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A small joy on the trail—actually, no, make it a large one—is finding an item exactly where you thought it would be in your pack, tent, or stuffsack. (And yes, I am fun to hike with. Why do you ask?) On the flip side, going into a trip disorganized can ruin your sojourn in the woods. Staying organized on the trail has always involved varying degrees of gear Tetris, which requires lots of finagling and usually leaves dead space; the Hillsound PackStack changes that. The PackStack is a zippered, half moon-shaped nylon pouch that expands to fit layers, accessories, or whatever else you choose to store in it. Using one PackStack even begets using another: one nests neatly on top of the first, so you can maximize every inch of pack space. “Using two PackStacks—a larger one to hold my clothes and a smaller one for my odds and ends—felt like storing them in a dresser at home,” one editor said after a gear-heavy, five-day excursion through Panama’s Parque Internacional La Amistad. “Everything inside stayed neatly stashed, and pulling the sacks out and putting them back was a breeze.”
Hillsound offers the PackStack in a regular version ($17 and up) as well as a waterproof model ($29 and up) that’s seam-sealed and has a waterproof zipper. Both regular and waterproof versions are available in a size tailored for backpacks between 40 and 60 liters, as well as one for behemoths over 60 liters; both of those sizes come in short and tall varieties. The models range in capacity from 5.6 liters (40 liters, short) to 11.1 liters (60 liters, tall) and weigh from 3.3 to 4.3 ounces. All PackStacks are made with 210-denier Cordura Lite, which stood up to months of hard use with no rips or holes. That’s good, since we plan on taking the PackStack on every multi-day mission for years to come.