- Mar 14, 2018 at 6:05 pm #3524534
Hey I have a gear question for you guys. I currently work for the Copper River Native Association in Alaska as a Recreation Specialist. Our goal is to get the native youth in our area involved in the wilderness again so they can connect to the traditional ways and values and be outside doing healthy things. This summer we are focusing on the Middle School group. Mostly we are doing river trips but at least one backpacking trip is in the plans. Looking ahead to 2019/2020 we’ll have more backpacking, High School kids and maybe some packrafting and mountaineering trips.
Right now I’m looking into purchasing a set of backpacks for our kids. Here is what I’m looking at to start with.
- OSPREY Kids’ Ace 50 Backpack
- North Face Terra 55 Youth
- Osprey Volt 60 Pack
Any thoughts or other ideas? We don’t have the budget to buy a closet full of HMG Porters. I’m liking the Osprey since its relatively light and adjustable.Mar 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm #3524542
Charles LBPL Member
You clearly have more money than my group does, so you have much better options. For our Scouting program, which does six to ten backpacking trips a year, we recommend Teton Scout 3400 ( https://tinyurl.com/ybs6zpt2 ) or Scout 4000 ( https://tinyurl.com/y9sygst8 ). They are cheap, nicely adjustable, priced around $70, and so far very durable. We were led to those through Clark Green’s review at http://scoutmastercg.com/best-internal-frame-pack-for-scouts/
They are not nice like the Osprey packs I’ve seen. Definitely not the same carrying experience as the Osprey packs with that nice AG outfit.
We looked at nicer, more expensive ultralight packs, but ultimately for our kids, between 7th-12th grade, it didn’t make sense. Most UL packs have a low weight limit, and I see too many of our kids overweighting their packs, making bad decisions in terms of managing the loads, not being kind to the packs when they’re taking them off/putting them on, &c. Particularly middle & high school boys seem to have periods where they’ll just do whatever, despite knowing better at other times.
So, from a safety perspective, I’d recommend tougher, stronger bags. Of course, ymmv, and you should go with what you feel is right.
-CharlesMar 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm #3524549
Thanks Charles. We don’t have unlimited funds either. Most of our other gear (cooking, etc) is going to err on the side of cheap and durable since it will also get used for rafting trips and generally get a lot of abuse. The main area where I think we’d spend a bit extra to save weight is on packs and maybe tarps instead of our heavy tents and cheap synthetic sleeping bags to save weight and also to save wear and tear on our heavy tents and 0 degree sleeping bags.Mar 14, 2018 at 7:50 pm #3524575
Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
Have you tried contacting REI, manufacturers directly, outdoor guiding companies, etc.? There may be grants of money or equipment out there for you.Mar 14, 2018 at 8:13 pm #3524582
Greg PehrsonBPL Member
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
What about JanSport? I know they’re not too popular here, but their stuff is durable and their warranty is fantastic which could be nice to count on for a program working with kids (they repaired a 25 year old travel backpack for me for free which I used as my first lightweight backpack for several years). Their Katahdin 50L is 2 lbs 6 oz and can frequently be found for $70 or less (they’re $100 new), plus JanSport does have a community partnerships program, like Michael S. was suggesting to look into above. From their site, under “Partnerships”:
“JanSport will accept and review philanthropic, environmental and educational endeavors for individuals and groups.
Please write to:
Attention: Community Relations
2601 Harbor Bay Parkway
Alameda, CA 94502”
I’m not affiliated with them in any way, just happy with my experience with them.Mar 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm #3524616
Andre BuhotBPL Member
Hi I work in outdoor education so I’m out in the field with groups for most of the year. This is the pack we use for kids. We have some that a nearly 10 years old
I would recommend a pack with as few features as possible. Top loading with no sleeping bag compartment
The Black diamond Misson looks good as does the Stone
The Kids will break them if they canMar 14, 2018 at 10:18 pm #3524617
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
When buying packs for nephew and niece, I often saw the Mountainsmith Scream 55 & 50 (W) on sale for under $100. Never got them. Just throwing another option. The Kathadin seems lighter though…
Mar 15, 2018 at 12:05 am #3524642
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by iago.
Thanks for the tips guys. There are bunch of packs in their I haven’t seen before so this is making the gear research go a lot faster.
Michael, yes we are investigating pro deals, grants, etc.
I’m especially liking that Jansport Katadin because it has an adjustable torso. The other packs look great but we’d have to buy more in order to make sure we had enough of each size. But if we get a good enough deal that might work. Or we might buy a few later on for more advanced trips with a smaller more select group of participants.
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