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Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report – Part 2: The Packs


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report – Part 2: The Packs

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  • #1657838
    Lynn Tramper
    Member

    @retropump

    Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna

    "The Aarn packs, and LuxerLite pack seem hopeful. Discussions of these packs over the last 5 years give lots of opinions both ways. I would love to hear from owners/users of these packs what they still think of them now."

    I have used both of these, and in both cases they are nice packs, but I ended up using them without the front pockets. They just didn't work for me. however, if you like front pockets, I find the LuxuryLite pocket (and frame) to be more functional and cooler. I also ditched the LuxuryLite cylinders and modifies a GoLite Gust to attach to the frame. Excellent volume and comfortable carrying. Note: the LuxuryLite pocket restricts you vision more than the Aarn. Also note, I have both of these for sale. If you are interested, shoot me a PM and we can negotiate a price.

    #1658075
    James holden
    BPL Member

    @bearbreeder-2

    just a note for others that the french site i-trekkings has done a similar test with packs in roughly the same weight and volume range

    note how the Decathlon Forclaz 50 Ultralight scored very high in comfort and on score/price while being the cheapest and lightest pack

    just shows you what can be done ..

    just use google translater on the links below

    http://www.i-trekkings.net/bibliotheque/articles/tests/sacados/Test-sacados_comparatif.pdf

    http://www.i-trekkings.net/Xdossiers/dossiers.php?val=29_comparatif+sac+dos+30++50+litres

    #1658625
    al b
    BPL Member

    @ahbradley

    Roger (Caffin):

    I checked the articles 1A-C,2 butt did not find a mention of testing the exos 58 with no load bearing via the hip belt i.e. a comparison against the way your your external frame myog pack is used.

    Do you still have one for a hip-beltless comparison against your external frame pack.

    #1674904
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Alan

    Sorry, this dropped off the radar for a while.
    Unfortunately no: the Exos packs were farmed out to Australian readers.

    Cheers

    #1758450
    Eric Botshon
    BPL Member

    @ebotshon

    The review mentioned that the osprey pack was closer to 40 than 46 liters.

    Any chance this test was done with a size small pack instead of the medium? The smal torso length pack is smaller than the stated 46.

    #1777475
    Willem knopper
    BPL Member

    @willem65

    I have tried the Exos and I find them to be to very ridged, the pack does not move with you (back) at all. I personally think they are really just a fancy external frame pack. I did like the idea of the air flow but was just very disappointed how it restricted your movement especially if you were to use it doing any walking other than on the flat.

    Regards

    #1858016
    Phillip Damiano
    Member

    @phillipsart

    Locale: Australia

    Roger mentioned in one of his comments here:
    (Yes, we kept a few, for specific functions. The rest have been passed on to Australian & NZ BPL members (kept the postage down) for further field testing. I expect that they will provide some Reader Reviews in due course).

    I'm one of those Australian BPL member, I've recently acquired one of the Jansport Big Bear 63 prototype packs of Roger.
    The pack has only been in my possession for a few weeks now, tested on day hikes including some rock climbing.
    The Harness is very comfortable and the material is very durable. I've tested this on a Off-track hike recently with very thick vegetation. I got scratches over me, the pack survived with no scratches.

    I'm yet to test it out as a Overnight hike, but I can't see it causing any problems there. It's a nice pack. I do like the colour that the prototype pack was supplied in with the orange trims.

    This is an on going review, I will keep you's updated on my findings on my next overnight hike, which is not for another 3 weeks from today. In a couple days, I've got a day hike I'm planning on, I will pack all my overnight hiking gear into the pack for a test to see how the pack feels with some weight in it. My base weight is just under the 8Kg. I'll add a few litres of water to that, making a total weight of 11kg.

    So far, I like the pack. It's not exactly on the ultra light weight at just under 1.5kg but it does have a good frame and harness.Jansport Big Bear Prototype Pack

    #1858854
    Phillip Damiano
    Member

    @phillipsart

    Locale: Australia

    Packed my hiking gear into the Jansport Big Bear pack yesterday and went for a walk around the block with apx 12kg load. Pack is comfortable, enough room for 5 or 6 days of food. No complaints.

    Will be continuing wearing the pack with my gear on daily hikes for the next couple of weeks as training for an upcoming 3 day overnight hike in some steep terrain.

    #1887063
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    I own an older – and IMHO better – version of the REI Flash 60. It's the REI Cruise UL 60 (2nd model). That pack absolutely NEEDED side pockets. Fortunately REI had "aftermarket" pockets at that time, but no longer.

    I like side pockets because they store stuff I may need quickly like 1st aid kit, water treatment kit, toilet kit, potty kit, and things I don't want inside my pack
    Like stove stuff including fuel. (For ex., ESBIT tabs smell fishy -like two other things I know of. ;O)

    My REI pockets add 400 cu. in. each and make the pack "complete" in my dinosaur mind. Yeah, I'm a geezer and like exterior pockets. As another poster said of the Ospey EXOS that front "shovel" pocket is nice and can hold that wet tent, etc. Same goes for my Cruise UL 60 – which should really be called the "UL 50" – sorta like many post-recession 401-K funds should really be called "201-K" funds.

    #1910734
    SPIRIDON Papapetroy
    BPL Member

    @spotlight

    Has anyone had pain in the part of the body where the lower part of the frame touches it. I am a bit worried because it doesn't have any padding.

    #2190414
    Phil Cawley
    BPL Member

    @philc

    Hi, First time I've ever made comment. In my mind (without a doubt!) everything considered Aarn Packs are the way to go! I've got four of them (one for nigh on every occasion!) and would NEVER consider going back to the old style! Try 'em and you'll use 'em. Phil.

    #2194010
    Terran Terran
    Spectator

    @terran

    Comparing Jansport to the cottage manufacturers is rather unfair considering most of the cottage industries were left out of the survey.

    #2194019
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    "Comparing Jansport to the cottage manufacturers is rather unfair considering most of the cottage industries were left out of the survey."

    Keep in mind this article was written almost 5 years ago. Much has changed since then.

    #2194026
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    "Comparing Jansport to the cottage manufacturers is rather unfair considering most of the cottage industries were left out of the survey."

    Chuckle…This article is about 5 years old now…probably more considering it takes a bit of time to test that many packs, write and publish an article.

    Yes, all of the cottage manufacturers were left out except ULA.

    Aarn packs are nice if you have high body strength. I tried a prototype made from a couple thermorest bags about ten years ago. It moved the weight from my hips and back to my shoulders. Since I have a damaged back in the cervical & clavicle area, I was in pain after two days. 10-15 pounds is all I can do on my shoulders. Another 5 on my back and another 10 pounds on my hips. I simply can not tolerate the strain of the weight(another 5-7 pounds) on my shoulders. I loved the idea of walking upright, no lean. But, even a slight lean will distribute weight down your across your entire back. And, with a fair hip belt, transfer it to your legs. The main weight transfers are "Shoulders to back to hips to legs" or "Back to hips to legs" ? Which is more efficient?

    It would be nice to update this set of articles each year. Who has deep pockets and enough time to review ALL internal frame backpacks less than 2pounds?

    #2194066
    Michael Gunderloy
    BPL Member

    @ffmike

    Must be another YMMV thing. Using an actual Aarn pack, I find near-zero weight on my shoulders. Less than with a ULA pack loaded to the same weight.

    #2194144
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > Must be another YMMV thing.
    Very definitely.
    I have used an Aarn pack in the field, but the design simply did not work for me. I am 5' 7" and the packs seem to be designed for people over 6'. The one i tested was just far too tall for my spine.

    Cheers

    #2194146
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > Comparing Jansport to the cottage manufacturers is rather unfair considering most of
    > the cottage industries were left out of the survey.
    More were invited but did not reply.
    Some did not exist back then.
    And the whole field of European manufacturers was definitely short-changed.
    We try …

    Cheers

    #2194149
    Franco Darioli
    Spectator

    @franco

    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    "Using an actual Aarn pack, I find near-zero weight on my shoulders"
    Me too…
    (I'm 5'6")
    This is a comment posted today at White Blaze :
    First impression is that this is the most comfortable pack setup I have ever felt. There is a very noticeable difference in how this pack sits on you and how it balances as compared to a traditional pack design. Having a big amount of the weight in the front pockets truly does change your entire posture. You actually do stand straight up and do not have to lean forward. It was quite easy for me to adjust the pack so that none of the weight was sitting on my shoulders – and I do mean zero.
    This from a person describing his problems with packs because of "Four broken vertebrae in my back and lots of smashed disks. I am all rods, screws and bone grafts now."

    #2194155
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    "Using an actual Aarn pack, I find near-zero weight on my shoulders"

    Well, with my old Kelty external frame pack and both my "go to" internal frame packs that have dual 7075-T6 aluminum stays, I find near-zero weight in my shoulders too. Must be a function of frames that don't collapse with weight and proper fitting.

    #2194180
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Franco, I don't understand how that is possible. Shifting the center of gravity to the more upright stance will cause more weight to be carried on the shoulders. I tried it. It doesn't work for me. 'Corse I just have a couple screwed up disks and a single cracked (now arthritic) vertebra, and shoulder attachment problems, not fused vertebrae.

    #2194187
    Franco Darioli
    Spectator

    @franco

    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    There is nothing wrong at all with my back, legs or knees, so I have no direct experience of how it works for folk that do.
    All I can tell you is how it works for me.
    I mentioned before that most of the time you could slide a finger under my the shoulder straps at the top of my shoulders and not feel any pressure there.

    #2194192
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    Franco,

    It sounds like it fits you properly. Even though you and Caffin are almost the same height, it doesn't mean your torso lengths are the same. Of course, you that anyway.

    #2194235
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > Even though you and Caffin are almost the same height, it doesn't mean your torso
    > lengths are the same.
    I'm long in the legs and short in the torso. The shoulder straps were way above my shoulders!

    Cheers

    #2194257
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Yeah, that is pretty much how I like to carry my pack with load lifters, also. In fact, that is how my training pack is set up. It sort'a squeezes my upper chest more than sitting down on my shoulders.

    Weird, with a 40+ pound pack it doesn't bother me, my training pack is set up like that. With two weights on the shoulder straps (2.5 pound ankle weights as I remember,) it forces it down onto my shoulders. It kind'a grips my upper body and sets on my shoulder harness. Ideally, this should be good, since it allows me to stand straighter, but the first night is annoying and by the second day/night it is painful. I added a couple metal "D" rings to the base of the load lifters and simply sewed the bags around them. I tried this with three packs. An old Kelty external frame, a real old blue pack I use for training (magnesium internal frame) and an old Trek frameless. They all have load lifters. I spent about two weeks out in the woods with them trying to decide whether to get an Aarn pack, even though I was only hauling about 30pounds at the time. All had me going for tylenol/codine by the second night. Good idea, doesn't work for me.

    I spent a couple weeks playing around with the idea. I tried to rig a stay (arrow shaft) in the front pouches to transfer weight to my hip belt, but that was a pain to get off and on. It would swing a bit oddly. I spent a couple days with them, trimming till they no longer did anything. I tried a piece of foam, better. I moved the attachment around on the hip belt, but this got in the way of seeing where I was putting my feet or swinging my arms. I tried to remove one and use it as a front pocket. I couldn't see my feet at all with anything substantial in it, and, it was a third clip that had to be removed/added taking the pack off/putting it on. All were a bit awkward, often twisting the shoulder straps when lifting the pack onto my back.

    Anyway, I am sure the Aarn style packs work for others, they didn't work for me. Even a water bottle on my shoulder straps can start to be a problem, though.

    #2194397
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > Even a water bottle on my shoulder straps can start to be a problem, though.
    Yeah, I found the way the front load swings around was 'not nice', and the way they blocked my vision of my feet in rough country completely unacceptable.

    Cheers

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