I’m not sure of the pathology of this poor tree (probably an oak?) we found trailside last weekend, but that growth is distinctive even with the bark gone. If I had to guess, I’d say virus, but???
Since I never see myself with my revered and long-lived Mountainsmith pack, I often forget how different it looks from other daypacks—droopy-butt I think was the (endearing?) term once used. I just checked the Mountainsmith web page, and their lumbar packs—which is what mine is, essentially—are all shorties, and lacking shoulder stabilizing straps like mine. I love how this pack puts all the weight on my hips, with nothing on the shoulders. I can carry it stuffed with heavy academic books, and I mean heavy, and I feel the weight, but no strain on my upper body. Just as the pack was engineered!
Browsing the Mountainsmith offerings, if I had to replace my pack (knock on wood!), I might go with something like the Lily model, with important features like bite valve catch, hydration compatible with exit port, and key clip (in no particular order).
I used to think a hydration system was a little too, too, but, having tried it in the hot, humid, Deep South, I’m a total convert. I now use a Platypus set-up that’s like a heavy-duty Ziploc bag that I drop into my pack. The delivery tube is that whitish line on top of my shoulder strap.
The special charm of this photo (TY jcb): me and the tree, we’re both lumpy.