Apr 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm #1301384
@snowfiend131Locale: Western PA
Need a bigger pack for family trips this year. My ULA Circuit was usable for single night trips last year, carried fine, but very tight on space. Won't cut it for multi-night trips.
Need at least 60L in the main part of the pack (the Circuit's is 48L), and the ability to comfortably carry 35 lbs (i.e. a frame or very effective stays). Lighter than 3 lbs would be nice, but must be lighter than 4 lbs. Cost < $400, so that rules out custom McHales and such.
My research so far:
1. Per the website, the ULA Catalyst doesn't really have much more volume than the Circuit (an extra 300 cubic inches in the main bag + extension collar). Bummer, because I like the Circuit. Can anyone verify this?
2. Many of the major brands(Osprey, Gregory, Deuter, Granite Gear, etc.) have light packs but often top out on volume right at 60L. I plan to try on a Granite Gear Blaze and Deuter Act Zero or Act Lite, and an Osprey Atmos 65. All are either a bit smaller or heavier than I'd like. Am I missing any obvious choices?
3. Golite's website appears to finally show their packs back in stock. How is the latest version of the Quest?
4. The HMG Porter 4400 looks perfect on paper (huge and crazy light), if its comfortable enough. How does its comfort and load carrying ability compare to all the other 3-4 lb packs of similar size? It seems too good to be true (light, big, carries loads well?).
Any input appreciated. Thanks.Apr 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm #1973562
I think the Osprey Aether 85 is a great family pack. Depend on how light you want to go. One pound in pack weight in a pack that size and carrying that volume is not a big deal.Apr 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm #1973564
I have a Osprey Aether 70 pack for sale. Lightly used. I'm asking $ 140.00 plus shipping and paypal % . Might be what your looking for.Apr 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm #1973567
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
Maybe ULA would do a custom catalyst with a longer extension collar to get more space.
Maybe a Six moon designs starlite with stay.
For family trips I use an old MEC Serratus pack that after trimming and lid removal weighs a tad under 4 lbs and is about 60 L.Apr 7, 2013 at 7:10 am #1973625
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
My wife and I love our ACT lites. Inexpensive, reasonably light, comfy, great volume.
That being said, I recently picked up an external frame jansport scout, and plan to use it on my next trip. Removing two unnecessary bars it weighs less than my Deuter, should be less sweaty, and should be at least as comfy if not more so. We'll see, but so far in the house it is all of those.
You could pick one up on Craigslist for $20-$30, and it can have as much volume as you want if you need to strap stuff outside the pack. Bear can fits perfect under the pack…Apr 7, 2013 at 7:32 am #1973631
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
The 4400 Porter is worth a shot. If you like it, seems like it could be a "do-it-all" pack for you.
There's also the Exped Lightning 60: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=75347
Not sure if it would be big enough for you, but it may be worth trying out.Apr 7, 2013 at 8:04 am #1973636
My wife bought me the Porter (expedition) about 1.5 years ago for family trips. Before that, I used to use a Dana Designs terra plane (about 7 lb for pack alone).
I'm pretty happy with the expedition pack, and it has become my go-to winter pack as well. The compression system is great. I've shrunk it pretty well around 9 lb of gear and had it stuffed to the gills with probably 35-40 lbs of gear. Not sure about exact weight, as I make it a practice not to weigh family stuff, but I carried 3 sleeping bags, 3 pads, tent, extra changes of kids clothes, sweaters, jackets, real food, kids toys, etc….
It is a great platform for strapping skis and snowshoes, is built tough, has just the right amount of padding, and the waterproofing is nice. Overall a great pack that I would buy again in a heartbeat.
As far as weaknesses, a wraparound hip belt would do a much better job when carrying heavy loads. I also have slight concerns about the way a couple seams were sewn (see below), but this has not yet manifested as a problem.
When you're with Dora it's time to explore
Seam under tension. I reinforced this area with seam grip and have seen no change with use.
See the thorough rolling review on this pack by RJ for durability info.Apr 7, 2013 at 8:40 am #1973642
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
I have the newer Golite Quest 65L pack and I love it. It's frame goes to the middle of the hip belt and carries weight very well. They also make a 80L version as well. Plus, they're really affordable.Apr 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1973721
@snowfiend131Locale: Western PA
Thanks for all the comments.
From Ike on the HMG Porter: "As far as weaknesses, a wraparound hip belt would do a much better job when carrying heavy loads."
Not sure I follow you. How far around does the hipbelt go? I have a 30 inch waist, so most hipbelts wrap plenty around me.Apr 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm #1973726
If you imagine the base of a pack in cross-section to resemble a rectangle, the hip-belt attaches at the corners, forming sort of a semi-circle: A Wraparound hipbelt would attach closer to, but not at, the centre of the side contacting the back of your hip girdle(near or at the base of the stays), forming a shape closer to that of your hips and, in general, giving better load transfer.
Hope that makes a bit of sense,
DaveApr 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm #1973736
What Dave said.
Don't get me wrong though. It is a great pack and well worth considering. I just don't like giving glowing reviews without presenting pros and cons.Apr 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm #1973772
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
If you don't like the HMG Porter another option would be a Zimmerbuilt custom pack. I have one of his packs and like it a lot but I think the HMG packs carry heavy loads better.
If you want cheap pack look for the Jansport "Big Bear" pack. My brother picked up one for about $50 online and has carried some pretty heavy loads in it. It weighs about 4 pounds but that extra $350 could buy lots of other UL gear.Apr 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm #1973774
@erndaLocale: Southern California
Osprey volt 75 weighs 3lbs 12oz (manufacturers specs), supposed to go to 50 lbs of carry or so and very adjustable. Only costs $200 before any discounts. Might look into thatApr 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm #1973792
Definitely consider the Porter 4400 or alternatively ask HMG to fabricate a Windrider 4400 for you. Great carry. I should note, however, that these are slim, tall packs that some folks don't care for (pack above your shoulders).
On of the most comfortable 60L packs that I have used is the Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian. Better suspension than the blaze and custom shoulder harness and belt. The belt rotates and the shoulder straps will also rotate to your specific shoulder width. You can leave the top pocket at home and get it close to 3 lbs but that may be too heavy for you. Still, an excellent off the shelf carry.Apr 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm #1973900
@cwbLocale: Los Angeles
I started backpacking with an Osprey Aether 70 and now use a Circuit and have a Blaze for a backup. I'd love to sell the Osprey but with four small kids I know I'm going to end up carrying way more than the other two will handle at some point. It's a good pack. Just heavy.Apr 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm #1973905
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
The Elemental Horizons Aquilo is 56 L in the main sack for a large. Not sure how well it carries 35lb. Not many people seem to have one, but those who do seem happy.
A full Dyneema version is available as a custom.Apr 7, 2013 at 10:44 pm #1973911
@cquinnLocale: North Queensland
+1 for the Aquilo.
I carried 40+ lb in mine on the Larrapinta trail, and it carried well. The harness is extremely comfortable. Matthew is happy to do custom work, and made my pack with strategically placed Dyneema panels. Great workmanship.
Word is starting to get out about just how good these packs are for load hauling. ;)Apr 7, 2013 at 11:10 pm #1973918
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
@Chris. That's good to hear. I am seriously considering one of these as a family trips pack.Apr 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm #1974245
If you want, I can sell you my Golite terrono 90L in a large for the price for which I bought it or I will return it this week. This is a relatively light load hauler. It is extremely comfortable and it has an even stiffer center stay and rail system than the new GoLite Quests. Therefore, I think it will do better with 50 + pounds than my Quest 80L. The Terrono also has a much wider and stiffer belt. You can see the great review that Backpacker gave it here:
and its specs here:
a video here:
I am only returning the Terrono because the hip belt was too big for my skinny body. I need a medium. Please tell me if you want it soon for 99 dollars (the retail price) because I only used it once so GoLite offered to let me exchange it for the retail price. I hope my size medium Quest 80L works out because it has a much more flexible frame than what I'm used to for a big load hauler.Apr 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm #1974976
"From Ike on the HMG Porter: "As far as weaknesses, a wraparound hip belt would do a much better job when carrying heavy loads."
Not sure I understand this comment. The Porter does have a wrap around belt, secured by tensioning straps that pull the entire bottom of the pack (lumbar and side) into the belt. It effectively secures the stays to the belt.Apr 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm #1974984
I couldn't find a picture of my pack to illustrate what I mean, but I'll try to describe it. The expedition is a relatively wide pack (or I am relatively narrow waisted). The wings of the hipbelt attach directly to the ends of the pack. When the pack is tightly packed, the back panel becomes semi rigid and convex.
From the HMG website. Note where the hipbelt wings attach and the rounded shape of the lower pack.
This means that I have to really tighten down the belt to have that backpanel conform to my back or else it tends to want to gap at the two back corners. The hipbelt wings are also relatively shapeless, and between these two features, I may need to adjust the hipbelt periodically. I'd prefer a hipbelt closer to my old granite gear vapor trail.
Again, all in all though, I am extremely happy with this pack.Apr 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm #1974992
Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.
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