Future Of Backpacks

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
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Harlen
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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Harlen » Sun May 20, 2018 10:43 pm

Thanks for the good advice Tom and Daisy. I bought 3 Keltys in near new condition for
$100, along with an array of other gear from "Jackie" in northern San Jose, near Santa Clara.* They must be fairly recent models because they all weigh right around 5 lb., and the bag material is lightweight. I weighed my big internal (Lowe Alpine- Contour pack) and it was at least 6.5 lbs. We love the way the weight can be arranged to fit high and tight. Daisy, this advice of yours:
Actually, the old external frame packs, with the upper bar (extender bar) are the best at getting the load directly on your centerline. With these packs, we always carried weight high when on a trail and low on terrain that required more body movement and climbing.
is excellent, and we'll be switching back and forth a lot on our upcoming trip in the headwaters of the Middle and North Forks of the SJ.

*BTW, Jackie used to run a outdoor club, and has a ton or more of very clean gear, including quite a few more backpacks- both EF and IF. If anyone wants to connect with her I would be happy to pass on her contact info. Send me a PM.








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Tom_H
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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Tom_H » Sun May 20, 2018 11:33 pm

Harlen wrote:Thanks for the good advice Tom and Daisy. ... Daisy, this advice of yours:
Actually, the old external frame packs, with the upper bar (extender bar) are the best at getting the load directly on your centerline. With these packs, we always carried weight high when on a trail and low on terrain that required more body movement and climbing.
.
That is correct. For most ordinary hiking, you want to put the heaviest things on top and as close as possible to the back of the pack (the back of the pack faces the back of the human), even sometimes overhanging the frame itself if it doesn't hit the back of your head. The sleeping bag straps to the bottom of the frame, below the main bag, behind the waist belt. I advise a heavier duty abrasion-resistant sack for the sleeping bag. Tie compression straps to the frame. If the carry bag has a nylon handle, run at least 1 strap under it, both if possible, because sometimes the entire carry bag can slip out sideways. Continue upwards with heavier and heavier items. Heavy climbing gear went on top and we pulled the drawstring taut. The foodbag went atop that, then the climbing rope above that and as close as possible to the back. Then we pulled the top flap over those and secured it.

It's highly doubtful you have any climbing gear. You should be able to get most things inside the main bag and pull the main flap over with not much sandwiched in between, though that's a good place to put a flannel shirt or wind parka for easy access. I never carried a bear can in an EF pack, but if possible, try to fit it sideways at the top of the bag and pull the drawstring. If it doesn't fit, you'll need to go vertical and experiment. I always use a food bag and do suspension unless a bear can is required. Crampons, ice axe, or in your case more likely fishing gear straps well to the outside of the pack with bungie cords, whose hooks anchor somewhere on the aluminum frame that won't rub your body. Reverse the weight top/bottom if on a sloped snowpack, but still keep weight toward the back, not the front, of the pack.

This thing is not going to circle your waist like an IF pack. The rear pad is going to press against the bottom of your spine, all the way across the top of the gluteus. Sorry to be a bit anatomical here, but people with substantial gluteus mass usually get good support here. For people lacking that mass, the thing can slide down and thus put too much weight on the shoulders. Those people may need to crank the waist belt tight. The connectors on the back of that pad (usually has laces) need to be drawn very tight. The hip belt anchors to the frame on each side. The pads need to come up and over the top of your hip points (medical name is greater trochanter). If you've never used an EF pack before, it's possible the hip points could get a little sore (or even bruise a little) until you get used to it and the skin toughens up. Sometimes, the anchor ends of the 2 piece belt need to be moved up or down on the frame if it has changeable anchor points. Keep adjusting the thing on the trail until you get it right. Also make sure to adjust top anchors of the shoulder straps until just right. You don't want them going over the top of your shoulders and back down. Instead, you want them anchored just above the top of the shoulders if possible. Ideally, you want 25% weight on shoulders and 75% on hips. You might want to carry 1 or 2 extra pins and clip rings in your repair kit in case a limb snags a clip and the pin comes out and gets lost. IMHO, better to carry that tiny bit of weight than to wish you had it-same with 1 extra shoelace.

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Harlen
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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Harlen » Mon May 21, 2018 1:26 am

TomH writes:
It's highly doubtful you have any climbing gear...
You're absolutely right, I've heard that mountain climbing is dangerous! I did climb trees though when I was little.
Crampons, ice axe, or in your case more likely fishing gear...
No no, fishing too is a strenuous and dangerous business, Giantbrookie once fell in the lake!
Me, I mostly go into the mountains to read books and drink. I don't know what an "ice axe" is, but I do carry a sharp little pick thing to make ice for my Daquiris. :)

But thanks for the advice on frame modifications Tom.

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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by mrphil » Mon May 21, 2018 7:41 pm

Harlen wrote:Hey WD, et al., I am driving over the hill tomorrow to check out three or four external frame packs I found on on craigslist. They are Jansport, Kelty, Camp Trails, and Northface brands. I wonder if they will be significantly heavier than some of the modern EF packs I checked out online. The new packs were in the 4 lbs. 11 oz. to 5 lbs. 9 o z. range. WD, You mention weight being a problem with the older ET packs, and also the need for better fit. Does anyone know if I will be able to custom bend the aluminum frames? I don't want to ruin them, but am interested in creating custom fit to accommodate my curved upper back? I would put them in a vice and bend them slowly, looking for cracking as I go??? What can one do with aluminum? I am really looking forward to using a EF pack again.
You can bend aluminum tubing in a few different ways:

Always, pack the tubing tightly with sand and plug the ends. Seriously, don't skimp or the tubing will flatten or crease.

You can get a bender for EMT tubing that electricians use pretty cheaply for longer curves.
You can heat it up with a blow torch or even the burner from your backpacking stove, and then bend it over another piece of pipe or wooden dowel for smaller curves.
For even longer curves like the entire curvature of your spine, use the second method above along with a blowtorch to work more of the material, faster and more evenly, and slowly but steadily work the tubing around something non flammable like a car tire rim or a 55 gal drum.

Whatever you end up doing, make sure that sand is PACKED and wear thick leather gloves!

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Harlen
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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Harlen » Mon May 21, 2018 10:41 pm

Thanks mrphil, I may give it a try. The pack already feels pretty good; there's a funny deja vu feeling to wearing a big Kelty again. I feel like I should wear levis and a wool sweater with it.

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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue May 22, 2018 1:43 pm

The new Kelty hip belts DO circle your waist. They are not that different from internal frame hip belts. They have adjustment straps - tighten them up and the hip belt is less circular but the sway is reduced (scrambling or off-trail); loosen and the belt contours your hips more, but the sway increases (trail walking).

When I carry a bear can on the extender bar, I attach the extender bar to the pack frame backwards- that keeps the bear can from hitting my head.

You can also ditch the pack bag entirely, and then just strap large stuff sacks directly to the frame. I have even attached my frameless 1-pound Granite Gear Virga to the kelty frame, putting the straps over the frame as if the frame were a person. There are unlimited creative ways to use an external pack frame. Once I strapped a partially butchered elk to it!

I even put my babies in the Kelty. A friend weld an additional bar to the extender bar, and made a canopy (diaper pouch on top) with zip on mosquito netting and the kid rode in the pack, on a suspended seat. Here is a photo- used it for a 5-day backpack with my 16-month old baby. I still attached my sleeping bag to the bottom and could carry plenty of gear under the seat. I made zip-slits for the kids to hang their legs out as they grew. Harlen- I love those photos of you backpacking with your kids. You used the no-pack method- just sling them up on your shoulders!
75_Mareca_NOLScourse_12.jpg
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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by bobby49 » Tue May 22, 2018 3:46 pm

Tom_H wrote:
Harlen wrote:Thanks for the good advice Tom and Daisy. ... Daisy, this advice of yours:
Actually, the old external frame packs, with the upper bar (extender bar) are the best at getting the load directly on your centerline. With these packs, we always carried weight high when on a trail and low on terrain that required more body movement and climbing.
.
That is correct. For most ordinary hiking, you want to put the heaviest things on top and as close as possible to the back of the pack (the back of the pack faces the back of the human), even sometimes overhanging the frame itself if it doesn't hit the back of your head.
I beg to differ. You want to get the center of gravity of the loaded backpack directly and slightly above your own body center of gravity. That way, you don't get much side to side sway and you don't get much front to back sway. If you get the backpack c.g. much above your own c.g., you will get balance problems. That doesn't matter too much if you are on a perfect trail, but when the trail degrades, balance becomes much more important. Try cross country skiing with a poorly balanced backpack that way, and you will quickly be on your butt.

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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue May 22, 2018 6:39 pm

With all due respect, I think that is exactly what I said. In my own experience, a heavy load distributed over an external frame and extender bar, pulls back significantly less than the same load on an internal frame pack. By no means is the extender bar above my head- it is only slightly higher than head height. The load sits more over my shoulders. For scrambling I pack the heavier gear closer to the small of my back for less wiggle. Like any pack, of course, to reduce wiggle, you need to precisely distribute the load. Seriously, I have done several 2-3 week winter mountaineering ski trips with an external frame pack and never found my pack unstable.

For large and heavy loads, an extender bar simply adds length to the pack to provide more flexibility for load placement, and the arc of the extender towards your center of gravity. Loads tied on the top of an internal frame pack tend to roll backwards. An extender bar simply is something that holds it forward. I do not find that the external frame pack necessary until I carry over 40 pounds.

I think there are some packs now that are said to be hybrid external-internal frame packs.

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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by freestone » Thu May 24, 2018 7:36 am

Wandering Daisy wrote: We have to be careful with technology- gizmos break. Simple designs with few if any moving parts are more reliable even if less efficient. Also, do backpackers really want the gizmos? Not sure if that is the case, but I see that a lot of those Big Agnes tents with the built in LED lights are often on sale. Even on sale, I certainly do not want one!

.

I added those LED lights to my BA Platinum and they are very much appreciated by someone like myself who spends long nights in a tent and frequently needs to find that small bottle of pain reliever in a very dark tent! Thankfully, now I can leave the Luci lantern at home. What seems like a gizmo to some, can also be innovation to others and I would love to see the design idea be expanded to include red LEDs and solar charging.

Rearding external frame packs, the Kelty 50th Anniversary pack was the most comfortable, lightest external frame pack they ever made but for some reason the design never caught on and they went back to the obsolete traditional square frame with just average weight transfer to the sacro-Illiac area. Exped and Six Moon Design are now coming out with some interesting designs that include using anatomical knowledge to better transfer weight of the pack back to the body. So for me, that's where the future and fun of packs and backpacking is now, not with companies reusing traditional designs.
Fram...

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Re: Future Of Backpacks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu May 24, 2018 12:14 pm

Yesterday I got a tooth crown. The whole experience was really different from years ago. The crown was custom fit and made with a 3-d printer. Under two hours, one shot, in the dentist office. Is 3-d printing feasible on metal? Is there any plastic strong enough to be made into a pack frame? Just think if you could walk into your local REI, get a body scan, and have a custom pack frame built with a 3-d printer! Then all you have to do is pick the other components and attach to the frame.

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