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new backpack

Postby markskor » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:51 am

Kinda slow here recently…
Anyway, I am looking for a new backpack, trying to lighten up a few pounds – I guess we are all always looking.

Maybe a little backpack history… I started/first carried a Kelty Tioga until it squeaked itself to death, then for years carried a 3500 Yak Pak Troi Jours (frameless –~2 pounds) until the mandated bear can laws unfortunately made this pack not practical anymore for extended Sierra adventures. Maybe about 15 years ago, I then married my Gregory Shasta and was a happy camper, until a few years ago...now the movement is toward Ultralight.

So, I need a pack around 4000 ci, (~65 liters), weighing around 4 pounds but built to last for more than a few seasons. As I still do some miles/days, I like a beefier waist/shoulder strap arrangement. I like having a separate sleeping bag (WM Badger) compartment, (but not a deal-breaker), usually keep my 10-12 day load (all up) to less than 40 pounds to start, and most importantly, I wish to carry my Bearikade Weekender horizontally. I looked at GG Nimbus Meridian but the bear can will not fit without stressing the pack (just a little tight). Now I am looking at the Mystery Ranch Trance XXX.
http://www.mysteryranch.com/s.nl/it.A/i ... category=9
but the 6-inch depth of the pack worries…will my bear can fit without being uncomfortable…no way to look at it at REI – they do not carry it there.
Anybody tried this pack yet…comments?
Thanks,
markskor
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: new backpack

Postby maverick » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:35 pm

Your are the in the same boat I was in last year, and after having purchased the
Osprey Exos 58, I am looking for another alternative pack.
The 4000 cu, in., under 4lbs, and long lasting is a very difficult combination to put
together, but here are a few I looked at last year, and the second one is the one I should
have bought, and will probably buy next month.

1. REI Flash 65 which is 3lbs.2oz and 3966 cu. in.
2. Deuter ACT Zero 60+10, which is 3 lbs.1 oz., and 4993 cu. in. which supposedly has a
very comfy harness which can even handle 50 lbs. comfortably and something I may be
purchasing next month.
3. Gregory Z65 is 3 lbs. 14 oz., and 3966 cu. in., which is supposed to be pretty tough
but not as comfy as the Deuter.

The problem with these is that even the REI model is not in stock a lot of time at REI
so you have to go through the hassle of ordering on-line to see if they fit, same issues
I have with most shoes I am interested in, oh the joys of shopping!
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Re: new backpack

Postby markskor » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:06 pm

Mav-
Yup, in the same boat I guess.
Some thoughts:
1. REI Flash 65 which is 3lbs.2oz and 3966 cu. in. I found this a bit flimsy and not a great fit - loaded.
2. Deuter ACT Zero 60+10, which is 3 lbs.1 oz., and 4993 cu. in. which supposedly has a
very comfy harness which can even handle 50 lbs. comfortably and something I may be
purchasing next month. Also discarded after 1-hour at REI walking about with 40 pounds, as the back harness gap juts out too far...and will not carry a can horizontally.
3. Gregory Z65 is 3 lbs. 14 oz., and 3966 cu. in., which is supposed to be pretty tough
but not as comfy as the Deuter. I am looking also possibly at this pack but the design /suspension/padding is suspect.
You are right about it being hard to impossible to find a reasonably priced (under $300), well-made backpack, ~4000 ci, that carries well and may last more than one season.
Argh!
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: new backpack

Postby cmon4day » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:40 pm

markskor wrote: I started/first carried a Kelty Tioga


Get another Tioga. I've had mine for 25 years and over a 1,000 miles and still going strong. Here's a pic of my Tioga in Cherry Creek Canyon in Emigrant Wilderness
Attachments
Cherry Creek Cyn.JPG
Heading down Cherry Creek Canyon
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Re: new backpack

Postby balzaccom » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:55 pm

We'e been really happy with our Eureka 3800s. 3.5 pounds, and quite comfortable, although they don't have the cool system of your Exos for keeping the pack off your back. ANd these weren't expensive either. I realize that a new pack SHOULD be expensive!

And just curious. What don't you like about the Exos? We've been looking at those as an upgrade, because they weigh a pound less. But the also have no separate sleeping bag section.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: new backpack

Postby oldranger » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:14 pm

Maverick and Markskor

I've hiked with both of you and there is no way you'll find one pack that will be comfortable for both of you.

Common4day

You gotta understand, Mark (as well as myself) are getting old so light is much more important than 10 years ago when we were a mere 50 years old (or slightly older). Maverick carries so much camera gear that he has to do whatever he can to cut down on weight. I have old, comfortable external frame packs that are perfectly serviceable but 3 lbs. extra weight eliminated means 2 days extra food and the difference beween a sleeping pad that isn't thick enough anymore and an exped downlight pad that is as comfortable as our new Tempurpedic mattress at home.

So the wonderful, durable Tioga isn't really an option.

Balzacom,

Personally I like the Exos, especially when my loads get down to the mid to low 30 lb. range. I did carry over 50 in it this summer for one day and it wasn't that bad. The main issue for me is durability. I doubt I'll get more than another 30 days beyond the 27 days I put on it this summer. However had I covered the bottom edges of the frame covering with duct tape it would have avoided the most significant wear as every time you set the pack down on rock there is probably a little friction on that part of the pack. And if you do any sliding down rock on your butt as I do occasionally then you are bound to stress that part of the pack. In addition if you do a lot of bushwacking the fabric, especially the side pockets can snag. My pack looks pretty beat up but I think it is still good for next year

So does anyone know how many helium balloons you have to tie to your pack to significantly reduce the weight of your pack? :D

mike
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Re: new backpack

Postby paul » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:41 pm

I am curious as to why you want to carry your bear can horizontally? Does it fit that way in your current pack?
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Re: new backpack

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:36 am

I purchased a Z55 in hopes of shaving some weight off my Gregory Forrester. The Z55 is very popular in my neck of the woods with AT thru hikers. I tried it a couple of times and now it's collecting dust in my basement.
The so-called jetstream ventilation system works well to keep your back cool, but it also forces the load to be away from your body, which I found to be less stable than a conventional pack. As I, too, am getting older, I didn't want my load to shift and cause me to fall. Also, the hip belts don't support the weight too well, causing my shoulders to bear more of the weight (ouch !). It looks like the Z65 may have addressed the hip belt issue.
Admittedly I filled the pack to around 30-35 lbs. I feel the pack is designed for a lighter weight.
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Re: new backpack

Postby markskor » Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:46 am

Paul writes, "I am curious as to why you want to carry your bear can horizontally? Does it fit that way in your current pack?"
I carry a Bearikade Weekender - a rather sharp(er) edge than other type cans. Carrying it horizontally lowers the center of gravity and puts a rounded edge against my back while if vertical, I get two sharp edges, one hitting my lower back. The can fits horizontal in my old Shasta but my current multi-day use pack is now an older Gregory Deva, (I know...but it fits like a glove and carries well) - and it weighs in around 4 pounds - 2 1/2 pounds lighter. Unfortunately, the Deva is 1 inch too skinny to fit my can that way.

Looking for a new "perfect", 10-day pack, (if there is such a thing), I could fit it in vertical in many packs offered today, but prefer the other way as it packs better for me this way, but that is just a personal preference.

I really liked the GG Nimbus Meridian but with the can horizontally, it fits - barely, but stresses the pack, and the two sharp edges seem to be in danger of an easy tear, much like a hard edge protruding against a stuffed trash bag...seems obvious that this pack will not last long if packed this way.

The Osprey line also looks good but after only a short time carring it at REI with weight, the back waist harness seemed to dig in...not acceptable, and after seeing OldRanger's Exos pack already starting to fail after 27 trail days - I am looking elsewhere as I would like this to be the final pack I purchase (famous last words...lol). The new Deuter 60 + 10 also intrigued as to harness and weight but still too skinny.
Other "lightweight" packs now offered seem to only last a season or two at best.

Tried the Gregory Z65...did not like the belt/suspension system with 40 pounds up.

I may just have to make the ($$$) call to McHale.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: new backpack

Postby hikerduane » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:23 am

My Six Moons Design Starlite has the capacity you want, although I don't see how.:) It weights a pound and 5 oz. and can have a 3/4 pad used for the back padding/sleep pad/suspension. I still bring my small NeoAir. A little shoulder pain/skin pain carrying up to around 35 lbs. on the AK trip in August, but very managable. I had much worse with my old Golite Gust which I liked. My Bearicade fits at the top horizontally, but then leaves no room for the designed in loop for a bladder when loaded for a long trip. It has four outside pockets of different sizes, I wish the pockets on the sides were the same capacity on both sizes, hard to equalize weight. The issue I see with carrying a canister vertically, is it is hard to balance the pack with gear, I would rather have that amount of space or section accounted for already. Comprende?

I have noticed that the packs that used to be super light are going back up in weight or matching other small manufacturers weights, maybe to make them more comfortable. They must have had too many unhappy customers. Have fun looking. I just spent three-four nights checking out insulated, winter bping boots and finally bought some this morning at 1:00.:(
Piece of cake.
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Re: new backpack

Postby paul » Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:31 pm

markskor wrote:I may just have to make the ($$$) call to McHale.


I doubt you'd be sorry if you do. I make my own packs, and have done so for 35 years, and I worked in several mountain shops years ago. So I have a lot of experience with what really works on a pack as opposed to "features" if ya know what I mean. I have never had my hands on a McHale pack, but I can tell from what he says on his website and the pictures of the packs that he knows what he's doing - those are really good packs. And you can get things the way you want them. You just have to live on beans and rice for a few months to afford it! Get a new pack from Dan in all Dyneema fabric and it might be the last you ever need.

BTW, I carry my Bearikades vertically (both sizes), and I find it much more comfortable that way - but it sounds like you like the canister lower in the pack than I do.
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Re: new backpack

Postby maverick » Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:54 pm

I do have my base weight at around or just under 5 lbs, but my big lens, and
RRS Multi-Pano set-up which are both in some Lowepro paded cases have to go into
my pack, I do not like carrying a lot of stuff on the outside of my pack, especially
a few thousand dollars worth of camera gear.
I carry my camera, 2 lenses, filters, lens cleaning supplies, filters, extra batteries, and
other accessories in a Lowepro Inverse 200 AW.
So yes most of my weight is my camera gear, and my tripod, and the heaviest, my food.
My problem since I go mainly off-trail is the durability with the Osprey, and the hip
belt is just adequate, and I wish the harness was more comfortable when climbing.
I used it on 3 trips, and the netting on the side is all ready torn, as is the netting on
back area.
My favorite pack was the Ghost which could handle 8-10 days comfortably, and had no
issues exploring easily over a 1000 miles of off-trail explorations without a hitch.
It seems like most companies got on to the light-ultra-light band wagon but there has
been a lot of complaints about durability, flimsy belts and harnesses.
I guess the McHale route may have to a be consideration because as of yet I have not
seen a pack that I am happy with, and I refuse to get a 5 or 6 lb bag, but I may have
to go into the 4lb territory once again.
I had a Dana Astroplane way back when they were US made, and it did ride better than
any other pack I have ever had, with weight over 40 lbs, and up to 70 lbs, but it weighed
over 6 lbs.
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