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Vest pack?


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  • #1217831
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Forgive me if I re-invent an old wheel…

    I like to wear vests in mild weather and it struck me that with some base weights hovering around 4 pounds, a pack based on a mesh vest might be practical.

    I was thinking of a mesh base with a zippered front and pockets, and a waist strap. It could be short like a fishing vest to get the waist strap to come out in the right place. The pack bag itself could then be a large drawstring bag of material like the Gossamer Gear G series. The pack pag could have a sleeve for a Z-rest or other pad and/or a hydration bladder. Some adjustment straps on the sides of the vest could dial in the fit and adjust the load.

    With this arrangement, it should be possible to work in some side pockets that you can actually reach while walking.

    My biggest concern would be ventilation.
    I hike in temperate forests (read gloomy, rainy and rarely hot), so high temps aren’t a huge concern.

    #1350945
    Richard Matthews
    Member

    @food

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    The Six Moon Designs Moonlight with the vest harness was close to what you are describing. I can’t find a picture.

    #1350947
    J R
    Member

    @ravenul

    I used to use a “cargo vest” of the tactical nylon variety while in the military, and in similar jobs thereafter.

    Its an effective set-up. It equalizes weight around your core, which is nice.

    Saloman makes a “packvest” that might work for you. They describe it as an “Extralight gear carrier” and a “Load distribution mesh vest”.

    The volume for it however is tiny. Might need to hit up Bill Fornshell for some cuben gear if you want to fit it all inside.

    #1350949
    cary bertoncini
    Spectator

    @cbert

    Locale: N. California
    #1350950
    cary bertoncini
    Spectator

    @cbert

    Locale: N. California
    #1350952
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Naw, I was just wondering out loud. With people scampering about the hills with such light loads, it seemed it was time to talk about big pockets rather than small packs :)

    I have a GoLite Trek that suits me fine for now. It will be a while before I can get the volume down to use the smaller uber-light packs, if ever.

    The sleeping bag is really a weight/volume/cost wall for me. Down doesn’t work for my climate, so I’ll just have to get by with my terrible, heavy 12-15 pound base weight [groan, whimper…chuckle].

    I doubt if I will ever get on the lunatic side of the fence, although that seems to vary with the crowd. I’ve shown my co-workers my GoLite Hut1 tarp tent and illustrations of the Six Moons Designs cape/shelter and they all freak out: “where’s the floor?” I think they are rather conservative designs compared to what some folk are wandering about the woods with. Heck, I haven’t even cut any extras off my pack yet!

    I used to hike with 40+ pounds, so even 15 is like dancing up the trail, wich is good, ’cause I’m gettin’ OLD!

    I think a 12 pound base weight is right on the toe of the cost/safety/durability curve. It doesn’t take too much exotic gear to get that light, but every pound after that gets into to some deeper niches in the ultra light market: the sales volume goes down, the suppliers are smaller, the designs take some carefull attention to details, materials become more expensive, and the price goes up.

    I find there are brackets in gear as far as function, weight and cost. I have a Lafuma 800 Extreme sleeping bag that is fine as a summer (40F, 27oz.) bag and was just $50 on sale. My colder weather bags are a Mountain Hardwear or REI rigs that weight more like 3-1/2 pounds and both were thrift store/garage sale finds with no temp rating— my guess is around 20F– and they cost just $10. My point is that I would need to spend $200-$300 to get a bag that is significantly lighter and still as warm.

    I digress….[Dale jumps down off the soap box and heads for the woods]

    #1350961
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Interesting! Yeah, way lighter materials and more mesh on the front– that looks kinda warm. I was thinking of a couple bellows pockets for a snack bar, glasses, bug juice, compass, GPS etc, then some sort of holsters for a water bottle and gear off the waist belt.

    The waist belt on this one looks like it would handle a fair load. The pack bag itself could be much larger and light stuff like silnylon. I wouldn’t have any material on the sides, just a couple 3/4″-1″ web straps to help smooth out the load and stablize the contraption– all efforts made to ventilate as much as possible.

    #1350965
    Bill Fornshell
    BPL Member

    @bfornshell

    Locale: Southern Texas

    Joe said:
    etc – etc – etc – “The volume for it however is tiny. Might need to hit up Bill Fornshell for some cuben gear if you want to fit it all inside.”

    I stopped my pack bag project because the size and volumn of my gear was getting smaller and smaller. I agree that the sleeping system, Down or synthetic, along with food will be the big volumn robbers in my pack bag. It will be interesting to see what the necessary volumn turns out to be when I finish everything.

    I looked at the vests from the web sites listed above and something like that might work. I don’t know if I want to give up my SUL external pack frame however. Nothing is set in stone.

    #1350971
    J R
    Member

    @ravenul

    “With people scampering about the hills with such light loads, it seemed it was time to talk about big pockets rather than small packs :)”

    On a couple of the “how light can I make my gear and not die?” gear list threads, Ive put out the idea of getting rid of the pack entirely and going with nothing more than a stirrup/belt sort of combo. Sort of on the order of military “web gear”.

    Use some really light nylon webbing, cut and sew it into a belt with shoulder straps, use durable nylon cord to tie ditty bags (full of the the various bits and peices that would normally go inside of a ditty bag and then into a backpack) directly onto the webbing harness.

    Maybe use a Dancing Light Ultralight Silnylon Fanny Pack as your base (so your not totally festooned with loose dittys) and tie off your sleeping bag (in a stuff) across your lumbar, and tie off things like rainwear and other equipment to the straps.

    It might, or might not work, but it seems plausible.

    #1350985
    J R
    Member

    @ravenul

    “With people scampering about the hills with such light loads, it seemed it was time to talk about big pockets rather than small packs :)”

    On a couple of the “how light can I make my gear and not die?” gear list threads, Ive put out the idea of getting rid of the pack entirely and going with nothing more than a stirrup/belt sort of combo. Sort of on the order of military “web gear”.

    Use some really light nylon webbing, cut and sew it into a belt with shoulder straps, use durable nylon cord to tie ditty bags (full of the the various bits and peices that would normally go inside of a ditty bag and then into a backpack) directly onto the webbing harness.

    Maybe use a Dancing Light Ultralight Silnylon Fanny Pack as your base (so your not totally festooned with loose dittys) and tie off your sleeping bag (in a stuff) across your lumbar, and tie off things like rainwear and other equipment to the straps.

    It might, or might not work, but it seems plausible.

    #1350999
    paul johnson
    Member

    @pj

    Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest

    It’s really funny that this comes up. Back in Nov’05, when the subject of pack loading and CG came up, I had been emailing some Forums participants and one gear manufacturer. Talk got around to something I semi-facitiously called the “Sumo”-pack. I think that you can picture it. Not for real hi-volume, but an extension of a 1000-1200 in^3 lumbar pack (I have an older heavier mother-of-all-lumbar packs that’s 1150cc – the width of the back, with a volume in the small of the back below the shoulder blades), that packs maybe an additional 900-1000 in^3 around the waist “Sumo” style (I currently have a 450cu in fanny pack which, until I bought an SMD Essence pack with hip-belt pockets, I would wear in front of my abdomen when using a G6).

    Depending upon one’s natural girth more or less could reasonably be carried there without protruding too far out to the front and sides. You don’t want to interfere with bending or stepping up, or holding your body close to some rocks when climbing up or down. All of the weight is basically, as far as is feasible, carried near the body’s natural CG, somewhat like the locations that we naturally pack on the pounds anyways.

    I’ve always thought since I first saw Sumo as a kid that this would be an interesting way to carry gear as it would not interfere as much as a traditional pack with the body’s natural balance point.

    An extension pack with shoulder straps could be deployed from out of the lumbar pack if more volume is needed at the start of a trek, like when we are carrying more food (this idea does already exist on at least one large lumbar pack I saw a few years ago.).

    Drawbacks are mainly volume related since we don’t want to interfere with bending and leg movement. Oh…and don’t run into any backpacking “Shallow Hal’s”, or they might become overly enamored with the shape…er…with the gear.

    Even for summer hiking, I still have concerns about fitting all of the gear, not so much total volume of ~2000 in^3 without deploying the, maybe 500 in^3, “extension pack”, but, rather this pack has more smaller pockets and perhaps not enough larger ones for bag and tarp for instance.

    Ok. So, other than the drawbacks mentioned, please tell me, what else is wrong with this idea?

    #1351003
    Julian Thomas
    Member

    @jtclicker

    Lowepro do a vest for photographers that you hang things off. tent and bag could go in a lens tube…
    http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Belts_and_Harnesses/harness/S_and_F_Vest_Harness.aspx

    Julian

    #1351005
    Franco Darioli
    Spectator

    @franco

    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    I like the idea very much. Have a look at the cover of Lightweight Backpacking and camping and see what Ryan Jordan is holding for a 4 day hike. Now tell me that it is not possible to have that weight and size distribuited around your body for a 3 season outing . Keep this going, please.
    Franco

    #1351010
    Bill Fornshell
    BPL Member

    @bfornshell

    Locale: Southern Texas

    I guess I need to get out all my old Army Harness stuff and load it up. I will take a few pictures and let everyone see what we had and how many ways it could be used.

    The LowePro S&F Vest Harness looks sort of like a modern version of my old army harness system but not very light.

    I expect the weight of the harness and all the necessary add-ons would weigh more than a nice compact – light pack.

    Who knows maybe a Cuben fiber set-up would be light enough to give it a try.

    #1351046
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Bill wrote: “I expect the weight of the harness and all the necessary add-ons would weigh more than a nice compact – light pack.”

    Yup, it could get out of hand quickly. Even the mesh vest would get heavier than a G series pack. I would hope for a little gain in stability and the pockets up front for on-the trail stuff– sunglasses, camera, snacks, water bottle, GPS/compass, gloves, perhaps a poncho. Hopefully some of the extra pockets would reduce the size of the main pack bag too, with just sleeping gear, clothes and cook kit. The pockets need to be dead simple add-ons– a lil’ silnylon, some elastic, Velcro flaps on the tops, but no zippers or other craziness.

    Domke makes great camera bags and a good photographer’s vest. CHeck out the bellows pockets: http://www.tiffen.com/displayproduct.html?tablename=domke&itemnum=734-004

    Imgine the vest body in mesh and add a pack bag to the back.

    If not, I would revisit the haversack idea– just swing it around and pluck out what you need. Eagle Creek makes a 3500ci packable duffel that is 11oz: http://www.eaglecreek.com/40303.html Certainly our UL engineers can top that!

    #1351055
    Bill Fornshell
    BPL Member

    @bfornshell

    Locale: Southern Texas

    I have a collection of pictures of “One-Shoulder Strap” type packs. Now that I am using Cuben Fiber it might be time to re-look some of them.

    I have a paper pattern for one I designed before “Cuben”.

    Once I get all my gear in a pile I will have a better idea what kind of pack volumn I will need for a 3 to 5 day re-supply (AT) hike (mostly 3 days I hope) I will need. It will be interesting to see just how small a pack will work.

    #1351060
    Michael Freyman
    BPL Member

    @mfreyman

    A vest similar in design to the item at the link below might work well … in lighter weight materials of course.

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?id=0030122942773a&navCount=5&podId=0030122&parentId=cat370015&navAction=jump&cmCat=MainCatcat20431&catalogCode=IG&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat370015&hasJS=true&hasJS=true&hasJS=true

    During the appropriate seasons, a fuller vest/pack combo could add to overall warmth in a clothing system adding additional functionality to single use items in your gear list.

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