- Oct 16, 2017 at 3:38 am #3496974
I just got a Seek Outside Divide 4500 and am looking forward to using it next weekend for the first time. I’m trying to get it dialed in. My main difficulty is getting the top of the pack to stay close to my back without overdoing it a bit on the load lifters. It seems to hang back a bit, which means I have to compensate by leaning forward a bit more than I’d like. I’ve got about a 18″ torso, so I ordered it with a set of 2in frame extensions. They came installed but seemed overkill for the weekend trip I have planned so I pulled them out. This puts the top of the frame around the bottom of my ears so I still get adequate lift. Any tips would be appreciated, I’ve shortened the torso adjustment a bit (I think you need to do this if you change the frame length), and tightened up the harness straps the pull upwards on the harness. I’ll try and post a side profile picture tomorrow to give a better visual.
Here are some the resources I’ve used to glean info on the pack (both before and after purchase).
It would be interesting to see how some others have set up their suspensions since there are so many adjustments.
Belt Position – 2 grommet positions (plus a 3rd wrapped position). I think this changes the effective frame height. You might have to add/remove frame extensions if you mess with this to keep the same load lift/frame height. This also affects where the back pad rests, I wonder if dropping my frame down a grommet might allow the pack to sit a little tighter since the pad will nestle into the small of my back more (this pad seems to be the fulcrum that the load lifters and hip belt make it teeter on). You can also choose whether to capture the belt with the bottom strap of the pack bag, or let the frame hang from the belt without capturing the belt. The more dangly positions will allow for more belt wrap around your waist, but allow the frame to float around a little more unconstrained. I haven’t messed with this one.
Frame Height – I pulled out my two inch extensions, will probably just use them for family trips where I’m the pack-horse, or longer gear intensive trips. Love that this is adjustable.
Upper Frame Stay – Keeps the pack-bag from barreling into your back and increases back ventilation by creating an air gap. May not be necessary under lighter loads where the bag isn’t stuffed.
Load lifter angle – Tri-glides on the top of the shoulder straps allow the lower position of the load lifter to be adjusted. I didn’t realize this adjustment existed until I read sectionhiker’s review. Seems like it might be a nice thing to tweak on longer trips under heavy loads. Is 45 degree an ideal angle, or is it personal preference?
Torso length – Curious if people adjust this to get the U in the harness right against the C7 area of your neck, or shorten the torso more so the straps go more up and over your shoulders (putting the inside of the U further down your neck/upper back). If I set the U close to my C7 then the load lifters seem to pull the straps off my shoulders excessively when trying to pull the top of the pack in towards my upper back.
Upper harness tension – Goes from the harness to the top of the pack near the upper load lifter attachment. I tried to tighten this as much as I could to keep the pack tidy against me.Oct 16, 2017 at 5:20 am #3496990
Let the frame ride as low as possible at the end of the grommet straps hanging down from the waist belt. Also, I think the new black frame can be bent by the user so you may be able to modify it. The old larger diameter silver tubes were too stiff.Oct 16, 2017 at 7:27 pm #3497103
I dropped the frame to the lowest hip-belt grommet, but I haven’t done any frame tweaks yet.
Here are some pictures:Oct 16, 2017 at 7:43 pm #3497109
Because the bottom of the frame ‘hangs’ or is suspended from the straps coming off the bottom of the hip belt, the farther down that strap you go the more the bottom of the pack is able to lever away from your butt. I mostly notice this when bending forward to duck under branches, where in a higher grommet the pack resists my attempt to bend forward while in the lower grommet it restricts my forward bend less. This should also allow the top of the frame to be pulled in towards your upper back more. But it looks like you may want to decrease the radius of the bend around your shoulder blades to bring the top of the frame in a bit.Oct 16, 2017 at 7:48 pm #3497112
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Is there any slack in the webbing where the harness attaches to the pack? It looks like it could be tightened bringing the pack closer to your back.
Have you tried contacting SO? Send them a pic and they can certainly help.Oct 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm #3497126
It looks like there is slack but it is really quite taunt (the loose end of the webbing is tucked in there too making it look slack). The straps pull horizontally on a fairly long unsupported vertical piece of webbing so it deflects fairly easily (unless you haul on the load lifters to pull the top of the pack in).Oct 16, 2017 at 9:29 pm #3497140
Nick DBPL Member
@stumpjumperLocale: Santa Barbara, CA
Definitely adjust the frame geometry. I used the arm of a couch. Gently bend the lower frame away from your mid-back and then at about the half-way point start to curve to top of the frame to the shape of your spine up and around your shoulders. Mine has a consistent 2-3″ gap that follows the curve of my spine. *Note if you just try to recurve the top of the frame, the middle will jam into your back. You’ve got to S-bend the whole thing.Oct 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm #3497168
I spoke with Nathan from SO, he was pretty helpful and gave me 4-5 tweaks to do before I bend the frame.Oct 17, 2017 at 12:20 am #3497183
Robert GBPL Member
What were the tweaks?Oct 17, 2017 at 12:56 am #3497186
Tweaks from Nathan
- Likely a bit of over stuffing in the lower half of the pack bag causing barrelling. (I hastily stuffed a bunch of gear in there without much thought).
- move the horizontal stay down the frame (against the back pad) to combat barrelling where it teeters on my back.
- lengthen torso adjustment so top harness strap is shorter to where it connects to the bag. So the inside of the u bend of the shoulder harness is even with or above my C7 vertebrae
- move load lifter shoulder harness glide forward to make load lifter pull a little more horizontally
It’s too early to know for sure but tweaks 2 to 4, (along with dropping to the lowest belt grommet) seem to have a made a significant difference even without repacking my bag. I’m going to hold off bending any metal until I get some real miles on it.Oct 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm #3497254
Josh, I’d add one more thing to try. I’m not sure from the pics how the torso adjusting straps are routed, but if you run them behind the cross stay it tends to capture the harness a bit more and suck the pack up to your back, even with looser load lifters.
A lot of our adjustments are preference. Kevin likes the harness captured as such, I prefer it (very) floating. Kevin runs his load lifters looser, I like mine tight. The system is accomplishing the same thing, but in different ways.
Same deal on hipbelt grommet choice. I’m 6’3″ with an 18.5″ torso and use the top grommet and wrap it around to the back of the frame to make it ride as high as possible. I know other 6’3″ guys with even longer torsos that prefer the lowest grommet position.
Bending the frame should be the last resort. First, get some miles under it and let everything settle in, play with torso height, torso webbing routed behind or in front of cross stay, load lifter position, belt position, cross stay position, packing and load distribution, then you have the option of a lumbar pad.
Of all that miles under the pack is probably the most important. Our packs feel very different from most (in a good way) and it can take some getting used to.Oct 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm #3497263
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Definitely shorten your torso, I like the apex of the U bend on the harness a good 1-1.5″ below the base of my C7.
After that do everything Nathan says, but I think you’ll end up wanting to flatten the first curve on the frame. Take it very slow in order to make the two sides symmetrical.Oct 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm #3497270
“I just got a Seek Outside Divide 4500 and am looking forward to using it next weekend for the first time. I’m trying to get it dialed in.”
Man, I can relate as I’m prepping for a 20 day trip into the TN/NC mountains with my new SO Brooks pack and so far no tweaking needed, although with significant weight I notice the bottom of the frame is about a quarter inch from rubbing my back hips. I have the belt “captured” and on the first top grommet.
I’m not fooling around with it anymore until I load it up on Day 1 and hit the trail for the duration. Then adjustments will be made because real-world use is totally different than at-home tweaking.
I did the following things to prepare this pack for my trip—
** I went to Lowes and bought a couple 10/32nd flat head machine bolts to replace hipbelt bolts if lost/or needed.
** Got 2 lock nuts for these bolts.
** Found a lightweight 3/8 inch wrench which works with SO lock nuts.
** Added 2 washers I found in the garage which fit the bolt and will allow the bolt head to stay in the grommet if the grommet deforms and widens. Here’s some pics—
This pic shows the spare bolt, locknut and washers—along with the bolt tool.
Here’s the little 3/8 inch wrench to work with the SO hipbelt bolt.Oct 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm #3497280
Here’s another SO fitment video. Older but with more dialogue.Oct 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm #3497312
Walter, we use rolled rim grommets with spur washers. They’re the strongest made, something that has been in use for decades and is proven. I can’t imagine one of them deforming under a load that a human can carry.Oct 17, 2017 at 7:20 pm #3497313
Thanks Nathan for the head’s up on the grommets. Since the bulk of the weight of my pack will be on the hipbelt, and since the belt attaches to the frame at these two grommet/bolt connectors, I’m going overkill with “just in case” stuff.
Overthinking all this I know, but worse case would be the grommet pulling away from the webbing itself and not the grommet itself deforming, as you say. Won’t ever happen I’m sure.
Oct 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm #3497326
- This reply was modified 5 months ago by Tipi Walter.
With the way that grommet grips the webbing I don’t think it’s a concern. That connection has been a zero fail option for us even with 150+ lb loads by users.
If you want the ability to change grommet position on the trail look into a mini channel lock set of pliers. Handy little devils, and multiuse.Oct 17, 2017 at 9:23 pm #3497329
kevin timmBPL Member
@ktimmLocale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Regarding fit of the user .. the lumbar pad will improve the angles a lot by moving the pack out a bit further from the waist.
Not sure, if you want to add the weight but it is an optionOct 17, 2017 at 10:01 pm #3497339
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
The pre-production (September 2013) belt that came with the original Seek Outside Evolution frame I reviewed here on BPL had grommets whose upper edges were just starting to work through the webbing last summer, after several thousand miles of use. I retired it, but it probably had another thousand miles at least.
I lost a bolt in the field a number of years ago and hunted another full day, then packed out a mule deer with paracord holding the grommet to the frame. It suffered some abrasion, but was nowhere near failure. Realistically an easy field fix.Oct 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm #3497342
I lost a bolt in the middle of our Alaska Fairweather/Lost Coast trip last summer and also used a piece of paracord to hold the strap in place. Worked like a charm and I considered just making that permanent. :^)Oct 17, 2017 at 10:12 pm #3497344
How does a lock nut come lose??Oct 17, 2017 at 10:16 pm #3497345
I removed my lock nut a bunch of times changing things around and the nylon insert just became ineffective. A *slightly* longer bolt and using a new nut occasionally would solve that.
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