Trail Work Pack Recommendations?
Sep 14, 2021 at 9:35 pm #3727401Kevin RBPL Member
I’ve been getting more involved in trail work in West Virginia/Virginia, and am looking for a good pack. I am a certified Sawyer, so I generally need to be able to carry fuel and oil bottles, file, wedges, water, food, a small axe, and sometimes some loppers. With the ace, it especially needs enough frame structure that it doesn’t flop everywhere- would be great to have some external loops for easy access, and pouches for sorting the various other stuff while being streamlined enough that I can work without it getting in the way. Ideally I’d like it to also become a new day pack for hikes and occasional skiing (so a pretty multipurpose pack- I don’t want my collection of packs to get out of control). I’m currently just using my EDC Goruck GR1, but that’s something I actually use just about everyday, so when I take it out on the trail it means dumping all its contents out on my passenger seat. Recommendations? Extra points for cottage made/made in the USSep 14, 2021 at 10:14 pm #3727403Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
You didn’t mention needing to carry a chainsaw, which I find odd. Where do you put that? Do you just carry in your hand? How do you travel along the trail using other tools when you’re not using the saw?
For years I’ve used an old Granite Gear Flatbed:
It has a rigid back panel of carbon fiber covered in Cordura with three heavy duty hypalon daisychains. It also has a really heavy duty beavertail flap with yet more daisychains and lots of compression straps that allow you to sandwich every manner of weird object against the pack. Sadly it’s no longer made but I think they might have a camo military version still. I’m not sure that this is what you’re looking for though, because you seem to currently be using some sort of a daypack, and when you’re carrying a chainsaw you’re inevitably going to get bar oil on the pack. The Flatbed is big enough that I can carry my Honda VersAttach 35 cc brush cutter miles into the backcountry along with a fuel bottle and a dry bag with food and gear for the day.
Edit: I just looked and the military version is $1.1k with the beavertail. Gulp!Sep 15, 2021 at 3:13 am #3727407Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
I think the ULA Epic is similar to the Granite Gear Philip describes above.
Perhaps a Seek Outside breakaway bag could also work.
Or a well fitting older external frame could maybe have things just rigged to it with or without the pack…Sep 15, 2021 at 6:06 am #3727408Ed TyanichBPL Member
HPG Decker, or HPG Fire PackSep 15, 2021 at 8:12 am #3727411Kevin RBPL Member
Those are some neat systems. It does look like the ULA Epic and HPG Decker are similar to that Granite Gear, at a much more reasonable price. To answer your question, I typically just carry my saw in hand or on shoulder. It’s rare that I’d go more than 1/2 to 1 mile without encountering a blowdown, so easy access is important. But, the ability to attach a trail tool to the frame would be very helpful.
Also, I didn’t realize Honda made trimmers as well. That looks like a pretty slick system, being able to disassemble the shaft and load it into a pack. And it runs on straight gas!Sep 15, 2021 at 11:41 am #3727426Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Breakaway systems like those mentioned seem like good platforms, but they all seem to lack a MOLLE or daisy chain interface, which I otherwise find to be incredibly useful when you are carrying a bunch of weird, loose stuff. The U.L.A Epic (I have one) is just made to sandwich one big dry bag and basically lacks other attachment options. Same with the Seek Outside Revolution packs (I have a few). The lack of daisy chains would not have to be a deal breaker, but you will just need to perhaps consolidate your items in a main bag and add the work implements of choice somehow. A quick check of Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, and other hunting packs did not turn up anything festooned with daisy chains, but something out there must exist.
The Honda system is wonderful. You can break it down, the 4 stroke is quieter, the exhaust not as obtrusive, and less vibration. I exclusively use the short shaft hedge trimmer attachment which is an absolute lightsaber through salmonberry and alder. They make a long shaft version but it kills the balance of the system. It does not mulch and throw debris everywhere like a string trimmer or rotary brush blade. I replaced some of the lube-maintenance screws with grease zerks so to lube the worm gear and the eccentrics that drive the cutter blades all it takes is a grease gun. I’ve been using it for years and it works a treat. The one possible downside is some folks would prefer handlebar style grips and on this system there is no option for that. It’s also pretty heavy.
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