Over the years, I have experimented with many different styles of packs from frameless rucksacks to expensive custom-built packs. I have finally arrived at what I think is the ideal all around pack design. It weighs just over 2 pounds (.91 kg) and can carry 50 pounds (22.68 kg) if I need it to. And it's so comfortable I don't mind carrying it for ultralight weekend loads. Even better the design is modular so that I can switch between a small light pack for weekends and a bigger pack for long expeditions.
- A series of lightweight packs were made using a modified Seek Outside frame and hipbelt as the foundation.
- This design meant I could swap out different pack bags for different trips depending on my needs at the time.
- The lightest pack was about 2 pounds (.91 kg), and the heaviest was around 3 pounds (1.36 kg).
- The design is fairly easy to make, and it can carry loads of 50 pounds (22.68) or more if necessary.
From 2008 to 2011 most of my backpacking trips were short and light. During this time, I happily used some Golite and MYOG frameless packs.
Then in 2011, I began to gear up for the Colorado Trail. Suddenly I was considering carry a rather heavy load of food and water. I could have barely made a frameless pack work, but there was another factor. For years, I stiffened my frameless packs with a foam pad and slept on that same pad. Then I realized how comfortable an 11 oz. (311.85 g) Prolite Thermarest was. The inflatable pad was super comfortable to sleep on, but it did not stiffen up my pack like the foam.
A bit of math indicated that a 21 oz. (595.34 g) Golite+6 oz. (170.10 g) blue pad would weight 27 oz. (765.44 g). But realistically I would want to carry the Prolite to sleep on. So I had a 27 oz. (765.44 g) pack. My BPL Absaroka internal frame pack was 28 oz. (793.79 g) with the straps trimmed. So there was only a 1 oz. (28.35 g) penalty for carrying the internal frame pack and it was way more comfortable.
I decided to take the Absaroka pack, and it worked great. I experimented with frameless packs a bit after that trip, but I kept coming back to the same conclusion. A 2 pound (.91 kg) internal frame pack was more comfortable with loads over about 15 pounds (6.80 kg) than any frameless pack I tried.
Read on for the full review
- A Search for the Perfect Pack
- Dave Chenault's Pack
- DIY Ultralight Backpack
- Different Packs
- Packrafting Packs
- The Future
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