Seek Outside Flight Pack [was Upcoming light packs from SO]
Mar 4, 2020 at 1:04 pm #3634253Murali CBPL Member
Kevin….thanks…I will stay with my xpac-spectra combo order I placed as the all spectra looks too monochromatic…no contrast-) i know, I know….superficial reasons..oh well.Apr 10, 2020 at 12:48 pm #3640745
I received my Flight One in SpectraGridHT last night – stoked! Superb fit & finish. Fits great and feels really good. Hugs my back and hips really well. The way it rides kind of reminds me of an old school Osprey Aether (mid 2000s). I’ll try to get some pictures up soon.Apr 11, 2020 at 9:34 am #3640918
Awesome! Let us know how you like it.May 28, 2020 at 4:18 pm #3649794
I finally had a chance to put some miles on the pack. Just a quick over night trip with about 20 miles total. 10 miles in with about 2K ft. elev. up the mountain and back. I’d estimate that I was carrying around 27 lbs. Typical 3+ season light/UL gear that included microspikes, an ice axe, and a BV450. So, not a real test of the pack, but enough for me to get a feel for it.
In short, the frame and harness create a very comfortable pack. I’m still getting used to the the dual-adjust hipbelt, but do appreciate that it stays put after final adjustment. I like my load lifters as close to 45º as possible and this pack gets me there. However, that also means that if I lean my head far enough back it will interfere. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.
I’ll try to add more, and pics, later. Let me know if you have any questions.May 30, 2020 at 7:24 am #3650054
I own a Divide and was looking at the Flight for shorter trips.
What exactly is the frame setup? I haven’t seen a single picture of it. Is it a full rectangular U shaped frame that is enclosed within the bag? Are the attachments of the shoulder straps/load lifters/belt as they are on the Divide/Unaweep?
basically, is this still an external frame pack setup?
MikeMay 30, 2020 at 10:17 am #3650072matthew kModerator
I was excited about the Flight until I realized the torso length is not adjustable. Do I understand that correctly?May 30, 2020 at 10:23 am #3650074Brian GoodeBPL Member
no the belt does not attach like you are used to and the shoulder straps are sewn to the pack itself. The frame is an internal U style with an internal intrusion bar.
the belt is attached via Velcro in the center behind the lumbar pad if I remember correctly.May 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm #3650112
thanks; at least the frame itself is similar :)May 30, 2020 at 3:37 pm #3650141
The frame is similar shape and profile but internalized and with a top bar. The belt is tailored the same, but is a bit smaller and attached behind a lumbar pad via velcro (it also size adjusts behind the pad). It uses similar foam etc. The harness is a little thinner as well and sewn in. Most of our internalized testers were able to push it well into the 40’s and get good carriage and load lift.May 30, 2020 at 4:15 pm #3650145
^ thanks Kevin!May 30, 2020 at 9:51 pm #3650188Ben KilbourneBPL Member
Finally got maybe seven miles on my Flight. 22″ pack, 19.5″ torso. Incredibly comfortable. Love everything about it so far. I do wish there was a smaller hipbelt option. I’ve reduced it about as far as it will go for my 31″ waist. Which means there’s a few grams of useless fabric in there. A smaller hipbelt would save some weight. Not a huge issue. I’ll take it on the Uinta Highline soon and try and write up a review after that.Jun 1, 2020 at 12:25 pm #3650413Jun 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm #3650424
Looks greatJun 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm #3650557David UBPL Member
Load lifters that work! Nice.Jun 2, 2020 at 8:12 pm #3650615
Those Seek Outside guys (and gals) know a thing or two about building a good pack.Jun 3, 2020 at 4:00 am #3650642Jon SolomonBPL Member
I just came back from a four day trip in the Chartreuse using the SO Flight in full grid spectra and was really, really impressed.
The suspension system works incredibly well both in terms of weight distribution and in terms of dealing with a wide range of weights and loads.
The cross bar in the middle of the pack gives the pack a concave shape that allows airflow without compromising weight transfer or center of gravity. Plus, there is no mesh “trampoline” such as on the Osprey AirSpeed suspension, so the flow of cool air is unimpeded.
The compression straps are definitely not ultralight, but their value becomes clear when you want to tightly compress a load. The volume of the pack is quite large. There is enough space for me to fit in everything for 12 days (summer) without resupply and still carry water. During this trip of only four days I did a water carry of five liters to a campsite on a waterless ridge and found that the suspension handled the extra weight with ease.
An interesting detail is that there is no side strap connecting the hip belt directly to the frame. The frame of course does not use the conventional system of one or two vertical stays but instead has a thin tube of very stiff 7075-T9 aluminum running along the exterior edge of the pack in a rectangle, with a cross bar in the middle. The removable hip belt connects to the pack only in the lumbar area. Unusually, there is no side strap lashing the belt to the base of the pack, an otherwise common feature on many packs in the same class. Without this side strap, there is plenty of room for play in the hip belt that allows for natural side to side sway following one’s gait.
I expected that the lack of a side attachment on the hip belt might result in sag under heavy loads. This does happen if the load is loosened too much off the shoulders, but with a little more tension on the shoulder straps and the load lifter straps, the hip belt rides perfectly linear even under heavier loads. The base of the should straps are connected directly to the frame, so that is the main point for bringing the load closer to the back when desired. But the suspension design allows for easily shifting the load distribution back and forth between the shoulders and the hips or a combination of both.
I’ve used packs that have a superficially similar suspension design with a downward facing U shaped tubing along the external perimeter of the pack to which the hip belt wings are connected, but the carry wasn’t anything like what the Flight offers. Still not sure what to attribute that difference to. Obviously the middle cross bar and the bottom cross bar, plus the quality of metal used for the aluminum tubing, all contribute to making the carry of the Flight substantially different, for me.
The new mini grid spectra nylon fabric is killer. It held up well to abrasion against rock while scrambling and against a torrential thunder storm downpour (used in tandem with a pack cover).
Having a sculpted shape that is especially useful for scrambling, the pack does not stand upright on its own. The concave cross bar in the middle also makes packing a little less straightfoward than on packs with a flat bottom and a relatively straight cylindrical shape.
The side pockets on the hip belt are large enough for snacks, cell phone, small fixed lens camera, etc.
The side pockets on the pack are accessible while wearing the pack, but I never use them that way so don’t have any comments about it.
The roll top closure fortunately doesn’t have any hook and loop velcro stuff but just has a stiffener on one lip that aids in getting a neat fold. I always used it with the top V strap deployed.
Although there is no ice axe loop, the position of small loops at the right place makes it easy to rig a loop for the attachment, which came in handy for my ice axe on this trip. There are additional lash points on the bottom of the pack for use when needed or desired.
I didn’t notice any stress on the seams despite using heavy compression on the sides with the supplied compression straps.
Backpacks like shoes are subjective and really have to be tried. Compared to other packs in its class that I’ve tried, the Flight is without doubt the best carrying. That includes a similarly spec’ed custom made McHale pack and an SWD Long Haul 50, as well as a quiver of other less memorable packs in the same class along the way. The SWD Long Haul has other advantages and attractions well-documented by user feedback but the suspension simply cannot compare. The hip belt will sag under weight. The McHale comes close but even though it was custom sized it still doesn’t match the SO Flight in terms of either carry or convenience (my similarly spec’ed McHale doesn’t have any of the pockets that the SO Flight has). For info, I’m 170 cm (5’7″) but have a long torso at 19.5″. I got the large size for the Flight and found that it fit perfectly.Jun 3, 2020 at 10:22 am #3650670StumphgesBPL Member
Alex, where do you wear the belt? It looks like the top edge of the belt is right at your iliac crest.
In general, I’ve noticed from pics that most people wear their belt lower than the traditional recommendation (iliac crest in the middle of the belt). I’ve found that I like it lower too.
I know that Osprey designs their belts for the traditional position, as does Gregory (they have foam cut outs in the middle of the belt for the iliac crest to kind of slot into). But do the cottages tend to make belts for the position that most of us wear them? (Question for all that know or care.)Jun 3, 2020 at 10:34 am #3650673
The base of the should straps are connected directly to the frame, so that is the main point for bringing the load closer to the back when desired.
the shoulder straps are directly to the frame or the load lifters directly to the frame?
ThanksJun 3, 2020 at 10:58 am #3650684Jon SolomonBPL Member
Mike, both the bottom of the shoulder straps and the top of the load lifters connect to the frame.Jun 3, 2020 at 11:18 am #3650687
@stumphges My iliac crest is at or close to the middle of the hip belt.Jun 3, 2020 at 11:30 am #3650689
Mike, both the bottom of the shoulder straps and the top of the load lifters connect to the frame.
Thank you Sir! :)Jun 3, 2020 at 1:36 pm #3650715
We design for middle of the illiac however, a lot of people do like to wear lower, and my guess it is often to access bottle pockets easier.
Alex – You can run the dual pulls either as separate top bottom tension or combined. Combined is simpler. For separate have the webbing threaded through both sides so the center buckle creates tension. For combined (which is simpler) just thread the webbing through one side then tightening the top or bottom in effect tightens the whole system.
It was designed sculpted so it does better on scrambles / high routes etc.
Any other questions ?Jun 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm #3650755Will NewtonBPL Member
Kevin, I’ve got a question for maybe a unique use case. Very fond of my 2018 Seek Outside PALS belt, run it in my Hanchor Marl (with the grommet webbing secured with bungees) and have invested heavily in PALS-compatible bits for it.
Could I run my classic belt in the Flight, or is there a thickness/dimension issue with the lumbar pad capture that would make this unworkable?
Are you guys planning a PALS version of the Flight belt at any point?Jun 3, 2020 at 4:15 pm #3650767
No plans to make a pals version at the moment. You should be able to use our standard belt on it, and we have done this some, but never tested it extensively to see if there was a down side. That being said, at least in the prototypes I did use our regular belt a couple times for testing.
If you would like, you can send an email to our info and we can do a little test on a production oneJun 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm #3650809
Kevin on your site it states the volume of the Flight is 61 liters (not counting water bottle or hip belt pockets). Does the 61 liters count the front pocket? If so, what is the volume of the main pack bag?
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