Jan 12, 2020 at 12:43 pm #3626679
Ok, I am a long time lurker, and reader, but just joined the community. Let me give you a little background then ask for some of your advice. I have multiple packs (Gregory, Osprey, Zpacks, Kelty) I am in the market for a new pack. I did the JMT with the Zpacks and it was fine but not the most comfortable, and the arc frame system I was not a big fan of.
My new pack I want it to be under 35oz. Price is not the deciding factor. I am fine with frameless, or aluminum stays, but do not want full suspension. I am currently looking at the following: ULA Circuit, ULA Ohm 2.0 (not sure if it can handle a bear can), SWD Long Haul 50, Atom Packs MO (not alot of reviews on this one), Zimmerbuilt Custom (know nothing about this brand) but heard good things), HMG 3400, Gossamer Gear G4-20.
The ability to customize (color, material, etc) would be nice but not a deal breaker. The ability to handle a bear can would be ideal as well (inside, or y-strap on top). I also want a roll top closure. Is there a particular pack brand I am missing? Any experience with any of these specific models?
Appreciate you taking the time to read this and we will see where this goes. Thanks againJan 12, 2020 at 2:31 pm #3626703Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Welcome Aaron. What average and max weight will the pack be carrying? And what volume are you looking for? You might add the MLD Burn and the MLD Profit to your list – they are worth looking at (well constructed, well-known and comfy). The MLD Burn served me well for a few years and carries up to 20lbs pretty comfy, even without much of a waist belt. Have never used the Profit, but with a padded hip belt it ought to give you another 5 lbs of comfortable carrying weight. At the risk of sounding self-serving, you might also consider the frameless Talaria backpack with some custom additions (padded hip belt, Y-strap, etc.).Jan 12, 2020 at 2:34 pm #3626705Tipi WalterBPL Member
Aaron—Send your exact post in an email to Dan McHale and he’ll design whatever you want—including a pack to carry a bear canister.Jan 12, 2020 at 3:33 pm #3626715
I like the SWD Long Haul 50 and have a custom version with a few mods and in XL torso size. I will add however that Seek Outside is coming out with a new pack called the Flight that is similar and should meet your criteria. I got the opportunity to test a prototype version this past August in the Sierra, and it carried a wonderfully. It has a nice streamlined shape that was a little more refined than the SWD. I had around 26lbs carrying microspikes and a Bearikade Weekender.
I think it is supposed to be officially released any time so you may email the folks at Seek Outside for more info.Jan 12, 2020 at 3:55 pm #3626727Bob ShuffBPL Member
I would check out the Hanchor Marl. I used it in the Sierra with a bear can vertically. That would have been tougher in the Ohm 2.0 that I have also. My son used a Circuit on the same trip. I also have an HMG Windrider 2400 that was too small.
The HMG 3400 would be a good choice, especially with the new hip belt pockets and I like the model with solid side and mesh front pockets. HMG does not have load lifters or a horizontal stay like the Marl, which uses XPAC instead of cuben. I like these two fabrics better than the ULA materials, but all brands make fine packs!Jan 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm #3626740Murali CBPL Member
Try the HMG 4400. I like this size better than HMG 3400 as it can fit a bear canister better and has slightly better suspension, bigger side/front pockets. And it scrunches down to 2400/3400 size. I had a HMG 3400 and I had a love/hate relationship with that bag as it carried superbly sometimes and horribly sometimes. There are tons of people who have great experiences with HMG packs and several for whom it doesn’t work. You should try it and see if if works for you. I sold my HMG 3400 after 450 miles of use. But, I got a HMG 4400 Northrim as I wanted to give it one more try.
While on the PCT-Washington southbound, I ran into several NOBO thru hikers – some of whom were carrying the HMG packs and after 2500+ miles, their packs looked as good as new – especially the black ones. So, durability wise, it is top notch.
I am still testing my HMG 4400 and I like it so far – but will know only when on the trail for 3 to 4 weeks when you discover the problems of a pack. I want to have that one pack that I can take for several years on several hikes – which I hope the HMG 4400 is. Lets see what happens. The good thing is that HMG packs are easy to sell.Jan 12, 2020 at 5:39 pm #3626746
“ULA Ohm 2.0 (not sure if it can handle a bear can)”
The Ohm can carry a bearcan but the rest of your gear will need to be compact if it’s a really big can. It’s a nice pack with great side pockets if that is important to you. I’ve hiked more with ULA packs than any other brand but have decided their shoulder straps are not as comfortable for me as Zimmerbuilt or MLD.
What is your baseweight and projected total pack weight? How bulky is your gear?
Oh, and welcome!Jan 12, 2020 at 5:49 pm #3626751
Everyone is different when it comes to packs. I’ve never liked HMG, but I’ve got a hiking buddy that’s done two thru hikes in one. I found HMG (I tried a 3400 and 4400) to be less comfortable than then the Z-Packs Arc Haul, and the SWD Long Haul 50 and Seek Outside Flight.Jan 12, 2020 at 5:59 pm #3626752
this was my gear weight for when I did part of the PCT/JMT.
I am always looking to buy new gear (who isn’t), but overall I really happy with most my gear.Jan 12, 2020 at 6:07 pm #3626753Jan 12, 2020 at 6:27 pm #3626758Murali CBPL Member
I own both the MLD Prophet or MLD Exodus for frameless. Their shoulder straps are the most comfortable straps I have experienced and they weigh around 18 to 19 oz. And lots of attachment points.
I think for your base weight though, frameless is probably not a good idea at this point. If you can get your base weight down to 10 to 12 lbs or so, you could use a frameless. Irrespective of what manufacturers claim their frameless can carry – in general, 22 to 25 lbs is the total pack weight (including food+water etc) you can carry in a frameless. Some can carry 26 to 30lbs – but those are in the minority.Jan 12, 2020 at 7:46 pm #3626763Mike MBPL Member
ULA makes great packs, but the Ohm is too small for a bear canister AND enough gear/food for more than a couple of days imo. The Circuit or Catalyst would be better choices.
I wouldn’t rule out full suspension either. SO makes several lightweight packs that make carrying 25-30 lbs pretty easy. Their Gila should fit the bill pretty easy or maybe the new pack that Brad mentions.Jan 12, 2020 at 8:21 pm #3626765
Yeah the Ohm is too small for your kit IMO.
Safe to assume you eat more than a mountainhouse for breakfast and another for dinner each day?
I hiked the JMT with a Catalyst. It worked well for my kit at the time which was similar in size/weight to what you list on your lighterpack.
Most people are comfortable with frameless packs when their total pack weight is near your baseweight. I think you should use something with a frame.Jan 13, 2020 at 10:46 am #3626855David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
What do you mean by full suspension?
Your gear list is relatively heavy (by the local standards), seems like a good suspension system and ~60 liter capacity would make life easier, esp with a bear can. SD Flex Capacitor is one to consider which hasn’t been mentioned, as is the new Rogue Panda Zoro.Jan 13, 2020 at 11:07 am #3626858
When I think of full suspension I think of my Osprey AG65- great pack just very heavy.
I am looking more towards something with just internal stays. My semantics may not be 100% correct but I am looking more for a partial suspension. Hopefully this is making sense.Jan 13, 2020 at 11:10 am #3626860RobBPL Member
Another pack you may want to look at is the Rogue Panda Zoro. It is a new pack so there is not much information out there but the company has a good reputation for their other gear, which revolves around biking. The pack has some interesting features including draw string hip belt pockets and a unique suspension system. It is a custom pack and uses VX fabrics which you have a choice of colors and weights. It’s on sale for the next couple of days.Jan 13, 2020 at 11:18 am #3626862
I just looked at your gear list and although you are looking at packs, I’ll give a couple of other suggestions as my two cents.
Your shelter is an obvious outlier – is this for solo use? I see you use trekking poles so the Massdrop X-Mid might be an inexpensive suggestion to try if you want to try a trekking pole supported shelter.
You could go lighter on your sleeping pad by using a Neoair X-Lite or even an X-Therm. Just an idea, I know sleeping pads can be subjective.
If you want to get technical only 8oz of your 12.8oz fuel canister are consumable.
You might could cut your clothing weight some. The Atom and REI Rain Jacket could be less, depending on where you are going. If you’re going to Alaska a full featured Gore Tex jacket is worth it, if you are going to the Sierra, it’s probably overkill. The real question is with your base layer pants and tights – do you need both? Also could you do without the camp shoes?
You have a pillow listed in clothing and another in Misc?
Why do you have two knives?
Two sit pads?
Depending on how much juice you need you might could get a lighter battery charger. Of course if you are using your phone for the camera you may need the extra juice.
I already mentioned the SWD Long Haul 50, which I like and they do pretty much any customization option you want. I also mentioned the Seek Outside Flight, which I also like – at ~45L it’s just barely big enough for a week with a bear can (for me anyways). If I was going with a ULA pack I’d defiantly choose the Circuit over the Ohm with a bear can.Jan 13, 2020 at 7:48 pm #3626955
Thanks Brad, here is a little explanation on some of my gear. My list would be alot different if I were to do it now after I did part of the JMT.
- I know my shelter is heavy – it was for solo use. I know thats an area I need to improve on.
- Never once put on the tights – I was told it would get really cold and to have a base layer. Hindsight I would not pack them.
- I accidentally listed a pillow in 2 sections, and only meant to list my sit pad once.
- Only took 1 knife which was the swiss army knife.
I talked with Seek Outside today and they were incredible to talk with. She went over all the specs on the flight, but did not discuss price, and left it up to my imagination on what it looked like.
I really do appreciate all the wisdom, know I have alot to learn. Thanks so much all you who have made comments. Please keep them coming.Jan 14, 2020 at 7:18 am #3627017Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
When I hiked the PCT I had a Gossamer Gear G4. It got the job done. I hated the pack though. It was cloying and hot against my body. And I had to put a stick in it against my back to keep it from hurting my back. It was big, though. After a while I never noticed it and didn’t care anymore about its flaws. I also hiked part of the PCT with an Osprey Aura. The extra 3lbs over a frameless pack was not felt at all. It was way more comfortable. I swapped out to a G4 because once I got better other gear, the Aura became too big. If your other internal frame packs work fine and you don’t hate them as much as I hated my G4, you should keep using them. Go on lots of trips and shop for packs on the trail by looking at what other people have. You can ask questions and get a way better look. That’s how I’ve now got an Arc Blast (which I know you don’t like, but I chose it because I could see everybody’s packs on a section hike and ask questions and get a good look.)Jan 14, 2020 at 7:24 am #3627019
I have some pictures of the prototype Flight I used last summer. I’ll try and post them here when I have more time.Jan 14, 2020 at 8:48 am #3627034JacobBPL Member
I have no experience, but CiloGear has their W/NWD WorkSacks
I think CiloGear is the only manufacturer using a completely woven dyneema face fabric.
Used in all Woven/NonWoven Dyneema® WorkSacks and packs.
Take the 260+ pound tear strength of our bare NWD and combine it with abrasion resistance equivalent to 11 oz vinyl, and you’ll find yourself making our exclusive W/NWD material. With a face fabric of woven Dyneema®, CiloGear made a new material that’s lighter than 210d pack cloth, yet stronger than any other material used in backpacks. The fabric is fully waterproof.
“Jan 14, 2020 at 8:58 am #3627036
I don’t have many pictures of the pack, but here are a few that give you a little bit of a look at it.Jan 14, 2020 at 7:00 pm #3627122kevin timmBPL Member
@ktimmLocale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
We added the extra dimension you requested Brad for the bear can. We are doing a re measure of capacity tomorrow. I think we may have added an inch or two to the roll top as well.Jan 14, 2020 at 7:18 pm #3627129
I’m excited to see what the production version of the Flight looks like. The Flight carried wonderfully with 26lbs. For me it carried significantly better than the Z-Packs or HMG or ULA Ohm, and as well or slightly better than the SWD Long Haul 50 and had the best hipbelt pockets I’ve ever used.Jan 14, 2020 at 7:35 pm #3627133
Any hint when the Flight might be available?
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