Apr 6, 2010 at 11:51 pm #1257416
I purchased a Jam with my REI dividend because it was the only UL pack that REI carries. The only other thing I could find I wanted from REI was a steripen which I am not sure I really want either. Anyways, after receiving it part of me is wondering why I am settling for a Jam when there are such better alternatives.
So now, the day I received it in the mail, I want to return it if you all feel something offered from Gossamer, ULA or MLD would be a better alternative.
After reading through various reviews it seems like models from those three manufactures would be the best choices but I cant narrow it down much more. Could you provide some pros and cons of the manufactures I listed and if I am missing another great pack?
ThanksApr 6, 2010 at 11:55 pm #1595130
@paintplongoLocale: Hopefully on the Trail
I only have experience with ULA, but I can tell you top notch quality, great benefits/features, comfortable, great people and great prices. I thru hiked the AT in 2009 with a Catalyst and it still is in great shape. I just bought a Conduit based on that experience and if everyone else is right, I'm sure I'll love it.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:11 am #1595138
I, like so many others here, have used all of the one's you mention. ALL top-notch bags for sure. It all boils down to fit/features/function. That may be stating the obvious but…a ULA just does not quite get me (a med. is too small and a large too big), MLD bags are awesome but I need a bear canister so that limits it to one model offered unless I carry the can externally (do not like that idea at all), Gossamer Gear stuff is terrific too…they offer some scary light weight bags but where you go and what you do may impact the materials??
What ends up happening inevitably is that you have more than ONE in your gear closet. Say a larger volume winter/mountain bag, a medium sized relatively light weight bag at about 19oz-32oz and a UL bag at under a pound.
The makers you mention are some of the best and you won't be disappointed in any of their offerings (excepting of course, if you don't follow the 3 F's of fit/function/features…then heaven help you…you become a gear head). You really have to know what you want the pack to do before you go looking for the right one i.e. capacity, durability, weight, etc.
Good luck and keep checking the gear swap pages…great gear at great prices sold by stand up people.
couchApr 7, 2010 at 12:27 am #1595143
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
To these I'd add the Six Moon Designs Starlite, 30 oz. with the "optional" (mandatory, IMHO) stays, easily carries 35 lbs. if needed, has room for that bear canister. For light loads (< 20 lb.) you can omit the stays, but the load lifters (wonderful for pressure-sensitive shoulders like mine) won't work well without them.
I have its discontinued "little brother," the Comet, and love it!Apr 7, 2010 at 12:33 am #1595145
Take a look at zpacks.com Joe has earned quite a following here and for good reason. His stuff just seems to work and work well for a good price.
couchApr 7, 2010 at 12:39 am #1595149
Would be easier for us to help you if you'd tell us
– your base weight
– where you plan to hike
– for how long
– how much your consumables usually weigh
– do you need a bear canister or not
With that info we can narrow it better down, now it is more like stating which bags we like and think are great.
Also, how about you first try out that Jam before you decide to get another pack? Its a good pack, used by many here, and might just be the right pack for you.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:42 am #1595152
I personally like my Jam2. Granted it is a few years old and has none of the beefed up features like the new one you just purchased (adding a significant amount of weight I might add). However, I do feel that the Jam is a good value and is pretty bomber as far as UL backpacking goes.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:47 am #1595154
I haven't done my spreadsheet yet but I am getting there. I am anticipating right around 10 lb base.
First major usage is the JMT
I will be using the weekender.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:49 am #1595155
I am a guy of extremes and with the Jam I feel like I could go lighter.Apr 7, 2010 at 6:50 am #1595212
I just received a GG Gorilla and am very impressed!Apr 7, 2010 at 10:38 am #1595281
I think I have narrowed it down to either the Mariposa Plus or the Conduit.Apr 7, 2010 at 10:44 am #1595283
Wish I could get my act together that quickly…it's taken me years and tons of money! Good for you, now buy it and get to it man!
couchApr 7, 2010 at 10:50 am #1595286
@bradlyLocale: San Diego, CA
Have you thought about the SMD Swift '10? I am still deciding on a pack for the JMT this year and have been leaning towards that one.Apr 7, 2010 at 10:54 am #1595287
@paintplongoLocale: Hopefully on the Trail
^Good suggestion as I looked at that pack as well. I like the Conduit's uniform pockets and the waistbelt on the Swift wouldn't fit very well for someone with a waist 34 or over I don't think based on Travis's pictures of his. He looks like a pretty trim guy and the pockets don't even come around his hips leaving them pretty far set back. I'm sure either way you couldn't go wrong though.Apr 7, 2010 at 11:18 am #1595296
I actually had a gatewood on order so I called SMD just now and tacked on a swift.Apr 7, 2010 at 11:20 am #1595297
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
This step requires you to take some time and do a lot of research. Read threads, read BPL articles, etc.
People here tend to be brand loyal (not a bad thing). But it would be difficult to make a decision based on the feedback in one thread.
GG, ULA, MLD, and others all make good packs. And they all have similiarites, and some unique features. Obviously the first step it to determine what capacity you need, or even if you might need more than one pack.
For me, the next critical step is how easy is it for me to live out of the pack. I think this is huge. How does it carry on you back, how easy is it to get to items you need during the day, and when setting up camp. How easy is it to pack. How durable is it. And of course, how light is it.
The good thing is that many of the cottage industry companies will let you return it, if it is not perfect, assuming you have not requested any customized features.
Even if you cannot return it for some reason, most are easy to sell here on Gear Swap.
I have my favorite brand, based on ease of use, and others prefer a different brand, even if they had once owned one of my favorites. It is highly subjective.Apr 7, 2010 at 11:26 am #1595301
This has become my most visited website since deciding to do the JMT this summer.
I have compiled excel sheets with what everyone uses(from gear list) I have compiled pros and cons lists and much more.
I honestly feel with something as important as a pack I cant make a perfect decision without having that thing on my back.
I ordered the Swift and I will most likely order a conduit and see what works best.
Thanks for all the input.Apr 7, 2010 at 11:37 am #1595304
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
I'm not going to make your choice easier for you; I would add Six Moon Designs to your list.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm #1595318
@sschloss1Locale: New England
Ryan, I'm in the same boat as you–trying to decide between the Swift and the Conduit for my first frameless pack. I hope you'll post a follow-up with your thoughts/reviews on the Swift and the Conduit if you get it, too.Apr 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm #1595322
Yep I just ordered the Conduit as well.
I hope Gossamer gets the torso nightlights in soon as that is the pad I want to use.
I have to say both SMD and ULA have been GREAT.
Me previously being a big box shopper I wasnt used to real customer service.Apr 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1595339
@jkrew81Locale: White Mtns
You really can't go wrong with either. I have a ULA Circuit, Conduit and an MLD Super Zip (now the Exodus) and they are all super high quality. Only differences would really be personal preferences. That said I like the features of my ULA's but the shear simplicity of my MLD always brings me back.
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