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Frameless packs

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Frameless packs

Postby trav867 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:48 pm

So in an effort to reduce the weight I have to carry, I'm thinking about trying/buying a frameless pack. The Gossamer Gear G4 looks to be about what I need, or think I need...I think. Just wondering if anyone could weigh in on frameless packs, what their experiences have been with them, and/or recommendations. Thanks!



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Re: Frameless packs

Postby copeg » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:17 pm

I've used two frameless pack....a golite breeze and a G4. They both differ considerably in their design and I much prefer the G4 based upon its initial size as well as its comfort. The breeze stunk when it came to comfort and the G4 much better. The pocket in the G4 allows you to add a z-rest for a back pad which is very nice and quite comfortable, and the extensive outer mesh pockets give you quite a bit of extra room. Of course frameless pack aren't meant for large loads, and I'd go by the G4 description of loads less than 30lbs to stay in a comfort zone. My one complaint about the G4 design is that its seems to ride a bit low (aka my butt can sometimes hit the bottom...and I don't have a very large butt! :lol: ). A nice thing about frameless packs is their simple design - if you have access to a sewing machine and know a bit how to sew, you can sometimes save a good deal of $$$ by making your own.
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby markskor » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:22 pm

Back in '84, bought the original frameless pack - Yak-Pak Troi Jour (no longer made)...about 3400 CI with the side pockets. I used this extensively for 5 years. (weight - 1 1/2 pounds)...still use it too on short overnighters.
Some observations, as it pertains to today's offerings:
- 30 - 35 (maybe 40 tops) pounds is all that it holds without permanent bodily damage. Still I managed more than a few 10-day adventures with that old friend.
- The whole trick is to stuff it tight, like a sausage, in order to make the suspension work.
- I remember it taking a good half hour to pack it up...twice as long as my Gregory.
- God help you if you needed anything out of the bottom.
- Hotter than hell when doing summer miles...sweat would pool and find its way into sleeping bag.
- A bear can does not fit well...(maybe the Bearikade Scout, but still my back cries out.)
- Best pack I ever owned, until carrying bear cans became mandatory.
Mark
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:54 pm

I have 3 packs:

1) An old CampTrails Frame pack i got when i started at 16. It did well for 30 years, but then the zippers started giving out. Bear Cannister fits nicely in the bottom area right above the sleeping bag and thermarest. She's been since retired due to #2.

2)A new Kelty Tioga 5500 Frame pack to replace the above. The extra room allows me to tuck in extra fleece gear if i think it's gonna be cold. I like frame packs because I tend to go when it's gonna be either really hot on the trail, or i need to carry a lot of stuff. I think external frames breath better for the sweating one does up hill, and i love to sweat.

3) Lowe's Alpine system frameless (circa 1988). A perfect size and lots o' straps for my winter backcountry. It fits snugly against my back to keep me warm and has those silly inserts in them to give at least some strength so my shoulders dont carry all the load.

Just to add, when i used to do some climbing, the frameless was better as it gave me a better center of gravity.


Russ
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:14 pm

Try this a third time.

I spent a couple weeks in Nov and Dec, mulling over which new pack to buy. I really wanted another Golite Gust, as it was a tried and proven pack for me. It's newer version is the Pinnacle, which this coming season is going up in weight again to around two lbs. Anyway, I was thinking of the GG packs and the SMD, Starlite. I settled on the SMD pack, five oz. heavier than my Gust. it seemed to have mostly good reviews and the material was proven to me in my Gust. The GG packs use silnylon which in the end I thought would not stand up to xc trips and I had read, without the stays may not carry well with loads approaching 35 lbs. which I could potentially do. Some quality issues from the past I have heard about also, but had been fixed by great customer service, but the final decision is yours. I read and reread reviews, tough decision for a Libra. The only thing I don't like about going to a little smaller pack, is there is no room for extras and some of my gear like my TarpTent will be stuffed into a outside mesh pocket, whereas my Gust, everything went inside, unless on a winter trip and I had to put my snowshoes on the outside. I have noticed that the ultralight packs are going back up in weight, must be a comfort issue going on. I thought some too of the Z Packs, but they can be vulnerable to sharp objects I had read, but hold up for a PCT thru hike. Look at ULA also, I backed down from them because of the size I needed, the pack would be around 3 lbs.

I had a CampTrails pack too which I used for years, not knowing it was only big enough for weekend trips.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:36 pm

hikerduane wrote:I had a CampTrails pack too which I used for years, not knowing it was only big enough for weekend trips.


Interesting, mine was packed to the gills and worked for 7 day trips..
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:56 pm

Being the newbie for years, starting in the early 70's bping, as I had no one to show me the ropes, when my CampTrails was loaded for an 8-9 day trip, I looked like everything I owned was on my back. I don't carry an extra pair of Levi's, clean shirt or underwear for everyday anymore, nor do I have that five pound synthetic fill bag.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby paul » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:23 pm

I have made numerous packs over the years (sewed my first pack in 1972), Have made frameless, internal frame, framesheet, and variations.Even sewed packbags for my external frame. Based on my experience, I wouldn't get a frameless pack unless my load was expected to be so light (under 15lbs total including pack) that the pack hardly matters. Personally, I like to keep most of the load on my hips, and I have found that to do that with a frameless pack requires packing it really tight, even with a foam pad acting as a "frame". Plus, Shoulder straps are more comfortable when you can have lifter straps that angle up from the top of the shoulder, and you just can't get that to work well without some sort of frame - I've tried it. The pack I use now in the summer is one that I made, with aluminum stays, padded hipbelt, 16 oz. It handles loads up to about 30 lbs very nicely, is nearly as light as the lightest frameless packs, I don't have to pack it perfectly, and it handles a bear canister just fine.
If you are comfortable carrying more weight on your shoulders, then a frameless pack may be OK for you, if you have reduced the weight of everything else - and I mean everything else - that you carry.
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby trav867 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:50 pm

Thanks for all the input- a 16oz pack with aluminum stays sounds like the best of both worlds! I think the G4 will go on my ever-increasing list of gear-to-someday-buy...

What about using tent poles to give a z-rest/frame sheet some rigidity?
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby frediver » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:20 pm

I have the G-4 and pack it with my tent poles "in between" the folds of my z-rest.
This worked great for my 40 pound load.
I wish it was large enough to pack a bear can horizontally, it's not and I make do.
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:52 am

My day pack even has a frame, and I love it. Maybe I've got wimpy shoulders and vertebrae, but I really, really like to have the weight on my hips rather than on my shoulders.

—B²
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Re: Frameless packs

Postby trav867 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:20 am

Haha now that I've decided on the G4 they're no longer in stock! Figures.
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