Jan 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm #1268129
Luke MoffatBPL Member
I realize that how you pack a frameless pack is just as important as to what you pack into it, but what do you feel gives a framless pack the best performance?Jan 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm #1687488
@notallwhowanderarelostLocale: South East United States
I've actually had a similar question recently, is it possible to use inflatable pads such as the exped synmat 7, to support a frameless pack?Jan 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm #1687493
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
The firmer the pad, the more form it can give to your pack. How you pack counts too, of course. But just focusing on pad types — in order of effectiveness serving as pack "frame":
1. solid foam pads — such as the el cheapo (but not too comfy) blue foam
2. softer foam pads — the less rigid, more 'sponge like' ones
3. self inflating pads
4. air padsJan 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm #1687496
@jstewseLocale: New England
I have heard of people using a self-inlfating sit pad as a pack support, but not an entire pad. You could try it, just inflate the pad a little bit and fold it up in a way that would fit your pack.
I use a short z-lite which I can fold so it is 2 "sections" wide and it provides a perfect support for my Jam2. I think other people also roll the pad and put it in the pack, then stuff the center with the rest of their kit.Jan 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm #1687498
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
To add a bit more on foam pads — such as the blue foam…
There's the technique of rolling your pad into one big circle, inserting it into your pack, and then packing your gear in the center. IMO, a more effective way is to fold your pad flat more or less into the length and width of your pack — then insert the layers flat against your pack back — then pack everything else in. Once your pack is cinched tight, you will then have a more rigid 'frame' consisting of multiple layers of foam pressed against the pack's back.Jan 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm #1687516
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
To me, that depends on your pack, the gear you are carrying, and the type of pad you have.
Assuming you don't care what type of pad, it can depend on the pack.
Gossamer Gear packs (and some others) have a pack sleeve. Internal or external it really doesn't matter. (I also use a trimmed nightlite pad in GG packs to do this.) Too thick, and it rides the rest of the weight further out on your back. Due to leverage, not a good thing, generally. But, OK for <20#. For more weight, I wouldn't use these. Rather, a couple .5-10z stays (arrow shafts, or the like) work a bit better.
Some packs, like the Jam and ilk, like a rolled pad to create a tube like frame. This works OK, for light weights(<20#), also.
For heavier weights, 25#-30#, You can cut and tape a foam pad to shape, retaining the length (usually 1/2-3/4 or 36"-50") for additional structure. Cut exactly to the pack size, the pack and pad work quite well to create a structured pack to transfer weight to the belt/hips. This uses the interior space up pretty well, though. Soo you need about a larger 3000ci pack for a 5-7 day hike. The heavy stuff should go outside, in the pockets, since the pads will tend to push weight away from your back, but, they won't effect the side pouches. (water, fuel, tarps, etc.)
If you use any of the therm-a-rest self inflatable pads, these make OK frames, but you need some arrow shafts tucked into them for support. Alone, they work well for 15-18# but start failing therafter. The arrow shafts add about 8#-10# of support.
I cheat a bit, I use my fishing rod on one side and a tarp pole on the other, soo, they do double duty to some degree as part of the pack system. Soo, often times, you don't even need a pad for support.
You can also use a Z-Rest in the center to form a frame. Good for 10-15# loads, more with other tricks. I think SMD puts the pad pouch to one side for this, but I haven't tried his packs…but about the same idea.
I have toyed with splitting a Z-Rest, and, velcroing it back together when needed. Put each half on the inside of the pack, left and right. This works OK, too. Again, I was only carrying ~22 pounds, though.Jan 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm #1687523
I think having the right size pack or larger pack with a good compression system is either just as vital or even more vital than the pad because it allows the load to be packed tight. Then the pad doesn't have to do all the work and can focus on keeping stuff from poking you in the back.
I generally use a Ridgerest regular if I'm carrying it. A Prolite mattress with a little air in it has worked well for me too. I'm really not sure the pad matters much compared to how you pack but CCF pads seem slightly better for it just because they're so tough.
EDIT: With an inflatable I fold it up completely deflated with the valve closed and put it against the back of the pack, then I pack everything else as best I can, and lastly I open the valve and add a bit of air to firm everything up.Jan 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm #1687558
Mike MBPL Member
@mtwardenLocale: MontanaJan 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm #1687568
@notallwhowanderarelostLocale: South East United States
That inflateable pad setup is kind of what I was thinking of. I don't have a frameless pack yet, but am going to make one soon, and was wondering how the inflateable pad would work with some air in it like that. How much can it carry comfortably?Jan 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm #1687573
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
The Ridgerest rolled up and packed burrito style is my favorite.Jan 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm #1687622
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
What pad I feel gives my frameless pack the best performance is my torso length foam pad folded into thirds and slipped inside my pack. This works really well for both of my packs and provides enough structure for my comfort.Jan 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm #1687631
"How much can it carry comfortably?"
That's a good question. I've only ever used it like that with an Ion or Scrambler. Neither has room for much weight.
I'll experiment tonight and get back to you.Jan 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm #1687633
@shortbusLocale: So Cal
"The Ridgerest rolled up and packed burrito style is my favorite."
I was hoping I would see this, as this is what I plan on doing. Now I just need to decide if I could do with a Solite.Jan 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm #1687638
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: The West Slope
I don't use inflatables, so have no comments on that.
A ridgerest is a good bit softer than a blue mat from Walmart or the like. For lighter loads, I like the ridgerest as it balances structure and flexibility. For bigger, heavier loads, the blue pad in a burrito works well.Jan 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm #1687662
I took the foam panel out of my jam, stuck a Neoair short in, loaded it with about 23 pounds of gear, inflated the Neoair a bit, and walked around for a while. It was functional but not nearly as functional as the factory back panel with a Ridgerest rolled inside "burrito" style. I immediately noticed the Neoair wasn't as effective at transferring weight to the hipbelt since it could compress and deform more. Although 23 pounds isn't unbearable without a hipbelt it'd help if it would transfer better.
Experimenting with different loadings and weight placement might make a difference but the bulge from the Neoair wasn't that pleasant either. Personally I think the Prolite pads make better back panels. I'd rather pack everything tight, use the rolled Neoair as an improvised pack stay and use 1/8" foam for padding.Jan 23, 2011 at 11:13 pm #1687666
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
… you could just get a pack with a frame and sleep on a more comfortable pad. :)
That way you'd be more comfortable both on and off the trail, IMHO.Jan 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm #1687677
Mike WBPL Member
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Jan 24, 2011 at 3:43 am #1687693
Karl GottshalkBPL Member
@kgottshalkLocale: Colorado, USA
I use a Neoair folded in 5th's for my old ULA Circuit with the pad lying against my back. It worked fine with up to 25#. It requires very little air to make it stiff.
KarlJan 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm #1944596
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Do some people just not use any padding or frame?
I just got a xpac pack which the material is pretty thick and has decent structure in its own, I wonder if I don't even need an improvised frame as it seems okay without one.Jan 17, 2013 at 7:31 am #1944639
Max DiltheyBPL Member
I use the Thermarest Z Seat sit pad as frame support, and I strap the larger Thermarest Z-Lite on the outside of my pack to give me the most room. I use both pads in camp and while sleeping.Jan 17, 2013 at 7:46 am #1944642
Randy MartinBPL Member
1] Stiff pad for a "Frame". In my GoLite Jam backpack I pulled out the pad that came with it and replaced with the Gossamer Gear SitLight pad which is more stiff and does a much better job of providing the rigidity and support needed.
2] Stop putting everything into compression/stuff sacks. Particularly jackets and quilts. Allow them to expand and conform to your pack will result in a much more evenly distributed and comfortable load.Jan 17, 2013 at 8:22 am #1944656
Rusty BeaverBPL Member
I've tried 3 methods: 1) my regular NeoAir, kinda like Mike M does, 2) a stiff 3/8" pad rolled up with gear stuffed inside, and 3) the same pad folded with it against my back and gear against that.
I like the NeoAir best…by a long shot. I place it in the pack paying no attn to air, stuff my gear in, then inflate the NeoAir a little (I leave the valve up top of course).
With the 3/8" pad rolled with gear inside….I feel like I'm carrying a barrel on my back that wants to roll side to side. I felt like the 3rd method put the weight of my gear to far from me…and it seemed uncomfortably stiff.
I'm using a small pack (ZimmerBuilt Zen) and carry between 7.25 and 10 lbs, total….with no hip belt. I also do what Randy Martin does: stuff clothes and sleeping bag inside the pack sans stuff sacks.
I feel similarly to Mike W too. For me, I don't think anything is needed, really. But, as I said before, of the 3 methods, I much prefer the NeoAir. It's soft and conforms perfectly to my back. As a plus, I get to sleep on it at night!
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