Jul 6, 2012 at 11:18 am #1291715
@buffaloskipperLocale: Gulf Coast
I am looking for lighweight backpacks for some friends of mine. All are looking for a "framed" pack, that is to say something with at least a minimal internal stays or hoops. Not frameless.
Lighweight and (minimal) Internal Frame are key. Money, less so.
Here is the list of what I have found so far:
Granite Gear Crown VC
Osprey Exos 58
REI Flash 62
Am I missing any others that we should be considering?
FWIW, a year ago, I switched from an Osprey Aether 70 to a ULA Circuit. The Circuit was the lightest, framed pack I could find with a comfortable, adjustable (interchangable) hip belt. I am so happy with my Circuit, that I gave it to my son, and ordered me a custom Circuit (with the mesh backpanel/pocket from the Ohm).Jul 6, 2012 at 11:21 am #1892637
I love my Exos 58. Not as light as a frameless pack, but is it comfortable. I don't even notice it on my back when I'm carrying under 25 lbs.Jul 6, 2012 at 11:27 am #1892638
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
I'm testing one of Gossamer Gear's new Mariposa packs right now. Take a hard look at it as I'm really liking it.Jul 6, 2012 at 11:51 am #1892642
Either the Windrider or Porter. The Porter will out carry all of the packs that you have listed for less weight (mine weighs 30.7oz with the stays / frame – the Windrider is lighter). The fabric is rain proof and completely bomber to abrasian and punctures. I have had all of the packs you mentioned and only the Circuit would come close in my opinion.Jul 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm #1892646
@buffaloskipperLocale: Gulf Coast
Thanks for the replies. I am curious to hear more about your experiences with the new Mariposa. What can you offer about load carrying, loadability, comfort under load, or anything else.
I have had no exposure to Hyperlight Mountain Gear products. The waterproof feature of the cuben looks interesting, but I have never seen a cuben pack with a frame. What more can you say about it?
I neglected to mention at first, but I would expect for most of us to carry 20-25 lbs max on our upcoming 6 day AT section.Jul 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm #1892651
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Look at McHale custom packs. More spendy but the absolute best in materials and construction.Jul 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm #1892652
Eric – probably a LBP34, which would be similar in size but much heavier.Jul 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1892653
I switched from the Osprey Exos 58 to the ZPacks Exo. The Exo weighs 1.5 lbs less than the Exos 58 and carries very well.
The new Arc Blast uses a mesh panel like the Exos 58 and looks very interesting.
ManfredJul 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm #1892666
Can't exclude the ZPacks Exo…fully adjustable frame, water resistant if not waterproof, comfy, and oh yeah, only weighs 14 oz!
I am really liking mine so far.
CheersJul 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm #1892680
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Depending on how much volume you need either the Starlite or the Swift have a hoop stay which combined with the pad pocket are very good at weight transfer. I have carried 40# with the Starlite with stays and 30# with the Swift without stays.Jul 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm #1892692
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
G G Gorilla. I find mine (the old model) very comfortable. Have carried about 22lbs in it so far. The new one has tougher materials. My only disappointing has been that some of the construction isn't as good as it could be. The HMG packs look well built, but I have read a report of stretching at a seam and the Porter is pretty new to the market.Jul 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm #1892701
Jason, I haven't seen that review regarding the stretching. Can you provide a link for me? Thanks,Jul 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm #1892709
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Hi David. I thought you might ask. I was careful to say it wasn't a review, but a report and after some thinking and googling I have tracked it back to the comment down at the bottom of this page http://www.backpackingnorth.com/2012/06/first-impressions-gossamer-gear.html. I believe he is referring to Jaakko Heikka's http://korpijaakko.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/the-average-day-on-the-artic/ pack, so you could contact him for clarification. Hope this helps.
I may well end up with a Porter as I am looking for a larger and tougher pack than the Gorilla.Jul 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm #1892742
I am really impressed with the durability of the fabric but am now going to watch the stitching. So far so good (crosses fingers). Thanks for the links.Jul 9, 2012 at 11:42 am #1893371
The GG Gorilla backpack, as well as other backpacks I've tried with similar designs (hipbelt wings and removable stays) all exhibit a good amount of backwards pull – about the same as a frameless pack. IMO, they're worse than a frameless pack when loaded with around 15-20lbs.
A centrally-attached conically-cut hipbelt with solid connections to the stays or hoop makes a huge difference in carrying comfort. With the current cottage designs, even if you can contour the stays or hoops to properly adjust the load towards your vertical center of balance, the torsional flex in the hipbelt wings and attachment systems makes it irrelevant.
I just wish ONE of these cottage makers would get that. It doesn't take more than a few seconds after loading the pack up with ~15lbs to feel the difference and see the problems in their current designs. It would be a very modest increase in weight, as well (an ounce, at most). All they need is a better-designed pack-to-hipbelt-to-hoop attachment, a conically-cut hipbelt, and a slight difference in the shape and design of the hoop/stays (narrower at the bottom for the hipbelt and wider at the top for the shoulder straps).
I'm at the point of designing my own. I'm tired of waiting for a lightweight backpack with a *well-designed* internal frame.
I'd say stick with the main manufacturers (most), that still seem to understand this problem and are designing proper internal frame backpacks, even if they are about a 10-16oz heavier than they need to be. If you can find a good fit, they'll carry a LOT better.
It's a shame we have to decide right now between buying a pack with lightweight materials or a proper frame design. I think the problem is mostly rooted in the fact that the cottage makers are frameless pack users, and don't have enough experience with framed packs to design one properly.
So yeah, my opinion, based on my experiences in trying over 30 different sub-3lb backpacks is either to go UL frameless (<12oz) or pick a well-designed framed backpack from a main manufacturer (>2lb). (or McHale)Jul 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm #1893383
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I think I will have to disagree with Brian. I have a Murmur (2012) and no stays. It carries really well with a Nightlite pad as a pack frame…up to 23lbs for 8 nights out. I have used the GG MiniPosa with ~25lbs for 11 days out. The old G5 was equaly comfortable with 20lbs. Many trips of shorter duration, of course. My base weight is around 9-11lbs. These packs all weigh between 7 and 15oz. The pad acts as a frame, one of the better frames to be found, actually. It is a bit heavy at ~10oz, but since it does double duty, it works. It works far better than rolling a pad up inside. Anyway, this is a 5 section pad made from a 3/4 length Nightlite. Cut to 10.5" pieces, nested bumps and fanfolded with tape. Best I ever found up to 25lbs. Since I can get most of the way across the ADK's with that, I never had need of more.Jul 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm #1893393
James – I don't think we disagree. I think one should either go with a frameless or a properly designed framed backpack. If backwards pull isn't a problem for you with frameless, then it isn't a problem (for you).
It's the hipbelt wings and removable stay design that I find inadequate. The stay designs I'm talking about are a problem. They add weight without adding the full benefit of a proper framed design. My bone to pick, is this – if you're going to have a frame, design it properly. It will carry much better with little to no weight gain. I'm not saying they're uncomfortable – they're not. It's just that a proper frame design is noticably more comfortable, even when trying the pack on for just a few minutes.
I'm also not saying I wouldn't use one of those backpacks, I'm just saying I'd prefer to go frameless and lose weight, as, as you've discovered, a pad used as a frame works just about as well for weight transfer as the hoop stays for loads around 20lbs. Preventing torso collapse is about the only thing those hoops are good for, which isn't a problem for lighter loads. However frames have MUCH more to offer than just preventing torso collapse.
I do prefer a lightweight framed backpack, but the only way you'll see me wearing one, however, is if it's properly designed to carry over the vertical center of balance, which means conically-cut and centrally-attached hipbelt, bendable stays/hoop, and solid connections. Unfortunately, there is NOT a single one that is also made from UL materials (DyneemaX, Cuben, etc.) with minimal features. I feel this is a largely untapped market.Jul 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm #1893398
" do prefer a lightweight framed backpack, but the only way you'll see me wearing one, however, is if it's properly designed to carry over the vertical center of balance, which means conically-cut and centrally-attached hipbelt, bendable stays/hoop, and solid connections. Unfortunately, there is NOT a single one that is also made from UL materials (DyneemaX, Cuben, etc.) with minimal features. I feel this is a largely untapped market."
HMG Porter fits your requirements.Jul 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm #1893401
> HMG Porter fits your requirements.
It's frameless? But if you mean the HMG Windrider, it's still a hipbelt wing design which allows for torsional flex of the overall suspension system.
The flex in these designs is pretty easy to see when someone else puts the pack on. Bottom line, air pockets in the corners of the hipbelt, located where they attach to the backpack = no good. The stays/hoops will pivot away from your back. There's a few other no-nos, but that's a pretty big one, based on my experience with various framed packs.Jul 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm #1893426
Mmm, no, the Porter has stays as a frame. It also has hip belt straps which pull the stays to the hip belt. The Windrider does not have this feature. The load transfer is superb for such a light and durable pack.Jul 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm #1893446
"This frameless pack boasts a 3400 cu/in capacity and clocks in at an impressive 30.6oz."
I guess this is a typo, then?
"It also has hip belt straps which pull the stays to the hip belt."
Do you have a photo of this? I'm really curious.
I wish the pack was smaller. 55L is way too big for my uses, so it's not even worth looking at it, but I like the idea, thanks.Jul 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm #1893455
Mine has stays. I believe that Mike indicates that because there is no frame sheet but 2 stays. Will take pics soon. Stay tuned.
As far as the size, it is more like 40l to the top of the stays. The additional volume is extension collar. The pack will compress completely flat for variable loads.Jul 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm #1893475
Brian, here are a couple of pics. Excuse the harry leg. Any questions, let me know.Jul 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm #1893480
My HMG Expedition has two stays and a soft internal framesheet.Jul 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm #1893526
You mean the padded backpanel? I usually equate a framesheet being stiff. The two stays are definitely stiff!
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