In 2019 I purchased a Traverse 35 backpack and I am very happy with it -very comfy, just the right size and one of the best packs I have ever used. Many thanks to the REI associate who fitted me. If I could dig around and find a complaint,it would be the number of straps on the exterior of the pack, a potential problem is very thick brush.
Among these straps are load lifter straps. I have tinkered with these and they do not seem to affect the pack sack and its load in any way whatsoever. I have other packs with load lifters and on those they do seem to have a very noticeable effect, but not the ones on the Traverse 35!
I am tempted to remove them, but I want to check with the REI gurus to see if I am overlooking something. I will be fine with the explanation that my manly shoulders just don't need load lifters....
Looking at the catalog, the current version of the Traverse 35 seems to be a bit different, which may be the reason the version I bought was 50% off. The newer one must be sublime!
The Traverse 35 is indeed a great pack and has lots of fans (including me!). We reached out to the pack designers about the load lifters and they said it could be a few things:
The REI Uplift compression straps will have more of an impact on a larger backpack carrying more weight.
If you're good at packing your backpack so that the weight is close to your body, then you may not notice a difference when using the Uplift compression straps.
Every person we spoke with agreed that you sound like a person who has very strong, burly shoulders and that also definitely maybe is the reason you don't need load lifters.
All of that being said, it does not sound like you are overlooking anything; the combination of light weight, good packing, and incredible shoulders is likely why you're not noticing a difference. Lastly, the current model of the Traverse 35 is the same as it has been for the last couple of years, only the color has been updated.
Hope this helps!
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