Apr 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm #1271559
I've been wondering if I could do a short backpack trip using just a lumbar pack. I have a rather large one that has some straps for strapping stuff to the outside, two large compartments and connections for attaching a harness so that you can make some of the weight ride on your shoulders. It's not super huge, but it is more than just a fanny pack.
I was thinking I could just choose a weekend where the weather report has no chance of rain and bring only very minimal gear for an overnighter. I realize it would have to be a special trip where conditions are optimal for bringing the minimum.
Has anybody done this? Fit their backpacking gear into a lumbar pack?Apr 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm #1718690
"Has anybody done this? Fit their backpacking gear into a lumbar pack?"
I've been trying to do this for about 25 years now. I kept thinking that I needed to get a larger and larger lumbar pack. Then I discovered that they don't always ride so well. If I get them loaded pretty heavy, like 12+ pounds, they bounce up and down as I walk. That might be correctable if there was a big front accessory pocket.
The very minimum total that I've carried for a 3-day trip was 14 pounds. Crammed into a lumbar pack with side pockets, that is not comfortable to me.
If you do find a lumbar pack large enough for this, let us know.
–B.G.–Apr 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm #1718697
That's the nice thing about the harness system of mine. I did not buy the harness when I originally bought the pack, but I saw the harness once on someone who had one. I could see where the harness was supposed to attach, so I bought some nylon webbing and just attached my own. It makes a huge difference. No bouncing around. No cinching the waist so tight you can't breathe.
I'm thinking I could choose a weekend where there's no chance for rain and go without a shelter or with only a poncho. I could actually make my goal to hike to a shelter and not need a shelter. No warm jackets. Just use my sleeping bag inside my Houdini if I need to wear a warm jacket. No cooking. Just rehydrate some dehydrated beans or eat dried stuff that I've made myself out of seeds, applesauce and almond meal. No water treatment. No carrying liters and liters of water. Just an overnighter so it wouldn't be a big deal. Basically I'd just be going for a walk, sleeping outside and then going for another walk. How difficult does that have to be?
I'm not sure I could do it. But I keep thinking about it.Apr 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm #1718703
"I'm not sure I could do it."
Well, of course it is possible. The question is whether that is what you want to do. In the military battlefield, Long Range Patrols go out for days with no more than that. Just think of GI Jane from Santa Barbara.
A trip like that would be likely in Death Valley by picking the right season and the right elevation in order to hit the weather that you desire. Instead of a proper hut, you can find your way to an abandoned miner's cabin. Or, in another part of the park, there are miner's dugouts (like caves). The park service has a dim view of visitors actually staying in them, but they would have to catch you.
–B.G.–Apr 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm #1718711
.Apr 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm #1718765
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I wouldn't do it just for the sake of doing it…
For me, I would load up the lumbar pack — water and all — for a try out — but would only take it if it's comparable to my backpack in carrying comfort.Apr 2, 2011 at 5:47 am #1718807
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
Crazy Pete did it several yrs ago….I have admired it since but don't have the guts to do it. Not for safety concerns, but for comfort – I just chicken out!
ToddApr 2, 2011 at 6:25 am #1718810
I ran into a guy on the AT in NJ last summer who was doing that with a Mountainsmith (lumbar) Daypack. He said he was just out overnight; checking to see if it would work. Didn't look very comfortable to me but I thought it was an interesting idea.Apr 2, 2011 at 8:12 am #1718834
most of the ones I've seen (that are large enough for an overnight anyways) are on the heavy side- Kifaru makes a 22 liter one (Scout) that could be used for overnighters, but it's built for military use (1000 d codura) and over 2 #'s w/ the waist belt (includes shoulder straps)
if they were to ever include it in their ultralight line, it would be worth looking at
I have an older Dana Gallatin lumbar pack, in a pinch I could put together an overnight kit w/ it, it's also a little heavy, but it does make a great hunting pack :)
I think someone w/ a little skill (that leaves me out) could probably come up w/ something in the 20 liter range that wasn't overly heavyApr 2, 2011 at 11:47 am #1718919
The closest I'e gotten to that was back in the early 80s, when I did a number of weekend trips with a Lowe lumbar pack and a (beltless) rucksack (from a Frostline kit, IIRC). The Lowe helped support the weight of the rucksack, and made for a very comfortable carry.Apr 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm #1720071
I've done it several times w/ the mountainsmith lumbar pack and it works well. . 3 days hiking, 2 nights out seems to be the maximum trip length without fasting :). BTW, I didn't use the optional shoulder "strapettes" A few keys gear choices make it work:
SMD Gatewood poncho/shelter
WM highlite 16 oz sleeping bag
Carefully rationed food (most of it no-cook) E.g. breakfast is a cliff bar, 1 cup Starbucks Via coffee and a few dried apricots.
In my own case, 8-9 lbs seems to be the maximum load. On one trip I was over 10 lbs and comfort really suffered. Hiking in areas w/ abundant water sources also allowed me to carry only a half liter of water saving 2 pounds.
Go for it, if you already have UL gear, this is very do-able and a fun challenge!
SteveApr 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm #1720084
I've often thought about using a lumbar pack, too. True North makes firefighting gear and has some interesting packs. They are quite heavy, though. If I can get my equipment capacity reduced a little more, I will probably try to make a lighter weight version of one of these. I think it would be great in the heat of summer to have an uncovered back.
Take a look at the Spitfire and the Firefly.
JerryApr 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm #1720101
If a lumbar pack weighs 2 pounds or worse, then what have you gained?
My regular backpack weighs less than 1 pound, and my light backpack weighs less than a half-pound. I think I would be allergic to a 2-pound lumbar pack.
–B.G.–Apr 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm #1720105
As I said, they are quite heavy. Also, as mentioned, I'm just dreaming about my airy, uncovered back when the thermometer hits 80+. I think I could make my own in the 6-8oz. range.
One of these days.Apr 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm #1720107
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Piper, don't know if this helps but "the Complete Walker IV" has a segment and a gear list where Chip Rawlins took backpacking gear into the Rockies using a lumbar pack (Mountainsmith "Daypack" with strapettes) under relatively good fall conditions IIRC.
Didn't have room for much food though.Apr 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm #1720108
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
Colin Fletcher in his book the complete walker wrote about going lumbar pack backpacking. The hotshot fire fighters use a type of lumbar pack with a shoulder harness. Nargear makes 29 liter lumbar pack with a shoulder harness.
Mystery ranch has Dana Gleason designed hot shot pack called the "hot top" that bomb proof.
Every time this subject comes up I keep looking at this body board skin that I have laying around that would make a perfect uni lumbar pack and belt frame. Then build a lumbar pack around it.
TerryApr 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm #1720116
"I think I could make my own in the 6-8oz. range."
I think I could also. The problems are that it may not be durable, and it may not be comfortable.
–B.G.–Apr 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm #1720118
What is gained in my case is relief for my bum shoulder.
Also once bitten by the UL bug, thinking " how small can I go?" is part of the fun.Apr 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm #1720120
"The problems are that it may not be durable, and it may not be comfortable."
No problem, really. It just involves a little planning, construction time and testing. That's part of the fun for me. That's what hobbies are for, after all.Apr 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm #1720136
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
Building packs have become a hobby to me like building Radio control glider,water color painting. But with packs were working with fabric ,thread,webbing, plastic, foam and if you design it just right you have some thing you can carry stuff in if it does not work. Start over and go a different direction with the design you learned from the old design. It's a fun hobby to make 3d fabric creations that's useful.
TerryApr 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm #1721066
Thanks for creating this thread, Piper, and to those who have posted here.
When I go on camping trips with some family members, they often bring their Mountainsmith Tour lumbar packs with them for use as day packs. I would normally leave stuff at base camp, empty out my ULA pack, and use that instead – oh so lightweight-minded. :P
But, for not wanting to dual use a smaller backpack as a stuffsack/daypack, and not really-liking the minimalist lumbar packs, I'd end up carrying around my backpack everywhere I went. I get some pretty serious sweaty back, and watching my family members jump around with their little butt sacks, I decided I wanted in, too (Thank you REI 20% seasonal discount.)
Now I can stuff a Nalgene bottle in one-side water pouch, my Jetboil in the other side, and some noodles, a bivy, and other trinkets in the main sack. I have not been able to do an overnighter with this set up, because it seems darn uncomfortable, but I am getting tougher. :)
I think I would add a Neo-Air mattress, and a lightweight down jacket for pseudoquilt or as a pillow. If I need to bring so much stuff that my lumbar pack warrants using shoulder straps, then I see little reason not to upgrade to a higher volume, and much lighter backpack.
I do really like the ruggedness of the lumbar pack. It is nice not having to be careful with it. Thanks for causing me to think about using it as my exclusive carry gear for some short adventures! Thanks, Piper.Apr 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm #1721186
>If I need to bring so much stuff that my lumbar pack warrants using shoulder straps, then I see little reason not to upgrade to a higher volume, and much lighter backpack.
Except that you still have the benefit of a sweat-free back.
I used my lumbar pack this weekend on a day hike. I carried a liter and a 20oz bottle of water in the pack and a 16 oz bottle in a side holster, plus some lunch, rain pants, gloves and a my layers that I took off and put on again as conditions changed. Having the shoulder straps really made it much more comfortable.
If I could just squeeze in my quilt and polycro and hang a pot from it, I might have enough for a really quickie overnighter when there's no chance of rain. Gotta love SoCal for the no chance of rain thing.Apr 8, 2011 at 8:07 am #1721903
@yipperLocale: deep south
I use lumbar packs in wildland firefighting. These are heavy-duty, and heavy, but they are relatively comfortable to work in all day with loads up to about 30-40 lbs. As a very heavy sweater, I really appreciate that my back isn’t covered and might consider using mine for backpacking on a high temperature trip despite the weight. My favorite pack is by Harold Dramstad http://pgbags.com/
I also have an earlier version of what True North now calls its “loadmonster”, and like it for day hikes.
geoffApr 8, 2011 at 9:46 am #1721954
Yeah, my lumbar pack isn't particularly light. It probably weighs more than my Gossamer Gear pack. I guess suddenly I want to try not just hiking light but hiking small.Apr 8, 2011 at 10:52 am #1721994
Piper just expressed an interest in going bushcraft.
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