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Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - M

Locale: PNW
Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 00:34:07 MST Print View

I've been researching a better pack for my Nimbus Ozone which is up for sale right now, and I think I've narrowed it down to about 5 packs. My current and future gear list is here: Gearlist, but the short version is: Tarptent (SMD soloE/Wild Oasis), quilt (ARC Specialist), foam pad (Nightlight/thinlight), minimal clothes, 5 days of food/water max. Normally less than 20 lbs carried, but could max at 30.

Here's my selected choices:
Pack Comparo

I realize this is highly subjective, but I wanted to poll the masses and see if I forgot something. If you own any of these packs, please chime in with your thoughts, and if you could pick one of them for the JMT, which would it be?

I also plan to use this pack for weekend excursions with my daughters and UL 3-5 trips down the road.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Sponge on 02/10/2008 00:40:56 MST.

Ryan Corder
(demo) - MLife

Locale: Arkansan in Seattle
Re: Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 00:45:43 MST Print View

My first question would be to ask you how many resupplies you plan on having? I own a ULA Conduit and recommend it to any and everyone.

That being said, I would consider adding the Gossamer Gear Miniposa or Mariposa (Plus version if you want more durability) to your list for comparison. The Nightlight pad should fit nicely in the external pad sleeve, while the Thinlight will work will lining the inside of the pack for rigidity.

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
Re: Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 06:32:39 MST Print View

I just got done going through the same process and would up with the ULA Conduit. I had narrowed it down between the Mariposa Plus and the Conduit and ultimately went with the Conduit.

pack comp

You really can't make a bad decision with any of these packs though.

BTW, you have the pricing on your Conduit/Circuit mixed up. I often get these packs confused too.

Edited by fperkins on 02/10/2008 06:34:40 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 11:27:07 MST Print View

Have you included the ability to carry a bear canister in your criteria? You'll need one on the JMT, or perhaps an Ursack if they're allowed this year, or to travel from bear box to bear box.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 11:42:54 MST Print View

Douglas

I think you may have mixed up the prices for the ULA packs, they should be reversed.

Great list though, my suggestion would be to try as many as possible and decide whether you need a frame (ULA circuit), or not. Then the decision comes down to construction material and volume, in my view.

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - M

Locale: PNW
JMT packs on 02/10/2008 11:55:41 MST Print View

Thanks to all for comments,

Good catch on the prices, I fixed them.

I added a row for bear cannister, but from my research they will all fit one vertically, but only the conduit could fit a small one horizontally. Again, please chime in if I'm wrong on any of this.

I looked at the Mariposa, but didn't fall in love with it at first glance. I'll add it to the comparo.

Any other potential packs that would be worthy of mention? FF, ZPacks, other?

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Fanatic Fringe on 02/10/2008 11:58:47 MST Print View

I love both of my Fanatic Fringe packs (Thompson Peak and Alpine Trail), but even the bigger of the two (the TP) can't carry more than twenty and certainly not thirty. I think they are great and very underappreciated packs, but not for what you are looking for from them.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Backpack for JMT in Aug/Sept on 02/10/2008 12:37:34 MST Print View

You didn't list it (probably because of weight), but the ULA Catalyst is gold simply owing to the fact that you can place a bear cannister horizontally into it. Add its impressively comfortable carrying ability, and it tops my personal list.

Ryan Corder
(demo) - MLife

Locale: Arkansan in Seattle
Re: JMT packs on 02/10/2008 13:56:57 MST Print View

The Mariposa has a nice feature in that it can hold a bear canister horizontally at the top on the outside due to it's Y-strap.

I mentioned before that I own a Conduit (and absolutely love it), but I would like to know which bear canister you've found that will fit into it horizontally. I think you may be confusing the ULA models again :) Catalyst yes, Conduit no.

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - M

Locale: PNW
Conduit with bear canister on 02/10/2008 14:31:14 MST Print View

My reference comes from this:
Conduit and Bear Canister

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - M

Locale: PNW
Super Zip on 02/10/2008 16:43:22 MST Print View

I was just looking at the Super Zip from MLD. I tad bigger than the Zip and a mighty fine pack IMO. Do you think that it would be big enough for my gear? I'm going to rent a Bearikade weekender MKII if the Ursack doesn't regain approval. It'll add 19 oz, but I should be able to lash it on top. Thoughts?

ERIC PAYNE
(vaporjourney) - M

Locale: Greater Gila
MLD Zip and bear canisters on 02/10/2008 17:08:37 MST Print View

I just purchased a MLD Zip myself a couple of weeks ago, and can't wait to try it out when it arrives in mid-March. I emailed Ron obsessively for weeks before finally deciding on the original Zip, over the Super Prophet, and Super Zip. Ron told me in the emails that a bear canister should fit vertically inside of the Zip, no problem. This is a concern for me as well since I'll be using the Zip on my PCT thru hike this year.

Ultimately I chose the Zip because it had all features I wanted (minus hip belt pockets that I'll add myself), really lightweight with solid material, it's NOT a gossamer gear pack with shady stitching, has a huge back mesh pocket which I fell in love with on my ULA Catalyst, and has tons of configurable compression options. Plus, the MLD products are a joy to look at, and are always reinforced with bar tacks wherever they are needed. I mean...the website lists over 50 bartacks. I wonder how many Gossamer Gear use? The shoulder straps are also thicker than those on Golite packs, and I've read great reviews about the comfort of the MLD suspension. Of course ULA packs ride great as well. The only problem I had with my ULA Catalyst last year on the AT was that I always wished that it was a bit taller of a pack. The Zip is a bit taller and slimmer, which I think will keep things nice and snug against the bag, not pull downward on the shoulders, and eliminate the need for load-lifters which I always needed tightened on my Catalyst.

The other packs I was considering were the ULA Conduit, GG Miniposa, and Golite Jam2. I've never used a frameless pack before, but I'm confident that I've made the right decision in chosing the best one.

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
Re: MLD Zip and bear canisters on 02/10/2008 17:22:53 MST Print View

Hey Eric, I researched the hell out of the GG packs and don't recall reading of any issues with shady stitching. Could you elaborate?

ERIC PAYNE
(vaporjourney) - M

Locale: Greater Gila
GG reliability on 02/10/2008 17:33:46 MST Print View

Well, my research mainly turned up 2 different examples. One was a friend of mine on the AT said her shoulder strap stitching started to give way after she exceeded it's recommended weight once, although admittedly she said the pack was still usable. Got me worried though. Also, lots of GG flaws were mentioned here, http://www.filebox.vt.edu/users/lgrinter/Mariposa.htm . Admittedly this was after a lot of use, but still I wonder about that. Francis Tapon said that he had to replace his packs after a couple thousand miles of usage as well.

Now, I know that getting a couple thousand miles out of a pack is dang impressive. But after my experience with a ULA Catalyst, 2,000 mi plus on it, and still being flawless, I expect a lot! I don't buy the fact that they are using UL fabrics, because most of the issues seem to be with the stitching. Couple this with the so-so suspension and goofy straight stays, and I was turned off. It's really a shame too, because they really have a great feature set on their packs.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: GG reliability on 02/10/2008 19:03:39 MST Print View

vaporjourney,
I agree that fabric is not the issue. I've gotten over 2,000 miles out of homemade UL packs with no problem - and usually, using lightweight polyester thread even for high stress areas. The real problem IMHO is improper design or engineering that handles stress poorly or fails to anticipate how a particular fabric will behave under stress. For example, shoulder strap attachment seems to be a problem for several makers. The stress ends up on stitching or inadequately reinforced fabric and the designs sometimes fail to anticipate the direction of stress.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Conduit with bear canister on 02/10/2008 19:33:32 MST Print View

That's my post over at the other forum, regarding the Conduit and the Bear Vault/Ursack. Since some people don't care to register with PBF to read the post, I'll reiterate what I said there- I can say that Bear Vault Solo fits in the Conduit either vertically or horizontally. I also carried the Bear Vault lashed to the top with the pack's single top compression strap for a mile or two. I had to unload it from my wife's pack to make doubletime as we raced a wicked thunderstorm down from above the treeline. Carrying both a full Ursack and the BV Solo, both full to capacity, exceeded the pack's weight limit by at least 5 lbs so waistbelt sagged considerably. But, I was surprised the pack carried the bear can on top so well and didn't feel unbalanced (possibly because the pack isn't very tall). If it had a Y-Strap like the Mariposa does, I bet it would be a viable carry option for the Bear Vaults.

Sumi Lavin
(jose) - F
another brand on 02/11/2008 10:12:56 MST Print View

You should look at McHale Packs. I have not heard of one coming apart. They don't cost much more - looks like they have some for $300.00. They are known for being able to carry lots of weight too.

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - M

Locale: PNW
Pack comparo on 02/12/2008 17:56:11 MST Print View

Well, I decided to get the ULA Conduit. I emailed Ron at MLD about the Zip but have gotten no response thus far.

Brian was very responsive; he even sent me two packs so I could decide which one fit better, then ship back the other one. That's what I call first class customer service!

On top of that, he shipped the pack 2-day so I would have it for my Joshua Tree trip this weekend! Woohoo, I'm psyched!!!

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
Re: Pack comparo on 02/12/2008 18:41:16 MST Print View

Wow, that's really cool. I wish I would have thought of that, although now that I stuffed my Conduit, I know the AMP would have been too small for me.

Congrats on your pack choice!

Ryan Corder
(demo) - MLife

Locale: Arkansan in Seattle
Re: Pack comparo on 02/13/2008 01:02:56 MST Print View

I think you'll be _very_ happy with the Conduit. Let us know what you think after you get back from Joshua Tree.