Oct 18, 2011 at 8:59 pm #1280815
After years of dialing my pack weight and pack size down, I find myself in a position where I want to carry a heavier load again, both for food and the occasional extra insulation. My gear is relatively small in volume now, but packing it into my largest backpack, a ULA Circuit, only leaves enough space for about 4 days worth of food with my 3-season gear list packed in as well. Maybe I could fit another day and a half's worth of power bars in the cracks and corners between all the other gear, but what I want to be able to do is fit 7+ days worth of food, plus my 3-season gear set-up, without having to perform a Houdini level vanishing act with it all just to fit it back in my pack every morning.
Lots of backpack manufacturers advertize their backpacks' volume as the sum of all the pockets and compartments. ULA breaks this down pretty straight-forward. The ULA I'm using, for example, is a 4200 cubic inch (~70 liter) total volume pack, but the main storage area is only about 50 liters in all. I think I need at least another 10-20 liters of space in there, and I could do without almost all the pockets.
What is the market for packs that have a main storage area in the 60-70 liter range like?Oct 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm #1792310
Sounds like what you're looking for, although I've never believed a frameless pack can comfortably hold that much volume/weight comfortably. At least my experience with it's baby brother the Jam leads me to believe otherwise.
Maybe a pinnacle with a piece of corrugated plastic and maybe even a removable stay ala Gossamer Gear or Six Moon Designs would do the trick.
I do agree with you in the allure of being able to pack a full 7 days of food. Something about the full weeks worth is just satisfying.
Although to contradict myself, I (as well as Eugene and others in a contrary thread) are drawn to less volume rather than less weight right now.Oct 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm #1792315
It wouldn't have to be an internal frame pack, or at least if it were, I'd think that a full-frame internal pack would be better than something with a light frame like a sheet or thin wires (most ultralight packs). For instance, I have an Arc'teryx Bora 80, and although I think the main compartment is more like 65 liters (still big enough for me), the backpack is ridiculously heavy, maybe 8 pounds empty. Are there any respectable external frame packs being made anymore? I've never carried one, but would be open to trying it.Oct 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm #1792319
I use a Mystery Ranch Trance @ 69L and 4lbs, 2oz. Excellent load carry ability, durable, but cavernous. The main bag is very large.Oct 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm #1792320
If I were you I'd look at packs with a minimum of twin 7075 frames… that seems to be the recipe of load monsters like Kifaru, McHale, Gregory, Mystery Ranch, or Aarn.Oct 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm #1792336
I'll cast a vote with my McHale Chasm. 41" circumference top to bottom, holds everything you need for a week plus and carries 40lbs like a dream. If you wanted to carry loads at or over 50lbs, I'd opt for McHale's Critical Mass harness. Nice optional goodies to be had as well, with huge hip-belt pockets, top pocket, shoulder strap pockets, etc, etc…….Oct 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm #1792342
@rmkrauseLocale: Pacific Northwest
If you don't want pockets and want a larger volume pack – an alpine pack may work well. Cilogear Worksacks come to mind. Just about to pull the trigger on a 45L Worksack (albeit for alpine use) – with the extension collar it holds 75 L and compresses to 22 L. Weighs in a 3.9 lb or stripped of the frame at 1.6 lb.
Granite Gear comes to mind as well – perhaps the Nimbus Meridian or Vapor Flash which appear to be just one big compartment plus lid. The Flash also comes to mind but I'm not sure if they are including the large mesh pocket that runs the front of the pack in the volume.Oct 19, 2011 at 1:03 am #1792358
Thanks for the recommendations. I'm googling every one of them. I had a Granite Gear Vapor Trail back a few years ago (my first ultralight pack). Its gigantic thin neck taught me the importance of width and minimizing the neck length or else accessing your gear becomes difficult. Those Mystery Ranch and McHale packs look really good.Oct 19, 2011 at 5:17 am #1792382
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
The Quest may fit the bill. I found the suspension to be comfortable up to 40 lb and it has a decent compression system for when the food is all gone. (Well that does not matter in bear canister country, does it?)Oct 19, 2011 at 5:26 am #1792384
When you start carrying loads and the pack maufacturers are adding hoops and stays, the weight can exceed a good external. The ventilation and comfort can't be beat.
I modified an external and actuaally saved 1.5 lbs over and old osprey.
Edit to add: the $$ are much less alsoOct 19, 2011 at 5:47 am #1792389
Are there any good external-frame packs you would recommend?Oct 19, 2011 at 6:20 am #1792397
I looked at a lot of packs before I modified and made my own. I used the kelty Cache Hauler frame and removed the shelf, cut it down, replaced the pins with alum bolts, and added a custom removable tube system. I spent abou $175 and got what I wanted. I have used it for the entire season and love how it handles. I know this is specialized for my needs, but in my search I saw many good packs.
Just one pack: I liked the expandablilty of this pack:http://www.eberlestock.com/Just%20One.htm
The mystery racn packs use a hybrid interna/external frame: $$$ : http://www.mysteryranch.com/s.nl/it.A/id.5850/.f?sc=7&category=45
any older kelty tiogas on e-bay would work. Just have an open mind. Backpacking lighter and smarter is my moto.
Hope this helps,
DaveOct 19, 2011 at 7:26 am #1792414
the Pinnacle would probably handle the volume, but probably have a tough time with the subsequent weight- as mentioned above I think w/o too much trouble you could firm up the Pinnacle w/ a HDPE sheet and light aluminum frame
w/ frequent 40% off sales (as well as frequent for sale ads here) the Pinnacle can be had for very reasonable, if $ enters into the equation at allOct 19, 2011 at 8:00 am #1792430
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I have used my SMD Starlight for 8 day trips with little if any issues, 30-31 lbs. I would say. It is 4500 ci. With Bearicade to boot.
DuaneOct 19, 2011 at 8:15 am #1792438
Kelty is apparently making a run of Tiogas, just for Campmor, in 2012. Burly frame, proven design, hardware that lasts forever and fancy, new-fangled shoulder straps and waist bands. The pack bag fits a BearVault 400, laterally or vertically, fully within if you want it that way.
I have some of the new shoulder straps coming for my old Tioga.
The Tioga frame is like the hauler described above, but with lighter-weight hardware and materials. The hauler is designed to be treated like a wheelbarrow…Oct 19, 2011 at 8:31 am #1792445
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
I agree with Ray, I bought a GoLite Quest for exactly the reasons the OP mentions. It replaced a Dana Alpine as my winter/load hauler/long trip pack. If I remember correctly mine weighs 3lb 5oz vs 7lb 8oz for the Dana. Not as voluminous as the Dana but it's large enough for 10-14 day shoulder season trips with temps to 20F, or long weekend trips in winter with temps to 0F or below. I also like the fact that I can take a date on a weekend trip and allow her to only carry a daypack ;). Soon it will be hauling my neice nad nephew's gear on their first forays into the woods with Uncle Scott.
The suspension is comfortable to around 40 lbs for me; it's non-adjustable, with a fixed belt, so it won't fit everyone. One large main compartment with a large zippered front pocket, top lid and stretch-mesh side pockets. Has a taller, slimmer profile than many light packs I've used, which I prefer as it allows me to load weight higher and closer to my back; in addition, the load-lifter straps have nice leverage because of the angle the taller profile allows.
The pockets are nice in that they are well-placed, the back pocket is relatively weatherproof, and their low profile makes the pack fairly snag resistant. Hipbelt pockets are nice size, and the side pockets are easily reached for water bottle storage. Inside bladder pocket with complimentary ports. The compression straps can be configured to carry snowshoes or a large CCF pad.
Great pack if you fit one of the sizes, and you can often find killer deals. I think I paid less than $120 with one of the GoLite coupons. Hard to beat that!Oct 19, 2011 at 8:57 am #1792464
You may want to consider the Kifaru 3700 to 5200. These are lightweight load haulers. The backpacks weigh under 3 pounds, and were designed to carry up to 100 pounds. Only downside, they are a bit pricey.Oct 19, 2011 at 9:02 am #1792467
I have read some issues with durability on those packs. The suspension is robust but the rest of the pack is not.
Have you had experience with these?Oct 19, 2011 at 9:09 am #1792471
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I have a Kifaru 5200 pack. You do not want to put a Bearikade Expedition Cannister in it sideways positioned, because it's easy to scratch the outer layer if you rub against something, but the inner layer stays intact.
The problem with it being sideways is that if you rubbed against rock, it's like metal against rock, and neither is going to give, which means the interveaning fabric is going to be stressed. That inner layer fabric is incredibly tough, amazingingly tough.
What I don't like about the pack is there should be a drysack type closure mechanism for the top of the pack (it is just a cinch mechanism), so it's hard to close the pack up tight if it is only about 80% packed. He does have two side (vertical) straps which helps a little. I'm thinking of doing two things to my pack:
1. reinforce the sides where the bear canister rubs against the side because I like the bear canister being sideways.
2. have the main inside chamber top be modified to close like a dry sack by going to a tailor and bringing in a dry sack identical to the bag top.Oct 19, 2011 at 9:12 am #1792473
The lightweight Kifaru backpacks have been out nearly a year. I was seriously considering getting one, so have been monitoring the Kifaru forums. There were some concerns initially about their durability in the Kifaru forums. But I have not seen any reports from anyone who have actually used these Kifaru backpacks about any issues with their durability. Kifaru does have an excellent reputation for their quality, but most of their tents and shelters are on the heavy side. If the price was lower on them, I probably would have bought a Kifaru 3700 to 5200 by now. Then I stumbled across BPL, and decided to get a lighter, cheaper backpack instead. :)
Kifaru also has a another new backpack called the Timerline, which is more durable then their lighter 3700 and 5200, but it's in the 6 pound range, so probably not much of interest for BPL people.Oct 19, 2011 at 9:47 am #1792491
aarn?Oct 19, 2011 at 9:52 am #1792496
Cilogear. Done.Oct 19, 2011 at 10:01 am #1792502
NMOct 19, 2011 at 10:13 am #1792508
I have one of the tall McHale packs, and I opted for the additional side access panel, which includes a removable shelf. It makes getting to your gear a lot easier even with a tall pack. I mainly partition mine so that my tent and photo gear are on top, everything else is in the bottom, which keeps me pretty nicely balanced.
I've been carrying 50+ pounds in it, most of that weight photo gear and food, and it carries incredibly well. The Critical Mass harness is quite impressive, and if you're willing to spring for Dyneema construction, you can save quite a bit of weight.
I've heard a lot of great things about the Cilo gear packs also, but I haven't had a look at them; I didn't know about them when I got my McHale. I did notice that Feathered Friends has them now, though. I might have a look, just out of curiosity. :)Oct 19, 2011 at 10:27 am #1792518
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I own two mystery ranch packs the big sky and the sweet pea, The mystery ranch packs are great at carrying heavy bulky loads they are joy to carry and the fine design of Dana Gleason master pack designer and the quality of being made in the USA.
The packs only weigh about 1 1/2 to 3 pounds more than the ultra light packs are bomber because mystery ranch makes packs for the US military ,Hunters and Hot Shot fireman. But for the 69 liter backpack you will want the pretty light weigh 4 lbs 2 oz pack Trance XXX and designed especially for thru hikers is the made out X pac. It has the same frame system as my Big sky.
I just purchased a sweat pea in a beautiful Navy Blue / Grey color for around town and for short 2 days or over nights in the desert, local mountains backpacking trips. It only is 33 liter in the main pack body but it seems like it more like 36 liters in the pack body when stuffed full,And with the front stick it/ beaver tail pocket it adds about 1500 cu.in. to the pack I fit my OR aurora bivy and ground cloth and umbrella in it's unique no zipper entry from the back stick it pocket. And it weighs only 3 lbs 9oz. But with ultra light gear, food,2 liter of water I am still carrying only carrying 23 lbs and I have room in the pack to add 6 liter dromedary bag for water in desert.
I have carried The big sky in death valley backpacking loaded up with 35 lbs. of gear and it carried the load like it was nothing.
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