I shopped around for quite a while for a backpacking pack and came across the Marmot Drakon 45 pack. I own a sleeping bag and tent from Marmot, so I trust the brand. If you have extras that you need to get to fast, there are a lot of points to lash extras to the outside. I found that I can lash my knife to the outside for quick access near the bottom. The 45 liter size is perfect for weekends or overnights and can be tightened down with the compression straps. It holds all of my gear with room to spare. I am very happy with my pack and would definitely recommend this.
Some of the reasons I picked this pack: Front access zipper - makes it easy to get to things at the bottom without unpacking your whole bag. Expandable top - when you need a few extra liters of space Top pocket - fast access to important small items like a first aid kit Hydration sleeve pocket - I drink a ton of water Compression straps EVERYWHERE - makes the pack as small as possible no matter what you put in it Comfortable harness system - comfort is key because you will be wearing this for long periods of time Side pockets - for bottles of water, tent poles, etc.
Downsides: The Drakon 45 is a little small for longer trips, but it helps keep me from bringing a lot of things I really don't need. I would really like a few more pockets or ways to organize.