Jul 7, 2020 at 1:36 pm #3656854
Interesting diversity of opinions regarding pack fit.
But is the bottom photo in this post not showing the way this pack was designed to fit?
Were load lifters originally added to tall packs (significantly taller than the shoulder strap attachment point) to prevent mass distributed in that upper location (and thus having a long lever arm) rotating the packbag backward?Jul 7, 2020 at 2:24 pm #3656863
Were load lifters originally added to tall packs (significantly taller than the shoulder strap attachment point) to prevent mass distributed in that upper location (and thus having a long lever arm) rotating the packbag backward?
No, load lifters were added primarily for what they’re described as… they pull the pack close to your back while simultaneously lifting the shoulder straps off the top of the shoulders. I have several older packs that are day pack size with fully functioning load lifters. Used correctly, on a properly fitting pack, they’re a game changer.Jul 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm #3656868Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
@stumphges – I agree that picture shows textbook pack fit. My load lifters didn’t look quite that good, but perhaps they would have if I’d had the 24″ frame.Jul 7, 2020 at 2:57 pm #3656871
Yes , that is the intended fit ..from the Seek Outside perspectiveJul 7, 2020 at 3:10 pm #3656874
Would add, if you started backpacking in the last 15-20 years chances are you may not have ever used an internal frame pack where you need to fit the stays to your back. It’s a pity that few makers offer adjustable stays. Really, to get a perfect fit it’s about the only way to go unless you just happen to have a back shape that fits the generic “fits all” frame offered on 99% of packs today. Most people don’t. And judging by the backpackers I see on the trails here, most have little or no clue how a pack should fit. OTOH, fitting stays is a real “art”… I’ve been doing it for over 40 years and still can occasionally find it to be a challenge.
That’s why I think external’s like those offered by Seek Outside make more sense for most people. I think Kevin has his frame dialed for most people.I plan on buying one for my wife who is having a terrible time getting a light pack to fit her (we’ve been through close to a dozen). Her old Arcteryx Bora 75 with tuneable stays fits great, but the side pull hipbelt gives her grief (shoulder injury), and it weigh’s 7lbs!
Years back I had a long conversation with Dana Gleason about pack fitting. Like all the “major” brands of quality internals 20-30+ years ago (Gregory, Osprey, Dana, Mountainsmith, etc.), he despaired of training shop employees to fit packs. It just became an impossible exercise/burden. And speaking for myself, while there’s nothing better than a properly fitted and tuned internal frame pack, there’s nothing worse than a poor fitting internal frame. Dana, etal all shifted away from tuneable stays to generic, fits-all frames (although the current Mystery Ranch are a sort of hybrid). I’ve used recent products from all these makers, and none live up to the older, tuneable designs. In fact, the best fitting, most comfortable pack I’ve ever owned was a 1987 Gregory Cassin. I wish I still had it! Really, most of today’s “internal frame” packs are really modified external frames, but with generally poor geometry for many backs.
Anyway, not sure why I felt the need to write this tome, other than to mildly and publicly despair about the state of packs today. I started backpacking in 1975, and switched to internal frames in 1978 (Synergy Works was my first). They’re all I’ve used since then, and I’ve owned multiplied dozens since then (I’m a pack junkie). I currently use a factory-modified ULA Catalyst… it’s the closest thing a light pack has come to the comfort of my old Gregory Cassin. But now that Kevin has brought back the forward pull hipbelt, I’m really looking forward to messing with one of Seek Outside’s externals, more than likely a Unaweep 4800.Jul 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm #3656896Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
It depends on your back.
Me, I use a dead straight external frame with mesh strung across it, and it works fine. A bit like the Keltys. Is it my back, or is it a better design?
CheersJul 7, 2020 at 4:54 pm #3656897Thomas HBPL Member
Could you post some photos of the backpack you are using, the external one with the mesh frame? ThanksJul 7, 2020 at 5:34 pm #3656900
RE Roger and Brad
In our way of thinking and at a very basic high level , we consider what Roger is talking about as an “avoidance frame”that has pretty universal fit, and what Brad is talking about as a “conformance frame” that needs to be tailored. The reality is the Seek Outside frames are mostly avoidance with a little bit of conformance but not near the level of having to bend stays to fit. There are occasions where we don’t fit someone well .. but it is rare.Jul 7, 2020 at 5:52 pm #3656902PedestrianBPL Member
At the end of the day, ” the proof is in the pudding”. I’ve used two different Seekoutside packs for multi-day cross country trips in the Sierra with significant rock scrambling carrying significant weight (food, mainly): the Unaweep 4800 and the Divide. I can say that for me both packs fit amazingly well and carry weight comfortably.
Kevin: whatever your crew and you are doing, please keep doing it!
I have no experience with the Flight but my sense is it will probably work just as well.
I will also say that I’ve had pretty bad experiences with several other brands of packs: Gregory, Zpacks, HMG and on and on…..Jul 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm #3656907
maybe some folks will like this photo (angle) better :)
At the end of the day, ” the proof is in the pudding”.
quoted for the truth; I’ve owned as many different packs as nearly anyone on this site (don’t believe me? ask my wife :) ) and I can tell you with certainty that this is easily the best carrying 2-ish lb pack I have ever ownedJul 7, 2020 at 7:06 pm #3656909Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
That fit looks pretty good to me Mike!Jul 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm #3656914
most definitely :)Jul 7, 2020 at 8:41 pm #3656915
maybe some folks will like this photo (angle) better :)
Pack stuffed with pillows?Jul 8, 2020 at 2:55 am #3656949Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
No, load lifters were added primarily for what they’re described as… they pull the pack close to your back while simultaneously lifting the shoulder straps off the top of the shoulders.
They used to be called stabilizer straps. Who changed the name?
I’ll add that the shoulder straps need to be loosened for this to work and often requires fine tuning the shoulder straps and “load lifter” straps. This can take several fiddling adjustments.
As weight and volume are increased in a pack, the top of the pack tends to start leaning away from the body. At the same time, there is “compression” and/or movement of the pack causing the connection point of the shoulder straps to the pack to slide down, putting more weight on the shoulders. This “compression” or movement can be one or more of: compression of frame stays or structure, slippage of hip belt, compression of foam in the hip belt, compression of material where a hip belt connects to the pack or lumbar pad, etc. Even an inch of compression can make a pack become very uncomfortable over the course of a day.
We could just loosen the shoulder straps a bit to remove the added weight on the shoulders, but the pack would tend to tip backwards even more.
To relieve the shoulder strap weight and pull the pack against the back, we use the stabilizer straps. IF the stabilizer strap is at a 45 degree angle, then it can lift the shoulder straps up if we loosen the shoulder straps a bit . . . We’re not really “lifting the load.” If much less than 45 degrees, it won’t lift the shoulder straps, which normally means the frame is too small.
Whether or not a pack can truly benefit from stabilizer straps is dependent on bag size, weight of gear, quality of a frame, frame height, hip belt construction and attachment, etc.
As mentioned by @bradmacmt, the curvature of internal stays is very important. I have two internal frame packs I use over 90% of the time. My upper back has extreme curvature and the bends are significant to make them fit properly — much more than I have ever seen anyone else need to do. Since they are internal framed, the pack bags are cylindrical in shape.
The small pack is only 32 inches in circumference, so I can’t get a lot of gear and food into it, even if the gear fills the extension collar. The stays are sturdy enough so there is no compression, the hip belt is tall with a material that doesn’t tend to slide, plus I am skinny enough so the double buckle allows the hip belt to wrap over the top of my hip bones. All of this allows me to carry up to 35 lbs without stabilizer straps — the pack doesn’t have them. I’ve never carried more and I probably couldn’t fit more weight into the bag.
My other pack is 36 inches in circumference, with a kangaroo pocket. This pack has thicker and wider stays and a more robust hip belt and construction. I use this pack for longer trips when the other pack can’t hold all my gear and food, especially in winter when I need more gear. If the contents of the pack don’t go past the top of the frame, then I usually don’t need stabilizer straps and the pack doesn’t have them. However, if I need the space in the extension collar, then the pack starts to “compress.” In this case, I add frame extensions, and stabilizer straps that create the 45 degree angle (this function is designed into the pack). Now I can probably carry 60 0r 70 lbs (I’ve never carried this much, but the pack can easily handle it, the limiting factor being volume not weight).
Same theory applies to externals, although one can’t really bend the frame to the curvature like internal stays. Trailwise used stabilizer straps way back in the ‘60s on their externals. I do like external frames and still use them occasionally, although for most of my trips I use the two internal frame packs I just described because they handle the conditions I hike in better. My external frames are ancient Kelty packs that do not have stabilizer straps, so I won’t carry more than 30 lbs in them.Jul 8, 2020 at 5:15 am #3656954Jon SolomonBPL Member
Dan Chenault calls em load cinchers or torso length adjusters. https://backpackinglight.com/how_packs_work/#.UZT760qNN8E
Dan McHale explains the bypass harness, shedding further light on how shoulder straps work. As I recall, the idea for the harness was developed by Aarn Tate and shared with Dan McHale who claimed a US patent that is no longer valid, I think.
http://www.mchalepacks.com/sarc/04.htmJul 8, 2020 at 6:07 am #3656958
Yes they can lengthen torso length, if not returned to a neutral position before shouldering. We refer to that as torso length creep.Jul 8, 2020 at 8:22 am #3656972David USpectator
“If much less than 45 degrees, it won’t lift the shoulder straps, which normally means the frame is too small.”
This. The vast majority of people I see backpacking on the trail are using packs that have frames that are too short. Way too short.Jul 8, 2020 at 8:35 am #3656975
Kevin, I just noticed that you guys got your patent on your external articulated frame invention in April. Congrats!
Great discussion about packs here. James pointed out that the load lifter straps have a lot of leverage to resist the counter-rotation of the shoulders during walking gait. Aarn route the load lifter straps through the upper pack and connect them in a slick tunnel which, along with a similar system for the shoulder straps (which are joined in a tunnel at the base of the pack), allow for reciprocal shoulder movement. Black Diamond copied the shoulder strap tunnel connection but didn’t do the load lifters for the Ergo suspensions. These types of contrivances add weight but really do work to prevent opposition between the backpacker and her/his pack.Jul 8, 2020 at 8:39 am #3656976
David, or they’ve experienced the pack compression that Nick details but don’t notice it.
I loaned an Osprey “avoidance frame” pack to a friend on a recent short trip. Adjustable length so I was able to get it riding with load lifters at 45 deg. Within a couple miles it was sagging off him and I had to just leave him be cuz I didn’t want to be the guy who was telling him to adjust his pack every couple miles. At that point he looked just like the majority of people on the trail – the pack hanging off like the proverbial monkey.Jul 8, 2020 at 9:13 am #3656983
@stumphges Thanks. The reality (in hindsight ) is we probably could have patented several things on that pack if we tried but if a patent is easy to avoid .. then it doesn’t do much good.
KevinJul 11, 2020 at 12:04 pm #3657530Ben KilbourneBPL Member
Just took the Flight One on the Uintas Highline, about 104 miles in 5.5 days. I’ll be writing up a review soon and I’ll post a link here. But long story short it’s so close to perfect it’s not even funny. I love the material, modular gatekeeper straps, big external pockets. I think the only thing that keeps it from being perfect for me is the hip belt. I’m uncertain what I actually want to be different about it but maybe I wish it came in four different sizes, S, M, L, XL, and was sewn into the pack. I find that for my 31″ waist I have to adjust it nearly as small as it goes and there’s more collapse than I’d like when I’ve got 30lbs in there. A sewn-in hipbelt would probably retain torso length better than this adjustable one? I think we’ve discussed this already in this lengthy forum but can’t remember. That said, I probably wouldn’t be complaining about this as much if I had just bought the 24″ version. I bought the 22″ version and it felt too small for my 19.5″ torso when loaded over 25lbs. So, I may have to find a way to swap this for the the 24″ at some point or just keep using my Divide 4500. Not sure yet.Jul 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm #3657531Jon SolomonBPL Member
Can’t wait to read your review, Ben.
Wouldn’t a sewn-in version of the belt reduce the awesome swivel action on the current one? If that were the case, I definitely wouldn’t like it.
By the way, I have a 19.5″ torso, too, and I’m really happy with the 24″ version. Before pursuing a swap, perhaps you could contact SO customer service and see what solutions they might suggest. Eventually it might be possible to get a small sized hip belt, too.
Good Luck!Jul 11, 2020 at 12:42 pm #3657535Murali CBPL Member
You could try using the Divide hip belt…..Jul 11, 2020 at 1:55 pm #3657573
I’d agree on the hip belt sizing- I’m a 32” waist and same thing, I’m really having to cinch it in to the point of the buckles almost touching
Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything about the hip belt- it’s perfect imo (as are the shoulder straps)Jul 11, 2020 at 6:21 pm #3657660
Just saw this.
The belt can get smaller. It can overlap the velcro or trim if desired. We were messing with it last week. I do not know the official size it can get to, but I know Lacie who worked on the design can wear it and she is very small.
however, feedback on more belt sizes is good, but the standard does go smaller.
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