Jan 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm #1298162
Companion forum thread to:Jan 18, 2013 at 3:16 am #1944930
IVAN DOMINGUEZ TEJERABPL Member
@idtejeraLocale: CANARY ISLANDS
Hi, I loved this review. congratulations. I took a year to decide whether to buy this backpack or Ula Epic for trips with Packraft and trips with my kid. You who have used both, which do you think would be better choice?
Thank you very muchJan 18, 2013 at 7:18 am #1944955
Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Nice review. I find it crazy that HMG didn't use a hybrid cuben with a heavier face fabric. I received some samples from Cubic a while back while looking for fabrics for MYOG project and the versions with the heavier face had far stronger seam strength and abrasion resistance in my very non-scientific testing. I was honestly surprised that there hadn't been more complaints out seam holes in the HMG packs. If "expeditions" are the intended use, a couple extra ounces seems like a no brainer, especially for such a pricy pack.Jan 18, 2013 at 10:45 am #1945002
@davecLocale: The West Slope
It's almost hard to believe no one else has figured this one out yet: put quality stays in a pack with decent harness components. Sometimes simplicity is complex. I see a modular hipbelt in the 4400's future, from a design standpoint it would be easiest to improve the seam strength and lumbar padding that way.Jan 18, 2013 at 11:45 am #1945023
The McHale Guide Harness the best load-carrying belt/lumbar construction for the weight that I've ever used. I don't know if there's intellectual property protection there or not, so maybe that's a consideration. But this construction probably isn't the only way to address this issue.Jan 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm #1945059
I love the Epic's concept.
Harness packs and dry bags make great packrafting kit.
But the Epic seems to carry its loads pretty low, the beavertail harness just doesn't have the oomph to bring the load tightly into the suspension, so it slumps. This doesn't have a dramatic impact, but it does feel kinda funny when you're walking.
What I love about the Epic is that I can take the dry bag off and use the harness to haul firewood!
We carried 55-60 lbs as a starting pack weight in the Epic when we started our trek across the Arctic in 2006 (at this time the packs we used were prototypes, but the suspension hasn't significantly changed since). This was a painful experience, but it worked. I'd rate the Epic's load carrying capacity in the 40-45 lb range if the load carrying capacity for me for the Porter 4400 is around 50-55 lb.Jan 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm #1945062
I feel ya, man, but there's more here.
The seam holes above indicate an area where a change in seam type would be of more benefit than a change in material.
The seam in question is called a "half fold" (it might be a one fold, I didn't pull it apart) seam, they are inherently weak and should only be used in low stress areas. You could have made this seam with 1000d Cordura and high stress will still result in these types of holes ripping in response to stress.
Stronger types of seams are double folds, or flat fells, and are perhaps more appropriate for seams where compression straps are inserted.Jan 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm #1945087
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Dave and Ryan, agreed.
That's why I asked Mike to put the Ice Pack hipbelt on the 3400 Porter for me. I also had him modify it so that it would accept the Granite Gear UL hipbelt, my favorite after trying out all the manufacturers.
So far, the modular formula on the lower volume (3400 ci) Porter has been really nice. It adds a level of trip customization that I really appreciate. I hope that Mike makes it a standard option on the Porter line soon. The stiff foam that he uses for the base of the Ice Pack belt carries really well, and the full 10 inches of contact the top of the belt makes with the lumbar pad really improves and stabilizes the load carry without losing the wrap-around feature.Jan 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm #1945088
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
>Stronger types of seams are double folds, or flat fells, and are perhaps more appropriate for seams where compression straps are inserted.
Interesting observation. I'll have to keep this in mind for an MYOG pack I'm planning. It's a little more time and work at first, but it sounds like it will pay off in the long run.Jan 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm #1945094
Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Agreed, Ryan, that a felled seam would be much better there and that construction methods are perhaps more to blame in that case.
What I'm thinking is that using such a lightweight face fabric (which, granted for its weight is impressively strong and abrasion resistant) means that the cuben is a huge part of the fabric's overall strength, and we know that needle holes can be problematic in cuben. Using a heavier face fabric takes some of the overall fabric strength role off the cuben. Using a high-bias cuben, like Cilo and McHale use, seems wise as well.
The hybrid cuben is really awesome stuff; I'm just thinking that given the intended use they could have much longer lives for a couple ounces.Jan 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm #1945117
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Well I'm slightly disappointed to hear the you finally began wearing it out Ryan but I'm not terribly surprised. Still sounds like a good value. For me the appeal of this pack is that it CAN carry 40+ pounds occassionally but its not overbuilt to handle normal loads which are normally much less (I rarely top 25).
Ryan in your opinion do you think the modular hipbelt that Clayton mention would resolve the hipbelt durability issue?Jan 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm #1945119
Tim CheekBPL Member
Would you post a picture of how you lashed or secured your packraft paddles to your pack?
I have alpacka's Sawyer paddles and used one of McHale's bottle pocket with success, but wondered if there was another approach? ( The other bottle pocket held crampons.)
Thinking I'd have Dan create something for my paddles until I read this article.Jan 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm #1945122
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Since the Epic was mentioned I was curious whether anyone knows of a way to modify it so it doesn't ride so low? Seems like a MYOG mod would be doable with such a pack I'm just not sure how to improve the low riding effect.Jan 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm #1945126
I am confused. Wasn't Ryan involved in the development of the Epic with Brian Frankle? Didn't BPL sell the pack directly for a spell?Jan 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm #1945141
"Didn't BPL sell the pack directly for a spell?"
I don't know the answer to that, but I can tell you my Epic has BackpackingLight stitched on it. [Well, mine's called an Arctic, but I believe it's the same thing].Jan 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm #1945147
Ken T.BPL Member
@hereJan 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm #1945178
Jeremy GBPL Member
Funny timing!! After much research, I ordered a 4400 and a 2400 just yesterday. The 4400 will be used for family trips with our 3 little ones and for winter trips. For the family trips, my wife will fill a Golite Pinnacle with clothes and sleeping bags while I will put all the heavier goods in the 4400. For this year anyway, I will probably carry our 25 lb one-year old on my front in an Ergo carrier and give our 3 year old some breaks as needed on my shoulders. Which reminds me, I should start my training now for a spring trip!! I did order the 4400 with the hip belt pockets and accessory stuff pocket. Somewhat necessary when kids are constantly needing things. Additonally, I have a feeling the 4400 will quickly and easily replace my Golite Pinnacle as my winter pack. Not sure I will get out this winter as life is too busy with the little ones, but looking forward to using it next winter…
I had Mike at HMG customize the 2400 to be able to use it primarily for bike commuting. The size is a bit more than I need most of the time, but I am finding myself bringing my laptop home many nights these days and an occasional stop at the grocery store for something small. I had him make the hip belt removable and have the option to use a 1,5" webbing strap as a waist belt for biking. It might seem silly, but I also had him add a loop for a blinkie light for biking. Pretty much all of my winter commuting is in the dark. It's nice to have the extra light to make me more visible and an easy place to attach it to. The white is certainly more visible than the black and gray packs I have been using. This should easily replace three different packs I have been juggling for commuting. It is a simple pack that will easily compress when not using the full volume and of course it is stripped down and clean looking, making it nice and stream-lined for cruising on the bike. It feels great to be simplifying my gear! The regular hip-belt will of course be great for shoulder season trips or longer backpacking trips when I have the extra weight of more food, fuel, and/or insulation. I know my details on the 2400 is a bit of a distraction from the article on the 4400, but it shows the great customer service of HMG,and their willingness to meet the needs of their customers.
Can't wait to get the new packs! I had rotated a Windrider through my pack rotation a couple years ago and it just didn't fit my need at the time. The construction quality was superb and thus I had no reservations about ordering more from HMG. This article certainly confirms that I made the right decision. Thanks Ryan and Chris for the detailed review!!Jan 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm #1945184
@tim Cheek: I split the paddle into 2 pcs and stow them inside the side compression straps, blades up.
@luke Schmidt: I think the pack has provided me with great value, actually. Stuff wears out. I can't comment on Clayton's suggestion; I saw an early proto of the Ice but haven't seen the new ones.
On modifying the Epic, yes, here's what I've done, but it's tricky, and requires disassembly of quite a lot of the bottom of the pack. Remove the beavertail. Reattach the bottom of the beavertail six or eight inches higher up the frame panel. Problem fixed. On my first iteration, I kept the beavertail where it was originally, and instead added a pair of 1" webbing "straps" that attached 6-8 inches up the frame panel; these ran under the dry bag, around the outside, and clipped into the top of the pack. That also works well. This may not be needed as much with the newer Epics which have the bottom cinch straps, which should help some.
@david Ure: Yes, we commissioned Brian to build three of these for us for our arctic trip in '06. Then people started asking for them. Brian didn't want to sell them through ULA, so we sold them through BPL, and bought small quantities from him. There's probably only 100 of these or so out there. They have the flat back panel and the "BPL Arctic Pack" embroidery on them.
@ken Thompson: thanks for the link to Hendrik's video review. I hadn't seen that before.Jan 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm #1945986
Tim CheekBPL Member
I guess I'm in the pocket or "slot" camp for packs. When I tried blade up the blades were so wide they kept the compression straps from compressing the pack. Not an issue initially, but as my food was depleted it would have become one.Jan 22, 2013 at 8:57 am #1946094
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I keep gleaning information about making my own pack from articles and people's posts
Ha, ha – I'm in the no pockets camp – I just like the aesthetic of a smooth bag with no pockets sticking out. And if your bag is basically a cylinder closed with a flat felled seam, then the fabric and seam are the strongest.
Rather than sewing hip belt wings to the side of the pack, why not have the hip belt be one continuous belt with the pack bag sewed to it. Have several rows of stitches sharing the load, over the width of the hip belt. But if the pack shows that amount of wear over 100 days of rugged use, then maybe it's good enough as is. Anything will eventually wear out.Jan 24, 2013 at 6:36 am #1946698
Anthony WestonBPL Member
@anthonywestonLocale: Southern CA
no pockets or lots of pockets, sounds like people are using the gear for different purposes, different conditons, in different environments. Both sides probably have valid arguments for their purpose.
I love the suspension on the Porter/windrider packs and that they can carry the weight.
I bet if we asked members what kinds of cars they drive then we would be in for it, it would be a long debate.Jan 24, 2013 at 6:43 am #1946703
Stuart .BPL Member
Whatever happened to the original review of the Porter / Expedition? As provocative as some of the statements were, both in the article and in the comments afterwards, there was some really good content there. Now whenever I search for it, I'm redirected to this review. It's as if the whole episode was swept under the carpet.Jan 24, 2013 at 8:29 am #1946731
@stuart D: The original review that was published is Part 1 of this article. Parts 2-8 were added to that same URL. The comments thread for the old one is still around, but constitutes 11 pages of discussion on what was an article about "specs" and "first impressions" (along with a lot of stuff unrelated to the review), so I started a new thread to refocus the discussion on the final product review.Jan 24, 2013 at 10:22 am #1946773
Stuart .BPL Member
@ryan – Thank you for your quick reply, and for directing me to the original discussion thread. I know the thread descended into some unpleasantness, but I found value in some of the contributions there including pack dimensions, the discussion about load lifters, and the comparison in construction with the Windrider. I'm glad to see they haven't been lost.
I understand your reasons for republishing the original review as part of the extended one. What I remembered, however, is that the original review addressed both the Porter (now "3400 Porter") and Expedition (now "4400 Porter") equally, whereas the new article's title – and all of the updated content – focus on the latter pack. By virtue of its size, I'd consider the 4400 Porter more of a specialized product, whereas the 3400 Porter would have a broader appeal in this community.
That being said, I appreciate the level of effort you put into testing the 4400 Porter over the last year, the detailed write-up, and your acknowledgement of other bloggers' perspectives. If I were looking at a pack that size I'd have some misgivings, but with my needs being better met by a pack the size of the 3400 Porter, I don't intend to carry the loads that you tested. I look forward to seeing whether HMG incorporates the design change recommendations into future versions.Jan 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm #1946948
Tom ClarkBPL Member
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
From this review…
"Some ultralight backpackers have developed an unquenchable fetish for packs that are measured in ounces, seemingly with no regard at all to what the pack has offered with respect to durability, comfort, or aesthetic design."
From Gossamer Gear's user manual for their Whisper Uberlight Pack…
"The Whisper Story:
When Backpackinq Liqht Publisher Ryan Jordan contacted us about manufacturing an ultralight backpack that was more consistent with his Super-Ultralight fastpacking philosophy, I handed him a G5 Hperlight Backpack. His reply: "Too big. Too heavy." And so, the Whisper was born. Ryan's design philosophy focused on whittling the G5 concept down to the bare essentials of backpack function: a small packbag with shoulder straps. The only luxury that was added back -a G5 style rear bellows pocket for storing wet gear, a wind shirt or jacket for rest stops, or a collapsible water bottle."
Any perspective on that?
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