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Backpacks The Backpacks forum is for the discussion of backpacking packs (including front packs and pack accessories: hipbelt pockets, pack covers,...).

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Old 02-14-2014, 07:05 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
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What is your best / favorite backpack of all?

What is (was) the best or favorite backpack that you've ever used? Also, share the types and length of trips that you've used it for and any other particulars that help to explain your personal choice.

Thanks for your participation.

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Old 02-15-2014, 07:30 PM
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ColoradoWalt ColoradoWalt is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 8
Kelty Super Tioga. Short and long trips. Love this pack.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:03 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Associate Member
Backpack: GoLite Pinnacle
Sleeping Gear: Moonstone Lucid 800 w/Neo Air pad
Shelter: Tarptent Sublite Tyvek & Tarptent Double Rainbow
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 430
I've been through a few packs and my favorite is my GoLite Pinnacle. I own two of them. It weighs 28 oz. and is extremely comfortable. My normal load, depending on weather, how much grandkid gear and water I'm carrying, ranges from 18 to 24 lb., which it handles with aplomb. When hauling water at the start of a hike in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, I'll be hitting about 30 lb. and I have had it up to 40 when hauling a bunch more water. It handled the 40 lb. much better than I did.

I'd heard about the Pinnacle and then, on a hike in the Grand Canyon, met Maverick, the Grand Canyon hiker featured in Podcast #12 on this site. He told me if he could use one pack the rest of his live it would be the Pinnacle. I thought that sounded like a pretty good recommendation and I bought one and it has lived up to its billing.

On a side note, trying to get in touch with Maverick led me to this site. I didn't realize the reason my emails bounced was that he had died.

A few months ago, I bought a Gossamer Gear Miniposa and I've used it since on a forty two mile trip with my brother in law in Arkansas and a fifteen mile hike with my grandson in Big Bend. It's smaller (and lighter) than the Pinnacle and I am very fond of it. I'll be using it quite a bit more and it may even replace the Pinnacle in my pantheon of packs.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:14 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
This is a hard one. I suppose I'd have to say my Lowe Contour IV. I used one for at least 15 years, maybe more. I used it on every trip I took, for many years it was the only pack I had (or needed). Everything from overnighters to week-long trips. 5500ci with the lid untelescoped, and around 7lbs. Lid telescoped and large side-pouches strapped on, it probably held closer to 6500ci. Comfort rated for around 60lbs, but I regularly took it way beyond that.

There were several things I liked about it. In the first place, it was relatively inexpensive for its quality (which was excellent). Second, it had a good suspension and could handle far more weight than most people gave it credit for. At one time, I thought nothing of 80-85lb loads. (Time and age have caused me to completely rethink this one. My issue, not the backpack's.) The Contour IV handled it beautifully. No failures of seams, fabric, buckles, anything. Third, it was a fairly basic layout without a lot of bells and whistles, but that made it a little lighter than some other packs of the same size. Finally, it was relatively comfortable. With 80lb loads, I couldn't exactly say I forgot I was wearing it, but it was easy to adjust on the fly, and I can't ever recall being uncomfortable. I was actually happy with that pack and those loads.

It is showing noticeable UV fading on the shoulder straps (other than that, little significant wear, a testament to its material and construction). But the big issue was -despite it's large size - the new view camera case wouldn't fit through the mouth of the packbag. So in the name of art, it got retired.

I replaced it with a Gregory Shasta, which would swallow the view cam case whole. I'd always heard the Gregorys would beat it by a mile for comfort under heavy loads, but the Shasta really only beats it for comfort by a few hundred feet. I think the Contour IV was always underrated (and underpriced). I still have the Contour IV but the Shasta is now the go-to big hauler. Not just because of the camera fit issue, but because it does beat the Lowe in comfort. Give it another 10 years, and maybe I may have to re-visit this thread and report my favorite pack is the Shasta.

Last edited by GGervin : 02-17-2014 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:28 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
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I agree. This is a difficult question. Largely, because I'm still looking for that favorite pack. [But that's not my intent in posting this thread - as I'm nearly certain my absolute favorite is yet to come. Rather, I'm curious as to how many others have fond their sweet spot with packs.]

There are packs that stand out in my mind, because of their sentimental value. There's an old, external frame pack that my late Grandmother bought for me. That's a cherished item (though not a great pack, in and of itself).

Also, there was a pack that I carried many years back on my AT hike that wasn't much more than a nylon (or some other fabric) sack. It's long gone. I'd sure like to have at least a glimpse of that one again. That was back when I was a super-ultralight backpacker by default (i.e. I didn't own much of any gear).

It's not easy to admit that with all the years of experience that I have in backpacking that I'm still left wanting for a pack that I absolutely love. It will have to be a great marriage between features and weight. Duh, right? The problem is this differs significantly among us backpackers. It's hard for manufacturers to please us all.

One area that I feel that manufacturers can readily please most is with gear color. I've seen a couple packs that have interested me, but I wouldn't give them a try because I didn't want to be lit up with the bright colors.

I'll continue my quest and report any breakthroughs.

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Old 03-16-2014, 06:43 PM
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badwolf badwolf is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Granite Gear Leopard 58 AC KI or Deuter Aircontact 50L
Sleeping Gear: Thermarest NeoLite XL womens, Big Agnes Roxy Ann
Shelter: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 45
It's a tie.

Dana Designs Glacier because my mom and I had a pair of them and went on some trips together. Mom can't go anymore, and I now have to go solo. Those packs bring back found memories.

The pack I use now is my other favorite: a Deuter Aircontact SL (70L and I have a 50L I imported from the UK). It's heavy but it's amazingly comfortable. I don't have any sore spots. I'm planning to buy the lighter ACT Lite 60L to lighten the load.

So ask again after this season... might have a new favorite
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:09 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Backpack: Mountainsmith Maverick 65
Sleeping Gear: ALPS +20 mummy
Shelter: Kelty Noah 9x9
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,482
i've found myself turning to my Mountainsmith Maverick time in and out. it's a pretty awesome pack.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:25 PM
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PolksterThirteen PolksterThirteen is offline
Practical Backpacking™ New Member
Backpack: Osprey Exos 46 Large
Sleeping Gear: ENO ProNest Hammock 96 x 54 & Western Mountaineering MityLite
Shelter: OES MacCat Std Seam Sealed 125 x 84 - 1.4 oz SN
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Lago Vista, TX
Posts: 5
I love my current pack: Osprey Exos 46 (large) in forest green. It is large enough to store a weeks worth of gear and yet not overly large to temp me into carrying more than I really need. It is lightweight (not ultralight) at 39 ounces (I use to have a pack that weighed over 6 pounds). My only gripe about this pack is the waist belt is a little on the marginal side. I wish it was a little beefer but then again that adds weight. As long as I keep the total weight under 30 pounds, it is a dream to carry.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:15 PM
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EagleRiverDee EagleRiverDee is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Backpack: Granite Gear Vapor Trail
Sleeping Gear: BA Q-Core SL, WM Versalite
Shelter: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Eagle River, Alaska
Posts: 82
Hands down for me is my Granite Gear Vapor Trail, which I purchased used. I have never owned a more comfortable pack, and the weight is decent. It carries extremely well. When I'm fully loaded out for a weekender, including all my consumables and a bear cannister, my pack weighs between 25 and 30 lbs and I swear it feels like I'm not carrying any weight at all. It just carries superb and fits me very well. I dread the day it wears out- I've actually considered buying a second one when I see one for sale, since they are no longer made new. I don't know if the current crop of GG products would fit me as well.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:23 PM
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goalie goalie is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by ColoradoWalt
Kelty Super Tioga. Short and long trips. Love this pack.

I picked up a new one recently (still had tags) at a garage sale. 10 bucks. I plan to use it for hunting, and I think I will be able to comfortably carry a LOT with it.
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