- Jun 19, 2020 at 1:10 pm #3653952
My first thoughts about the pouch were that it is unique but wasn’t sure how I would us it. Then I stuffed the Protrail behind it realized it had more utility than origionally credited. And…. if you want something totally different it would be a piece of cake to rig something up, i.e., a dry bag, the S2S one ounce daypack, something like the HMG Porter pouch, or just lashing of some sort. Lots of flexibility.Jun 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm #3653961Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Things I like: 1.)->tough bottom, side pockets and front stuff pocket. 2.)->large belt pockets 3.)->tubular inverted U frame
One thing I don’t like is no mesh back for ventilation as on my Osprey EXOS 58. My EXOS has spoiled me for its overall comfort for loads 30 lbs. of less.Jun 19, 2020 at 2:45 pm #3653974Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I had a jacket come out of a bungee forcing me to hike back a couple miles to get it, so I have decided that bungees on the back are not to be trusted.Jun 19, 2020 at 4:34 pm #3653991
Was that a longer expanse of bungee (e.g. like MLD etc with bungee zig-zagging for 12+ inches at a time across the pack? Here, with the front pocket breaks up the bungee into short lengths, so you can’t get nearly as large of holes opening up.
Re. back ventilation – as with a few other topics in this thread, it’s a pros/cons situation. A pack can have padding on the back but that ends up adding a fair bit of weight and potential issues (e.g. pine needles getting stuck) without really improving the situation much, or you can go for a full trampoline back like the Exos and ArcBlast. The latter does work pretty well to reduce a sweaty back but I just can’t embrace the ergonomics of that. It moves the load backward from you by a substantial amount, which necessitates more forward lean to counter-balance. I find that’s a major contributor to lower back soreness and ending up staring at your feet while hiking, so I don’t think it’s a net gain in hiking quality. My personal hunch is that those designs catch on mostly because people really notice the benefit from that feature (less sweaty back) whereas the downsides aren’t so immediately obvious and aren’t often traced back to the cause. I know lots of people like this, but I prefer to keep the load closer to my back.Jun 19, 2020 at 8:03 pm #3654033
I have an Arc Zip. The magical 2.5″ spacing doesn’t work for me. I might give an inch or usually no arc at all. However I do like that it at least has a suspension/frame that I can utilize to my taste.Jun 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm #3654034
Lots of innovative thought went into this pack. I’m looking forward to having one arrive in a week or so.Jun 19, 2020 at 9:24 pm #3654046Dan ABPL Member
Does anybody have any insight into the location of the lower attachment for the shoulder straps? From what I can tell in the photos it appears the junction is to the hip belt rather than to the bottom body of the pack itself. Is there any particular advantage to this? I’m not experienced in the world of pack design, but it’s something I haven’t seen before, or at least haven’t noticed.Jun 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm #3654060Jun 19, 2020 at 10:35 pm #3654062
Regarding the lower attachment of the shoulder strap, I’ll explain the rationale here. If you connect this strap into the main seam running up the corner of the pack, then you could do it above the hipbelt. However, that ends up being a pretty high attachment point so the shoulder straps will want to pull out towards the outside of the shoulders. That’s why it’s commonly attached lower in this seam.
But if you attach it lower – then the webbing runs over the hipbelt pockets or at least along the back edge of them where it tends to rub on the hipbelt pocket and potentially interfere with using them. I’ve had packs where the webbing has rubbed right through the pocket, and it’s a common problem on high milage packs because the webbing is tougher than the pocket material. Depending on the user/fit etc it might be fine or it might rub regularly, or it might clear the pocket with a normal stance but when you lean forward uphill it rubs. For example, here is photo of a different pack, showing the webbing touching the back of the hipbelt pocket:
If a pack maker does manage to figure out an arrangement like the one above that doesn’t rub, that’s likely because (1) the attachment isn’t that low, or (2) the hipbelt pockets are fairly far forward. The latter might work on a pack with a rather large hipbelt wings, but this pack is intended for lighter loads so it has a smaller hipbelt where there isn’t enough real estate on the hipbelt to move them forward and still have them a reasonable size. So attaching the straps to the top edge of the hipbelt is a nice solution because it avoids all chance of rubbing/abrasion while allowing the hipbelt pockets to be longer and it gives the same angle as a very low attachment (minimizing the strap tendency to want to slide outwards on your shoulders). This isn’t that common, but this certainly isn’t the first pack to do it.Jun 20, 2020 at 1:12 am #3654071William ChiltonBPL Member
It moves the load backward from you by a substantial amount
I think the effect of trampoline backs moving the load away from the back is often exaggerated.* I’ve just checked on my 2017 Exos 48 and the maximum deflection is 4cm and the “cord” (the length over which the pack frame is separated from the back is 22cm. The shape is a little complex but when loaded it basically forms this arc, which has an area of approximately 59sqcm. The Durston pack has an 8mm foam pad so assuming it’s 50cm long (size M/L) that gives an area of 40sqcm, so less than the Exos but the difference is less than I think most people would assume (and let’s not think about people loosening their shoulder straps to get some air on their backs).
There is a degree of simplification in the figures above and not all trampoline backs are equal, but I think it illustrates that trampoline backs shouldn’t be written off. How you pack the is also a factor; you can pack heavy items close to the shoulders and hips. Personally, I use a trampoline back in the warmer months (30+ degrees C) and a non-trampoline back in winter.
*I don’t recall anyone ever bringing up this subject regarding using Zlites or even partially inflated air mattresses in frameless packs even though that probably move the load even farther from the back.
Jun 20, 2020 at 9:59 pm #3654216Tom KBPL Member
- This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by William Chilton.
“I know lots of people like this, but I prefer to keep the load closer to my back.”
An emphatic +1 to that. A sweaty back is part of backpacking. A sore lower back doesn’t have to be.Jun 20, 2020 at 10:35 pm #3654218matthew kModerator
Same.Jun 21, 2020 at 11:22 pm #3654330Monty MontanaBPL Member
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
On Wednesday the 17th my Durston Drop pack arrived and I’ve been hiking the surrounding hills every day carrying 20/25 lbs in preparation for a four or five day trip this coming week and here are my impressions on:
ease of use
Because there’s no trampoline netting or thick corrugated foam on the back, this pack provides a close ride, allowing for an easy, natural gait. And since the tubular frame has a slight (very slight) anatomical bend, the pack is in close contact along its entire length, maintaining a good center of balance. However, on the con side, the hipbelt wings are a bit on the short side, measuring 7.5″ in length compared to 10.5″ on some of my other packs. I prefer a hipbelt to extend an inch, inch and a half beyond the forward edge of the illiac crest for the best carry-ability; as it stands the wings just about reach to the edge of the crest and so far no problems carrying the light weight (20 lbs) I’ve put in the pack. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes with more weight over long hauls.
As for comfort I do have some concerns. When the pack was first released on Drop, Dan stated that the yoke would be similar to the one on Osprey packs. Well, it isn’t. the latter’s is very supple and flexible while the former’s is rather stiff and doesn’t at all conform to the anatomical slope of one’s shoulder. In fact, there is a finger’s width of space between the strap’s outer edge and my shoulder, which means that all the weight will be carried on the inner edge, and probably will result in discomfort. This lack of torsional flex is in part due to the ridged yoke, and shoulder straps which are neither a J nor an S curve, but rather are nearly straight (just a hint of a J curve). Cinching up the sternum strap ameliorates this somewhat (though there is still a gap), and if the load is 20 lb or less it could be doable. If not, I have a mod.
For the most part the ease of use is what one would expect: hip belt pockets are accessible, the zippered side pocket is also accessible, if only I can remember which side it is on! Water bottles are not that easily retrieved, but I’ve never found that to be the case no matter which pack after I tore my rotor cuff; hence, a water bottle pocket on the shoulder strap would have been to my benefit. Not only that, but also to hold bear spray. During an earlier conversation with Dan I asked about that and he assured that the shoulder strap pocket would be capacious enough to accommodate a canister of bear spray. Not to worry though, as both Gossamer Gear and Zpacks make an excellent add-on shoulder strap pocket that will easily attach to the single daisy chain webbing on the strap. As for the zippered strap pockets I’m not sure I’d use them since I’m a retro-grouch and don’t have a phone or any of that other luckyhodinky stuff to put in there. And I shudder to think how my wire framed glasses would fare if not in a case.
Overall, at this stage, I’m pleased with Dan’s pack and I anticipate it performing well under light loads. Should the comfort be compromised because of an ill-fitting harness I can do a mod and I’ll tell you all about it!Jun 22, 2020 at 9:01 am #3654350StumphgesBPL Member
Regarding Dan’s comments about gaps between pack and back and the undersireable mechanical effects of same – including forward trunk lean, which is an unequivocally bad thing, in my book – I tend to agree, although I remember seeing some calculations on the forum years ago where it was determined that the effect is not as great as we would think. Nevertheless, I think achieving ventilation without moving the pack’s center of mass backward very much is a very worthy design goal and might be the next advance in backpack design.
I’ve gotten the impression from some of Dan’s comments in other threads that he’s a guy who distributes weight between shoulder straps and hipbelt. I inferred from this that some of the design choices for the Drop pack, including the short wing belt, reflects this preference. Personally, I’m a 90 hipbelt/10 shoulders kind of guy and want more belt on my packs.Jun 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm #3654411OpogobalusBPL Member
Nevertheless, I think achieving ventilation without moving the pack’s center of mass backward very much is a very worthy design goal and might be the next advance in backpack design.
It would certainly be a significant advancement in design to move the weight backward to add ventilation without moving the weight back!Jun 22, 2020 at 7:17 pm #3654439Kevin BabioneBPL Member
I’ll add a couple of thoughts on this thread:
- My DDD (Dan Durston Drop) pack arrived on Saturday and I’m very impressed, especially for the $150 price tag. I haven’t used it on a trip yet, but I did a test fit (loaded) and it was really comfortable. I now understand the side zipper pouch and really like it. My phone (iPhone 7 in a case) fits in the shoulder strap pocket. I’m looking forward to taking it out for a weekend (although my daughter has already told me that she’d be the first one to use it).
- My typical go-to pack is a ZPacks Arc Zip. I flex the frame between 1.5-2 inches to get some airflow to keep my back from sweating so much. I’ve never had an issue with the weight being further from my back, but I’m pretty careful how I load it. Because it’s the Zip model, it’s very easy to put the heavier items closer to my back and then put my quilts further away. I don’t have any photos, but hopefully that makes sense. It would be tougher to do with a top-loader (like the DDD) but probably still possible. I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to carry a bear canister (which throws everything off).
Thanks Dan – Your collaboration with Drop created a pack that’s a great value.Jun 22, 2020 at 10:07 pm #3654463matthew kModerator
I finally opened the pack up today. It is made nicely and a great value at $150.
That said, I think I’m sending it back. I do bring a phone for photos and gps while backpacking and I really don’t enjoy having it in my pants pocket while I’m walking all day. My iPhone XS (the smaller one) in a very thin case is an extremely tight fit. So tight that I’m worried it will bust the zipper open. I’m not comfortable putting my phone in the (very clever) left side zip pocket because I can’t glance down and visually confirm it is there and I know that will drive me nuts. I also can’t carry a water bottle up front.
I’m also having the same problem mentioned above about the shoulder straps lifting off on the outsides. I do have a thick, round chest, perhaps the pack fits someone thinner front to back than myself?
Thinner guys with small phones? This might be the pack for you!Jun 22, 2020 at 11:58 pm #3654471Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
For several years I had been pretty successful at resisting the “upgrade” / “gear testing” urge…. but the last few months of not being able to get led me to make some purchased I didn’t need to make. I have been delighted with my 2009. gg gorilla but somehow reading this thread several weeks ago led me astray… Dan’s pack arrived today. Carrying it around the neighborhood while doing conference calls (several miles, flat & level), and then spent the evening hiking in the Santa Cruz hills.
The Good: durable but light material, clean design, workmanship looks good, perfect size (for me), pockets work well for me (google pixel2 + battery one side, Sony rx100 in the other hip pocket)… don’t use shoulder pockets , effective compression system, overall a great value.
Mixed: While solid fabric with cording for the rear stash area is great from a durability standpoint, I prefer mesh. I find myself irrationally concerned that things in the stash pocket will get pulled out through the gaps between the cord. I am sure I could get over this in time. Side pockets durable, spacious, and “usable” when wearing pack, but was a bit more challenging to access when wearing pack compared to the gorilla..
There are a couple of areas that didn’t work well for me. I was fine for 10 miles today, but I suspect I won’t be happy after 20+ miles. Your milage will vary :)
Hip Belt Design: Classic shortish wings which are well anchored into into the sleeve holding the U frame on the edge of the pack. The pack body is what ties the wings/belt together. I have found that I much prefer a hip belt which in more encircling… ideally extended further forward that Dan’s pack, and curving around behind me… going beyond the end of the pack. Maybe this is due to my hip shape, very little difference in the diameter between my hips and waist… whatever the reason I felt like I had to tighten the hip belt more than ideal.
Shoulder Straps: ditto @tarasbulba. I found the shoulder strap put the majority of pressure on the inside edge which feel stiff against the shoulder and they didn’t seem to mold around my shoulder. I am finally recovering from a frozen shoulder which seems to make me a bit sensitive. Load lifter are attached to a piece of webbing that is tacted across the shoulder strap… so if they are pulled tight, the shoulder strap is pulled more narrow at the attachment points.
Overall, a value priced pack which looks like it will be durable, providing years of useful services.Jun 23, 2020 at 2:02 pm #3654486William ChiltonBPL Member
I find myself irrationally concerned that things in the stash pocket will get pulled out through the gaps between the cord.
Would keeping them in a stuff sack behind the stash pocket help?Jun 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm #3654487
Note that the shoulder strap pockets will relax/stretch out a bit over time, so something that is a bit tight when new can end up fitting well. And you can accelerate this process by storing the pack with some items stuffed in the pocket. E.g. toss a couple bars in the shoulder strap pocket and leave it for a week or so. Once the shoulder strap pockets have relaxed a bit, they also won’t pressure/distort the strap to the same extent.Jun 24, 2020 at 5:29 pm #3654527David FranzenBPL Member
So far, I have only inspected the pack at home and did not try it out outside.
There are some good things about this pack, BUT there are three things that bug me quite a bit.
My drop 40 backpack M/L is 19.5″ (49.5cm) not the advertised 20.5″ (52cm)
2. shoulder strap pockets:
In ‘A Message from the Designer, Dan Durston’ on drop.com Dan talks about “running vest-inspired shoulder strap pockets”.
In all my running vests i can store water bottles (soft flasks) and according to the original description of the shoulder strap pockets they would’ve fit perfectly. Also, in the description exactly that is advertised.
For me this was the main selling point. As per Dan’s argumentation: Brining the weight (water) to the front hugely improves balance and negates leaning back. Why else have no cushion on the backpacks back.
The backpack that i received does not have those shoulder strap pockets. The existing pockets fit my 6″ phone very well, but all my running vests fit my phone as well as 2 water bottles.
If you insist on having 2 zippered pockets (one on each shoulder strap), why not make them in addition to water bottle pockets underneath/above the water bottle pockets like the running vests have and like advertised.
Compared to running vests (which were Dans benchmark during the presale), the drop 40 backpack’s shoulder pockets are unsatisfactory at best.
As others have stated on drop.com, weight is way above spec.
Mine weighs 934g (33.0oz), which is 11% above the advertised 842g (29.7g)
My take on other controversial topics in this thread:
“Thinner guys with small phones? This might be the pack for you!”
No it is not. I am rather skinny and the shoulder straps are lifting off on the outsides as well. (see @tarasbulba, @matthewkphx)
I like them very much. extremely versatile. I can leave them at home or I can fit a jacket or tent as well as crampons, which would tear mesh apart in a single day. Also I can rig whatever I want.
Generally, the pack is well made. However, Dan, I am sorry to say that with this backpack you have lost quite a bit of the tremendous credit you earned with the x-mid tent, which i absolutely love.Jun 24, 2020 at 8:54 pm #3654553Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I’d say that my Osprey EXOS 58 back mesh trampoline is barely thicker than my Deuter Air Contact Lite 65+ 10 winter pack’s padding.
As for me leaning further forward with the EXOS 58 and it causing me back problems I have not noticed this after over a couple hundred miles with it. I can barely fit my Thermarest eg crate sit pad between the trampoline meshed the pack’s back so it isn’t pushing the load much further back. But d@ymn this pack is overall comfortable.Jun 25, 2020 at 8:16 am #3654592
I’m gonna give the guy some credit. From scribbling out design ideas on the back of an empty Mountain House beef stew bag, to bringing a product to market while dealing with a global pandemic and now a period of mercury retrograde, there’s bound to be a couple hiccups. Even seasoned manufacturers are constantly revamping their product line. A thousand bags means a thousand personalities reviewing them. This bag offers a lot for the price so ya know he’s not in it for the money. That thought alone makes me proud to be on board. Just some thoughts. Just sayin’Jun 25, 2020 at 11:59 am #3654624
I’ve been day hiking with a full 25 pounds, total of about 10 hours. For the money, this pack has a lot to offer so I won’t get into the various pouches, zippers, etc., of which on this pack I generally like. And in general, it seems to be a comfortable pack…with one exception: the shoulder straps make contact on the inside edge of the strap instead of the entire width of the shoulder strap, and kind of gaps a tad as others have mentioned. I can fiddle with the sternum strap until it is almost even with my clavicles, and I can drop more of the load towards my hips, and I can relax the load lifters…. and almost get there. I’ll fess up that I’m not exactly a petite ultra-marathoner, and perhaps it is more of a fit problem for me and a non-issue for smaller folk. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations?
Jun 25, 2020 at 2:26 pm #3654662
- This reply was modified 6 days, 23 hours ago by Russ W.
Prolly going to have to go thru a break in period. I’m thinking of the no / low heat dryer with a half dozen tennis balls method. I’m not sure how the fabric will react but no heat should be fine
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