- Jun 30, 2020 at 4:46 pm #3655550
OK, I would appreciate some suggestions. I am looking for a comfortable backpack to carry up to 30 lbs – not 35 or 40 lbs. I think it should be at least capable of carrying 50 liters. It must put most of the load onto my hips. I would prefer for it weigh 3.5 lbs, or less. I would also prefer to be able to easily return if it does not fit me well or comfortably. I have an REI store nearby.
I have tried an Osprey Atmos 65 and find it comfortable, but bigger than I need and heavier than I would like.
I have tried an Osprey Exos 58. All my gear fits well, with space left open (without using the top lid), so I am able to fit everything into less than 58 liters of space. However, the Exos 58 is just not comfortable on me. The waist belt slips and it puts too much weight on my shoulders. It feels like it is pulling me backwards, due to the trampoline mesh back. Interesting that I do not feel the Atmos 65 pulling me backwards. There is also something poking me from the part of the shoulder harness that connects the two shoulder straps. I am going to return the Exos 58 to REI.
Failing finding something else, perhaps I will try the Atmos AG 50. It is heavier than I want, but would likely meet all my other criteria if my gear fits.
blue.grendelJun 30, 2020 at 4:49 pm #3655551matthew kModerator
ULA CircuitJun 30, 2020 at 5:50 pm #3655560Adrian GriffinBPL Member
I have a zPacks Arc Blast. It has good weight transfer the hips because of the external frame. The manufacturer rates it to 35 pounds, but I’ve found that the upper limit of a comfortable load for it is around 30 pounds. In the mid-to-upper twenties it’s great. And it’s light–my measured weight of the pack with two add-on top side pockets (making it about 58 liters) is 22.3 oz.Jun 30, 2020 at 6:08 pm #3655562JCHBPL Member
I would also prefer to be able to easily return if it does not fit me well or comfortably. I have an REI store nearby
Given that preference, take a look at the Granite Gear Crown2 60. It might be slightly larger than you specified but compress well and are easily adjusted to carry all/most weight on the hips. Durable to boot. I own and regularly use one as well as a ZPacks Arc Haul depending on trip parameters.Jun 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm #3655563Regis LBPL Member
I’m sporting the Arc Zip from Zpacks. Works great.
I’m also liking the SWD LongHaul 35 series for framed. Under 2# and can carry 40#,
Everybody has nice packs. It’s gonna bake your noodle for a while. Good luck.
~RLJun 30, 2020 at 6:18 pm #3655564JCHBPL Member
FYI, Currently 30% off buying directly from Granite Gear with code SPRING30. Easy returns and great customer service. That brings the Crown2 60 down to $139.96 and includes free shipping.Jun 30, 2020 at 7:43 pm #3655583Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I haven’t used the GG Crown2, but it’s ancestor the Vapor Trail was quite comfortable up 30lb. I would expect the Crown2 would be even better if the torso fits you. A version of it sometimes appears on drop.com for around $120.Jun 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm #3655590kona kBPL Member
@kcsupertrampLocale: San Diego
I would highly recommend an elemental horizons Kalais pack. At 30 lb it would definitely keep all the weight on your hips and be very comfortable.Jun 30, 2020 at 9:42 pm #3655601Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Given that you want easy returns, and favor a nearby REI store, would suggest you try on what they have and forget about any that do not transfer all the weight to your hips, meaning that the weight rests on your Iliac Crests, and not on your back or shoulders. If the store does not have some weighted sacks to put in the packs, make some and bring them. They should total the weight you intend to carry.
If nothing at REI will do the above, than check at other shops that have a good return policy.
If all that fails, you will have to mail order, and do the same trying on the pack(s) you order. Check the return policies on the websites. Some good weight shifters are mentioned above in this and other thread about best packs. If you do return, return brand new and in immaculate condition, and if possible call first.
Agree with your intimation that buying a pack online is a hassle, and I’d never do it. But you might have to in order to get what you want. Bought an Osprey suspended mesh backband day pack a few years ago. The first I tried fit perfectly, and rested everything on my hips; but the proprietor (a friend I trusted) showed me a much smaller pack, so bought that. Bad decision, as all the weight rested on the back and shoulders, as you might expect with a smaller pack. Wish I’d bought the one that fit better. So it is a tricky business, even if you are trying them on in a shop. Maybe a friend has and will let you try an Arc Blast or other online pack reputed to shift the weight.Jul 1, 2020 at 5:29 am #3655628Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Seek Outside Flight pack. The SWD Long Haul 50 is a pretty good choice as well.Jul 1, 2020 at 7:20 am #3655631bradmacmtBPL Member
My answer as well.Jul 1, 2020 at 8:58 am #3655645Jul 1, 2020 at 9:45 am #3655654Brett ABPL Member
Another vote for the ULA, though you’ll have the hassle of shipping and return if you’re not satisfied. But customer service is excellent. I ordered a Circuit with the intention of using it as a replacement for an Osprey Atmos AG 65. Turned out I needed the additional volume of the Catalyst (I’m the pack mule when my wife comes along). No issues with return whatsoever and exchange was quick. They also reviewed images I sent of me wearing the Circuit to offer their opinion as to fit for the Catalyst. Very helpful. The Circuit would be an excellent choice!Jul 1, 2020 at 10:13 am #3655659
Thanks Eric, but the Osprey Exos 58 is what I have decided does NOT work for me and I am returning it to REI.
L.Jul 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm #3655679Brad WBPL Member
Interesting. I have the Exos 58 and the hip belt doesn’t slip but it does leave quarter sized burn spots on my hips after a couple of days. Needs more padding IMO.Jul 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm #3655680JohnBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
If you really want to stick with buying in-store, I would recommend the REI Flash 55 pack. I have a REI Flash 45 (older model) that I use as my training pack – it’s a comfortable and well thought out pack that spends its whole life loaded up with 30-40lbs. I have not found any Osprey pack to be comfortable, with the Exos packs being particularly awful.
If you are willing to try buying a pack online, I would recommend Elemental Horizons. Their Kalais and Aquilo packs are durable and carry very well for me, much better than a ULA Circuit I had. Given that you will spend hundreds or thousands of hours wearing this pack, I think ordering online and potentially having to return is worth the small hassle.Jul 1, 2020 at 8:19 pm #3655812Tom OsborneBPL Member
Used an Arc Blast,Catalyst but now using a Katabatic Omni lite prefer packs that are waterproof by and large. For me all transferred the weight to the hips well.Jul 2, 2020 at 3:29 pm #3655923Mike MBPL Member
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Seek Outside Flight pack.
as can I, plenty of volume (60-ish) and in addition, roomy hip pockets, water pockets and front pocket. two choices of fabrics- one very (very) close to waterproof (seams aren’t taped or it would be)
but the biggest reason is this pack carries 30#’s very comfortablyJul 3, 2020 at 11:04 am #3656027DanBPL Member
If you are determined to buy/return in-store, I will second the recommendation for the Granite Gear Crown2. You can order it on the REI website and have it sent to the store, then go in to have it fitted. That is my favorite mass-market pack (especially if you use it without the lid), and my wife has the women-specific version, which she also likes. It’s over-built, however, and I prefer my Zpacks Arc Blast.Jul 3, 2020 at 11:17 am #3656030
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am researching these. My local REI does not carry most of the backpacks they list on their own website. Pretty much only some of the Osprey, Gregory and REI brand packs. I have figured out that nothing they have in stock really meets my requirements. I could order something and have it delivered to the store and then return it, if it does not work. But if I have to order and possibly return anyway, I do not see much difference from just ordering from a pack company that REI does not carry at all.
The two that look the most interesting to me from the above comments are the Elemental Horizons Kalais and the Seek Outside Flight. I have sent a message to Elemental Horizons with questions, but have not heard back. I am sending some similar questions to Seek Outside now. The Seek Outside Flight seems to be brand new and I cannot find reviews of it. Certainly no long term reviews. At this point that might be a point in favor of the Kalais.
Thanks again, LennoxJul 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm #3656046PedestrianBPL Member
“But if I have to order and possibly return anyway, I do not see much difference from just ordering from a pack company that REI does not carry at all.”
The difference is you don’t pay shipping if you order from REI, have it shipped to a store, try it and decide to return it. Shipping on packs can add up…..
“The Seek Outside Flight seems to be brand new and I cannot find reviews of it”
Check out this thread. Given it’s a new pack it’s unlikely there will be reviews for a little while.Jul 3, 2020 at 1:44 pm #3656051Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Sorry Pedestrian, didn’t look at yer OP thoroughly. If it ain’t comfy then ya gotta ditch it.Jul 3, 2020 at 2:47 pm #3656066PedestrianBPL Member
??Jul 4, 2020 at 12:20 am #3656128Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
I just today took my new Zpacks Arc Haul out for a 5 mile training hike. I loaded it up with whatever was close at hand and it weighed about 12-14 pounds. It carried like a dream. Love the 2-strap hipbelt. Next time I’m out I’ll boost the weight to ~20 pounds and see if I notice it. Count me as very impressed so far.Jul 4, 2020 at 5:17 am #3656136
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