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Backpack Evolution

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Backpack Evolution

Postby oldhikerQ » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:10 pm

Time for the old timers (and anyone else so inclined) to hop on the wayback machine. Can you recall your progression of primary backpacks from when you started until today? Can you list them in progression? Did you start out with an e-frame and switch to an internal? Just curious how other peoples backpack history compares to mine.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost



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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby markskor » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:35 pm

Ah the Wayback Machine!

Really not that many backpacks, considering 40+ years -
I can only recall 6 that were carried hard and long.

1969 Started with a UCLA Powder Blue Kelty Tioga - (squeak!) -
Kelty Bristlecone - Yak-Pak Troi Jour (Frameless) - My Chili Red Gregory Shasta - Deuter 65 + (POS) -
Today an older Gregory Deva 60.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby Scouter9 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:27 am

I started with my Dad's BSA Ruck, which dated to the 1940's, was frameless and had less volume than the sleeping bag we lashed to it.

From there, I graduated to my Dad's Kelty B with only a waist strap ("belly band") that didn't bear weight really. That pack got a lot of use between us and when we were on-trail together, I had a snazzy, new Vietnam-era paratrooper kind of ruck, made of beefy canvas and leather and to which I still lashed my sleeping bag to the outside. That pack made me crave the Kelty.

Next, I had an REI-branded external that we bought from a family we met at a trailhead. This was essentially a Kelty type pack, but smaller everywhere. It was a huge step up, but started my campaign for a "real pack" and the determination that when I got near what we figured was my maximum growth height, "it would be time".

In 1980, I was 6'4" and received a Kelty Tioga on an XL frame for Christmas. It had the cam-lok belt, four external pockets, the extender bar...all of it. The ruck became only a rock-climbing gear bag. To this day, that Kelty is my backpack even though I grew another inch, ha ha! In 2011, Kelty sent me a new set of shoulder straps for it and, although it shows appropriate wear, it's still excellent.

In the intervening years, I've owned an early Lowe Alpine internal and a few other packs used for rock-climbing or mountaineering, but nothing has replaced or bettered the Kelty for trail use. It's the only full-sized pack I own at this point. Evolution, stunted.
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby BrianF » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:38 am

For me, started in the early 60s with a nameless external frame, shapelss sack of canvas. No padding on the cotton web shoulder straps or waistbelt, and it had the latest innovation: an aluminum frame. From there went to another external frame that had some padding (liitle sliding pads on the waistbelt about the size of a sponge) and it was nylon. By the time I hiked the muir trail right after high school ('72) I had a Jansport D3, which remained my go to pack for years until I got into mountaineering. For off trail I first used a Caribou Mountaineering internal frame, which was a fantastic pack! Then for years it was a Lowe Expedition until that suffered a catastrophic failure. Then came my Gregory Palisade, which despite being old is still going strong (like me). and I still use it, despite its horrific weight. May be time to find something lighter
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby oldhikerQ » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:53 am

I started in the mid 60's with a generic canvas e-frame with padded shoulder straps and a web hip belt. Once I had a job, a royal blue AplenLite hip-hugger pack entered the picture. Three trips convinced me that the pack was not a good match for my then slender hips, and I sent it on its way. A red Kelty Serac (Super Tioga with a full length bag) was next. That pack did a stellar job on the JMT ('74). I replaced the pack bag with a TNF panel loading bag (stealth navy) and added a Trailwise shoulder harness system.That configuration did number of 2 week loops in the north Yosemite backcountry. My interests shifted to including some XC which led to a Gregory Snow Creek. Sadly, the Gregory and I were not compatible, so I let it go. Next up was a Dana Designs TerraPlane (also red), which was a match made in heaven. A big heavy pack, but it let me keep all of my gear inside while competing two sections of Roper's high route. A Dana Designs TerraFrame entered the gear closet sometime later, thinking that it might be a good compromise between a an e-frame and an i-frame. It didn't work out that way for me. Finally decided to go to a lighter pack. Tried a Gregory Z65, but it wouldn't hold my bear can. Returned that for an Aether 70, which seemed to be ideal. It carried everything inside except my ThermaRest. On it's maiden voyage last summer, the main zipper broke the morning of the trip after repacking everything at our Mammoth base before driving to the TH. I lashed the panel shut, and took the pack back to REI as soon as I got home. Thought about another Osprey, but I couldn't get over the disappointment of a pack failing on its maiden voyage. I now have an ArcTeryx Altra 65 (black), which was highly recommended by both one of our group, who has used his for three years, and my photographer friend in Mammoth (he called it the most comfortable pack he's carried in years). Hoping that the Altra will suit me as long as I'm able to keep wandering the High Sierra.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby Rockchucker » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:52 am

I too started with a kelty e-frame pack, then got a Alice military pack that I used for about 5 years. Next I got a kelty internal frame red cloud( I think) that went everywhere with me until last year. Next I got a osprey exos 58 for taking my son and I. And a gossamer gear kumo for ul weekend trips. Day packs I've owned are too numerous to list.
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby Troutdog 59 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:29 pm

First was a no name external I traded a friend some "green" for in 1975. It wasnt much, but it took me where i wanted to go and got me hooked on backpacking. Used it for the 1st two/three years, then bought a Kelty Tioga. Sadly, had it only one season before it left my possesion (stolen at the apartment I was living in), then my foks bought me a Jansport D3, which I still have but dont use often. It was my go to until about 1985, when my wife bought me a Lowe Expedition Internal Frame pack. Had that until 2007 when it had a catastrophic failure of the shoulder harness system. Replaced it with the Mountainsmith Apex I have now in 2010.
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby wildhiker » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Started with an REI basic external frame pack - made by Camp Trails, I believe, but with the REI label - in 1970. Replaced it in 1978 with a Kelty Tioga external frame pack. Been using the Kelty every year since. I've done some minor repairs and replaced both the shoulder pad/straps and hipbelt along the way (original hip belt was not very comfortable).
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby sparky » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:34 pm

I started in 1989 with a plastic external frame coleman pack. It was pretty uncomfortable. Then in the late 90's when I was getting more serious I got a no name internal frame pack that was actually pretty nice, but super heavy. It is absolutely bomb-proof and fully featured. I then got a frameless pack when I went ultralight that I used almost exclusively for 5 years, then I got a Osprey pack last year, which I like.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby Rockchucker » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:54 pm

sparky wrote:I started in 1989 with a plastic external frame coleman pack. It was pretty uncomfortable. Then in the late 90's when I was getting more serious I got a no name internal frame pack that was actually pretty nice, but super heavy. It is absolutely bomb-proof and fully featured. I then got a frameless pack when I went ultralight that I used almost exclusively for 5 years, then I got a Osprey pack last year, which I like.

Which osprey?
I'm no suture for my future.
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby sparky » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:21 pm

atmos 65. I like the way it rides.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: Backpack Evolution

Postby xNateX » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:39 pm

Uhmm, started with an Osprey Argon 85 back in 2010 or thereabouts. With time, the stuff in my pack has evolved as a result of culling and replacement with lighter gear, all except that 7 pound pack of mine.

It's so comfortable. It ain't going nowhere.
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