Jun 7, 2014 at 7:36 am #1317662Kevin ConnaghanBPL Member
First time backpacker here and just starting to collect my gear. I'm doing 5 nights at Isle Royale in late July. I've been exploring these forums for about a week now and already have some ideas about what I want. You certainly make lightweight just seem like the obvious choice, I'm thinking I'm aiming for a base weight around 15 pounds without consumables. I've just bought a Hennessey expedition for my shelter and I'm thinking about a Kelty cosmic down 20 for my bag but I'm still lost on buying a pack. I thought about the gossamer gear g4 but want sure if I should start out with such a light pack. I'm looking for some definite opinions on a great pack to start that will be very versatile. I don't mind spending money on things that will last but I'm also budget conscious. Also any other general tips for a beginner or regarding the island would be fantastic. All help is greatly appreciated!Jun 7, 2014 at 8:31 am #2109573Marko BotsarisBPL Member
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
For that base weight, with 5 night of food one of the packs you probably want a minimalist frame, depending on you budget. Lots of examples but the Osprey Exos would be good for a beginners pack.
Also Elemental Horizons Kalais, any of the framed Gossamer Gear packs, or even the zpacks arc blast. There are loads more, but the Exos is actually a commercial (cheaper) packs that is pretty damn good until you have more experience to know what you really want.
Also, using a frameless pack is possible with more weigh, but it is one of those thing that takes a bit more knowledge.Jun 7, 2014 at 9:10 am #2109579Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I would go for an internal frame pack. The G4 needs the very lightest loads and careful loading to work well. Something like a Gorilla or Mariposa might work better.
BUY YOUR PACK LAST. You want to know the volume and weight of your COMPLETE kit before buying a pack. You can get a rough idea of volume by loading it all in a box and calculating from the measurements.
A 20F bag may be too warm for July in Michigan. Do save your pennies and buy a good bag.
See http://www.intellicast.com/Local/History.aspx?location=USMI0431 for average temperatures for Isle Royale.
Do submit your complete gear list with weights to the Gear List Forum for review and advice.Jun 7, 2014 at 11:29 am #2109606Kevin ConnaghanBPL Member
Thanks for the recommendations. My thought on the bag was that the kelty 40 down is 109 and the 20 is 189 so I could just get the 20 and be set for 3 seasons. I figured in summer you just unzip to stay cooler, right? Should I just go with the 40? Also are there any other places besides gear swap to get used gear our gear deals? I guess I'll continue collecting the rest of my gear before getting a bag but just for reference what size osprey exos might be common? Also I have no idea about where to start for clothingJun 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm #2109610Shawn PeytonBPL Member
@alifeoutdoorsLocale: Iron River, WI
I used frameless Six Moon Designs packs for years (Starlite and Traveler) until I switched to using hammocks. I went to an underquilt and stopped carrying a pad so lost my "frame" for the pack. There were other ways to sub a piece of gear but I didn't have any need for an extra piece. I decided to just add the weight in a light internal frame. I had narrowed it down to a ULA or Osprey EXOS. Tried on a friends Atmos and just loved the fit. So I bit the bullet and went commercial with an Exos 48. Simply love it and forgot what a guilty pleasure a lid with pocket is. I trimmed the fat and lost a couple of ounces (I think this years model has done away with a few of the extras I trimmed). It's been a long time since I went commercial over cottage but I just love the Osprey packs. I would have gone Granite Gear in the distant past but I have a personal issue with the company they have become when I was working in the outdoor industry. I still will probably try a ULA in the future because, well Shug carries one and I've always heard good things. However for right, between my loving the pack and the customer service we've received, I'm a strong Osprey supporter. The only con is the 48 can get a little tight for a full load with a weeks worth of food. I can get away with because I'm a minimalist hiker and use the large. So I was luck and didn't have to go with the heavier 58. Though if you're willing to take the weight penalty for a internal frame anyway the difference between the two sizes is only a couple of ounces.
As far as bag if you get into hanging you'll eventually want a top quilt most likely. You've got a lot to think about right now but when the time comes check in with Hammock Gear. I can't say enough about their quilts and service. They are amazing. Takes awhile to get and you have to accept the practice what they preach so if they're out on a trip it can be tough to get ahold of them. Completely worth it in the end. I've never been more comfortable in a hammock. The con of that is yea $$$$$$$$$. Kelty has the advantage of being decent gear for a much lower price and it will get you started.Jun 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm #2109654Derek M.BPL Member
@dmusasheLocale: Southern California
+1 on what all the others have said. You want a pack with a frame.
If you start out backpacking with a 15lb. base weight, you will be ahead of nearly all the rest of us when we started out.
You're of course going to need to figure out how much you like backpacking in the first place, so I'd try to limit my purchases at first until you know it's something you will really want to do long term. Maybe even try to rent stuff for your very first trip. You will know pretty early on if you have the backpacking bug or not.
If you commit to backpacking, buy nice gear at that point, especially a nice down bag. Probably the best bang for your buck.Jun 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm #2109656Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
some people prefer frames, some frameless
if your total weight is more than 20 pounds, then maybe frame is better
you might want to try both and see which you prefer
maybe frame pack first, then try to reduce your weight a little, then try framelessJun 9, 2014 at 8:37 am #2109969JJ WillcoxonSpectator
I have found a couple "lighter", framed packs that I would highly recommend to someone to get them started on the lightweight trail.
Granite Gear makes the Blaze AC60. It can be found on sale often ($160-$200) and is relatively light (a couple ozs. under 3 lbs.) for a pack that can carry 60 liters and up to 40-45 lbs of gear very comfortably. It is a minimalist pack though and doesn't have a bunch of pockets and extras plastered all over it. That is one of the things I like about it. I still use it quite often, when I'm going somewhere that I need to take a bear canister.
I just tried out my 2014 Osprey Exos 58 for the first time last month. It is currently on sale as low as $168 (Mountain Gear) and is even lighter at 2 lbs. 5 ozs. You can shave off another ounce or two by trimming it up a bit too. I don't think it would be anywhere near as comfortable with a 30-40 lb load as the Blaze. But, with a 24 lb total weight on my last trip, it was an AMAZING carry. It has all of the extra attachment points and pockets that the Blaze doesn't have too, if that's your preference. Aside from the more expensive cottage packs, I think you would be hard pressed to find a lighter and more versatile pack for loads in the 20-30 lb. range. It really was a pleasant surprise for me and I'll be using this pack for most of my short to mid length trips this year. The only question marks for me are whether it is durable enough to hold up off-trail and whether or not the lightweight mesh shoulder straps and belt will begin to collapse and roll on me, as the pack ages. I don't have those questions with the Blaze. It has proven to be a workhorse already.
If you're sure that you are going to get under 25 lbs. of total weight, there are some other lighter packs out there to consider too. But, these two are IMHO two of the better packs (that won't cost you an arm and a leg) to get you started.Jun 9, 2014 at 9:09 am #2109980Steven HallBPL Member
Second that this is a great framed starter pack, nice ventilation in the back. I used to use one before I got down to a 6 pound base weight with which I use a zpacks zero now.
Tried to PM you but it didn't work, I have a modded exos 46 that weighs under 30 ounces if you are interested. Removed the brain and turned it into a roll top closure plus cut off the extras…Jun 9, 2014 at 9:20 am #2109983Brandon RichardsBPL Member
@zendragonLocale: Southern Arizona
Take a look at the GoLite Jam 50L or 70L if you need a bigger pack (heed Dales suggestion of measuring your full kit first), its a frameless pack, about 1.8lbs for the 50L and just a hair more for the 70L. Yes there are lighter options, but this thing is rip-stop nylon with Dyneema. Much more durable than many of the other options, and its good up to about 30lb. It only costs about $110 dollars, great bang for the buck for your first UL pack.
GoLite also has an internal frame pack that is pretty nice (and cheap @ <$140), comparatively light, and very comfortable with a ~30lb load. However, I would probably go with the Osprey that others are suggesting simply because I love that mesh backpanel and they are super light for an internal frame pack.
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