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Advice on backcountry rucks.

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Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby ApocalypseMan » Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:01 am

I got an internship in the Sequoias as a Backcountry Ranger for the Forest Service and I'm not too familiar with any good backpacks out there.

I was looking at the Kelty Red Cloud, mainly because where I live It's the only one with a good name that I can try on at any store. The thing is, I have never used an internal frame pack before. I'm only used to the external frames and it seems those have kinda been fazed out.

Just when I thought I found a good pack, the Camp Trails Ranger. I find the company no longer carries them. :-({|= I'm kind of on a tight budget (still a student) everything I see out there is up in the 190-300 dollar range.

Any advice would be very much appreciated!

Thank you. :cool:
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby markskor » Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:43 am

Not familiar with what your specific duties will entail - Intern and all, but it sounds like you could be hauling a lot of gear, doing multi-days... (out for weeks at a time?) - or not... who knows.
I would ask your superiors for a bit more beta - then ask around and see what others used last season. In short, find out what worked best in the past..

Would be a bit presumptuous to recommend anything without hearing more...

3-day trips, you could get by on 60 liters, but suspect 70+ would fit the bill better.
Maybe you will be carrying other "group gear" on top of your own - then maybe a load-hauler is required.

Be aware that most the current ultra-light packs seen today are usually carried by experienced hikers who forgo a lot of creature comforts in order to lighten their load...

All that being said, and not knowing any specifics about you - (weight/height/experience), and realizing you have a limited budget, I would first go to a local REI and get measured correctly. Then go on line (Geartrade, eBay), and buy a used (correct size) Gregory Shasta, Palisade (or whatever) for under $100...Maybe a pound heavy but proven load carriers that will last a season or two without breaking the bank and self-destructing on the trail. Next season, if you come back, you will know better. Spend any extra coin on a good sleeping bag instead.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby maverick » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:03 am

Hi ApocalypseMan

Welcome to HST!
Like Markskor mentioned go to REI, get fitted, and try on several packs, take one home
fill with the weight that you think you will be averaging on your trips (ask fellow rangers)
and start hiking with it, if it doesn't work take it back and get another.
Learn its suspension system, see if it has a comfortable hip belt, and shoulder harness
by the end of a hard day.
Can you reach your water bottle easily, or are using a bladder.
Are you going to carry an ice axe, a radio, how are the going to fit them into or on your
pack?
Im sure your fellow rangers will be able to give you pointers, but make sure the pack
you get works with your body, what works for one doesn't all ways work for another, like
shoes/boots.
We have some rangers here like Old Ranger and Skibum who will probably chime in and
be very helpful.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby Mike M. » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:03 pm

Apocalypse:

I am an external frame pack diehard. You can pick up a nice Kelty Super Tioga, vintage 1989 or so, on E-Bay or Craig's List for less than a $100. These workhorses allow you to hike in anything your poor bones can carry.

Talk to your supervisor at the Forest Service and get an idea what you will be doing in the backcountry. An internal frame pack for short hikes or dayhikes sounds like a good idea. If you're lucky, they'll have a pack train bring provisions in for you, once the passes open up.

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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby ApocalypseMan » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:14 pm

I was told I would be doing a LOT of hiking some trail work and monitoring camp sites/collecting data on camp sites. We will also be out in the field for a couple weeks at a time give or take. Ill be in the Lake Hume Ranger District/Jennie Lake/Monarch Wilderness area. I'm pretty much getting trained to be a Wilderness Ranger.

I do own a hybrid molle2/alice pack. A Park Ranger told me to just use the alice but I don't know if I want to :-k I can already feel the pain lol.

I kind of limited for the places I can go to check out backpacks where I live. Sport Chalet is my best bet, only they have a poor selection.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:58 pm

Monarch? Some steep stuff there!

I wouldn't go to Sport Chalet. I've seen their selection!

Are you anywhere near Fresno? REI and Herb Bauer both have much better packs. Slightly different selection in each. Herb Bauer tends to cater more to local hunters so they will probably have some external frames as well as some serious internal frames to try on... they are also better about measuring you for fit, which you need to have done. Highly recommend them.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby oldranger » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:08 pm

AM

Welcome aboard. For the most part Jennie Lakes Wilderness is fairly gentle while Monarch is steep! As maverick and markskor have advised trying on a pack with weight for an extended period is critical. Find out if you will be expected to carry a crosscut saw. If so you might be happier with an external frame if you need to wrap the saw around your pack and then tie it on.

If you camp around Rowell Meadow there will be mosquitos all summer this year so bring a headnet and lots of repellant. I would be reluctant to sleep in the Rowell Meadow Snow Survey cabin (my home station for two seasons) if the marmot family still lives underneath the floor. One night inside taught me that their piercing "peep" several times a night was not conducive to a good night's sleep. I soon had a wall tent for sleeping. There is also a great spring on the n side of the meadow a couple hundred yards e. of the cabin where I got my water and kept my beer cold.

Mike
Last edited by oldranger on Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby maverick » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:08 pm

Hi AlmostThere

How is Herb Bauer's exchange policy, are they as forgiving as REI?
Can you take the pack back even a year later after using it? That would make
a big difference, especially if I were to go out and put them to a serious endurance
test.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby ApocalypseMan » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:35 am

Thank you for the advise folks. I'm set on getting an external but I'm having a problem finding one that is not discontinued and has a lot of space. If I can't find one in a couple of weeks then I guess I'll settle with an internal frame like a red cloud or something.

I found a Kelty Trekker 3900 and also a Kelty Super Tioga 4900. I do not believe this would be good for up to 9 days.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:56 am

maverick wrote:Hi AlmostThere

How is Herb Bauer's exchange policy, are they as forgiving as REI?
Can you take the pack back even a year later after using it? That would make
a big difference, especially if I were to go out and put them to a serious endurance
test.


Not sure - you could call and ask. They are competing pretty heavily with REI on sales... I think they may have revised returns as well, but it's been a while since I got anything major there.

Backcountry.com has the same return policy as REI now, I've heard.
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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby oldranger » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:03 am

Without knowing anything about either of the packs why do you say they would not be suitable for a 9 day trip? With the ability to strap your sleeping pad and bag on externally it would seem to me to be more than enough volume.

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Re: Advice on backcountry rucks.

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:48 am

ApocalypseMan wrote:
I found a Kelty Trekker 3900 and also a Kelty Super Tioga 4900. I do not believe this would be good for up to 9 days.


Seriously? The Tioga is an 80 liter pack! I could be out for a month with that thing - you could haul two bear cans with it, plus tools!

It's also 99 bucks at Sierra Trading Post, I see.
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