Ok, bought this pack in anticipation of a trip to Europe eventually. Paid $120 shipped from Michigan via Ebay. REI sells them full price at $200. Ebags.com no longer carries them. Pack I bought was brand new.
Instead, tested it on an 8-day trek through the Costa Rican highlands.
The detachable day pack, as much as I've said it, makes sense, to a point. But at the same time, its not really big enough to carry certain things I've found essential to hikes:
a small hiker's First Aid kit
1.5L bottle of water
flashlight (heavy d-cell type.)
backup socks and shorts
Fact is, that with this sorta stuff in there, it gets pretty tight. I like to make sure i"m prepared at all times (the 1st aid kit made it when I sliced my foot up at the waterfall.) It could really use a water bottle pocket as well.
The main pack, itself, could have some more storage pockets built in, instead of just the one large mesh pocket on the cover.
However, the abundance of compression straps and a virtually idiot-proof suspension design makes the main pack well worth it. Also, big thumbs up to EC for including a cover for the suspension straps. I'd hate it if my big ol' checked bag were to lose a strap in a horrible conveyor belt accident!!
On top of that, the biggest draw to me was the steel cable wound thru the pack. I carried a Kryptonite combination cable lock on it, and lashed it to whatever I could when I could. Added a few extra pounds, but it gave me a bit of peace of mind.
The rest of the stuff I sorta amassed through Ebay really cheap, or Ebags.com, and by getting a couple packages really cheap.
Eagle Creek "Pack-it" Folder 20":
Absolutely worthless to the packer on the go. Too much of a PITA to unpack, but it does keep your shit wrinkle-free, and helps compress... But unless you are packing a suitcase and need your Armani shirt for something, leave it at home!
Eagle Creek "Wallaby"
Thing carries so much shit, well worth it. The built-in hook makes it nice for hanging up. I always overpack my meds and first aid stuff to prepare for anything. This thing definitely facilitates it.
Eagle Creek "Undercover Deluxe Security wallet"
Nice addition to the gear. Holds a ton of stuff, not just your passport and some cash. Lies VERY flat and doesn't show off to the outside like neck wallets.
Lewis & Clark Clothesline (from ebags.com)
Not worth it, I'm afraid. Suction cups don't stick to shit. If there was a type of adhesive that could work better, I'm all for it. Best off either using a table, chair, or bedpost.
Nice addition, but major issue: Doesn't dry fast, at all. Once its used a bit then it'll get softer, and it surely packs up small, but not dry. In fact, mine is still damp from using it last on Sunday afternoon while getting kicked outta the hot springs...
As time permits, i'll throw some more reviews out there.