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Seek Outside Divide 4500 Backpack Review


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Seek Outside Divide 4500 Backpack Review

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  • #3649622
    Backpacking Light
    Admin

    @backpackinglight

    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    The Seek Outside Divide 4500 (54 oz / 1531 g, $359) is a high-capacity external frame backpack designed to carry heavy loads.

    #3649630
    Adam G
    BPL Member

    @adamg

    It’s an amazing pack. In the quarantine, I was hiking around the city with a pack to get some exercise. I loaded it up and weighed it. It said 40 lbs but didn’t feel even close when I was wearing it. I figured my scale was broken. I then took out everything and weighed it individually, knowing that the 20 lb ankle weights were indeed 20 lbs. The scale was right. I loaded it up to 50 lbs just to make the relatively flat hike harder. Carried like a dream.

    #3649634
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    Thanks for the review!

    I purchased my pack early this winter and got in close to a dozen winter trips.  Just finished the Bob Marshall Open and used the same pack.

    I really like this pack for winter camping, or any trip where you need more volume or are carrying heavy loads.  The X Pac material is bomber and as close to waterproof as a pack can be.  It carries extremely well, much more so than an internal frame pack I’ve used (and that’s been a lot of them!).  The same frame is used by big game hunters and can easily handle loads of 100 lbs (wether one could handle carrying 100 lbs is a different question).  If I’m only packing 20 lbs or less and don’t need the volume, I’ll choose another pack- otherwise the Divide gets the nod.

    It’s lightweight for an external frame pack, ultralight might be a stretch.  For longer trips, winter trips and trips that require carrying more weight- I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better pack.

     

    #3649678
    D M
    BPL Member

    @farwalker

    Locale: What, ME worry?

    Really nice review, but four YEARS late. I’ve been trumpeting this and the Gila 3500 for years and all I got was crickets…..even though I’ve used it for 6,000 miles…yea I know sour grapes but really?

    #3649688
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    Nice review.  Based on the photos, I personally would be exchanging the hip belt for a size up.  I don’t like when the padded wings barely end on the sides of my hips, like this one appears to in the photo.

    What’s the consensus on this?   Should a padded hip belt wrap around more for better comfort, or is it sufficient as shown in Drew’s photo?

    #3649690
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    I definitely prefer mine to wrap around more than what is pictured.  I’ve seen some folks where them where there is only an inch gap, that’s too much the other direction.  The sweet spot for me is having that belt fully enclosing the front of my hip bones

    #3649698
    Ben Perry
    BPL Member

    @olias_of_sunhillow

    My own preference would be a longer hip belt with a greater degree of wrap. Perhaps this also impacted the usefulness of the hip pocket on Drew’s trip?

    #3649702
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    ^ very possible; I have the optional hip pockets on mine and are easily accessible and unlike other manufacturers, the SO ones are very generously sized so you can fit a fair amount ear in them

    #3649703
    Drew Smith
    BPL Member

    @drewsmith

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Re: hipbelt sizes, @olias_of_sunhillow, @mtwarden, @jjmcwill

    My waist size is 34″, at the upper range of the medium size spec (29-34″). I opted for that because my waist shrinks during hikes and I hate running out of room to tighten down.

    Even though I am at the upper end of the nominal range, you’ll note there is plenty tag end on the straps. Something to keep in mind if you are deciding between sizes. Although I can’t speak for Seek Outside, I bet they would accommodate you if you asked to order two and return one.

    How much wrap one prefers is subjective of course. I found the hip belt ride of the Divide 4500 to be one of the most comfortable of the many packs I have owned over the decades. Perhaps the large size would have been even better, but I have no complaints.

     

    #3649724
    Gerard Mulford
    BPL Member

    @gdm2

    Locale: Montgomery County, MD

    +1 on the hipbelt comfort and overall ride of these packs.  Between my sons and I we have 2 Divides and one Unaweep (another model with the same suspension).  Carries great from 15# to 65#, and able to cinch down or expand as needed to position the loads accordingly.

    Old school design (…bag, hip belt, and shoulder straps all connected directly to frame) meets modern materials and adds some new tricks.

    #3649745
    kevin timm
    BPL Member

    @ktimm

    Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)

    We recommend at least 1.5 inches past the front of the illiacs . The Lumbar pad does reduce the belt wrap slightly.

    Yes we exchange belts all the time to get the right size.

    #3649762
    Pedestrian
    BPL Member

    @pedestrian

    Am I missing something here?

    The Divide’s been around at least 4-5 years and extensively written about and discussed on various threads on BPL with a bunch of informal reviews. If BPL felt compelled at this late stage to publish a review it would have to add some value beyond what’s already out there. Why bother doing a “Limited” review with marginal additional value?

    Or follow up with a longer term review.

     

     

    #3649847
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    I agree with the review and have for years.  I too wonder about BPL reviewing years old gear like the Divide, the Moment as well. Both well discussed in the forum. The Divide review is also labeled new features but nothing is mentioned.

    A great pack but an odd timed review choice.

    Delete less, discuss more. Learn.

    #3650668
    David U
    Spectator

    @the-family-guy

    I really like reviews like this with less bias that you would find on the forums.  Additionally, this pack has changed over the years and is likely not the same pack as when it first came out (i.e. like many products we see in this market).  It also gives an opportunity to the manufacturer to respond to questions (thanks Kevin).

    Keep these reviews up; it is why I have recently come back as a member.

    #3650671
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    Am I missing something here?

    The Divide’s been around at least 4-5 years and extensively written about and discussed on various threads on BPL with a bunch of informal reviews. If BPL felt compelled at this late stage to publish a review it would have to add some value beyond what’s already out there. Why bother doing a “Limited” review with marginal additional value?

    Or follow up with a longer term review.

     

    I agree with the review and have for years.  I too wonder about BPL reviewing years old gear like the Divide . . .

     

    Isn’t it a “heavy” backpack?

    From the article, “The Seek Outside Divide 4500  (54 oz / 1531 g, $359) is a high-capacity external frame backpack designed to carry heavy loads.”

    I suspect there would have been a lot of criticism and gnashing of teeth for reviewing a “heavy” pack 4 or 5 years ago. Seems you can never please everyone. In comparison, a lot of people tell me I can’t be a lightweight or UL backpacker with my 1971 Kelty D4 external pack (57.50 oz/ 1630 g, $40), which weighs 3.5 ounces more than the tested Seek Outside pack. How’s that for dollar cost averaging — $0.82 cost per year.

    From my trip a few days ago in the Santa Rosa Mountains . . .

     

    BTW Drew, nice review. Lost Palms Canyon is more fun going the other way (down) with an external ;)

     

     

     

    #3650681
    Tipi Walter
    BPL Member

    @tipiwalter

    I used a Brooks SO pack for a 21 day backpacking trip in November 2017 and it has some pros and cons.

    Of course I really liked the waterproof Xpack material (is this what it’s called?)—and liked the full length zipper on the pack body for quick dumping of all my gear in camp.  And liked the roll top feature.  And of course the overall lightness of the pack.

     

    Here’s the pack at the beginning of the trip.  Since I wanted a pack lid (it didn’t come with a lid) I had to use my old Mystery Ranch lid along with some gatekeeper buckles and straps etc.  Pack weight on this 21 day winter trip was about 85 lbs.

    Gatekeeper buckles.  While these buckles offer great flexibility—you can put them anywhere on any strap—they had the irritating propensity to open up without my permission—often when the pack was on the ground during a reststop or moved along the ground for slide-under blowdowns.  Then gear would dangle off the pack etc.

    The main criteria for a pack is its comfort level—how does it feel after hiking all day with significant weight?  Here is where the Brooks pack failed me.  Of course it must be remembered I was carrying around 85+ lbs.  The first problem is shown above—by how close the metal frame comes to the hipbelt.  I tried all three configurations for hipbelt placement and always got the same results—the nagging nuisance of the frame hitting my hips most especially when twisting to get around trail brush and blowdowns.

    So much weight caused the pack to SAG which put tremendous stress on the hipbelt/frame combo thereby causing the pack to sag uncomfortably.  There’s just not enough clearance between the hipbelt padding and the frame.

    Another problem was with the shoulder harness.  Looks normal in this pic, right?

     

    Well, right behind the shoulder/back padding are two metal slide buckles—and these eventually became hot spots on my back and became noticeable after several days of the trip.  Just some thoughts.

    #3650686
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    Tipi – Interesting thoughts on the pack – I used a Unaweep 4800 that I modified slightly (2lb 15oz now) on a 14 day unsupported trip and when one of the guys I was with rolled his ankle in an Alder thicket, I ended up carrying 40lbs after taking some of his gear, and also used it on an 11 day unsupported backpacking/packrafting trip where my starting weight was over 40 pounds and I thought it was wonderfully comfortable.  I felt like my body would give out before the frame, which at 85 pounds my body probably would have given out!!! That’s impressive !!

    #3650688
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    “Additionally, this pack has changed over the years and is likely not the same pack as when it first came out (i.e. like many products we see in this market)”

    “ The Divide review is also labeled new features but nothing is mentioned.”

    Well?

    #3650738
    kevin timm
    BPL Member

    @ktimm

    Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)

    — We changed from Bachelor Buckles to GateKeepers.
    — Slight changes to back pad
    — Tabs on pack bag to thread the harness
    — Colors / Fabrics … slight changes. We added Cordura bottle pockets vs X-pac
    — 3rd grommet on belt and dual tension forward pull.

    Pack fit is subjective and a bit dependent on body type. For the most parts, Tipis experience does not seem to consistent with the feedback we receive regarding GK, tabs , frame etc. However, it does not work for everyone for whatever reason. One thing we have changed is how we send it which should fit everyone pretty good out of the box. The longest heavy load test I know of is one of our original testers on a prototype did 105 lb dry weight for 30 plus miles over 3 days. However, we have had people carry up to and possibly above 160 several times. I know of one other customer that carried about 130 lbs 16 plus miles in northern alaska on a pack out as well.

    #3650751
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    Thanks Kevin.

    #3651071
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    Tipi – curious as to how many miles you hiked with 85 lbs? what was your daily mileage?

    How did you pack your pack? Seems like most of your food was probably down at the bottom of the pack so that you do not have to remove the food weight every day – did that probably cause the discomfort near your belt? But, I guess you dont want your sleeping bag at the bottom all the time as that would mean removing all the food every day from your pack…just curious.

    #3651076
    Tipi Walter
    BPL Member

    @tipiwalter

    Murali—on that particular trip I pulled approx. 61 miles of backpacking with the Brooks.

    I always put my down sleeping bag at the very bottom of the pack as it’s the last thing pulled out of the pack upon camp arrival.  On top of the bag are the 2-3 big food bags—with other gear sandwiched between the bags like stove and rain jacket and a couple books etc.  The food weight helps to keep the sleeping bag in its stuff sack compressed.

    Here’s the pack in action on South Fork Creek in Citico wilderness TN—

    #3651098
    David U
    Spectator

    @the-family-guy

    “right behind the shoulder/back padding are two metal slide buckles—and these eventually became hot spots on my back and became noticeable after several days of the trip. ”

    I am trying to figure out what you are saying here.  Do you mean the padding was not sufficient?

    #3651507
    Tipi Walter
    BPL Member

    @tipiwalter

    David—yes, the pack pressed tight against my back shoulders and I felt the metal buckles.  Extreme weight changes everything when it comes to backpack comfort.

    #3672135
    Brian K
    BPL Member

    @briankeenan

    I own a Unaweep 4800.  On the hip belt pocket issue – the way that the webbing in the hip belt is set up, any MOLLE-based pouch will attach to it.  This system is a little heavier than the ultralight flexible-ribbon hold method typical of Zpacks, HMG, etc, but the trade-off is that you have a MUCH larger population of pouches to choose from, and they’re MUCH cheaper.  Just go to Amazon and type in “MOLLE” and see what I mean.

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