- Jul 9, 2019 at 4:23 pm #3601271Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Interesting that you illustrate your point by ancient images. Since reading Robert Harris’ historical novel of the life of Roman senator Cicero, when many including Cicero ended up with their heads on a pike, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of progress and evolution, even though it doesn’t always appear to be happening (like trying to watch grass grow). There have been a number of comments on BPL about the drawbacks of balancing packs carried on the front. Along with lightening loads, I think there are better design options.Jul 9, 2019 at 7:59 pm #3601302StumphgesBPL Member
I think you’re right, in that balancing the back load with front load, especially as Aaron does with both loads resting mainly on the hipbelt (aft and fore), is the simplest solution. But as Sam points out, there seems to be a lot of resistance to front packs. Gynecomastia jokes about bifurcated bags come so easily to the passerby’s mind.
The pack designed by a BPL poster with a pivoting carbon fiber wing assembly that slots into the side of the hipbelt essentially accomplishes fore/aft balance, particularly if a light 3 pound front pack is added to balance the backward tilt of the main pack load, as the inventor explains here: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/backpack-articulationfreedom-of-movement/page/3/
I see that Aaron has started to offer smaller pack designs with smaller and more subtle frontal storage, like this one: https://www.aarnpacks.com/collections/volume-0-40-litres/products/back-favour
I’m using 22 or 32 liter bags with pivoting hipbelts and sliding shoulder straps that I balance with a couple different waist packs/shoulder strap holsters/bags when my load gets heavier this summer. These are working well for me, but I would buy that carbon fiber wing pack in a heartbeat were it available.Jul 10, 2019 at 4:23 am #3601358Doug CoeBPL Member
@sierradougLocale: Bay Area, CA, USA
I’m curious—what are the “22 or 32 liter bags with pivoting hipbelts and sliding shoulder straps” that you’re using? Are they MYOG?Jul 11, 2019 at 5:29 am #3601511Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Have seen the newer packs with shoulder straps that adjust to the movement of the hipbelt, and vice-versa, and thus allow the body to move more freely. Not sure if this is what Stumphges is using.
The illustrations on the SO website show a very wide hipbelt, that will surely resist slippage; but not all the SO packs appear to have such a wide belt, and am sure there is more than that to the satisfaction expressed with their packs. An old friend tells me that the Zpacks don’t slip either, and are obviously quite lighter. So am also curious about Stumphges’ pack. Have read carefully through the page on his link, and did not find quite what was suggested.
Bottom line, a frame or other design that is flexible in the right directions, and not so much where stiffness is needed, is essential to comfort, whether called ‘articulation’ or something else. But I think this is not the same as the ability of the pack suspension to keep nearly all the weight comfortably on the pelvic girdle without slipping. If that is achieved without letting the center of gravity move backward and pull on the shoulders, there will be very little pressure on the spine. A flexible suspended mesh back band strung on a flexible frame will help to insure this, and will also disperse perspiration. And designing flexibility where needed will eliminate stiffness in the wrong places that creates discomfort.
So no matter how many gizmos are designed into the harness, the weight will still be on the spine if the hipbelt slips, especially when the upper body is flexing and after hiking for long periods. That’s why I think Stephenson had it almost right, but realize some of the cottage pack makers are not going to give away the recipes for their secret sauce; so aside from satisfied customers, it is tough of assess whether they have come up with new and better solutions. That the pack illustrations do not provide much in the way of close-up views of the suspensions and frames does not help either. And some satisfied customers may have developed very strong backs that can comfortably carry 20-25 lbs 20 miles up and down mountains in an old hat.
This leaves the options of MYOG or looking at comfy packs up close in stores, which do not carry the cottage products. That narrows it down to MYOG, and agree with the light hearted critique of the engineering articles, which would narrow it down ever further, except that I carried modified Stephenson suspension designs for many years, with great comfort. So think lightening the modded jackpack is worth pursuing.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.