OK, well I can tell you that I have ordered from Northern Mountain and my pack came without a hitch. I got the same exact one
(and the last black as well, but don't worry, it was large so you didn't miss out).
I'm still trying to figure out how to use half the straps and pulleys and levers and such on it
but I gotta say that I'm pretty satisfied overall. If I could only figure out the hip belt, then I'd be rockin'
I gotta say though...it's gonna take work for me to get my pack down to a reasonable weight. Perhaps it's just because I'm new to the "pack light" game, but my back isn't skimping on the reminders that my pack currently weighs around 30 lbs...I know others are going to laugh at me for saying this (including you, benna) but I don't know how I'm going to travel out of this thing for 6 months! I need more room!
BUT...it's gonna be my life for the next year, so I guess I better learn and get crackin'!
SO yeah...NEW PACK! EXCITEMENT! Call Northern Mountain and see what their return policy is, and since they have free ground shipping, it might be worth seeing how the medium fits you.