- Nov 17, 2019 at 9:01 pm #3619219Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Companion forum thread to: Keeping Gear Handy on the Trail with Multi-Use Accessory and Utility Pouches
Having accessible “pockets” on your pack is useful for keeping little bits of gear handy without taking off your pack. But consider a multi-use pouch that can also be worn as a standalone fanny-style pack.Nov 17, 2019 at 10:02 pm #3619224Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
For a few decades now I have used:
- side pockets-> fuel and stove stuff, water purification stuff,1st aid kit, toilet kit, potty kit, etc.
- “wet rib” pocket/pouch-> bike bottle with electrolyte drink, map compass, snacks, bug repellant, sunscreen
- shoulder strap pouches-> left side – TG 4 camera, right side – GPS
It not only makes it fast to get these items but frees up space in the main pack body.Nov 17, 2019 at 10:52 pm #3619234Bob .BPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
For accessible “pockets”, I like my Zpacks Nero with 2 side pockets, 2 roomy hip belt pouches, and 2 shoulder strap pouches and a total weight of only 15.1 oz (427g).Nov 17, 2019 at 11:44 pm #3619240
I still think that the Aarn pockets offer a lot more.
inside a similar pair to those I had water/camera/nut bars/hat/rain jacket/map/cup/toilet kit/first aid.(and less than half full.)
All with quick easy access and as a bonus the 5 lbs or so balanced some of the weight of the main pack.Nov 18, 2019 at 12:03 am #3619242Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I’m pretty intrigued by Aarn pockets as well. I wonder why more people haven’t adopted “Aarn”-style load balancing.
For me personally, I find them to be a little bit unwieldy while off-trail (scrambling steep terrain, thick brush) but it seems like they’d be ok for on-trail use.
Also they’re heavy, and I wonder if the weight isn’t worth the functionality they offer.
Aarn claims enhanced performance through load balancing, which in theory makes sense, but I wonder how practical the advantages are if you’re just carrying a light pack anyways.Nov 18, 2019 at 12:47 am #3619244matthew kModerator
Not sure if I should post here or in the Zerk thread but here goes:
I’m not thrilled with how the stretch mesh pockets overlap on the Zerk after my first hike wearing it today. I had hoped to move some significant weight up front using those pockets. I was imagining InReach, battery, phone and some food. My experience so far is that if you put one largish item (meaning even a 10000mah battery) in one pocket the other one becomes hard to use. Perhaps the best way to move weight forward is to carry water up front but that doesn’t achieve the goal of “keeping things handy”.Nov 18, 2019 at 12:48 am #3619245
yes, they make more sense when your pack weight is over 20 lbs or so and in particular if you need to carry extra water.
Even so I could have saved over a pound in pack weight using another pack but the convinience of easy access works for me.Nov 18, 2019 at 12:49 am #3619246matthew kModerator
Franco, how is the airflow with the Aarn pockets? They hang away from your body and don’t get sweaty like a wetrib or MUP right?Nov 18, 2019 at 7:44 am #3619307
If used with an Aarn pack there is a gap between the chest and the pockets. Looks to me that the universal type may not have that gap.
(not my photo)Nov 18, 2019 at 2:14 pm #3619317Erica RBPL Member
It is really nice having a light-weight pack; it is so easy to take off and on. I don’t hesitate to drop it if I am stationary for a few minutes. If I added the two Aarn universal front pockets to my Arc Blast it seems I would have to deal with 3 bags every time I put the pack on. Is that correct?
Franco says, “yes, they make more sense when your pack weight is over 20 lbs or so and in particular if you need to carry extra water.” That sounds right to me.Nov 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm #3619541MattBPL Member
@mhrLocale: San Juan Mtns.
Erica – After wrestling with running vests for years, I can say that the extra pouches on the straps will definitely complicate putting the pack on. Lightweight shoulder straps naturally twist as I shove my arms through them. Add twisting gear and bottles to the equation turns the whole mess into a Rubik’s cube.Nov 19, 2019 at 8:40 pm #3619611David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I like the convenience and ability to keep hiking during lunch, snacks, water, sunscreen touch-ups, etc.
A bit different than the focus of this article, but related: I like a 3-ounce, 15- to 20-liter silnylon daypack as 1) a daypack, 2) overflow volume on my chest after a resupply, clipped to my backpacks shoulder straps, and 3) for better fore-aft balance. It’s also a really cheap way to take your, say, 35-liter UL pack to a 55-liter pack when a longer trip or colder weather requires the added volume.Nov 19, 2019 at 8:44 pm #3619614David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
This is the most common kind of accessory holder I see in use on my local trails:
Not my cup of tea and bear spray has better outcomes AND WEIGHS LESS, but still, pretty common up here.Nov 23, 2019 at 9:26 pm #3620172KarenBPL Member
Seems like the more pockets, the more fiddly. I use a couple on the hipbelt, and that’s enough, most of the time. But I am light on electronic gadgets, so don’t need space for that. I hate fiddling with stuff all the time.
David, pepper spray holster is so much lighter! Maybe I’ll regret that some day. I’ll take my chances!Nov 26, 2019 at 8:50 pm #3620544Adam HolbrookBPL Member
@pharmerLocale: SW Ohio
I used a Zpacks multipack rigged to ride up near the chest strap of my HMG 3400 SW pack on my last section hike. I enjoyed having it there, but next time I’ll see if I can further rig it to help eliminate the swinging/ flopping/ bouncing and/ or I may try carrying it lower and around my waist. I have a newer style HMG pack with the updated hip belt pockets, but I still wish they were as far fwd on the belt as possible to make them easier to access. The chest pack essentially eliminates the need to get into the hip pockets which is a big plus when they’re hard to reach or use because they’re place too far back on the belt.
I’m interested in trying one of the new HMG Versa pockets. They look like they ride better than the multi pouch and are divided up rather than one large open pouch which will help with organization and easier locating items.Dec 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm #3621647Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I used an Aarn a few years ago on a Grand Canyon hike (brief comments in that link later on) and I sort of bought into the hype. Sort of. At the very least it was very nice to balance the load when you’re carrying absolute tons of water weight. But, yes, I thought they were overbuilt, and definitely not light.
@Dave- I looked into the studies that were being proposed as proof that bear spray works better than firearms a few years ago, and found them all to be either obviously biased or misrepresented. The one everyone tries to quote, for instance, compared 17 (?) instances where bear spray was deployed to a couple of hundred instances where firearms mostly were present but not used. That’s hardly a fair comparison. So I think we still can’t say that we know what works, though admittedly I haven’t done a literature search since then. No doubt, though, that spray is lighter and comes with fewer legal entanglements, as well as having the benefit of not being fatal. I’m all for bears, wolves, and whatever else being reintroduced wherever possible.
My prior TL;DR discussion is here.Dec 6, 2019 at 3:12 am #3621717HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Tried one of those chest pouches when I first started backpacking in the “bombproof” ‘90s, but it blocked a partial view of the ground when hiking. Found it a little unsettling.
Anymore I keep electronics in upper shoulder pouch(es) and gloves/bug net handy in hipbelt pockets (known location at all times). Electronics sometimes interfere with peripheral vision but at most a minor problem. Maybe a camera in my future but imagine I’d take camera specific protectors … then figure a way to secure to/in the pack. Snacks? Not since finding flavored almond butter for lunch..
Anything else can wait for camp.Dec 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm #3621758Brian WBPL Member
The fanny pack is back. Seeing these show up on a lot of influencers gear lists, but I’d opt for a cheaper one from Amazon first to see if actually like hiking with one.Dec 6, 2019 at 6:52 pm #3621786Dondo .BPL Member
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
Speaking of fanny packs, I wear one bandolier style (over my left shoulder and across the chest) underneath my day pack or overnight pack. In my case, it’s a repurposed Camelbak Repack which I originally got for mountain biking. It holds a camera, three lenses, batteries, and a couple of filters.
This works a lot better for me than other configurations I’ve tried. IMHO, it’s a real PIA to have to unclip anything from your shoulder straps anytime you need to take off your pack. And as Matt observed, extra pouches on the straps complicates things when you put your pack back on.
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