Feb 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm #1285253
Perhaps I am asking too much here, but I am looking for a 2 season (late spring to early fall) backpack for my SUL adventures that is:
1. Under 10oz/280g
2. Under 100 USD
3. Can handle off-trail and/or bushwacking
4. Around or over 20 liters volume
5. Has a hip belt
I have been thinking about a GG Murmur, but in addition to being out of stock and a fair bit of dough, it also says under its description, "The Murmur is not ideal for bushwhacking". Most of the backpacking I do is off-trail/bushwacking. Of course this does not mean I am crawling under briar patches and outright abusing my pack, but woods do get quite thick here in Sweden.
If anyone has a used or MYOG pack that fits the above that you are willing to part with, drop me a PM, though I'd rather buy something new.
Right now I am using a 350g El Cheapo special, a generic small "travel pack", I found last year on sale at a camping store that gets the job done. It's pretty tough, at least, but no hip straps and the shoulder straps are not the best.Feb 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm #1835077
New MLD Newt – 1,800 cu in. , has hipbelt, weighs around 8-9 oz., Very bush friendly with all Dyneema X and tuff Mesh back pocked. I just picked this one up and have tried it out – excellent pack for SUL trips. $95 dollars plus $5 shipping.Feb 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm #1835092
Zpacks Zero.Feb 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm #1835093
Hot dam, that's why I asked. I will have to go and check it out, had no idea that pack existed, in spite of owning a MLD Exodus (though I bought it used pretty recently). Can't keep tabs on every pack out there, thank goodness for the internets/series of tubes.
Thanks man.Feb 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm #1835330
I'd go with an XS Zpacks Zero made of 2.9oz Hybrid Nylon/Cuben material.
This 2.9oz material should be really tough, yet quite a bit lighter then the 4oz/yd stuff used in the Newt. It depends on your priorities though. I haven't actually used this material unless it's the same nylon/cuben hybrid stuff as HMG uses, in which case I can confirm it's quite tough…similar to 210D dyneema grid nylon.
Pack is $80 + $10 for a webbing hip belt. Should be 5oz with the hip belt. Add whatever other options you want like side pockets, rear pockets etc.Feb 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm #1835399
Both the Zero and Newt should do the trick nicely.
I don't know if making the pack yourself interests you, but you could use the 200D oxford nylon at DIY Gear Supply to make a SUL pack and probably come out around $20 – $25 including shipping. It should come out with a weight similar to the Newt.
I've been toying with the idea of making this exact pack and making a guide for it on my blog actually. It should be a pretty straight forward pack, if you have the necessary tools.Feb 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm #1835427
The REI Travel Stuff Sack:
Not below the weight you want, but I assume you'd take scissors to whatever pack you'd buy anyway. Volume is 22L. It may or may not handle bushwacking, but it's from Return Everything Inc, so maybe not an issue. Also, the nylon seems decently burly for what it is when I handled it in the store.
I don't have this pack, though I constantly struggle with not buying it every time it comes on sale. It's too short to use a Z-lite as a frame. If you use an inflatable, you could make it work.
Too close to what you use currently though?
Ed: Whoops, I don't think it has a hipbelt. I don't remember.Feb 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm #1835469
That REI pack is a darn good deal. You could add a simple webbing hip belt, snip a few other things and wind up under 10oz for $35.Feb 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm #1835482
@anthonywestonLocale: Southern CA
The zpacks zero will not handle bushwacking. I have one at home that is duck taped from head to toe from punctures. The frameless zpacks exo can handle bushwacking and is similar to the HMG material.Feb 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm #1835525
The Zero can be ordered in the exact same hybrid cuben/nylon material as the Exo. That is what was suggested in my post.
Over the years the Zero has been offered in a lot of different fabrics (heavy cuben, light cuben, silnylon, dyneema 210D, cuben/nylon hybrid etc) so you need to say what fabric you're referring to.Feb 7, 2012 at 12:10 am #1835617
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Brush and desert stuff that ate up my Murmur don't seem to phase my cuben Zero. Actually I was quite surprised.Feb 7, 2012 at 11:04 am #1835796
Thanks for more helpful alternatives and advice!
I was pretty set on the Newt, but now I am split between that and the Zpacks Zero in Hybrid fabric. I didn't know that you could get the Zero in Hybrid. I am leaning towards the Zero a bit, actually–I like all the mods you can order on it to get it customized for your needs. Even with a few mods it will only come out to around 8oz.
I do more backpacking and day hikes during my 2 season than the rest of the year, so I want to make sure to make the best choice for my needs. After about a year of converting to UL and SUL, I think once I get this taken care of, it feels like the final piece of the gear puzzle. Until something breaks, or if they come out with an even lighter and warmer Neoair than the Xlite, of course.Mar 14, 2012 at 11:55 am #1853703
What a happy day it is when you check your mail and there is a Zpacks package in your mailbox :)
My custom hybrid/cuben Zero is here. I immediately packed it full of gear and tried it on and messed with all the features, wow is it a nice pack. Very comfy, the shoulder pads are thick and carry well. I will take it out this weekend on an overnighter. The material is pretty solid, there is very little give and no stretching anyplace. It feels smooth and I think/hope that it will deal with bushwacking quite well, that was a main consideration when I was trying to decide on which pack. Here is an example of the thick woods I often hike through from my latest trip report:
On my scale it is 240g or about 8.5oz. I was surprised at how big it is, considering it is the "small" size. It fit all my summer gear plus food and water with room to spare. The roll-top closure is such a great idea. It opens and closes easy, and is snug and secure. The top strap is tiny! I was actually a big skeptical about it, but it holds my summer foam mat firmly in place with no issues from my initial tests.
I opted for the security of a hybrid/cuben pocket rather than mesh, plus I also had him do a custom zipper on the pocket so I never have to worry about anything falling out. The pocket is a bit narrow, but very long and wide. It swallowed up my FAK and ditty bag, I could fit lots more thin-type gear in there.
But enough talk, here are some pics:
Joe warned me that the black fabric might rub off on my clothing, but so far I have not been able to tell of any rubbing off. Maybe when it gets wet? I am going to give it a light hand wash to see what happens and perhaps prevent the dye from rubbing off.
Joe was very professional, polite, and quick with answering emails. I felt kind of bad, I sent him like 20 emails with questions and such, so props to him in addition to very fine craftsmanship.Mar 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm #1854553
Thanks for sharing the details of your new pack. I really like the back pocket with zipper. Great idea! You called it a pocket, does it open on top to put things behind the zipper pocket or is the zipper pocket sewn on the top? Hope that makes sense. Please do follow up on the durability and use of this pack. Looking to get something like this myself. My GG Gorilla is obese compared to these ultralight packs.
—DarrenMar 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm #1859012
Darren, sorry for not getting back to you, didn't notice this until now.
The zipper pocket is on the outside of the pack, if I think I know what you are talking about. It does not take up space on the inside of the pack.
Going on another weekend adventure with this pack soon and can't wait. It will be way out in a very remote patch of woods, so another trial by fire.
And Justin, hope this helps. Take a look at the picture I posted of the kind of bushwacking I do that is pretty typical of my trips. So far so good, as I said very happy with the pack. Plus Joe is super cool and patient, just shoot him an email if you have any questions.Mar 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm #1860247
Sweet! That pack looks awesome.Apr 2, 2012 at 11:07 am #1862578
Just got back from a trip up close to the boarder of Norway following the Bohusleden, kind of like the Swedish version of the AT. Excellent trip! Of course did some bushwacking too, planned the trip as a loop so my friend and I (and a dog) didn't have to do any backtracking.
Anyhow, took the new custom hybrid Zero for its second overnight trip and it handled like a dream. Full pack weight (base+food+1.4l water) = 5.7kg. Not a scratch on the pack, and it got hit with a lot of brush, branches, and such.
It has become my new favorite pack. Sure it has limitations, volume for one. I doubt I would take it out for more than 3 days in spring/fall, but in the summer I would feel fine pushing it to a full week. But overall this pack has exceeded my expectations to handle all my needs so far, and looking forward to getting a lot of use out of it.Apr 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm #1863326
@kalebcLocale: South West
Chris Z has a pack on his site under gear deals for $69, this is the BEST deal out there if you can live without traditional water bottle pockets.Aug 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm #1899369
What kind of cuben is your pack made of? I like the black, is it a hybrid fabric? And how much did it all cost?Aug 23, 2012 at 4:58 am #1905197
Not really designed for the purpose, but I like the REI Flash 18 pretty well and find it OK for light loads. I find it pretty comfortable and a good value.
Last years model was 10 ounces, but the current one is listed as being 11 ounces. The pad that was added to the new one is removable though. If you trim off excess webbing and remove the pad I am pretty sure it would be under 10 ounces.Aug 23, 2012 at 5:06 am #1905199
The Newt sounds interesting, but I don't see it on their web site and the cheapest one that shows up in the "packs" link is the Burn at 2300 ci and $165. Do you have a link for the Newt?Sep 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm #1908597
How is this pack holding up? And did you go with XS or S?Sep 3, 2012 at 7:58 am #1908641
Pack is holding up great! Still my favorite backpack that I own, though it does have some limitations which I already spoke of. I took it on a 5 day section hike of a trail here in Sweden and it did great. I am a bit harsh on my packs because I do off-trail and bushwhacking, so I did have to make a few repairs.
While cliff climbing, I jumped down from one ledge to the ground and one of my shoulder strap buckles broke. I was able to fix it up enough to finish my trip no problem (this was on the 3rd day) but just tying a few knots. When I got back home I emailed Joe and he sent me a new buckle along with a new top strap free of charge, rather than having to mail it all the way to him and save on shipping for us both (I will fix it myself, no bid deal).
I decided to change the top strap to something a bit thicker and sturdier. This is just a minor adjustment to keep my foam pad/clothing strapped on top firmer in place and compress the top of the pack more.
I also fixed up a small hole on my outside pocket (not sure what caused it, could have been any number of sharp sticks and rocks), just put a dab of seam sealer on it.
Oh, and it's size small. I am thinking about getting a size medium Zero in the future also made out of hybrid Cuben because I have been so happy with this pack. This is mostly just to have more space for food and a bit of extra clothing in the fall/spring. I was able to fit everything I needed near perfectly for a 5 day trip, and even took a bit too much food, but this was in August. I have a MLD Exodus, but not a fan of mesh and like the options of the Zero more (especially the roll-top closure clip), plus I also seam-sealed my hybrid Zero so it's very water proof. With other packs like my Exodus there is a need for a dry bag and/or pack liner and/or poncho.Sep 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm #1910923
Hey I saw some pictures in your blog and it looks like you are using a different pack. Is this still your go to pack? What do and don't you like about it? Did you give it a wash, and have you noticed the due rubbing off?Sep 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm #1910970
Still my go-to pack. Not sure what pics you saw. On my latest trip reports, those were all done with it.
I like quite a lot about it. It's excellent for my needs from about May to October if I am doing 2-3 day trips, and can handle summer/warm weather trips up to 5 days. I am going on an overnighter on Friday and will be taking it. It's tough, comfortable, has lots of options (for example, I use a front bag clipped to the daisy chains on my chest most of the time), waterproof, and the roll top closure is especially cool/useful.
I was able to fix the shoulder strap no problem. I decided not to replace the top strap just yet. Also decided that I want to order a Blast 30 in hybrid cuben, for longer trips in the fall/spring or for winter use.
I don't like that the buckle broke, but it was easy to fix, and I tend to put my packs through a lot–I was climbing down a cliff, after all, and jumped down about 1.5m or so. Still not so sure about the thin top strap, but it has not failed me yet, just does not hold things down as stable as I would like them all the time, but this is really not a big deal.
I ended up forgetting to wash it, but have taken it out in the rain though. I have not noticed any rubbing off.
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