McHale Packs — Observations & Comments

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    peter vacco


    Locale: no. california

    "Fortunately she went to the store and left me unsupervised,"
    roflao.. congradulatins, you have an excellent one. oh, yes. perfect.

    nice new pack Nick. and thank you for those fully detailed posts of what it's like dealing with Dan. that was my experience as well, but you wrote it up vastly better than i ever could have.
    and also thank you for the weights, i have been sulking over the mass of my fully gigantic huge monstrous McHale CM series expedition pack for some time now. and that's because i'm a spoiled twit sometimes, now if i calc our numbers, i see that we are right where things ought to be weight/volume wise.
    you can carry a buttload more than 30 silly pounds in that thing. with the bayo's up, and a top lid, you can carry enough (all of it actually) that if your lady does not want to, or is not capable of, packing, she can still go along for the stroll and have a wonderful time. it's quite a treat to be able to wander with somebody you like, and for them to not suffer (too much…). McHale's make that possible.

    did we see a removable backpad ? those dear things are just the greatest device ever invented by (insert worshipped diety of choice). man oh man… the rip off and sit on it pad… the kneel by the river and do you wash pad, the fill in the hole under the tent pad, the place to put yer foot while you repair the other foot pad, what a cool cool cool thing.

    the packs i have will support about 60 #'s directly on the hips sustained. the rest gets dumped onto the shoulders and chest. bayos', majic hipbelts, etc, it still pays to load them mass high and keep the load compact (polar moment of inertia thing).

    that's a sweet pack Nick.


    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    Yes, the top pad is removable. The lower lumbar pad is not. I can tell you it is great to sit on in snow. Other than that I am not one to fiddle with gear or comfort when hiking. Logs and boulders are great places to sit for me, unless really wet. Here are some pictures:

    pad strap

    The pad is attached with two long strips of Velcro and a strap at the top of each corner. This is the attachment strap.

    Pad front

    Front of pad.

    Pad rear

    Rear of pad.

    Pack without pad

    Pack without pad.

    I have to mention that pictures cannot describe the attention to detail, quality of materials, or workmanship. Every single feature and function is well thought out to the tinest detail. Most of the sewing is double sticthed or better. All of this adds weight but you are not going to be worrying about any kind of failure on the trail.

    David Lutz


    Locale: Bay Area

    Hey Nick – she'll be home soon, you better show some progress on the roof!

    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California


    That was yesterday, I already got busted! :)

    Michael Fogarty
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    Here's some pic's of my McHale Merkebeiner:

    The front Utility pocket contains a MLD Grace Duo Spinntex Tarp, Ti Goat Bivy, and a Montbell syn. Therma-wrap hooded parka. In the shove-it space is my Pre-Cip jacket and pants, and a 4 section Z-rest, for a sit pad.

    Steven Hanlon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid Atlantic

    i bought a Chasm in 2006/2007 and absolutely love it. it weighs in at 64 ounces with two side pockets, a hip pocket, and the large top bag/cover. i can't tell you how many times i have been looked at with envy when i pull off the back pad and sit down in camp.

    i struggled to find a pack that fit me correctly, wasn't covered in useless features, and could grow for winter camping and shrink down for warmer weather. i replaced the rear strap buckle with a whistle type and that has been the only modification i've made.

    my first weekend with the pack was an eye opener. no longer was a wrestling with the hip belt or adjusting the shoulder straps. i put the pack on in the morning, walked a mile, tightened things up, and forgot about it for the remainder of the day. comfortable is only half the story – durable and well constructed is the other half. this is the last bag i'll need. i swear there are 1000 hidden features on the pack that you would never thing about. i recently discovered that the pad can be removed from the back pad for easy washing.

    +1 on getting a McHale – it's an investment that pays you back (and your back) on every trip.

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