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!
@hikermor Great topic!
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:
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!