Aug 18, 2011 at 11:15 am #1278229
I'm looking for something suitable for 3-5 day backpacking trips. I carry around 25lbs +/- 5lbs. Was thinking about the Exos 46 (2lbs 5oz), but I'm not sure if it will be big enough. The Exos 58 is definitely too big.
Any suggestions are welcome.
rhzAug 18, 2011 at 11:20 am #1770741
From lightest to heaviest. I am sure people will chime in to make corrections to the list. I think these are all internal frame but I might be wrong.
Six Moon Designs Swift
Osprey Hornet 32
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus
ULA Equipment Ohm
Osprey Hornet 46Aug 18, 2011 at 11:46 am #1770747
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Osprey Exos 46
Deuter ACT 40+10
REI Flash 50
ULA CircuitAug 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm #1770770
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus or Gorilla. My ULA Conduit, GoLite Jam2, and the Gossamer Gear packs were head and shoulders more comfortable than the Exos 46 for me. Cool pack, just ended up not fitting properly, so try before you buy.Aug 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm #1770891
@paintballswimguyLocale: Kansas City
You have about the same overall weight that i normally had including food and water, around 25 pounds. I carry around 4 L of water normally… anyway I can't recommend the ULA circuit enough. Its an amazing pack. You won't be disappointed.Aug 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm #1770929
It might help to know the volume of your gear so you can hone in on what size pack you need so you are not left with either too much space or too little. For what it's worth I have a GG Gorilla and it's awesome.Aug 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm #1770955
@forest-2Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
I've a Exos 46 and run around the 20-25lbs mark depending on the duration.
Love it, works very well and is comfy.
Mines a large and I believe they run around 49 liters in just the main compartment.Aug 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm #1770979
honestly … whatever fits …
i always say it … but with up to 30 lbs … fit of the pack, not weight as long as its decently light, is criticalAug 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm #1770990
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Eric is right. Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit, and comfort for you is vital in both cases.Aug 19, 2011 at 12:32 am #1771004
I kinda thought that with such a huge volume (70+ liters, right?) the circuit would be overkill….
rhzAug 19, 2011 at 1:02 am #1771010
I am in the same boat you are. The packs you see recommended on BPL are almost like oxymorons. They have huge volumes but the lighter ones are not able to handle loads. For example, if you hit 25 pounds in the Ohm, ULA says you will "suffer mightily." I think what happened is they found how to make really low weight packs but cutting down or eliminating the frame, back support, shoulder straps, belt strap, internal pockets etc. What they ended up with was a giant sack but one without any real support. I have been asking for a bag that will support 2-3 nights and I am getting recommended the Mariposa Plus which is 46-59L (depending how you measure it). I suspect my things can fit in a smaller bag but a smaller bag wouldn't be able to support the weight.
My point is – maybe they are recommending the ULA Circuit, not because you need the volume but maybe it's a beefy enough bag to support the weight you might need.Aug 19, 2011 at 5:51 am #1771029
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
>> I kinda thought that with such a huge volume (70+ liters, right?) the circuit would be overkill….
Yikes, no. I think ULA's spec'ed volumes are misleading. I haven't measured it but I think it's closer to 45-50 liters. When I bought mine, I did a side-by-side against a Talon 44 and they held the same amount of gear. The Circuit has a collar that can extend the volume if needed, so maybe the specs are with it maxed.
I tried both the Ohm and Circuit, had them both here at home for a side-by-side (along with a Granite Gear Vapor Trail and the Osprey Talon 44.) At 20lb, I loved the Ohm. At 25lb, the Circuit had the advantage but could have lived with the Ohm just fine.Aug 19, 2011 at 8:22 am #1771071
@jacobdLocale: North Bay
One that might fit the bill is the Lowe Alpine Zepton 50. It's a bit of an oddball, but I believe it has been reviewed by BPL at some point although you rarely ever hear anything about it. I really like this pack, the frame is fairly lightweight (as frames go) and rigid as hell. It makes sub 20 lb loads totally disappear and heavier loads are hardly there.
It comes with a lid but I never use it. Without the lid the I weighed it 34 oz. My only gripes with the pack are:
a) lack of back mesh pocket
b) compression straps on outside of side pockets (pet peeve of mine)
c) when I stuff a lot into it near the top I can sometimes feel the frame against my upper back. No pain involved just feels a little odd until I get used to it.
It's worth checking out, especially for around $120. I've tried most of the other packs mentioned above (except the Mariposa) and this is the one I've finally settled on. I thought I was pretty happy with my Gorilla but for carrying 20lbs and up the difference is night and day.
edit: found where it was reviewed. It was actually for the women's ("ND") version, but same idea. http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lw_internal_frame_packs_part_2.htmlAug 19, 2011 at 9:27 am #1771092
ULA's volume spec's are out of wack compared to other manufacturers. The Circuit is much smaller than any other '70 liter' pack on the market. It's a nice 50-ish liter sized pack that is perfect for the mid-long trips.
I've got an Ohm, which I love, but I'm thinking about moving to a 2 pack quiver where I have a 5oz cuben Zpacks Zero for short UL/SUL trips and then a Circuit for medium to long trips, or trips with my wife where I have to carry the tent. The Ohm works for most trips, but it's pretty humped out when I load it up with 40 lbs of stuff like I will in 2 weeks (8 day trip and I carry all the food for 2 people).Aug 19, 2011 at 11:54 am #1771137
@trailsavvyLocale: Arkansas Ozarks
I have an Exos 46 that I have absolutely loved as a transition pack. I've moved on to a ULA CDT, with eyes on some other frameless packs. The Exos 46 worked well as the rest of my gear list got lighter and more compact.My total pack weights started above 30 lbs, and dropped below 18 with that pack. With a great suspension and max comfort for such a light mainstream product, it's hard to go wrong. BUT, there are way lighter packs on the market(look at first list above).Aug 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm #1771179
I appreciate that this is a matter of individual fit. To judge fit, do you simply load up the pack with your gear or with sand bags in a shop and walk around for a few minutes? Are there specific things to look for (beyond good load transfer to the hips) and any obvious discomfort?
Thanks again.Aug 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1771209
ULA includes volume of all pockets, they do call out the vol of the main pack itself. I think the circuit is 2400 cu in, with 2900 including expansion collar. Thats about 40L, 50L with expansion collar. It aint no 70L pack. But, like all packs with external mesh pockets, it carries a lot more than you might expect.
I prefer a lot of things in exterior mesh pockets anyway, so Id just as soon they did specify that in pack size like ULA does. Id rather put tent there, raingear there, water bottles there, stakes, poles, water treatment, hand sanitizer, snacks during day, etc.
For a lot of packs, the WAY you load it will make a big difference. Really best to have it at home and play with it there. If you can go to a store, buy it, bring it home, spend a few hrs with it, and take it back if you dont like it. Same for mailorder.Aug 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm #1771210
If you are planning on going to an actual brick and mortar store then I suggest bringing most of your gear with you. Those sand bags they have do not accurately represent the packability of your gear. One key thing I look for is to judge how my balance is with the pack. I prefer a narrow, body hugging pack so as to not throw me off balance when I'm scrambling or moving quickly. I know most cottage manufacturers allow you to return the pack in new condition within 30 days or so which allows you to determine how well your gear fits in the pack. I also test how easy it is to put items in and retrieve items from the side pockets. This is something I find key that I believe some people overlook. Don't be afraid if the first pack you choose is not the right one. I know most people here have probably had many different packs, myself included.Aug 19, 2011 at 7:34 pm #1771255
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern MinnesotaAug 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm #1771328
I have an Exos 46 in the gear swap if you are interested.Aug 25, 2011 at 9:18 am #1772745
Thanks so much for the great responses.
It seems that the pack recommendations fall into three categories:
relatively heavy (> 2lbs) feature rich packs with a full frame — osprey, flash, deuter
relatively light (< 2lbs) minimalist packs with an aluminum stay — gossamer gear, six moon designs
relatively heavy (> 2lbs) feature rich with aluminum stay — ula
While I definitely understand that fit is an individual issue, is it generally true that the packs with just an aluminum stay sacrifice load transfer to the hips? Are there any other inherent disadvantages to the gossamer gear and six moon packs other than fewer features?
rhzAug 25, 2011 at 9:46 am #1772751
@jakep_82Locale: Pacific Northwest
I just did a 4 day trip with a Mariposa Plus and I can't recommend it enough. I started with around 25 pounds and found the pack to be extremely comfortable and all the exterior mesh pockets make organization easy. I also like having easy access to my sit pad when we stop for meals and breaks. My only minor quibble is it's too much volume for shorter trips and it doesn't offer great volume reduction features. My plan is to get a larger dry bag for my quilt and use that to occupy the extra volume.Aug 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm #1772793
cant go wrong w/ rei flashAug 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm #1772849
While I definitely understand that fit is an individual issue, is it generally true that the packs with just an aluminum stay sacrifice load transfer to the hips? Are there any other inherent disadvantages to the gossamer gear and six moon packs other than fewer features?"
Heavier packs have more padding, stiffer belts, much stronger belt-to-stay connections for supporting weighyt, possibly better adjustments, the belt may conform to body contours so it wont slip while not being overly tight. Some belts are even heat molded to your body. All these things make heavy packs more supportive and comfortable with heavy loads.
But if you are not carrying heavy loads, you can get by with much less. Thats the catch , ONLY if you are not carrying heavy loads can you get by with the lighter weight packs. Do not think that you will carry 35 lbs gear in a lightweight pack anywhere close to as comfortably as in a 6 lb pack. You wont.
Some lightweight packs with single aluminum stays might transfer load to the hips OK with heavier weights. But the hip belt is sagging down your butt, the buckle has slid up and is pulling into your gut, etc. Its not that the stay cant transfer the weight, but the rest of the hipbelt cannot support that weight on your hips in a comfortable manner. This is when weight drops onto your shoulders and stays there and weight transfer becomes zero. What you see listed for the max capacity of a lot of lightweight packs is at this point, you really dont want to be there.
lightweight packs have fewer features, lighter materials of construction (some silnylon packs are ridiculously fragile), less padding, narrower belts and shoulder straps, etc. DURABILITY and COMFORT is sacrificed to carry less weight and be light and fast.Sep 23, 2011 at 10:16 am #1782572
@hhopeLocale: East Bay
Jacob D, I'm really glad I came across this thread before selecting a pack. By chance, I had just read this thread, and I walked into Any Mountain to pick up some doodads, and there was the zepton pack on sale, out the door for $100.
If you go now, they are on sale for $90. This is in my opinion the best deal out there by a massive margin, I just tested mine on an 8 day trip and it was outstanding.
There's another thread where a guy was asking about dyneema bushwacking type packs, ie, a Zepton, and I finally understood why Lowe designed their pack they way they did, after going through chaparral the smooth exterior, no mesh anywhere, with the dyneema, suddenly made perfect sense. I wish the side pockets were larger, but given the amazing heat control, excellent, and truly rigid frame, venting back/shoulder/hip strap mesh, I'm 100% sold, I won't be looking for another pack.
The thing with the slight digging in your back is caused by a bend in the wire frame, just open the flap on top that covers the wire U frame, pull it out until you see the bend, then step on it a bit to reduce the sharpness, or use a vice, very carefully, with cloth padding to avoid marring the plastic covering. That's all it takes. By the way, while I was doing this, I got to appreciate just how tough that steel is, the amount of force I had to apply to just change the bend slightly would almost certainly have fully splintered any carbon fibre type frame material.
I love top pockets, so for me that's a real selling point, not a negative, but I understand some people don't like them and as you note, if you remove it, the weight drops to 34 oz for true 50 liters, easily goes to 35 pounds, ie, I can do almost a 14 day trip with this pack if I drop my base load a bit. This is a no tricks, no counting mesh external pockets capacity as pack capacity pack, very tough pack. I was carrying about 30 pounds total for 8 day trip, pack felt like nothing. I'm sold on being a Light backpacker, now all I have to do is find a true 3 season light tent that doesn't break the bank, but that's another topic….
To have a drying rack, so to speak, I added some z-packs stretch cord to the back, just looped it into the existing straps/connectors going up/down the back in a zig zag, that works just fine, adds almost no weight, and gives you the ability to carry big fluffy stuff like drying clothes or wet tent as well.
Caveat: this pack either fits you or it does not, ie, it works with your torso length or it doesn't. Lowe is really doing themselves a disservice by restricting the possible user base in this way. From what I can tell, it's very good for torsos around 20 inches, give or take, easy to test fit because hip straps have contour shape ( that works VERY well), the top part goes above your hip bone, the lower part on it, so if you stick in 25 pounds to test it and see where the hip strap falls, you'll be able to see quickly if it fits you. I was lucky, guys with short torso, unless they can fit into the women's model, won't be as happy I suspect.
For 2 or 3 day trips, I can just use some pack I get at the flea market for ten bucks if I want to go lighter, have a bunch of those in my closet.
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