Mar 18, 2011 at 7:54 am #1270711
I've gotten my base weight down to 12-13 lb and am pretty happy with it but I'm struggling with a backpack decision. I've been looking for a lightweight pack around 40-liters. I've tried (as in bought and played around with) an Osprey Talon 44, a Golite Jam and just received the ULA Ohm last week. The Ohm would "work" but I don't love it.
I think my issue with all of these packs has been their hipbelts. My first pack was a Gregory Palisade. The thing weighs 7 lb but I LOVE the hipbelt – it's almost 2 inches thick, articulated (so that it curves instead of squeezes) and canted. What I really want is a low-volume lightweight no-frills body on *that* hipbelt! Does such an animal exist? Are all UL packs made with these skimpy barely-padded hipbelts designed for curveless people?Mar 18, 2011 at 7:58 am #1710664
It's a paradigm change, esp. after one has gotten used to a 7-lb Gregory Palisade. It's kind of the same with some people who have managed to get their pack weight way down — but couldn't see themselves "loving" a pair of 'flimsy' trail runners over "real" boots.
Curious, have you done a few "real" hikes with a "real" UL pack? Or just tried it around the block and not seeing how you could fall in love with it?
I am not dismissing your desire for a "real" hipbelt — but am wondering if you've given "real" UL packs a fair shake?Mar 18, 2011 at 8:01 am #1710666
@davecLocale: The West Slope
Sumi, I think BPL just sold out of the pack you're looking for.Mar 18, 2011 at 8:02 am #1710667
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
My base weight is 12 pounds, total weight 20 pounds, maybe as high as 22.
I don't think hip belt is necesary.
I tried a hip belt with 3/4 inch webbing – stabilizes load sideways but no weight on hips.
I tried a medium substantial hip belt – some weight on hips but not important – I sewed it on with just a few stitches which started coming out so I just removed it rather than fastening it better.
A real substantial hip belt weighs close to a pound – doesn't seem like it's worth it.
But, a lot (most?) of people like hip belts…Mar 18, 2011 at 8:06 am #1710668
Yuri RBPL Member
Those Osprey Talon 44 are quite comfy actually. REI just had them for $88 on sale vs normal $150 price. I've tried them because i was considering Talon 44 (But found it to be slightly smaller than i need) and the thing sits very well on the hips, even with the thin belt.
As long as you get the right size for yorsuelf and properly adjust it – it should be comfortable.Mar 18, 2011 at 8:16 am #1710678
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
Montbell Has the Versalite 40 and 35 pack that has a molded hip belt weigh about 2 pounds 3 oz.
Montbell is also pretty liberal in taking returns back also no question asked long it is not used. You can load up and see if it work for you in your living room if you don't like it send it back.
Lowe alpine has a heavily padded wish bone type waist band that molds to the hips . Check out the Zepton 50 made out of Dyeenma grid x weighs in at 2 lbs. Lowe also has a whole bunch of packs in their hyperlite series.
I own a Airzone 45 and really like how the hip belt cups the hip bone.
Osprey has the talon 44. That I owned but you need to stick to the suggested weight or it a strain to carry.
Happy shopping!Mar 18, 2011 at 8:16 am #1710679
Joe ClementBPL Member
I have to second what Ben said. I think you're going to have to get out of your (mental) comfort zone. What's the Gregory belt weigh, 2#?Mar 18, 2011 at 8:31 am #1710685
Corey DowningBPL Member
I recently switched from light to ultralight and now primarily use the ULA Ohm. When I'm carrying <15 lbs (typical weekend trip), the hipbelt is really just a convenient place to keep some snacks and other items I may need handy. It also stabilizes the pack some. At your base weight, I don't see a real need for a big padded hipbelt.
I must admit I am biased here. I never liked big padded hip belts to begin with. Heavy loads on my skinny frame gave me a lot of discomfort and some bruising with those hip belts. The lighter hip belt on my Osprey Atmos 50 was considerably more comfortable (but too big!) than the one on my huge 70L Osprey.
I think you need to give one of these ultralight packs a fair shot. Load it up and walk around your house or hop on a treadmill. Go up and down the stairs. Approach it with a positive attitude… think about how much weight is contained in that Gregory hipbelt and how much you'd be saving.Mar 18, 2011 at 8:48 am #1710696
My base weight ranges from 8-13 lbs, depending mostly on photography equipment. When my total pack weight is around 16 lbs or less, I prefer frameless with no hip belt. I use a Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack which has a removable hip belt (and frame).Mar 18, 2011 at 9:05 am #1710706
Michael FogartyBPL Member
Although not ultralight:Mar 18, 2011 at 9:14 am #1710712
@gabe_joyesLocale: Lander, WY
I use an Osprey Talon 44. While there are lighter packs out there, and even newer and lighter packs from Osprey, I just can't give up on my Talon. It is comfortable and versatile. The most weight I ever carry is the mid 20s, and it handles that fine. With only 17 or 18 pounds, the hipbelt, and shoulder straps are very comfortable.Mar 18, 2011 at 9:22 am #1710720
Ben WortmanBPL Member
How about the ULA curcuit? I just decided on that pack after testing it out against the OHM. To me it is a pretty substantial waistbelt for an lightweight pack. I started backpacking with an osprey crescent 85 with a super hipbelt, but the pack was 7 lbs. Then I went to a 2008 golite Jam with basically a wimpy hipbelt. It did work "OK" for me, but for a weeklong trip i was in the upper 20's for weight. I wanted a little more support, so I ordered the Circuit and the OHM. The OHM was a little better than the jam as far as the hipbelt goes, but the circuit was way better. Mine in size large with a medium hipbelt weighs 40 oz. I can live with the extra pound or so for the added support. Another thing i liked about the circuit was the aluminum stay. Not for just for the load transfer, but to make the pack comform to my oddly bowed back. I took the stay out, added a huge bow to the bottom of it, and it fit like a glove.Mar 18, 2011 at 9:27 am #1710722
Michael FogartyBPL Member
+1 for the Circuit.Mar 18, 2011 at 9:32 am #1710726
shane sibertBPL Member
Take a look at the new Granite Gear Blaze AC. Can't ever go wrong with Granite Gears pack suspension, most comfy pack I have carried.Mar 18, 2011 at 9:41 am #1710732
I guess I should clarify why I want a better hipbelt — and I may be completely wrong in my logic.
I've been hiking in the Southwest canyons 2-3 times a year for the last few years — Grand Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, etc. Hikes are usually 3-6 days. The hike scenerio is usually warm temps, dry, bug-free but also dry camps, which usually mean 20-30 hour stretches without water access.
My nonconsumables are about 10lb (plus 2lb for whatever pack). Food for me is a pound a day but water can periodically be 12+ lb. So, while I only need 35-liters of volume, it can weigh close to 30lb.
I'm only 5'2", so a smaller (compact) pack is that much more comfortable for me. I have a Golite Peak that, with 20lb, I really like. I've used it for simple rim-to-river GC hikes and it works well. But add an extra gallon of water and it's a serious chore. But I can't help thinking that a "serious" hipbelt on that bag would make it what I need…
I know people love the Talon 44 but, from the beginning, I was a little put off by all the pockets, straps, what-not. I did buy it; brought it home and loaded it umpteen times with my gear. It has a very square wide bottom and compression straps that seemed to compress everything BUT the bottom… regardless of how I loaded it, it just felt like I was carry a big 30lb rock at the bottom of my pack.
So, now, I got the ULA Ohm last week. Good news is that it can carry the 30 lb. But the "hipbelt" is really just a pair of short wings, perfectly vertically placed, minimal padding. It's definitely not the most comfortable or one of the strengths of the pack, at least in the way it fits me.Mar 18, 2011 at 9:51 am #1710744
eric chanBPL Member
get whatever fits and feels comfortable despite what everyone here says
if im carrying 30 lbs … you can bet id be willing to spend a few extra ozs on a pack that fits me comfortably all day ….
go to a store and try all the "name brand" lightweight packs you can … most big names have fairly decent hipbelts
dont buy something because it fits someone else … buy what fits YOUMar 18, 2011 at 9:54 am #1710746
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
Don't mean to bang on this drum again, but if you are carrying 30 lbs you don't want a UL pack. A UL pack isn't a pack that happens to be light- it's a pack which is meant for carrying less weight than a lightweight-style pack. When a cottage maker explained that to me, it made a lot of sense.
I'd recommend the ULA Circuit. The foam is pretty thin and very tall, which might not work for some folks, but for me it's precisely what makes it work so well. With a load of 30 lbs or so, I can have almost all of the weight on my hips, and it feels great. My ULA hipbelt is XL and weighs 8.0 oz.
Granite Gear also makes a nice hipbelt, though for my body it doesn't work as well as the ULA belt. Frankly, I think that's mostly because I'm a fattie- the ULA belt's two point adjustment and extra height allows me to get the belt stuck at exactly the right place without having to make it really tight. The Granite Gear belt doesn't get there without being a fair bit tighter.
For my body, it's the best hip belt I've found so far, better even than Granite Gear's. A heavy belt like that on the Osprey Aether series works well on me too, but probably weighs 16 oz on its own. :)
+1 to what Eric saidMar 18, 2011 at 10:00 am #1710747
There are any number of ways to go about this… But a couple of points to consider first…
Do you habitually carry 12 pounds of water — or are you thinking of a pack that can handle your heaviest trips?
If you habitually carry 30+ pounds of weight — then get the proper pack. A UL pack designed for 20-25lbs may not be ideal for 30+ lbs weight no matter how puffy the hip belt. After all, you need to also consider shoulder straps and frame. Match the proper tools to the task at hand.
OTOH, if because you have pared down your base weight such that you total weight will normally fall between 20-25lbs or maybe even lower — then maybe a "real" UL pack is truly all that you need to be comfy (after you make your mental paradigm shift). And for those few occasions when you need to carry lots of water — then simply use your Gregory for those trips.
It all depends on the types of trips you make, the frequency, and your own comfort requirements.Mar 18, 2011 at 10:09 am #1710750
d kBPL Member
I agree, Granite Gear hipbelts and overall suspension are great.
Also, the Luxurylite pack has a very comfy hipbelt, but that's an expensive pack if you don't get a scratch-and-dent sale like I happened upon.
Any chance of having someone sew a more substantial hipbelt onto another pack for you? GG and LL both sell their belts separately. Or maybe even your old Gregory belt…Mar 18, 2011 at 10:11 am #1710751
Thanks for everyone's suggestions and, you're right, I probably did too much "shopping by forum-reading" and should spend more time just trying on packs.
I also talked to Chris at ULA and a bigger hipbelt may work better. I like the Ohm otherwise, so I'll pursue that as well.
I think the Circuit and GG Blaze are both too big. I have an Ariel 65 that I carry on "big pack" trips when I'm hiking with bear canisters, kids, dogs, etc…Mar 18, 2011 at 10:14 am #1710754
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I make my own packs, waist belts, etc. so I can't recommend one that you can go out and buy. I can encourage you to keep trying however. Here's why.
I've experimented with a couple dozen MYOG and store-bought hib belts over the last couple of years with weights ranging from a few ounces to nearly a pound. Here's what I've concluded:
(1) A well fitting, non deforming, non stretchy 3 ounce belt can be as comfortable as the heavier belts.
(2) A poor fitting heavy belt can be uncomfortable but there is more margin for error with those big puffy padded ones.
(3) A belt with a slightly conical shape usually will improve the fit.
(4) A belt must be stiff enough to maintain its shape during use. Otherwise the belt deforms and pressure is concentrated along narrow lines. A 4" wide belt can effectively turn into a 1" band around the waist.
(5) A mesh belt can be as comfortable as a padded belt if it meets the requirements I've listed above.
(6) The pack or pack frame connection to the belt is important. Pack stays or frame must not dig into belt or person in any way. I've had best luck if I hang the pack frame an inch or more below the belt.
(7) Some impressive looking belts fit so poorly that most of the belt isn't even touching the person and is mostly wasted material.
Good luck. You'll know it when you find it.
DarylMar 18, 2011 at 10:34 am #1710771
Daryl, your points really make sense.
One thing I'm realizing is that most, if not all, UL packs are "unisex" which essentially means that they're designed for men. Some, like ULA, offer an alternative strap design that generally fit women better but not hipbelts.
What I see in hipbelts designed for women is a differential between the top and bottom of the belt, so that it has a skirt-like shape.
If I keep the Ohm, I think I may try modifying the hipbelt (a replacement, most likely) myself. Thanks for your suggestions.Mar 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm #1710827
@the_willLocale: Southern California
I make an annual multi-week trip to Big Bend Nat'l Park (Chihuahuan Desert) and so have the same requiremet that a pack be able to carry +/- 10 liters of water comfortably. For this purpose I could not be happier with my Deuter ACT Lite 40 + 10. Deuter makes a women-specific version as well. This pack has a very effective hipbelt and two small aluminum stays that provide excellent load support and distribution. In the context of this forum the pack would be considered heavy but after removing the lid (the stays are also removeable) and trimming off the superfluous I am content with the weight considering the comfort with which it carries those many liters of water.Mar 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm #1710843
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
To the OP> look at REI's UL pack (Flash 65 I believe). It got a good review in Backpacker Mag's. Gear issue.
To Jerry Adams> "I don't believe hipbelt necessary." Yeah, right Jerry. and two shoulder straps are one too many!
Ya know, mimimalism sometimes becomes "Psycho Lite" A padded hipbelt is "necessary" on any pack where you are out for more than a day with more than 20 lbs. total weight. It is why we have frames in packs. Not just to give them some shape but to TRANSFER weight to the hipbelt. Great invention the modern padded pack hipbelt – puts pack weight on the largest bones and muscles of the body.
A pack with NO load supporting hipbelt means no chance to take the load off your shoulders. All weight is on your spine, all day long.
Hipbelts not necessary my foot my foot! Try a long trail for a few weeks and see how you feel about no hipbelt.Mar 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm #1710845
" Try a long trail for a few weeks and see how you feel about no hipbelt."
Gee Eric, why hasn't anyone think of that before mouthing off? Actually, PLENTY of people have hiked for months on end with frameless and beltless packs — AND THEY LOVED IT.
Yes, minimalism can sometimes become 'psycho lite' — but this notion that if something doesn't work for you than it just can't work for anyone else is 'psycho' too. Just sayin'
In the end, we just need to try things out for ourselves.
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