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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 03-31-2014, 10:37 AM
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Checksum Checksum is offline
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Backpack: Osprey Aether 60
Shelter: LedgeSports Scorpion 2
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Wisconsin
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Buying pack first or last?

Question regarding the purchase of a backpack, when building a first/new gear list? The only "real" piece of gear I have is a tent (Ledge Scorpion 2p (~5lbs; I know, pretty hefty...).

Should I plan on purchasing a large, comfortable pack first, and then build my gear list, making adjustments that will fit in? or gather the rest of my gear (sleeping bag, pad, cook set, etc) first, determine the volume I'm at, and then find a large enough pack to hold it all?

I can see pros both ways (everything has to fit in the pack, so make that your "lowest common denominator" vs. figure out what I all have/need, then get a pack big enough to hold everything).

I can also see cons both ways (get a pack first that's "too small" and I end up leaving out/skimping on essential gear vs . build a gear list that's "loo large" and I end up with an oversized-over stuffed pack).

Trying to avoid too many "rookie mistakes" if they can be avoided!

TIA!

- Checksum
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2014, 11:14 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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The general thinking on this is to gather your gear, then get a pack that best suits the load that you'll be carrying.

However, there is no definitive way - as long as it's the right way for you and your situation.

An experienced backpacker can choose a pack based on the cubic inches or liters that it holds and know that it's enough volume for her/his gear selections for a particular season and trip duration. This is, however, nearly the same thing as the get your gear first and pack last thinking. Because the backpacker already has (or has experience with) gear and is able to predetermine what volume is needed.

Short and to the point: Gather the gear you'll need and then determine what's best to carry it in.

Reality
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2014, 01:21 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
Conventional wisdom (not so wise?): You don't have to succumb the adage that if you buy a big pack, you'll fill it. Set a total weight limit and stick with it. For me, it's 30lbs (including food, 1L water). I don't go over my limit regardless of pack or season.

Packability, Gear placement, and Solo:
I personally prefer a large pack with space left over to a small pack stuffed to the maximum. Other people feel just the opposite. I want everything inside my pack, nothing strapped outside... again demanding a slightly larger pack. If you're willing to put stuff outside, you can go smaller volume. Lastly, if you're going solo, your pack may need to be a little bigger since you can't share shelter, water filter, stove, etc.

It's likely your gear will evolve. So the pack you buy now doesn't have to be the only pack you ever own. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many packs I have (and do!) own.

My choices (which shouldn't necessarily be taken as advice!):
I currently use a Deuter Aircontact 70L -- it's very heavy (6lbs) and eats up a large percentage of my 30lb limit. But it's so comfortable it's worth it for me. It allows me to bp in the fall/winter. I always have space left over inside.

I have a Deuter Aircontact 50L (5lbs) for summer.

My "lightweight" Deuter ACT Lite 60L (3lb 10oz) is my Goldilocks "just-right" pack. I think 60L is a pretty good starting size for unless you've got all the smallest/lightest gear.

Small and light: Unless you're ready to carry a tarp or hammock instead of a tent, have a lightweight down sleeping bag, and all the smallest/lightest gear you will likely need a relatively large pack. Consider also whether a smaller/lighter pack with marginal suspensions is more or less comfortable than a larger/heavier pack with a substantial suspension. There are people in both camps on that issue.
Whatever you get... get out and have a blast with as little and light as possible
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  #4  
Old 03-31-2014, 01:30 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badwolf
I personally prefer a large pack with space left over to a small pack stuffed to the maximum.
I feel the same way. I'd rather my pack be a little larger than needed than too small.

I've been able to use the same day pack for overnights and weekends. [In fact, I do not use a day pack that will not carry overnight gear.]

Reality
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  #5  
Old 03-31-2014, 06:40 PM
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Balzaccom Balzaccom is offline
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I also agree that it's better not overfill a pack...but that said, most beginners tend to look at a pack like a closet, and find things to fill it with.

Get your gear, and then get a pack that will carry your gear. Sure, you can get a pack just a bit larger...but an 80L pack for a few overnight hikes is a waste of money...and won't hike as well as a smaller pack that fits you and fits the load
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2014, 09:30 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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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
...and if you find an awesome deal on a pack that fits your probable criteria for size, weight, and load carrying capability, go for it! Don't let not having acquired all your gear keep you from taking advantage of the savings. The pack will probably do just fine.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2014, 09:06 PM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Checksum

Should I plan on purchasing a large, comfortable pack first, and then build my gear list, making adjustments that will fit in? or gather the rest of my gear (sleeping bag, pad, cook set, etc) first, determine the volume I'm at, and then find a large enough pack to hold it all.................

Trying to avoid too many "rookie mistakes" if they can be avoided!

JUST PERSONALLY, I believe you have got your purchasing priorities "wrong way 'round" to begin with, 'Checksum' !

MY preferred order would be :

1. Map(s) and Compass ~ and learn how to use them; water bottles;
2. A decent backpack;
3. Hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, sun glasses; First Aid Kit;
4. A half-way-decent Rain jacket;
5. Shoes, boots or sandals (to suit the terrain and the load..);
6. Sleeping bag; (and mat..);
7. Eating and cooking set;
8. A new lighter tent, or tarp..

OTHERWISE, I can well imagine you struggling along with a 60-70 lbs+ load in a grossly oversized expedition-sized pack...

FOR a raw beginner, I would be looking at a pretty basic and simple, and not too heavy, internal frame, nylon or polyester/cotton canvas 'pack weighing a couple of kilo's ~ with a 60-75 litre capacity for males, and 50-65 litres for the females ~ from one of the middle-priced manufacturers..
You can always move up or down from here as you gain experience, and a clearer idea of your own personal needs. (DON'T be surprised if you end up with 3 or 4 different packs in your kit eventually, rather than one "fits all" dream pack..).

Limiting yourself to a "middling-sized" 'pack will then force you to more seriously consider what gear you then need to take ~ otherwise, having too big and unwieldily a pack to start with might only encourage you to thro in those extra unnecessary 'extras'..

And a daypack for the shorter walks, around 15-25 litres capacity ~ some backpacks already come with the "removable" style of daypacks attached..

EVERYONE'S needs are different, and you have to develop your own style, in the long run.

Last edited by Bushwalker : 04-03-2014 at 09:13 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:10 AM
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Checksum Checksum is offline
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Backpack: Osprey Aether 60
Shelter: LedgeSports Scorpion 2
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 10
Thanks for the list, Bushwalker!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushwalker
MY preferred order would be :

1. Map(s) and Compass ~ and learn how to use them; water bottles;
2. A decent backpack;
3. Hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, sun glasses; First Aid Kit;
4. A half-way-decent Rain jacket;
5. Shoes, boots or sandals (to suit the terrain and the load..);
6. Sleeping bag; (and mat..);
7. Eating and cooking set;
8. A new lighter tent, or tarp..


1. Maps (should be coming in the next couple of weeks) and Compass (got one), water bottles (have a 2L bladder, and a couple Nalgene-style bottles)
1a. While not an expert, I think I have a fairly decent ability to read/use them.
2. topic in question...
3. I have most of these items already, in some form or another
4. I have a "rain suit" from a planned (but missed) trip to the BWCA, have another light fleece jacket
5. Have a couple pair of shoes that should work, at least for starters (inov 8 griproc 325)
6. (re)searching... (A little surprised to see this so far down the list, actually)
7. (re)searching...
8. Have a tent; better for "car camping" than hiking, so I might replace it sooner than later
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  #9  
Old 04-04-2014, 05:28 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Senior Member
Backpack: Mountainsmith Maverick 65
Sleeping Gear: ALPS +20 mummy
Shelter: Kelty Noah 9x9
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Checksum
Thanks for the list, Bushwalker!




1. Maps (should be coming in the next couple of weeks) and Compass (got one), water bottles (have a 2L bladder, and a couple Nalgene-style bottles)
1a. While not an expert, I think I have a fairly decent ability to read/use them.
2. topic in question...
3. I have most of these items already, in some form or another
4. I have a "rain suit" from a planned (but missed) trip to the BWCA, have another light fleece jacket
5. Have a couple pair of shoes that should work, at least for starters (inov 8 griproc 325)
6. (re)searching... (A little surprised to see this so far down the list, actually)
7. (re)searching...
8. Have a tent; better for "car camping" than hiking, so I might replace it sooner than later


one of the nice points of having your pack before a lot of the other stuff, is you can take it in to the local outfitter's and (with permission) test-fit stuff you're eyeing. you can even get a good idea of what it'll feel like, if you take along some test weights or if they have weighted sand-bags to simulate a load(places like REI do this to help people decide on what to get).

i did that with my current pack when i was researching shelter options. i wound up pulling the triggers on two shelters that could fit in the very roomy side pockets on the pack(where they can be deployed without having to risk the primary compartment in foul weather), with only minimal stuffing.

the sleeping bag is a lucky fit that sits right in the bottom of the pack nice and clean, but if i hadn't gotten it just before getting the pack i would have gone bag-shopping the same way.
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2014, 03:11 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New South Wales
Posts: 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Checksum
Thanks for the list, Bushwalker!

1........................

6. (re)searching... (A little surprised to see this so far down the list, actually)

7. (re)searching....................



THAT'S possibly because I'm located on the East coast of New South Wales, down here in Australia ~ where the choice of sleeping bag isn't quite the "life and death" decision that it will be in many parts of North America and Europe; (it would be if I ventured up into the mountains - or down south to the Snowy Mountains or Tasmania..).

But over here on the coast, a lightweight bag is good for half the year, and in the middle of summer you would often be lying on it rather than in it !.

IN some of those cooler and more elevated places, the sleeping bag might be #3 or 4 in my priorities (depending on what sort of rain jacket I had already..).
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