Seek Outside Flight Pack [was Upcoming light packs from SO]
Jul 17, 2020 at 10:47 am #3664885Ben KilbourneBPL Member
Hope it helps. Happy to clarify, add details I may have overlooked, etc.Jul 18, 2020 at 11:05 am #3665072DirtNapBPL Member
Ben, thanks for the review. Very very helpful. I think I’ll go with the 24 inch version. My body is sort of opposite of yours. I am 5’11” 194-ish but with a big butt and a little belly I like to call “Quarantine Steve”. I usually wear a 36 so I’m hopeful the hip belt will work a bit better. I think I load a little different than most people. When I am really heavy I actually tent to unload my hips a bit and tighten the shoulder straps and sternum so the pack really hugs me from the front. It tend to spread the misery along the whole front of my body and reduces hip pain. Also gives me better load control for all of those “backpack Yoga” moves you see in deep wild areas like the Reservation side of the Wind Rivers. Also, much of my large load hauls are temporary water weight for water hauls in So Utah.
I’m really thinking about swinging on this pack. Love to see some feedback from folks who do odd hauls like packrafting, huge self supported two week trips with lots of food or too much camera gear.Jul 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm #3665270Chris SBPL Member
@bigseaLocale: Truckee, CA
In addition to the compression straps, my flight pack included some velcro strips. Anybody know what those are for?Jul 19, 2020 at 2:17 pm #3665273rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
They work wonderfully for keeping your straps from hanging all over the place. Roll up the straps and secure them with the velcro.Jul 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm #3665277Chris SBPL Member
@bigseaLocale: Truckee, CA
Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks!Jul 21, 2020 at 6:31 pm #3665792
I’ll add some additional beta after a three day, 65-ish mile jaunt through the Scapegoat Wilderness. My loads were a bit lighter than previous outings- probably a little under 20 lbs (varied by how much water I needed to carry). I barely felt I had a pack on with those weights- a nice feeling :)
We also did a lot of off trail climbing/descending and bagged a couple of peaks along the way. In the sketchier stuff, I would fully pull on the load lifters to get the pack as close to my back as possible and tighten both the shoulder straps and sternum strap. Scrambling I alway felt the pack was well balanced and quite frankly didn’t have to give the pack much thought at all.
Still very impressed with this pack.Jul 26, 2020 at 4:09 pm #3666533
I don’t know how many folks are using this pack for packrafting, but on my recent trip I really enjoyed using the Gatekeeper straps to secure the pack to the bow. You can independently adjust all 4 corners to make the pack sit just how you like, and the plethora of gear loops on the pack means you can configure the straps however you like.
I like to put my pack on the bow with the waist belt near me and the shoulder straps facing up. Most of the stuff I want from the pack while I’m paddling are the same items I want while hiking, and in this orientation I can reach everything from the packraft cockpit. Here’s how I prepare and mount the pack.
The typical bow gear loop configuration (with an added safety line):
The pack ready to load up:
I snug up the chest strap:
Lengthen one side of the hip belt buckle:
Pass it around the back side of the chest strap and clip it to the other belt buckle side:
I use the 2 bottom gear loops on the pack to secure to the 2 aft raft loops. I always have 2 Gatekeeper straps running across the upper gear loops on the sides of the pack so these are already in position to run to the bow gear loops:
Everything is secure and in reach. It’s a great system.Jul 26, 2020 at 4:17 pm #3666537
I ran this configuration on my Alpacka Curiyak this past week for a short paddle up Kizhuyak Bay to start this trip: Packrafting and Hiking from Port Lions to Kodiak on Vimeo
I’ll leave tomorrow to do another Shuyak Island trip with my Alpacka Alpaca (yes, a weird naming convention) to give the system a more demanding paddle trial.Jul 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm #3666544
where did you get the matching shoulder strap pocket? didn’t see it on their site, but maybe missed itJul 26, 2020 at 5:46 pm #3666560
I just sewed it today after the zipper on my Zimmerbuilt padded camera pocket blew out on my last trip. It turned out just slightly bigger than I intended, but that makes getting out the Panasonic zoom less fiddle-y. SO was nice enough to send me some scrap material.Jul 26, 2020 at 6:02 pm #3666566
maybe Kevin should have some built- the belt pockets they sell for the other packs (the Flight has wonderful ones built in) are really nice, I would rock a shoulder pocket for both my Flight and DivideJul 27, 2020 at 12:39 am #3666622
Despite my Zimmerbuilt shoulder strap pocket zipper dying (after years of use and countless, hurried, camera extractions and stowage) I can recommend them. They come in a single size in both padded and unpadded versions for a very modest price, but he will do custom sizes if you ask and presumably he would use any material requested. But in the end the best solution is to have your own sewing machine and know how to use it. ;^)Jul 27, 2020 at 5:16 pm #3666737Logan KBPL Member
What’s your take on the pack after using it for a bit? A while back in this thread, you weren’t sure you would like it because the load lifters might not do their job (I was asking about frame height vs. torso height causing problems with head clearance). Your most recent video is awesome. Thanks for sharing!
For anyone who can make a direct comparison: Flight vs. HMG Southwest 3400?
Durability, load carry comfort, water resistance, “fit and feel” for light loads and for heavy, long term value for cost… that kind of thing. Phil Werner (Sectionhiker) posted an awesome review of the Flight today, and because in my mind I’m down to choosing between the two, I asked him which he’d choose. I’d love to know from anyone here with experience with both packs as well.
LoganJul 27, 2020 at 7:05 pm #3666753Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I haven’t used the Southwest, but I have used both the Flight and the HMG Porter 3400 and much preferred the Flight. The suspension is more substantial, the hipbelt pockets were much better, and I think the fabric would be more durable.Jul 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm #3666970matthew kModerator
Philip, I always enjoy your videos but that may be the most beautiful one so far. Thanks so much for sharing it.Jul 27, 2020 at 8:25 pm #3666972StumphgesBPL Member
Philip, thank you for sharing your trip vid.
sectionhiker’s flight one review up.Jul 30, 2020 at 3:08 am #3667587Jon SolomonBPL Member
I just returned from a two week unsupported trek in the Pyrenees using the Flight One. So I now have over three weeks combine usage of the pack, carrying at weights between 6 kgs and close to 15 kgs plus water carry.
With a 19.5″ torso (170 cm 5’7″ body height) and a 24″ frame, I have no problems whatsoever moving the weight around between hips and shoulders. It is definitely the best carrying pack in its class that I’ve ever tried.
I walked off trail for many days on my latest trek and the fabric is completely unscathed.
The only problem I’ve encountered is a loose thread above the lift loop at the top of the back panel above the shoulder straps as shown in the picture below.
It’s like a hose port has been added, though I don’t need/want one.
I wonder if it’s not a sign of growing pains as Seek Outside ramps up production following the flood of new orders?
Everything else is super.
Once again, I’d be really bummed if they changed the hip belt to a sewn in style that would totally interfere with the awesome side to side sway that the current belt allows for.Jul 30, 2020 at 4:29 am #3667588Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I am willing to bet that if you look inside the pack you will find another almost identical loose thread.
If so, that is where the seamstress lifted the foot and jumped across to the start of the next stitch line. Never let it be said I have done anything similar in my time … :)
You could cut both loops in the middle, pull one end through, and tie a knot – preferably on the inside. Perfect solution.
CheersJul 30, 2020 at 9:02 am #3667603Jon SolomonBPL Member
Yep, just as predicted, Roger, there is another identical thread on the inside.Jul 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm #3667637
I have a 3400 Southwest (I asked HMG for a custom hybrid between the SW and the Wind Rider so it has Robic side pockets and mesh rear- now they sell that as a stock model called the Junction) in “tall” size. I used it on a 5-day trip up the west side of Kodiak (vimeo link) 2 summers ago and it really bothered my upper trapezius muscles with the shoulder strap weight.
When I pulled the new Flight out of the box and loaded it with weight and bulk I immediately realized it was not going to fit me right. The load lifters were even with the tops of my shoulders and I could tell I was going to have trapezius issues. it basically fit the same as the size tall HMG. I had 2 choices: send it back immediately or do modifications to make it fit me. I opted for the latter.
I used some old tent pole sections to extend the stock frame 2 inches and sewed the internal trampoline fabric panel 2 inches farther up the back panel and added a strip of grosgrain to the outside with new load lifters at that +2″ height. This gave me a 45-50 degree load lifter angle at home. On the trail after a long day with the pack settling and me all sweaty this can slump down to about 25 degrees, but it generally rides high enough to relieve the pressure on my shoulders. If you watch that video you can see the angle on the load lifters in a few scenes. Trust that and not bathroom mirror poses *wink*.
I just did a 4-day packraft trip to Shuyak with my full-size packraft kit. I weighed in at the float plane dock with 38 pounds of gear all in (food, 1.5 liters of water, trekking poles, etc included). I think that is the comfort limit with me given this pack even with my custom 26-inch back panel length. I agree with Ben’s take on the hip belt. The weight transfer is so-so. I feel like I really need to crank the buckle tight to keep the load from creeping down my torso. The hip belt is pretty soft and the lumbar interface is sort of mushy and vague. On the other hand the pack negotiates scrambling extremely well, which was one of Kevin’s stated goals for the pack. At 25-30 pounds it becomes a bushwhacking, rock scrambling dream. At 40 pounds stomping up a long monotonous trail I’m a little less enthusiastic. I’m toying with ideas to modify the belt-pack interface.
The HMG comes from the factory with reasonably effective seam sealing. The manner of assembly on the Flight makes seam sealing quite difficult if not impossible to get all the panel junctions. That said if you are careful with a tube of Aquaseal you can do a pretty good job. The cuben on the HMG packs breaks down after a while where the polyester face fabric gets all puckery and the mylar film inside erodes and you get spectra ‘stray hairs’ everywhere. I think the X-Pac lasts a little longer. The gear loops and Gatekeeper straps are one of the best parts of the Flight for my applications though. I love those things for weird loads and packrafting.
If you size the Flight correctly (i.e., the load lifters are doing their job) it definitely rides better than the HMG. The HMG hits it’s load limit for me around 30 pounds. I can’t imagine using it for packrafting- it would kill my shoulders. But then my shoulders are apparently delicate and unique snowflakes compared to a lot of other folks’s, so keep that in mind, haha.
New video soon…Jul 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm #3667640Ben KilbourneBPL Member
@logan – Those are the packs I have right now, the Flight and SW 3400. For me, they carry about the same because my Flight 22″ is too small. I probably need the 24″ for my 19.5″ torso. I imagine if you get the right size Flight you’d prefer it. That said I can’t let go of the 3400, and the way I have it set up it actually carries a bit better than my too-small Flight. It’s actually quite comfortable with my rigged loadlifter system. It’s still not quite the same thing as having loadlifters that attach to a frame. But it works pretty well. That said it really stopped working for me around 40lbs. That’s when I usually take the Divide. But if I had the 24″ Flight I could see it replacing the Divide, but that’s theoretical, haven’t actually tried itJul 30, 2020 at 6:10 pm #3667652Logan KBPL Member
Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences guys. I’ll find out for myself in 6-8 weeks!
Just as an FYI for folks that read the Sectionhiker review, his main critique was the inability to strap the roll top down the sides for compression. SO is now supplying the “gatekeeper to side release” buckle pair with every pack, so that issue is solved!
LoganJul 30, 2020 at 7:27 pm #3667661
Mine came with those. I do prefer to cinch the roll top down the sides rather than clip the roll top ends to each other a la a dry bag.
Here is a screenshot from the video where you can see the load lifters doing their jobs as I negotiate the granite boulder field on Crown Mountain. That’s a full load, mid-effort, so pretty representative.Jul 30, 2020 at 8:58 pm #3667679StumphgesBPL Member
Philip, what’s your torso length, what size flight and where you like your belt?Jul 30, 2020 at 9:45 pm #3667682
As best I can measure I am a 21″ or 22″ iliac crest (horizontal) to c7, I got a 24″ flight that I stretched to 26″, and I like my hip belt sort of low- preferably where the iliac crest is maybe 1″ below the top of the hip belt.
If this helps- I ran the 2″ extensions on my SO Gila until I decided that wasn’t enough and switched to the 4″, and I am running the hip belt on the lowest grommet.
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