Ultra Runners know nothing about Fastpacking.
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Oct 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm #1322070
Just posted this on my Facebook page. Thought a few of you might get a good kick on this site.
Ultra Runners know nothing about Fastpacking.
I am more of a SUL hiker than a trail runner. Although I have several great runs that I've done like Barkley, and Plane, fastpacking has always been more of my forte over the past 10 years. With 2 record attempts of the JMT and 2 of the TRT, I feel the detail that has gone into those attempts are 100 fold of what it takes to run a 100 mile race.
Now, finally there are packs being made for the purpose of fastpacking and FKT attempts. However, the companies know that ultra runners have just as much sense of fastpacking as a hikers know about going SUL. SUL is Super Ultra Light.
The biggest culprit right now is the Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 and 30 liter packs. These fastpacks are the REI versions of what a fastbacker needs. The 20 liter seems to work well, but when compared to the new Montane Dragon 20, the Montane blows it away.
What you must realize is that these "sacks" put absolutely "ZERO" weight on your hips. It is all carried on your shoulders. As if it wasn't bad enough that the average ultra runner will be trying to put over 20 pounds in these packs, Ultimate Direction is now coming out with a 30 litter that still puts all the weight on your shoulders. This used to be a huge dilemma back when the SUL packs first came out. Nobody liked them and they went away. The one pack maker I mention here that know this is Six Moon Designs.
The only really good fastpack out there right now is the Six Moon Designs Flight 40. Yes this is a huge pack, but for the amount of crap FKT Ultra Runners will be carrying, this is the best pack that can put every bit of the weight on your hips. Of course a 40 liter packs volume will slow you down a lot. So what to do?
Well the real answer is that Fastpackers need to learn to carry much less gear/ weight. With less, the 20 litter packs make sense. The other answer is that there really needs to be a fastpack in the 20-25 liter capacity that will accommodate these weights on the hips. Long slim and cylindrical with a minimal hipbelt and slightly rigid spine that helps with the load transfer. The closest thing is a Six Moon Designs Flight 30, however it does not do a proper job of a load transfer and the hipbelt is more of a stomach belt.
Please oh please will someone make a serious pack for fastpackers.
For now, there are the above mentioned packs (and below), but unless ultra runners start learning to go with less, there will be no good answer. So for now, go ahead and enjoy the packs that are not designed for your needs. Or better put, the packs that your style is not designed for.Oct 23, 2014 at 9:22 pm #2143920Peter BakwinBPL Member
Aaron, have you actually tried the UD Fastpack? There was a good thread here recently comparing the UD and Montane fastpacks in detail. If you're carrying less than 20lbs, as you should if you're actually "fastpacking" (vs. backpacking) you don't actually need a hip belt.Oct 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm #2143923
I read the the comparison.
I honestly think the need for a hip belt starts at around 12-14 pounds.
20 pounds is just fine while "hiking", but it's a killer for moving any faster with some running a jogging thrown in.
20 pounds on the shoulders is also a killer after a few day as well. With a proper hip belt 20 pounds is barely even felt.
I feel 20 pounds has no business in being in a 20 liter pack in the first place.
Again, the 12-14 pounds seems about max for a non hip belt pack.
A great reply I saw on the FB page was this.
The worst part is when you're sweating up a steep hill, not running, and you want to loosen the shoulder straps to give your back a little air for a bit. Sorry, the pack is just welded to your back and there's no way to put one ounce on your hips.Oct 24, 2014 at 6:40 am #2143953Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
While perhaps many ultra runners could afford to learn some outdoor skills, singling out UD seems kinda silly. I've read multiple trip reports from Peter and Buzz of some quite real backpacking while testing and developing those packs, which is more than you can say about 98% of pack manufacturers, including cottage.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:18 am #2143977Evan DaviesMember
I recently bought a Fastpack 20 to replace a Montane Ultra Tour 22. I much prefer the carry and comfort of the Fastpack. The Ultra Tour gave me bad shoulder pain after about 10 miles because the hip belt didn't fit me at all meaning I was taking all the weight on the shoulders. While the Fastpack takes all the weight on the shoulders it is distributed much better and bounces less.
I don't think hip belts are unnecessary, when you look at Mountain Marathons in the UK people have been using "traditional" hip-belted packs for decades and still do, it just depends on how well the hip belt works for you.
I don't know how I could fit 20lbs in a Fastpack 20, I've just come back from an overnighter with it where I had it full to the brim and I was probably carrying about 14-15lbs max with loads of room for weight reduction.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:32 am #2143982
I think I will limit my one post to this discussion here at BPL to this:
Can we *please* stop talking about pack weight (be it the pack itself or TPW) when it comes to UR/FP/FKT pack designs.
The issues here are:
(1) proper weight distribution,
(2) maximum pack bouncing possible
(3) maximum volume size
Whether my pack is 4 pounds tpw or 14 pounds tpw, when I am out there running the trails my pack should be properly weight distributed, have as close to zero bounce as possible, and it should not be over 25 liters – the general consensus size for a UR/FP/FKT pack.
Let us remember – and to those of you out there who feel that I and others are just all wrong about the small volume sizes – that Matt Kirk broke the AT record using a pack (http://sub60.wikispaces.com/pack) exactly the size that we are talking about, so don't even attempt to tell us that a 20-25 liter pack is "too small" for UR/FP/FKT adventures.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:33 am #2143983Art …BPL Member
Aaron … to put down a pack without ever having tried it is, well, sort of like saying you ran Barkley when you really didn't (40 miles is NOT Barkley).
like shoes, packs are personal. if you can't find one that is perfect for you then make one yourself, that's what I did, my pack is perfect for me though others may not like it.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:41 am #2143985
"Aaron … to put down a pack without ever having tried it is, well, sort of like saying you ran Barkley when you really didn't (40 miles is NOT Barkley)."
He doesn't have to. There is no hipbelt – read the OP again. For Aaron, this is a problem.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:56 am #2143991W I S N E R !Spectator
If this thread was titled in a less contentious way I suspect it would lead to a more productive conversation.Oct 24, 2014 at 9:39 am #2144007IanBPL Member
I'm not a fastpacker per se but I've run with everything from my Prohpet to an Alice Pack both recreationally and for the military. Below 30lbs I prefer a pack without a hipbelt but I've carried alice packs which tipped the scales at 100lbs; due to the additional weight/bulk of the LCE/LBEs, this was all without a hip belt although I'd be in the market for a unaweep or a McHale if I ever return to those weights.
All this to say that an absence of a hip belt doesn't mean that they are making it wrong but I understand and appreciate that's your preference. So basically… what Craig said.Oct 24, 2014 at 9:59 am #2144011KatttBPL Member
"If this thread was titled in a less contentious way I suspect it would lead to a more productive conversation."
There is a history of this.Oct 24, 2014 at 10:32 am #2144022
"If this thread was titled in a less contentious way I suspect it would lead to a more productive conversation."
Winter is coming.Oct 24, 2014 at 10:35 am #2144024IanBPL Member
"Winter is coming."
And so is Game of Thrones!Oct 24, 2014 at 10:44 am #2144025Katherine .BPL Member
Pardon my inexperience with running, but I've been wondering for awhile:
Does anyone ever use a combination of a waist/lumbar pack with one of these upper body running vests?
Perhaps that would not provide enough volume for anything overnight. But in theory it seems like it would give you absolute control of how much weight goes to the hips v. the shoulders. And maybe allow more mobility?
(For me, in practice, this would be more about ambitious day hikes)Oct 24, 2014 at 11:01 am #2144040
""Winter is coming."
And so is Game of Thrones!"
'Your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.'Oct 24, 2014 at 11:13 am #2144046Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: Colorado Plateau
Jon Snow, for the purpose of this thread, must be an ultra runner since he knows nothing. ;)Oct 24, 2014 at 11:45 am #2144064Hiking MaltoBPL Member
"Does anyone ever use a combination of a waist/lumbar pack with one of these upper body running vests?
Perhaps that would not provide enough volume for anything overnight. But in theory it seems like it would give you absolute control of how much weight goes to the hips v. the shoulders. And maybe allow more mobility? "
Kat, I end up with close to what you are talking about when I have my MLD Burn in run mode. Most of the gear is in the waist area with the pack being cinched in the middle and the top. I did the setup on the trans Zion and R2R2R trips and I believe it works as well as anything. I use a hipbelt, in fact I have my water bottles on the belt as well as food. This further shifts the weight down to the hips.Oct 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm #2144090Peter BakwinBPL Member
Interesting discussion. One thing is to consider what "fastpacking" actually means. To me it means that you are relatively more focused on making miles than on comfort, and in fact you are trying to maximize miles (or minimize time for whatever trip you've decided to do). For most people, really almost everyone, what this means in practice is that once you decide to bring gear so that you can sleep with any reasonable level of comfort then you are basically giving up on running at all. It's interesting to note that Brett Maune and Andy Bentz have done VERY fast times on the JMT without running a step. Over a trip of several days most people will find that they are more efficient without running – running takes a lot of energy and causes a lot of damage, and does not necessarily increase your pace all that much, especially if you have practiced hiking fast. Please note that I am a runner myself, having completed over 80 marathons and ultramarathons, and running races up to 750 miles.
I'm a skinny runner with poor core strength. I've personally carried up to 23lbs in the UD FP20 (that was a desert trip where we started out with 3L of water). For me it actually carries surprisingly well – as Evan said it distributes the weight exceptionally well. The pack was designed to be expandable up to 20+L, but to carry equally well with a lower volume. The FP30 (coming in January) could encourage people to carry too much, but that's not the intention of the bigger size. One advantage of the 30 is that you can put a RidgeRest pad inside which creates a bit of structure in the pack.
I know that during his Colo 14ers self-powered FKT trip Justin Simoni did short overnights using the UD Adventure Vest, which is 12L. That seems like a lower limit for an overnight trip.
Anyway, just a few thoughts from someone who is obviously biased!Oct 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm #2144118AnonymousInactive
"Although I have several great runs that I've done like Barkley, and Plane, fastpacking has always been more of my forte over the past 10 years. With 2 record attempts of the JMT and 2 of the TRT…."
Aaron -so that I might better assess the weightiness of your comments, would you be so good as to refresh my memory as to how the above mentioned runs and FKT attempts turned out?
TomOct 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm #2144133Dave TMember
Peter has has only "completed 80+ marathons and ultramarathons, and running races up to 750 miles"?!
Sorry Peter, but please post to this thread only when you have some specific Sorensen-Approved Fastpacking Experience (SAFE). Until then, sit back and listen to HOW IT'S DONE.Oct 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm #2144154Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I am yet to try one of these new vest style "fastpacks" (hard to in Australia in a store) beyond what is essentially a hydration vest geared for ultramarathons (that have on course support).
However, I do find it strange that there are larger packs out there with the same vest style, without a hipbelt. It kind of violates many basic assumptions of physics and biomechanical efficiency, to be honest. You want to minimise the mount of effort put in by all your muscles, including your core muscles, not increase it. Putting as much load directly to your hips does that. Your hips down, do the same amount of "work" (yes, the scientific term) regardless. No point making your core, shoulders, chest, back, do work that it doesn't have to, thus requiring the expenditure of energy. Wasted energy is, does, of course, mean less distance covered per unit time.
I have a couple of OMM packs from the UK. They've (The Brits etc) been doing what is closer to the "fastpack" style much longer than most of the US manufacturers have been involved. They carry excellently. Shoulder straps, sternum strap, hipbelt, foam pad style frame. I've used them for fast overnight and multiday trips, Rogaines of all lengths. Running, walking. Best running packs I've had. Yep, for me, even better than a hydration pack of only a few litres….I find without a hipbelt they bounce! So there you go. I think the key, is that they have just got all the dimensions etc just right. I can also pack a pack properly to minimise bounce issues.
I also really don't get the point of completely wrapping yourself in a harness. Maybe its just me an the conditions I move in. But even going a few degrees below freezing, the more layers, the more I sweat. Its the same with packs. That includes mesh. I definitely notice the difference of even a really open meshy safety vest when walking, running, or even cycling. Minimal contact area means better core breathability, means that your body's sweat mechanisms that are designed to cool it down work better. When you are soaked in sweat and its dripping off and not going away, and its soaking your gear, that's inefficient! However, if you are moving hard and sweating all over but its evaporating away and keeping you cool enough to keep performing at the high power (rate of conversion of energy) required relatively indefinitely then that is efficient. Now an athlete moving hard for 24 hours in relatively mild+ conditions (eg over say 15Celcius) can burn a litre of water an hour no worries. That's before sticking extra layers on top. Put more layers on, your body starts to sweat extra trying to accomodate for that. Sports science generally says that most people can only absorb 800-1200ml of water an hour through drinking (more if you are on a drip and its going straight to your bloodstream). If you are sweating extra than required (and it could easily build up quickly to the range of a litre per day or more I'd say) that's not only more drinking you have to do, more water to find, more water to treat, more water to carry, its a greater risk that you will be making a hydration deficit. On a marathon or even relatively short ultramarathon a bit of a deficity is maybe not the end of the world (though performance definitely does decrease with dehydration) but on a multiday effort it will slow you down, increase the time you need to stop moving to recover, decrease how recovered you feel from say a 30min stop, etc. Anyway I'm rambling on now.
I am impressed (from pics) by the fastpack 20 in how the mesh is manufactured into one continuous piece with different zones, all without seams. Wow! That's awesome!Oct 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm #2144169
I had Brett's JMT splits and was trying like hell to chase them down. Trust me, he ran plenty.
When I say ran, I mean a speed of having both feet off the ground at any time.
I'm sure Brett's "running" was in terms of running speed, (like 7+ mph).
But my hustle with some running and zero stopping was not even close to the speed he moved the first day.
Every one of my attempts didn't go well.
What does that have to do with my passion for fastpacking?
The unsupported JMT was horrible with all the weight on my shoulders.
By day 2 I had huge blackened blisters on the bottom of both feet.
Same thing happened at Barkley
TRT unsupported was pretty much the same as the JMT. Hated the pack weight on my shoulders.
Once the first extended waterless section came, I needed to add 10 pounds of water to my pack.
After an hour of my shoulders screaming at me, I just stopped having fun and stopped.
I have crappy luck when it comes to blisters. I have really thick skin and the blisters develop under all three layers of skin.
I get 2" round blisters that stop me from being able to walk on my feet.
At Barkley I was walking on the side of my foot for the last 1/3rd of lap 2.
It wasn't anything else that took me out of that race.
Another thing that doesn't help this matter is that I have had a broken clavicle.
This however doesn't bother me at all with a proper hip belt.
I you look at fastpacking the way Peter is going at it, most people aren't "running" during a fastpack because they have too much weight in that pack. So in a sense, the packs being made are suiting the likes of fastpacking people who are going out with 20 pounds in the packs and "walking".
This is the whole reason I brought this up.
You can't really even run in the first place with 20 pounds on your pack.
"Ultra Runners know nothing about Fastpacking".
This is why there needs to be a fastpack that lets you carry weight on you hips.
This allows you to be able to run without your upper back and shoulders screaming at you with every step.
I am not trying to put down any pack. These packs are just filling the need for how fastpacker's are doing their trips.
I am just pointing out the emphasis on designing a pack that carries all the weight on the shoulders is such a bad idea for someone to carry 20+ pounds and trying to move as fast as possible. It doesn't really let you run, it's not comfortable, and they very much resemble old school SUL packs, (other than different fabric).
It was a horrible idea back then and its a horrible idea now.Oct 24, 2014 at 7:08 pm #2144171AnonymousInactive
Every one of my attempts didn't go well.
What does that have to do with my passion for fastpacking?"
Nothing, Aaron. But it doesn't put you in a very strong position to criticize a design that is the product of the combined experience of two acknowledged masters in the field, particularly the way you went about it. Also, the way you presented your credentials implied that you were successful in your attempts. That is why I asked the question, because it was obviously done to bolster your credibility. I commend you for being honest in answering. I think you would be better served in future by presenting your opinions in a less overbearing manner. It would almost certainly generate a much more productive discussion of whatever subject you choose to address.
Isn't that the whole point?Oct 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm #2144186
I only said that Trail Runners know nothing about fastpacking.
I'm not speaking on behalf of the creators of these packs.
Of course they are also trial runners, but they represent .001% of every trail runner out there.
I happen to enjoy BPL very much because it is an open forum that I can talk about gear in this manner.
I don't care if I may be blunt. Agree, don't agree, it is still an issue (to me), and that's why I am writing this.
Ron Bell came up with something on his facebook page that is some good reading and John's words on what a fastpack should be is spot on.
The whole thing about a good fastpack is that it doesn't have to be that much different at all from the smaller good running packs out there.
Some of the pockets on these vests and packs work really well.
Many of the materials that are on these running packs are also great.
The problems starts when someone over builds the pack in every aspect that makes it resemble a regular backpack. This is not what is needed. The SMD Flight 40 is what becomes the outcome from this thinking.
The only thing that needs to be built up from a standard running pack/ vest it the hip belt and some type of stiffening pad or plastic that allows weight to be transferred to the hips. A fastpack shouldn't need to be something that is so crazy different than a minimal light weight running pack that holds some gear and doesn't bounce.
The only job it needs to do any different is come down another 8 or so inches to bring the load down to your hips. You should have no other issues. The fastpack is just there to resolve the problem in being able to run with a little more gear.
You don't find this is any fastpack yet.Oct 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm #2144188Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"Of course they are also trial runners"
I give up. What's a trial runner? Somebody who is found around a court room?
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