Dec 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm #1310459
I'm on the lookout for a new pack with the following features.
-Dyneema gridstop or similar
-No mesh on back or harness
-Lumbar pad (makes all the difference for me with a big water load).
I'm currently using a One Planet Shadow http://oneplanet.com.au/bushwalking-packs-light/shadow-2011.html which has a great harness and design, but is too big for most of my trips and the light canvas fabric isn't ideal for offtrack trips, rubbing against sandstone.
I've had a dyneema gridstop Zpacks and a Golite Gust and Jam that weren't suitable for some of the water loads I carry for some trips.
I've been looking at a Cilogear 45, HMG Porter in Dyneema gridstop for better abrasion resistance, a ULA Conduit in full robic fabric without pockets. Are there any others in the internal frame market I've missed?
I read the review on the porter and it sounded like the seams chosen for the pack weren't the greatest. Has this been addressed now?
I've been scouring the forum and articles sections on reviews.
thanks in advance.Dec 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm #2049774
Zimmerbuilt ZB2Dec 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm #2049779
Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada North
Will HMG make a Porter pack in fabrics (e.g. Dyneema gridstop) other than their flagship Cuben fiber/polyester blend? If so, what's the cost?
Similar question regarding ULA: will they make a pack minus mesh pockets? I've always thought a Circuit with Lycra style side pockets and no front pocket, in all Robic, would be slick.Dec 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm #2049804
Marko BotsarisBPL Member
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
I think this one might fit your specs:
You can read the glowing review by our "own" Will Rietveld here:
This pack replaced my ULA pack of going on 12 years this year, and I felt is was an improvement on features as well as weight and that is all I feel I need to say. It has about as great a hip belt as you will find on this class of packs. It fits a bear can, Bearikade size and smaller radius perfectly, so this may be the one if you want comfort carrying a bear can, if that is ever an issue for you. Or just plain UL comfort without the SUL compromises. (whoops, I said even more….)
You can get custom side pockets without the mesh, or whatever you want. Lumbar pad is an option (I got one).Dec 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm #2049805
I just called HMG and they have made a few improvements since that review was published.
-The Porter 4400 (but not the other packs) is made with a heavier Cuban hybrid.
-The Porter 4400 now has a plastic frame sheet in addition to the frame stays.
-The seams are taped (more waterproof but might also add strength I forgot to ask).
Ryan Jordan mentioned the new packs have an improved hipbelt which apparently fixed his concerns about the original hipbelt.
According to Dan at HMG the heavier fabric is 150 d Cuban hybrid as opposed to the original 50 d Cuban hybrid. What this means is the threads on the new fabric are three times as heavy as on the original pack.
Anyway I ordered a Porter 3400 customized with the heavier Cuban and the plastic frame sheet. I can let you know how it works out, I should get it by mid December.Dec 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm #2049826
Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada North
"Anyway I ordered a Porter 3400 customized with the heavier Cuban and the plastic frame sheet. I can let you know how it works out, I should get it by mid December."
Can the frame sheet be integrated with prior version of the pack? I just recently purchased a HMG Porter 3400 and love it, but the first time I loaded it up I immediately noticed that I missed the frame sheet of my Cilogear Worksack due to the slight curvature of the back panel. I've since paid closer attention during packing to address this concern and so far so good. Although, I'm still curious. Thanks.Dec 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm #2049852
Jon LeibowitzBPL Member
If I was in the market for a pack, I'd be waiting to see the new designs SMD will be announcing within a month or so.Dec 2, 2013 at 5:23 am #2049879
Link .BPL Member
I'll 2nd the Elemental Horizons Kalais !! Great pack,you can choose the materials and options you want on or left off and Mathew is great to deal with.Dec 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm #2050010
Thanks everyone for the replies.
Screeslide, that pack doesn't appear to have the internal frame, lumbar pad and no mesh that I was after.
Have the seams on the HMG packs changed to a flat felled since the review? I'm a bit concerned about seam separation, even with the gridstop if the construction techniques aren't appropriate for the task.
Both HMG and ULA were very helpful regarding the possibility of custom options like the gridstop for the entire body.Dec 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm #2050035
I own a ULA catalyst and an Ohm, but for longer trips and heavier loads look at the Mystery Ranch line. I have the Trance and is a bit heavy but I prefer it over the ULA's. Might look at Gregory packs also, I don't own one but look to be very well constructed.Dec 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm #2050043
He'll build it any way you want. The one I just bought for a gift has the mesh lumbar pad, stays, and no pockets. Only daisy chains like the HMG Porter. 2,000 c.i. rated 30-35 pounds. About $200.
I've had no real seam issues with HMG. Tape peeled a little. I'd buy another.Dec 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm #2050092
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"If I was in the market for a pack, I'd be waiting to see the new designs SMD will be announcing within a month or so."
+1Dec 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm #2050108
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
The point of Zimmerbuilt packs is that Chris builds whatever you ask him to build. You want a frame? Great. Mesh? All dyneema? Lumbar pads? Whatever. The models on his website are just examples…you email him and discuss what you want, then he builds it totally to your specifications. Including size, pockets, materials, literally anything you want.
Not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be, my pack from him is a dream come true, and he was super cool to work with. It was nice to see an idea come to fruition…since I'm not at all a MYOGer.Dec 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm #2050111
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Frankly, the HMG Porter in all 150D hybrid-cuben would meet your needs better than all Dyneema X. The regular 50D is bomber stuff, and unless you're doing serious canyoneering, all 150D would more than meet your needs. I can't see an advantage to all Dyneema X on any front. I'd get the 3400 Porter because the extra 15 or so liters comes from the extension collar, which adds negligible weight to the total pack. I rarely carry more than 40 or so liters in mine, but it's nice to have the option to add more when necessary.
Plus, I have to say that I have worked with a lot of cottage companies–nearly all excellent– and several major retailers, but HMG's customer service is the best experience I've had yet.
If you want side pockets, Zimmerbuilt's options are great.Dec 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm #2050122
I doubt they could put the framesheet in an old pack. Its sewn in and non removable on newer packs.
Edit – You probably don't need it. Its really only for packs with more then 40 pounds in them. If my understanding is correct it is not as wide as the Cilo gear packs so it might not do what you want anyway. I imagine a piece of foam up against the back of your pack would do essentially the same thing.Dec 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm #2050126
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Here's another vote for Zimmerbuilt packs. You can run some ideas by Chris, and I'm sure he would tell you if he could build one to your specs or defer you to someone who could.
I also like Six Moons Design packs, but I have a feeling you may be waiting longer than a month to get a peek at their new designs, than a summer of testing out in the real world to see how they pan out.Dec 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm #2050130
Boreas Buttermilks are on sale on The Clymb in their 365 section. They come in 40L and 55L versions. You get a single compartment gridstop pack at about 3lbs with a fantastic lumbar pad and an internal frame, and you can trim off the "mesh" (it's a stretchy fabric) if you so desire.
$99 shipped free.Dec 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #2050141
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
AD, I would first ask how big (how much weight) are your water loads you plan to carry to get a better feel for which pack would work best.
I would also tentatively 2nd the Kalais. I have just been out using an all dyneema version that I ordered for the same water carrying and abrasion resistance reasons you state. The tentative part is that I have only used it on one trip with up to 30# and it was much better in load carrying than my SMD Swift. My expectations are it will easily carry the 35# plus that I occasionally have to do in the desert.
You might read this thread on the Kalais and similar packsDec 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm #2050152
Great advice in this thread, thankyou all.
Alex, the most I've had to haul was six litres. This isn't usual, normally 3 to 4L will do me. My gear is all pretty low volume, so the current 60L pack, while very comfortable is fairly empty. Either tarptent/ exped mat/ down quilt or hammock/ tarp/ under and top quilt.
For me, the frameless packs were fine with three days of food and two litres of water (4.8kg baseweight), but once I started to carry 3+L, it was less than comfortable.Dec 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm #2052744
I've narrowed down my pack search to the following:
Custom Zimmerbuilt with internal stays, full dyneema.
Custom HMG Porter in either full dyneema, 150d cuben hybrid, or FULL spectra.
Mchale Merke (really going off the deep end, eating tinned food for months).
Any and all would be great, with the last option absolutely blowing the budget out of the water. As I will be keeping my big packs for longer trips in winter, is there any point going for a Mchale for a smaller load over the other options?Dec 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm #2052753
Did HMG offer to make you a pack in dyneema or full spectra? If they did I'd be curious how much the full spectra version would cost.
I have a 150 d Porter on order and it should be here tomorrow. I'll try to post my impressions when I get it.Dec 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm #2053003
Just got my HMG Porter 3400 today. Due to a pulled muscle in my back I can't really comment on comfort with a load. Right now nothing feels comfortable.
I can tell you the 150 d feels very sturdy and stiff. It is stiffer then heavy duty X-Pac I'd say. Having a tall roll top is annoying with such stiff cloth. If I did it again I'd most definitely get the 2400 with its shorter roll top. The 50 d cloth is not so stiff but that is not what you're looking at.
Other then the roll top its a nice pack. If a feel better in the next few days I may load it up and compare it to my Exped Lighting. Speaking of the Exped its a similarly sized pack and it has a very nice hipbelt. Just looking at them I'm inclined to think the Exped might be a hair more comfortable with heavy loads due to the hipbelt design. We'll just have to wait and see.Dec 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm #2053007
Thanks for the update Luke.
HMG are willing to do a full spectra one, but the price was getting up there towards Mchale territory.
I tried on an Exped Lightning 45 on the weekend. It's pretty much exactly what I was looking for, with a near identical harness to my current One Planet Shadow. Unfortunately the webbing where the shoulder straps join the stay stuck into my back. I tried three of the same model incase it was just a one-off dodgy sewing job, but all were the same. A real shame as it looks like a great pack otherwise.
How does the construction look on your new porter? Do you know if they changed the seam type since Ryan did his review?Dec 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm #2053014
I went with the HMG for the greater load capacity and for the Cuben. The stays are a bit heavier and the belt is a little stiffer. For a smaller pack in Dyneema, I'd go with Zimmerbuilt. I don't have enough money or get enough use to excuse a Mchale for myself. Besides, I'd be afraid to get it dirty.Dec 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm #2053031
I don't know if it would help but its easy to take the stay out of the Exped and bend it to fit your back better. I really, really liked mine. A review is coming at some point.
Construction on the HMG Porter looks pretty good, the seams seem to be the original type but they have pretty heavy duty tape over them and the compression straps are reinforced so they shouldn't blow out like they did on the earlier packs.
I like the hipbelt too. Its not as padded as the Exped's but it locks the pack in place way better then most other UL packs with a frame.
Over all I really like it but I wish I'd ordered a Porter 2400. This one is just big my needs, I'll probably never use all the volume and the long strap length and huge roll top is a bit annoying. I might add Velcro rolls to mine like on the Exped Lighting. That would tame the strap length while leaving it there for possible mountaineering or packrafting trips in the future.
If you don't mind my asking just how much did they want for the spectra pack?
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