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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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  #1  
Old 07-26-2014, 07:49 AM
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Sunkmail Sunkmail is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 5
Looking at my first pack - Opinions please

I'm looking to get my own pack, and would like to hear opinions of those with more experience ...

I borrowed a friend's Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 Backpack. It fit all my gear, plus some items that I no longer plan to take with me. This pack weighs in a 2.24 kg (~ 5lbs)

Consequently, I'm looking for something in the 60 L, or so, range for all my gear.

I do have a Ribz pack that handles up to 8 L of stuff, allowing me to be a bit more flexible with the main pack.

I'm a hammocker with Down Top and Under quilts. I'm pretty new to the scene and don't pretend to know very much.

I tend to take care of my gear, no matter what the sport. On the pack I borrowed, I did treat it with a lot of respect, as I would my own, but I'd like to avoid anything that is really delicate.

I quite liked the airflow design of the Deuter pack, but I'm open to the more traditional style as well. (I tend to have a fair amount of back sweat, based on daypacks I've used)

My base (Back)pack Weight, WITHOUT Food, Water, or the Pack itself is currently around 19 lbs.
- I left out the pack in the measurement to give a universal reference, independant of the pack.
This is assuming some gear would be in the Ribz Pack, weighed separately.

At the moment, I'm not worrying too much about pricing ... I can always take some more time to save up.


From my research, I've made a list of some packs that look interesting:

Maker....................Model ....... Size ...............Weight ..... Max. suggested Carry

ULA ..................... Circuit........ 68 L ............. 1110 g ..... Up To 35 lbs

ULA ..................... OHM 2.0 .... 63 L ............... 822 g ..... Up to 30 lbs

Gossamer Gear ....... Mariposa.... 70 L ............... 808 g ..... Up To 35 lbs

Gossamer Gear ....... Gorilla ....... 47 L ............... 793 g ..... Up To 35 lbs

Osprey .................. Exos 58 .... 58 L ............. 1200 g ..... Up To 40 lbs

Osprey .................. Exos 48 .... 48 L ............. 1130 g ..... Up To 35-40 lbs

ZPacks .................. Arc Blast .. 52 L ............... 468 g ..... Up to 30 lbs

ZPacks .................. Arc Blast .. 45 L ............... 454 g ..... Up to 30 lbs

Elemental Horizons ... Kalais ...... 53 L ............... 882 g ..... Up To 35 lbs

Elemental Horizons ... Kalais ...... 61.5 L ............. 879 g ..... Up To 35 lbs

Six Moon Designs ..... Flight 40 .. 48 L ............... 907 g ..... 35+ lbs

Six Moon Designs ..... Fusion 50 . 50 L ............. 1020 g ..... "whatever gear you need"



I think the Gorilla, smaller Arc Blast, and the Flight 40 are going to be a little small at this point. I figure a slightly bigger pack would also give more room for keeping the down expanded, so the space won't be wasted.


The ULA Circuit seems to have a good following with many users, which is a good selling point. I've been using it like a baseline to compare other lightweight packs against. It does seem a bit bigger than I'd need.

I'm leaning towards the larger Arc Blast, as it has the airflow style suspension, and along with the Ribz will provide about the same volume as the pack I borrowed.

The exos are the others with the airflow suspension, but are quite a bit heavier. On the plus side, I can try them in locally in store.

The mariposa looks fairly decent for one with a solid back and good on weight. Seems like a good compromise on all fronts. Not sure of the durability compared to the circuit though. The extra volume can be cinched down to keep the size reasonable.

I don't know much about the Six moon or Elemental packs. Only what I have read on their websites. They look interesting though.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2014, 10:14 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New South Wales
Posts: 275
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Welcome to the forum, Sunkmail ! Just a couple of quick points..

FIRST OFF : If you had looked down this section on backpacks first, you would have found that the next 5 threads under this are all more or less relevant to your queries !

Personally, I've never laid out all of my choices on any backpacking item in a spreadsheet pattern like that - I doubt that that I've ever compared that many different packs (or tents, sleeping bags or stoves..) at any one time, either.

SECOND, I won't be great help on brands and models ~ as several of the brands and models down here aren't available in N. America, while half of those on your list aren't commonly available over here..

However, I will say this ~ those packs that you have listed under about 50-52 litres are okay for overnighters and short hikes, but are too small for extended hikes. UNLESS you are pretty strict about how much you pack; I would be looking in the 55-65 litre range for a first pack, myself.

THOUGH there are several others on here who are happy with packs under 50 litres.. And you could also keep in mind that many people still manage to travel the world with "carry on" size luggage, often with their main pack in the 38-50 litre range (where they can squeeze their luggage into the airlines '45 inch' guidelines..).
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2014, 04:50 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
Welcome to the forums and to backpacking!

My first thought is that there's no such thing as one pack that does it all.
My second thought is that you'll end up buying and selling a few along the way.

Now, down to business... my personal preference is to have more capacity than I need versus a small pack I have to over stuff or tie things on to. I want everything packed inside with room to spare.

Some will say if you get a larger volume you'll just fill it up. This is not the case for me. I set a maximum weight for a trip and that's what I stick to... not how much room is in the pack.

I worry a bit when I'm planning to carry near the max load limit for a pack. I had a pack rated for 35lbs and when it had 30lb in it, it became very uncomfortable. Test anything you buy at the actual weight you're going to carry. A pack loaded at 20lbs can feel amazingly comfortable and at 30lbs amazingly like a torture device.

I like the trampoline packs (btw, Deuter invented that) for small light loads and I carry just such a pack for day hikes. But I prefer the closer-to-my-body and closer center of gravity that non-trampoline packs provide for heavier loads. Also, I just don't like the way many of the trampoline packs arch which makes them a pain to pack.

I find I get adequate airflow with my Deuter Aircontact packs (I have a 50L and 70L). I never feel like the weight is behind me, but rather just part of me. They have surprisingly good ventilation.

I don't take summer trips though. I might feel differently if I did.

I also have a Deuter ACT Lite 60L. At 3lbs, it's one you might also consider. It's not ultralight like the Gossamer and others. But it has a substantial support system and quite a lot of usable volume. Just because two companies both claim 60L doesn't mean they will both hold the same amount of stuff. I have found a surprising difference in one 60L vs another brand's 60L.

My max limit for any trip regardless of time of year and amount of food/water/CCW I'm carrying is 30lbs. My usual carry is 27lbs. I am using upto 5lbs with my pack. But it's worth it for me because I found packs that fit me and make me feel like I'm taking a friend along for the journey instead of a tool (yeah, tree-hugger kind of nonsense but true)

For some though, the extra 2lbs of pack is unthinkable. In fairness, I can't argue... because 2lbs over 20-30miles feels like a ****load.

Good luck.

Shannon
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2014, 07:09 PM
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Sunkmail Sunkmail is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks Shannon. That was a helpful reply.

I've narrowed my list down somewhat. I think I'll stick with the larger volume, and tougher builds, for the time being. (The Arc Blasts look a little too delicate for me to be comfortable.

I've pretty much decided on the ULA Circuit or Catalyst, Gossamer Mariposa, or the Elemental Horizons Kalais.

They all have a pretty decent main compartment. I haven't been able to find the spec for the deuter pack, but it has so many little pockets, I imagine it would be less.

The difference between the packs is actually less than 1 lbs, so that isn't my main consideration anymore.

Thanks again.

Cheers
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2014, 03:29 PM
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Ryan_W Ryan_W is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: SIx Moons Designs Fusion 65
Sleeping Gear: North Face Cat's Meow +20
Shelter: Sierra Designs Lightning 2 UL
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: OR
Posts: 19
I just wanted to 2nd the opinion of a sturdier and higher volume pack starting off. I also like to pack all my gear inside my pack if possible. Not only that, but for a starter pack its great to have the extra volume in case you go with friends who might not be as fit as you. Eventually I'd like to get another smaller, UL pack, but for now, most of my hiking companions don't hike as much as I do and usually end up needing a little help carrying.

I'm not familiar with the packs you may have it narrowed down to, but I use an Osprey Aether 70. It's a bit heavier (almost 5 lbs) than most would like in a pack, but I think it makes up for it by how comfortably it handles heavier loads. I've packed that thing with terrible food choices and ended up way heavier than I should have been for a trip, and it was never uncomfortable on my back or shoulders.

My point being that depending on how much you may end up carrying, sometimes a little extra pack weight is worth it if it means you can carry more over all weight comfortably. This may not be something that applies to you and your pool of backpacking buddies, but it's something I didn't consider when I first started looking for a pack.

Best of luck!

On a side note, my wife also uses a Deuter and she finds it to be a very comfortable pack.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2014, 07:34 AM
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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
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunkmail
I've narrowed my list down somewhat. I think I'll stick with the larger volume, and tougher builds, for the time being.

I have to resist my temptation to buy "overbuilt" equipment sometimes. It's not the Zombie Apocalypse yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunkmail
I've pretty much decided on the ULA Circuit or Catalyst, Gossamer Mariposa, or the Elemental Horizons Kalais.

I have a friend who swears by Gossamer Gear. I'll see if he has some info for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunkmail
They all have a pretty decent main compartment. I haven't been able to find the spec for the deuter pack, but it has so many little pockets, I imagine it would be less.

The ACT Lite actually does NOT have many little pockets. It's just an upper and lower and you can take out the shelf between if you want. In fact, I'm just the opposite and like a lot of organization, so that pack didn't appeal to me at first until I learned to love it for its lightweight yet still substantial suspension. Though, it will never take the place of my beloved Aircontact 70L. Still my favorite because of my ability to get into the main compartment from the front. It's a top loader with panel load access.

I agree with the Ryan about the Osprey Aether. I actually bought it (Ariel version) and a Deuter Aircontact and wore both around my house. It was a very tough decision. Both are great. The Osprey Atmos is another you could look at. I chose the Deuter ACT Lite over that because it was more comfortable and adjustable for me.

I'm not a Deuter salesperson! But, I do like their stuff. Another thing that's pretty cool is the virtually unlimited ability to adjust to fit. You can fine tune it really easily. Something I found troublesome with other packs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunkmail
The difference between the packs is actually less than 1 lbs, so that isn't my main consideration anymore.

My words of caution: do not adopt the idea that "it's just a few ounces, it's just a pound." It's amazing what a difference 2-3lbs can make on the trail. At least to me. My choice was to start with getting the most comfortable pack I could find, let it weigh whatever it needed to weigh, and make up for it by buying expensive lightweight stuff (tent, water filter, flashlight, stove, sleep gear, etc) and to not carry anything unnecessary.

I think working towards ultralight is a goal and a process. Not many of us can start there. And I'm not sure I want to be a minimalist ultimately. Because truth be told, I'm a gear junkie and I enjoy the stuff So I can carry mid-20lb to 30lbs if I have to and still have fun.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2014, 01:11 AM
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Sunkmail Sunkmail is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks for all the info Shannon and Ryan. it's greatly appreciated.

I've come down to deciding between the Mariposa and the Circuit.


The weights published by the manufacturers, for the med. size (for equal comparison), are:

Mariposa 765 g

Circuit 1106 g
That's a difference of: 341 g = 0.75 lbs = 12 oz

For comparison, the Deuter I used weighed 2.24 kg.
Compared to the heavier (the Circuit), that's a difference of: 1134 g = 2.5 lbs = 40 oz


(I would be purchasing the Large size, as that's what I need, but I couldn't find the Circuit weight in Large. )




So, I guess the weight is still fairly substantial over a long trip. One of my stumbling blocks is the comfort rating and durability comparison between those two packs.
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2014, 02:59 PM
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Kylemeister Kylemeister is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan_W
I just wanted to 2nd the opinion of a sturdier and higher volume pack starting off. I also like to pack all my gear inside my pack if possible. Not only that, but for a starter pack its great to have the extra volume in case you go with friends who might not be as fit as you. Eventually I'd like to get another smaller, UL pack, but for now, most of my hiking companions don't hike as much as I do and usually end up needing a little help carrying.

I'm not familiar with the packs you may have it narrowed down to, but I use an Osprey Aether 70. It's a bit heavier (almost 5 lbs) than most would like in a pack, but I think it makes up for it by how comfortably it handles heavier loads. I've packed that thing with terrible food choices and ended up way heavier than I should have been for a trip, and it was never uncomfortable on my back or shoulders.

My point being that depending on how much you may end up carrying, sometimes a little extra pack weight is worth it if it means you can carry more over all weight comfortably. This may not be something that applies to you and your pool of backpacking buddies, but it's something I didn't consider when I first started looking for a pack.

I run an Osprey Aether 70 on some of my trips. I agree that I like everything inside the pack, not just so an aftermarket raincover fits but I feel it carries better and has less opportunity to snag on stuff in the environment. It does carry well, and was a welcome upgrade.

The additional capacity and how well the pack handled extra weight was wonderful when we pulled a forced march, in the dark, 7 hours down the mountain due to smoke and ash from a forest fire. A couple of people in our group started having breathing problems, and it was nice having the room to take on their gear and carry it. The Osprey warranty is nice as well.
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2014, 04:09 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
I have no experience with the packs you're considering but urge you to also consider "Granite Gear". I have an older Granite Gear Vapor Trail that I love. It's not UL but it is light, but made of good solid materials. I'm never worried that dropping it or abrading it is going to damage it. I've got two aftermarket pouches attached to the hipbelt on either side to keep some items immediately handy. I've carried up to 31# in it comfortably, it may carry more than that comfortably, I don't know. But I find it to have an insanely comfortable carry and love how it never chafes me and always feels well padded at hips and shoulders. The Vapor Trail isn't available any more (although I often see them on gear swaps, so you can still get them) but there's a lot of good Granite Gear packs. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Granite Gear.
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2015, 07:57 PM
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tacbear tacbear is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 17
I really like Osprey Packs!
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