I think of the AHBC as a town and travel pack. I am just not a fan of panel loaders for back country use with a couple of niche uses. I find they don't compress as well, and in the back country I am just not getting into them as often. In my opinion, perhaps preference is a better word, for back country our current packs to look at for your uses are the Ute and Umlindi. Which one will depend on how much stuff you are going to be carrying MOST of the time. What I have found over time is that I want a pack that is a little bit bigger than what I need to carry, but is as small as possible besides that. I have also found, and this goes for all gear, it is generally best to plan for the common useage not the outliers. That way whatever I am using works better for me most of the time.
The bolded part of Scot's quote is one of the simplest yet most profound "gear selection" statements I've ever run across. Since applying that logic to my own choices, gear selection seems simple and no longer overwhelming.