Feb 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm #1285343
Hello ya'll. Well I'm looking for the perfect pack and interested in your input. Heres my current pack line up.
1. BPL Absaroka Pack
2. MYOG Pack (frameless about 2000 cubic inches)
3. MLD Burn
The Absaroka is my favorite all aroung pack with two issues.
1. It doesn't have much in the way of compressiion systems. This isn't a huge deal on longer trips but its a bit annoying on really short warm weather trips.
2. The fabric is a bit too light and the seams will probably fail eventually.
Here's what I would like in a perfect pack
1. About 2000-2500 cubic inches of main bag capacity.
2. Good compression system.
3. Really durable and quality construction. Not just durable fabric but durable stiching that won't fail if I overload it a bit on a longer trip.
4. An interanl frame with the abilty to handle at minimum 40 pounds and ideally 45-50 pounds in a pinch.
5. A good hipbelt like the Absaroka thats connected to the frame and won't sag on me.
6. Lightweight 2 pounds would be ideal but no more than 2.5 max. If I can keep it light enough I won't be tempted to buy a lighter pack for shorter trips.
7. Affordable, I can't buy a McHale pack right now.
I could go to REI and get a pack that would meet all these criteria except it would weight 5 pounds. I dont' want that because I'd like one pack that can handle all my trips except perhaps short SUL trips.
Personally I'm not sure such a pack exists. I'm familiar with most of the packs that come close. There are plenty of packs by ULA, Six Moons Designs and others that come close but not enough. Most of them top out at 35 pounds, they seem to lack really solid hipbelts and have inadequate compression systems for my shorter trips. The HMG Porter comes close but its a bit expensive and I'm not convinced the fabric will hold up. Actually I'm more concerned the seams will fail over time. I've thought about asking Six Moons if they'd make me a custom Starlight pack and add three compression straps on either side.
Any ideas, anythign I'm missing/Feb 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm #1836000
@dallasLocale: North Texas
Have you looked at the ZPack Exo?Feb 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm #1836004
Hauling 50 pounds in a 37 liter pack sounds like you are carrying sacks of concrete. That's some pretty dense stuff you are carrying.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm #1836010
Well actually it would be a tight fit and I normally am nowhere near that. Occasionally I've added capacity to a pack by strapping a large stuff sack to the top. It would probably be water and food if I ever went that high.
John I actually emailed Joe about the Exo. Looks like a great pack but he said 30 to 35 pounds would be about the limit. Its got the same cuban fiber hybrithat makes me nervouis on the HMG packs. I want something that will last 10 years. Maybe I'll have to just wait and buy a Mchale later.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm #1836018
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
You are looking for a pack that provides good carrying comfort (50 lbs) but only relatively small carrying capacity (2500 c.i.). I would look for a Gregory type pack that can cinch down nicely.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm #1836019
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Maybe I'll have to just wait and buy a Mchale later."
Start saving because, from the requirements you mention above, McHale is very likely where you'll end up.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm #1836021
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"Start saving because, from the requirements you mention above, McHale is very likely where you'll end up."
Could be… although 50lbs — while seemingly heavy to most of us here — is actually pretty average in the traditional hiker world — which is still by far the biggest in numbers. There are plenty of packs that provide what I would view as more than enough carrying comfort at 50lbs. (or even more) at a fraction of the cost of a McHale. Not knocking on a very well respected brand, but just that my own mode of operation is start from the lightest/cheapest but good quality — and work my way up the price/comfort/weight scale until I find something that will work well — and not pay or carry anything more beyond that.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1836026
If you end up taking the custom pack route take a look at ZimmerBuilt. I've heard he is great to work with. Not sure about cost though?Feb 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1836027
and when carrying 40-50 pound loads can you really tell if your pack is a pound or three lighter?Feb 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm #1836034
no you cant …. but you can sure as hell tell when if it doesnt fit properly …
short of buying a custom pack … you need to stuff 50 lbs in a pack at REI and walk up and down the stairs and about for a few hours …
there may also be hunting packs …. but youll absolutely need a good fit regardless
make sure you can return it …Feb 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm #1836036
@rustybLocale: Rocky Mountains
Yes on ZimmerBuilt! He has made two packs for me now. Great to work with in every way. Re his prices, I have found them to be more than competitive.Feb 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm #1836046
Ken you make a good point about not noticing an extra pound or two with a really heavy load. The dilema is I want a frame if I'm carry more than 20 pounds for any length of time. I figure if I'm going to pay the extra money for an interanl frame pack I'd like it to be as flexible as possible. I really dont' want an internal frame that tops out at 35 pounds, than a heavier pack that I almost never use. I also dont' want to put my 7 pounds of gear in a 5 pound pack for weekend trips.
Thanks for all the ideas ya'll. I was hoping there was a pack I'd overlooked somewhere. Maybe just need to save up and wait on somethign custome.Feb 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm #1836053
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Perhaps ask Cilogear if they'd put the 45 liter worksack harness and suspension on and into a 30:30. There are some other climbing packs which are the right size and might have enough beef in the harness, but will generally be made of fabrics that will put you well over 3 pounds.Feb 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm #1836062
Hum thats something to think about Dave. I wasn't sure about Cilogear though. Their frames didn't look like they mated to the hipbelt real well so I was assuming they would be limited to 30 pounds or so. The review I read on BackpackTestGear did not sound promising.
I'm going to try making an internal frame pack at some point but I'm not sure I can make it beefy enough to haul more than 30 pounds. I have some promising ideas but I don't think my sewing machine can sew through enough webbing and heavy duty fabric to get the hipbelt area as tough as I want it to be. I could buy a new machine but than I could buy a pack too…Feb 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm #1836065
are you against having 2 packs? using your hmg for longer trips and picking up a size small zpacks zero for shorter and summer trips? that's what i do (except i use an exodus instead of hmg)Feb 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm #1836071
No I'm not against 2 packs but 3 or 4 is a bit much for my closet space and its probably not the best use of funds. I'm going to keep a SUL pack around because I'm often doing weekend trips in fairly warm weather. My SUL packs take me up to about 15-20 pounds comfortably and at any rate there isn't enough volume for more than that anyway. If I want to carry more weight or more bulk I need another pack. The most I'll ever carry is 40-50 pounds. That will only happen occasionally but sometimes I organize trips for friends or kids and find myself carry way more than my fair share because other people don't have the best gear. I was hoping for just one pack that could cover everything from just above SUL trips with 25 pounds total to my un-official "guiding" trips with 40 pounds or more.
Right now I'm set as far as personal use packs go. But someone threw away my big pack that I used when I took bigger groups out. I hate to buy something to replace it that I'll only use a couple times a year but I hate not having the ability to haul 50 pounds if I need to.Feb 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm #1836089
eddie bauer has a new pack designed by the first ascent team. being marketed as a 40>55L pack. ability to expand from a 40L pack to a 55L expedition pack. i know their guides carry a lot of crap up on those big mountains. maybe worth checking into…Feb 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm #1836114
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Feb 8, 2012 at 5:01 am #1836143
Thanks Mike, yes I know I'm asking a lot, maybe more than I'll get without going the custom route.
I'll take a look at a Crown when they show up. It might do the trick if the fabric is durable enough, have to wait and see.Feb 8, 2012 at 11:53 am #1836326
Instead of reviews on Backpack Gear Test, just watch these videos. Especially the "What's in my pack!" ones.Feb 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm #1836353
Also important to note that CiloGear made changes based on feedback from that review (the review was for an older version). I have a new Cilogear pack and love it.Feb 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm #1836445
If they've improved on it that might be the perfect answer than. From the review it sounded like the pack put most of the weight on the shoulders and the hipbelt didn't do much. There was also a complaint about stitch quality in one review if I remember. If you think they've fixed it thats awesome because its close to what I need.
How well do you think the Cilo gear packs carry weight? Remember I'm not looking for a mountaineering pack to haul technical gear, just something that can carry 40 pounds and be light and rugged.Feb 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm #1836572
Their 45L and up packs carry heavier weights really well once the pack is adjusted to you. FWIW, their smaller packs also carry weight better than many competing frameless packs, IMO.Feb 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm #1836611
With the weight requirement, it seems you need to look at a custom builder. Zimmerbuilt is one, Joe at Zpacks may also customize to your needs. And of course McHale. Just need a bit more dough for that choice. Good luck.Feb 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm #1836614
Yeah we'll see. There's no major hikes on the immediate horizon so I can wait a bit. I'm switching careers and next fall I might be in a position to spend a bit more money. I'm starting to think if I don't see anything amazing in the meantime I'll try and wait till than. Maybe by than we'll have more feedback on the HMG pack or I could just save for something custom.
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