Oct 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm #1280202
Hi people –
Anyone have recommendations for current kid's backpacks? My nine year old has a Deuter Climber (a nice 28oz pack) that he's starting to outgrow. A quick check at REI shows it's hard to get a kid's pack under 3 pounds, which is a bit disgusting cause of their limited carrying ability. Ideas?Oct 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm #1787060
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
I would recommend a Zpacks Zero pack, or an xs Burn from MLD.Oct 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm #1787063
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
I had Ron make my daughter has a custom XS MLD Burn which is working great.
An alternate option worth looking at is: http://www.littlelightgear.com/Oct 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm #1787088
Thanks guys – those are some good ideas. I should add I'm looking for something in the 30L range. It's time for him to have his own gear (cookset and everything) so that he can learn and digest the skills and tweak his own system that works for him. Question though: should a full suspension be mandatory, given the still-developing nature of his spine and everything?Oct 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm #1787102
deletedOct 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm #1787171
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
My pet peeve is the complete lack of lightweight packs with decent suspension for children. There is nothing between the "standard" packs made of heavy bombproof materials and with at least a pound of extra pockets with zippers, fancy trim and other heavy and useless items, and a few frameless packs in small or extra small size. The LittleLightGear packs are great for small children who carry only their wraps, snacks and a small water bottle, but don't have enough structure for an older child who wants to carry all his clothing, sleeping bag, pad, maybe the tent poles and stakes and maybe part of their food or their own fishing gear.
My grandkids cannot use frameless packs; they've tried. They have pressure-sensitive shoulders (like granny, must be genetic) so that even a light load requires transfer of nearly all the pack weight to the hip belt and load lifters to take the pressure off the tops of the shoulders.
Remember also that a 12-lb. load for a 70-lb. child is 17% of their body weight. It's the equivalent of a 31 lb. load for a 180 lb. adult! Remember also that the adult has fully matured joints that are far less subject to stress injuries than a child's. I doubt that many 180-lb. adults can carry 31 lbs. in a frameless pack.
I'm sure that if you stripped down a Deuter Fox 30, incorporating its frame into a simple Dyneema pack bag with mesh pockets, no gewgaws, no zippers, no extra pockets and other weighty gizmos, and a little less foam padding, you would have a fully adjustable 1 1/2 pound pack that would work just as well. That would be a whole pound of saving, which would either lighten the kid's pack or allow him to carry another pound of real gear with just as much comfort.
Another possibility for older children might be the Gossamer Gear Gorilla in a small, but I'm not sure that it would work with my grandkids because of no load lifters. I may get one for the 11-year-old boy (who will have outgrown his Deuter Fox 30 by next spring) to try before giving that one up. If the Gorilla doesn't work, I don't know what we'll do. The next size up in standard youth packs weighs 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs., meaning that most of the extra weight the slightly older child can carry is all expended in the pack!
I'm sure the standard manufacturers are not going to try to fill this hole. I wonder if some of the cottage manufacturers (such as Gossamer Gear, Six Moon Designs or ULA) would be willing to fill this gap with, say, an "extra small" size pack. And, in the case of GG, put load lifters on it.
I just wish I could sew!Oct 6, 2011 at 6:14 am #1787299
Heck, we're willing and have plenty of reason to have our kids use a heavier pack (my son's Kelty external frame is just over 3lb), and even those are getting harder to find in the lighter weights — there are kids packs out there that weigh 4.5lb, as much as my XL Tioga.
We've noted, however, a plethora of Osprey and other higher $$ packs that fit other small-framed kids with excellent suspension systems. Some of those are lighter than 3lb, I think.
If you help them ultralight their gear load, you might be able to get away with a heavier base weight, better suspension and longer lasting gear. It's working for us, so far.Oct 6, 2011 at 8:26 am #1787337
ULA circuit in small is available with adjustable shoulder straps , straps adjust at the top to adjust the torso length while keeping the belt at the bottom where it belongs. Allows pack to grow with kids. Not listed on website though, just have to ask Chris for it.
Likely still too large for most under 11, but from 11-15 yo , may work great.Oct 6, 2011 at 9:34 am #1787350
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
My son's been backpacking with me since was about 10 or so. Problem has never been finding a pack with a short enough torso; many women's XS and S packs fit torso length-wise. The problem we've had is always the hipbelt length. My kid is your typical skinny beanpole. Even now, as a 13 year-old, most hipbelts are too long.
Maybe it's too heavy for this crowd but I think the Deuter Fox 30's a great durable pack for young kids. My son's still using his. He carries all of his own gear, food, clothes, water, etc. and his trailhead pack weight is 18-20lb, which the Fox30 handles just fine. He only weighs 80lb, btw.
We have a 6-day hike coming up in a few weeks and we've been looking around for a bigger pack for him. His favorite has been the Talon 44. The hipbelt fits and he thought it was a lot more comfortable than the Fox 40. For a younger child, the Talon 33 might be an option. I also have an older GoLite women's Jam2 that fits him but he's not sure about the frameless feel.Oct 6, 2011 at 9:51 am #1787357
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Last time I was at Gossamer Gear (they are local for us) they showed me a child's pack they were developing. I think it might have been a downsized Mariposa or similar. There isn't a specific child's pack on their web site, but you might want to give them a call and see what the status of it is. If it's like a Mariposa, it's probably a pretty nice option.Oct 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm #1787415
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
One thing I found with my oldest son is that a suspension is the most important thing a younger child can have. It means everything if you are having your child hike actual miles. He wore a Fox 30 for a number of years till he got too tall for it and we simply cut back the weight on everything else. His bag, pad, clothing – everything else was UL.
Sure you can go lower in pack weight but be sure your child is comfortable.
Ford is very tall and thin so for us the suspension bought comfort in that weight – no bones being rubbed by the pack.
And also don't forget that why most companies make heavier kid packs is the truth that many kids are very, very abusive on their gear!Oct 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm #1787425
Thanks for the feedback everyone! great stuff!Oct 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm #1787443
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
Kier, when I was writing about packs for kids I did tried to look into how much kids could safely carry in various kids of packs. I couldn't find enough info for definate conclusions but here the jist of what I learned from research and personal experience.
Doctors do not recommend kids with book bags at school carry more than 15% of there body weight on their shoulders. Thats for school so for an all day hike the comfort level would be a lot less IF ITS ALL ON THE SHOULDERS. Any pack that puts some weight on the hips is going to be an improvement on this and can allow a kid to carry more weigh for longer periods of time.
My younger brother carried close to 20% of his body weight in a internal frame pack and had no complaints from about age 9 o 11. I've seen other kids that age do he same thing. When he was barely 12 he started using a frameless pack and liked it but the thing is he never carried more than about 11% of body weight if I remember correctly, I don't know what he'd think if it was a bit more.Oct 7, 2011 at 10:27 am #1787743
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
The Osprey internal frame kid's pack is about 50 liters and weighs around 3 pounds. The torso length adjusts over a wide range, though of course the very shortest length will compromise the fit and leave the top of the pack towering over the hiker's shoulders. We tried this pack on a 10 year old boy after a couple of days on the trail during which he carried an old REI external frame kid's pack. The difference in fit and comfort was significant in favor of the Osprey.
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