bottle pockets with cinch straps. (I stayed really well-hydrated because of their great placement and design, and never even came close to losing a bottle.)
The full-length side zipper and the cool bilateral ice-axe holders also deserve a mention for sheer utility.
I only had one true "bad" on my list, and that was the removable plastic hemisphere that lines the external occipital cavity. While it's a great idea in theory, in practice, the plastic half-bucket broke within ten minutes of use on both of our packs. Weak plastic attachment points failed, and when the packs were loaded, the internal cinch straps provided plenty of headroom without the fussy plastic liner. Overloaded, I think the plastic cavity would have gotten in the way, but since it broke anyway, we never got to test this.
Something to consider is that the Briza 75 is heavy (6.1 lbs). I never had any beefs with the weight, since I appreciated the packs' sturdy construction, but it's not for ultralight trips.
The Briza 75 has a nifty hydration-bladder sleeve and hydroport in the pack lid with an integrated clip on the shoulder strap. But...it can't hold more than a liter, and it crowds the available room in the packlid something fierce. I left my 2-liter bladder at home and stuck with the bottle holders rather than buy a new bladder. If the bladder sleeve were integrated into the pack rather than the lid, and if it were large enough to hold at least two liters (hey, I get thirsty!), I would have ditched the Nalgenes for sure.
One minor issue is that the brand-new dark-grey thermomolded suspension system bled dye onto our clothes when soaked with sweat. We both still have medium-grey stains on our clothes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you're packing for an expedition-style trip, these packs are bombproof. They're rugged enough to stand up to some serious abuse, they're easy to use, and the suspension system is incredibly comfortable.
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