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Light back-pack for 45 pound load
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Lawrence Vito
(winefood) - F

Locale: Northern California
Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/01/2008 09:31:25 MDT Print View

Hello All,
On my last trip on the JMT, I used my Vapor Trail to carry 45 pounds of food and gear. Although the super light Vapor Trail (only 28 ozs.) is the most comfortable pack I have ever owned, it is not designed to carry more then about 28 pounds. As a result, my shoulders were killing me for the first half of the trip!

Can anyone recommend a lightweight pack that is designed to comfortably handle 45 pounds?

Your input will be appreciated!

Thanks - Larry

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/01/2008 09:54:22 MDT Print View

I'm curious here...

I have a Vapor Trail as well and have found it excellent, even at higher weights. I'm 5'9" and use a medium pack. By shifting the weight between hip-belt and shoulder straps I am able to keep things comfortable.

Am I correct in assuming you do the same?

I can really haul on the 'load lifters' to the extent that there is virtually no strap contact on the top of my shoulders, if I choose to. All of the weight is suspended on the sternum strap, the front of the pack straps, and the pack body, plus the hip belt. I cycle through the various "load modes" on a regular basis.

How about some details on size and fit?

Edited by greg23 on 05/01/2008 09:55:42 MDT.

Lawrence Vito
(winefood) - F

Locale: Northern California
Response on 05/01/2008 10:08:11 MDT Print View

I adjust and shift the load regularly, from shoulders, to hips, to sternum, etc. And tried different load configurations. For me, its just to much weight.

Do you have any light-weight pack suggestions?

Thanks - Larry

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Response on 05/01/2008 10:11:18 MDT Print View


Hopefully others will chime in.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Suggestions on 05/01/2008 10:34:33 MDT Print View

Hi Larry,

I have a couple suggestions that you might want to check out. I've been doing a lot of resaerch in this area for a trip to Glacier Park in which I'll be carrying a lot of shared gear with my girlfirend.

I selected the Nimbus Meridian for my trip, but my pack weight is about 34 lbs. I find this pack to be very comfortable with this weight, but I'm not sure how it would handle an additional 10 pounds.

I've also tried the ULA Catalyst which is very well constructed and I believe its specs say that it can handle 40 lbs. Personally I'm not able to get as good a fit (yet) with the Catalyst, but this is sure to vary from person to person.

Lastly, I think the Aether 60 might work really well for you. My brother has this pack and, if I were carrying more weight I'd have selected it. It's easy to dial in a great fit and, although it isn't ultralight strictly speaking, the fit and suspension are so great you wear the extra weight and don't really notice it. Plus, it's the only lightweight pack I know of that can handle 45+ lbs. without being overloaded.

Hope that helps.


David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 05/01/2008 10:36:24 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 17:41:47 MST.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
McHale Packs on 05/01/2008 11:42:08 MDT Print View

If you are willing to spend the money, McHale makes some great packs that are lightweight. All his packs are custom made (thus the higher cost). The big advantage is that you can just send him an email describing what you want (to carry 45 pounds as lightly and comfortably as possible) and he will design a nice pack for you.

Lawrence Vito
(winefood) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: old aether 60. on 05/01/2008 12:43:25 MDT Print View

No, I restocked and my weight for the last 12 days was 45 to start. Not fun with a Vapor Trail!

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Mountainsmith Boundary on 05/01/2008 14:13:27 MDT Print View

I have a Mountainsmith Boundary that I think feels good at 45 pounds. After I removed the lid and cut out the "sleeping bag divider", it weighs in at just under 4 pounds. If I cut off the zippered side pockets, I could probably get it down to 3.5 pounds or less (though I don't want to at the moment because they offer good organization). The suspension is plenty adequate and the shoulder and hip straps are VERY generously padded. Also, the retail price is quite reasonable at about $150. The volume is listed at 75 liters, though I don't know if that includes the side pockets and lid. Still, plenty of room for a bear canister...perhaps too much room for an ultralighter, though.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/01/2008 14:17:33 MDT Print View

The LuxuryLight pack will carry 45 pounds easily and it's a little less than 2.5 pounds.

Edited by redleader on 05/01/2008 15:29:54 MDT.

(HighAltitude) - F
Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/01/2008 17:15:15 MDT Print View

I second the Mchale pack.

Joe Vigil
(jvigil) - F
Light backpack for 45+ pounds on 05/01/2008 17:40:29 MDT Print View

For my heavy loads (45+), I use a Mountainsmith Auspex. I don't think they make them anymore; perhaps you can find one on the secondary market.
Mine weighs 3lb 11oz and has about 4000ci capacity.

- JV

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Light backpack for 45+ pounds / McHale on 05/02/2008 06:49:20 MDT Print View

A McHale LittleBigPack or Windsauk would be my first choice - no question. I sprang for one awhile back and love it.

My LBP weighs 39 oz, stripped of pockets but keeping all suspension components.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/04/2008 07:29:10 MDT Print View

I have a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone that I use for winter. I've had it up to just under 40 lbs. once and it carried the load wonderfully.

The Nimbus Ozone has a different and much sturdier frame than their Vaper Trail packs but they fit similarly and very comfortably for me.

The Nimbus Ozone weights in at 3 lbs. and has adjustable components.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Light pack for heavy load" on 05/04/2008 07:33:26 MDT Print View

I love my McHale pack, truely worth the investment in time and money. I would also think a good option would be a ULA Catalyst.

John I know you meant 43oz for the ULA Catalyst. What material did you use on your LBP36, I went with the full dyneema. Having had back fusion surgery the Mchale pack is truely one of the better gear selections I've ever made, for longer trips with heavier loads this is my go to pack.

Edited by thomdarrah on 05/04/2008 07:59:27 MDT.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/04/2008 07:45:06 MDT Print View

I did an overnight hike, mostly during a snowstorm, in February. My hiking partner used a ULA Catalyst with a total pack weight of 43 pounds and claimed that it was comfortable... he's a big guy. I used a McHale 36LBP with only 30 pounds including water, and of course was very comfortable.

Edited by Quoddy on 05/04/2008 14:45:52 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Light back-pack for 45 pound load on 05/04/2008 14:29:53 MDT Print View

I would narrow your load down to two options. The Aether 60 is a great traditional pack for carrying heavier loads. The frame on The LuxuryLite also can carry heavy loads, but is a totally different feel and concept to traditional packs. I currently use the LuxuryLite frame and hipbelt with a GoLite Gust pack attached for supreme load carrying capacity, but my partner is sworn to the Aether 60.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: "Light pack for heavy load" on 05/04/2008 14:58:28 MDT Print View

Thom... No, I did mean that he had a total pack weight of 43 pounds in the Catalyst and was comfortable with it. We hiked a considerable distance in poor conditions and it didn't seem to phase him.

My McHale is in full Dyneema with a custom featured double summit, 2 one liter (reduced size) bottle pockets, and a Dyneema Crest pocket.

Arriving at Destination

Edited by Quoddy on 05/04/2008 14:59:41 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Light pack for 45 pound load" on 05/04/2008 15:18:21 MDT Print View

My mistake, it just so happens that the listed weight of the ULA Catalyst itself is 43oz, that is why I thought it was a typo. Nice McHale, wery much like my own.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
REI UL 60 on 05/05/2008 00:13:42 MDT Print View

My REI Cruise UL 60 size Large full Dyneema Cloth pack is very comfortable and a good pack for the money. I use REI ripstop Dyneema side pockets (& REI Fastex-type buckled short straps to attatch them)for extra room.

This pack has 2 internal stays and a prety decent waist belt plus several nice innovative features.