Jul 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm #1291590
@lilibishopLocale: The State w/o a National Park
Help! I'm hiking the JMT at the end of July and need suggestions for upgrading my pack. I've only hiked a week at a time before and I want to go lighter, but I need a pack that will fit the bear canister required for this area. I need to keep my price point as low as possible. I wanted the Jam, but my order got messed up and now the size medium is sold out– so if anyone has one they want to sell, I'd be up for it. So at this point I'm leaning toward the G4 or the discontinued Vapor Ki because of the price. I think the Virga may be too small and I'm not carrying a rigid pad (I have a NeoAir XLite), so I don't think it will work. I cannot find a lot of info on the Equinox, so I'm not sure about that one either. HELP!Jul 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm #1891680
@tsalizzoniLocale: Upstate SC
I can't speak for the other packs you listed, but I have the Granite Gear Virga right now and I really like it as a pack. I don't know what kind of gear you have right now, but I don't think I'd want to take over 25 lbs in it. When you start putting in food for a week, I think you'll like a more substantial pack. Plus, it doesn't have nearly the space that a 70 L pack does. Unless you're going very very light with your gear, I'd get something bigger and more supportive. It's a great pack, but only if you don't load it too much.Jul 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm #1891736
Seth BrewerBPL Member
Never done the JMT (would love to) but from needing to haul a load of 5 days food into the Whites last year — I sorely missed having a lightweight framed pack instead of a frameless (it was great for those 2-3 day easy resupply times with a total of <22 lbs in it to start off). I'd look at a ULA Circuit (should be able to hold a bear canister vertical (if I remember correctly). I have a ULA Circuit with the S-straps (for woman and skinny shoulder'd dudes like me) and like it a lot. Was very comfortable at 34 lbs ( for a gear heavy deep winter snowshoe trip – hence the higher weight I got to test out in it. It was way more comfortable than any frameless pack – and at 2 lbs oz. it handles very well for it's relative light weight. Have fun !Jul 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm #1891770
John DonewarBPL Member
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
FYI on the Equinox Katahdin
NewtonJul 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm #1891780
@lilibishopLocale: The State w/o a National Park
Thanks for the feedback and help. I ordered the discontinued Granite Gear Vapor Ki as upon further reading, it seemed to be the only one (minus the Go Lite Jam) that did not rely on a sleeping pad for structural support. I was worried about how the others would fare with no support from a pad when I use a NeoAir XLite. It was $120 with free shipping so I just need to wait 3-7 business days for it to get here and load it up! I am very last minute, not the perfect backpacker by any means!Jul 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm #1891821
@oroambulantLocale: San Francisco
It's good you didn't buy the GoLite Jam70. I like the pack, but it needs modifications to work. Go Lite doesn't seem to understand how a pack is constructed. They include load lifter straps, but those do nothing but pull the top of the pack closer to your shoulders. Load lifters are supposed to lift the shoulder straps off your shoulders and hang them from the frame which transfers the weight to the hip belt. Properly lifted shoulder straps put 10-20% of the weight on your shoulders and mostly keep the pack from falling backward.
The Jam70 "frame", which is a flimsy sheet of plastic foam, doesn't support all the way through to the load lifters, only up to the shoulder strap attachment. I bent myself a 1/4" aluminum rod to replace the flimsy support panel, but I didn't get it right. See this thread for mine and another's more successful mods: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=64923
What I do like very much is the price, the weight, and the size – my BV500 fits sideways and my quilt and down jacket aren't squeezed into bricks. I really like having the bear can sideways because it doesn't become a pole against your back.
I just got back from a few days on the JMT (Tuolumne Meadows over Donohue to Marie lakes and back) with 38 pounds (don't ask…) in my modified Jam70 and still like it although I will change my frame mods.
I ran across a hapless Jam wearer who had no mods and the pack was collapsed on his back. It looked like an ancient old man hunched over clinging to his back. There was at least a five inch gap between his back and the pack at the worst point. He wasn't too happy with his last second purchase to reduce weight.Jul 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm #1891825
I have the Granite Gear Vapor Trail and it has handled a large Bear Vault and up to 34 lbs. total just fine.
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