Frameless Packs: To Pad or not to Pad?
Apr 1, 2021 at 1:23 pm #3707281Tom LBPL Member
For those that have gone frameless: Sit pad, foam, etc. on the outside or inside? Just stuff a fleece where your back is? Nothing? What would you suggest? Thanks in advance.Apr 1, 2021 at 1:32 pm #3707282Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
I love having a pad with a frameless pad. Depending on the trip, it will vary in size and thickness. None of my backpacks have an external attachment, so the pad is always inside. This makes it a pain to reinsert if you use it during the day. So I would much prefer an exterior pad attachment a la Gossamer Gear.
Yes, the pad is not necessary. Careful packing can provide great comfort. But I use it as part of my sleep system often.Apr 1, 2021 at 2:22 pm #3707284dirtbagBPL Member
@dirtbaghikerApr 1, 2021 at 2:35 pm #3707285David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I either use a Z-Lite or I’ve got an unusually large gardening kneeling pad (borderline stadium butt pad) for my smaller frameless packs.
Only on a long day hike or super-minimal overnight would I consider only using a fleece as padding. It implies I’ll never wear the fleece when hiking, which might be true, but if I never wear it while hiking, why did I bring it?
I haven’t tried it, but I’d consider custom cutting a corrugated plastic sign (“Lose 20 pounds. Call 1-800-Lose-It” or “Joe Arpaio for Sheriff” pried off a power pole) which could then double as a canister-stove base or cutting board for butchering a critter or filleting a fish.Apr 1, 2021 at 2:42 pm #3707287BC BobBPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
I like the “bumpy” sit pad on the outside of my Zpacks Nero. It definitely helps to keep my back less wet from sweat and improves the comfort (scroll through the pics to see it).Apr 1, 2021 at 2:44 pm #3707288Ben CBPL Member
1/8 inch foam, folded over 6x thick inside against my back works great. My only issue is that it is a little cumbersome getting other stuff in my pack with the pad in. Otherwise, perfect.Apr 1, 2021 at 4:22 pm #3707303
Interesting topic because I see my friends with frameless packs and they always look misshapen. I have a “My-Trail” 70L pack with a very stiff pad inserted in a sleeve and it tends to keep its vertical shape much better. I can’t really tell you why, but it seems to me a truly frameless pack doesn’t allow you to distribute the weight between shoulders and hips the way you may want to.Apr 1, 2021 at 4:23 pm #3707304Apr 1, 2021 at 4:25 pm #3707305dirtbagBPL Member
here you can see the Zrest in the back of my Mariposa pack. I did cut 2 or 3 sections off of it..Apr 1, 2021 at 5:49 pm #3707320Paul LeavittBPL Member
Plus 1 for Gossamer Gear Packs (Kumo, Gorilla, Mariposa) with 1/8 ” pad folded for back. It is multiuse ( backpad, sitpad, pillow, sleeping pad under inflatable, yoga mat, etc. Gorilla / Mariposa do have Stays for structure. You can remove them if you are on a light trip but they help if you are carrying more than a few days of food or a lot of water.Apr 1, 2021 at 8:26 pm #3707393MinerBPL Member
I put my pad inside my packs (ULA CDT and MLD Burn). Note these packs don’t have an exterior pocket for a pad like GG’s do. Though in a rain storm, I’ve always wondered how wet they get having them outside. Inside the pad against my back gets damp but not very wet.
For a lightweight carry (usually with my Burn), I just put a GG Sit Pad inside against the bac and carry a NeoAir short sleeping pad to sleep on. When I need to carry more weight for a longer section (usually my larger CDT), I leave the NeoAir at home and add a GG Torso pad to the sit pad inside against the back as that stiffens things up more. With either pack, I also carry a 1/8″ thinpad strapped outside (not for support) for use on breaks and under my sleep pads at night. The main thing about frameless packs is you want to remove any empty space inside the pack and cinch things down well so nothing can shift as you want the whole pack acting as a pseudo frame. It does make a difference in how it carries if your pack has any sort of hipbelt.Apr 2, 2021 at 6:52 am #3707427Michael BBPL Member
I use a thinlight type of pad, just “rolled up” (read folded, as the rolled tube collapses) and stuffed between my pack liner (read “trash bag”) and pack back panel. Not sure it adds much stiffness, but I am comfortable and that is the point, right?Apr 2, 2021 at 7:17 am #3707431two pintsSpectator
I don’t use a pad on the inside or outside of my frameless pack. Instead I use careful packing. Packing order is sleeping bag first, then xlite, then extra clothes (all inside my plastic pack liner). Then goes in my tent (no poles), then food bag. Only real trick is to make sure I don’t have any lumps from the food bag digging into my shoulders.
Before rolling the pack down and cinching it closed, I lay the pack on the ground and press the internal contents flat, then I cinch it closed. This helps make a flat surface against my back.
Water bottles, electronics/spares/FAK ditty, toilet kit, filter, extra water bags all go in external pockets.
I used to use an internal pad on my ULA Ohm 1.0 (granted, not a frameless pack, but pretty close) but over time I realized I didn’t need it. Now I just carry a small square of 1/4″ foam for my butt pad, and I keep it pretty handy in the back pocket of my pack.Apr 2, 2021 at 10:43 am #3707469Michael BBPL Member
I would say I don’t really “need” the foam sheet for comfort, but it does help when I have my BV450 loaded up. It is mostly because I want the foam as an additional barrier for my air pad anyway, and it also helps to keep the pack sufficiently rigid while loading it up, since my MYOG pack is made from Robic 420, and that fabric is very floppy compared to DCF or Xpac.Apr 3, 2021 at 7:40 am #3707535Chris BellBPL Member
@hobbitLocale: PA Wilds
I have small and larger frameless packs depending on season of year and length of trip. As mentioned, loading the pack fully provides the virtual frame. Having the pack sized for the trip helps , ie weekends vs a week, cold vs hot weather and associated gear to stay warm.
So the only time I’ll put the pad inside is for additional structure above the shoulder straps. This is on my larger packs, example MLD Exodus. For a long trip I find it difficult to keep the shape of the pack full above the straps as the food is eaten down. So the pad inside will help with that.
This discussion got me thinking back when going frameless with the ULA Amp, GVP G4 and Fanatic Fringe Thompson peak packs. Fortunately the frameless pack designs have changed a great deal since then. Note, the “Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011” Part 1 of 4 is still available on this website and a good read.
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