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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
suspension vs weight on 07/23/2008 21:22:33 MDT Print View

I live in the middle of gear hell. You have to drive about 3 hours any which way in order to find anything like a Granite Gear Vapor Trail in stock. Forget about frameless packs.

So I have a question because I would have to order all this stuff and have it shipped here to try it out. Say you have around a 20# load. Wouldn't a something like a Granite Gear Vapor Trail with a good suspension and decent weight end up being as comfortable as a sub 1 pound frameless pack after a 10 mile hike or a few days of it?

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Suspension vs Weight... on 07/24/2008 00:54:56 MDT Print View

I'm going to assume that you meant you will carry the same base weight and are wondering whether the size/style/weight of the pack makes any difference.

I find a compact backpack is more comfortable because of the stability that a small pack provides. I have a Granite Gear Vapor Trail (3600 ci) and the Granite Gear Wisp (2000 ci). The Wisp doesn't have the suspension or the padding that the Vapor Trail has but it's my preferred pack for anything up to 4 days. I've used both packs loaded with the same gear and I find the smaller pack carries better. I don't think the weight difference between the two packs is a big difference for me. I only take the Vapor Trail when I need more volume.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: suspension vs weight on 07/24/2008 01:32:05 MDT Print View

Brett:

For total pack weight of up to the low 20-pound range -- I find a framelss pack comfy enough to the point that I don't even think about it. Frameless packs that I have used and liked are the Fanatic Fringe Thompson Peak, GoLite Dawn, and the ZPack Z1.

A pack with a light weight but well-designed frame -- such as my beloved Mountainsmith Ghost or the Granite Gear Vapor Trail -- will carry very comfortably a load up to 30 pounds.

But at the end, fit and comfort are just about as subjective as you can get. My 2-cent suggestion is that you finalize your choices to the last 2 or 3 or 4 -- then buy from an online shop that carries all of them. Incremental shipping/handling is pretty minimal -- and given their light weight, return postage is minimal as well. Given what you pay for packs these days and how critical comfit and fit are, methinks it's well worth paying a bit of additional postage so you can test them out yourself.

Edited by ben2world on 07/24/2008 01:33:30 MDT.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
hipbelt forever on 07/24/2008 02:42:53 MDT Print View

In my personal opinion de answer is yes. With 20lbs and with much less weight.

In the last 5 years i Worked very hard to carry as less weight as i can.

Nowadays i carry a sub 5 base weigth (most times 4 lbs) but when you add food and water (2.5 liters and about 1 to 1.5 lbs/day) my final starting loads are about 13 to 15 lbs (for 3 to 4 days walks)

I been using several UL packs as GG whisper (with belt) and mariposa golite jam, jam2 and ion, grivel air tech 28 ..... and several alpine packs (heavier)

Some times the difference between a full suspension pack and a frameless pack is less than 200/300 grams (7 to 10 oz)

This small difference is really big in confort terms, is much more confortable carry the weight in your hips using the hipbelt.

In my lghtest pack (the fantastic and now discontinued GG Wishper) the hipbelt means 1.5 oz more and using a rolled pad as a frame its possible to carry most of the pack weight in your hips.

I modified mine jam and jam2 with a light plastic sheet inside the pad pocket, to create a semi rigid frame and transfer the load to my hips, with only 60 grams more i felt that now i carry heavier loads in a more confortable and effective way.

Of course if Im writing about Sub 5 packs as much more weight you add more important the frame is

I read frecuently that with UL and SUL loads is possible and confortable to use frameless packs

I´m agree.... but Im strongly believe that as much more weight you carry on your hips more confortable and less tired your walk is going to be.

And as much weight and walking time you add ..the difference in comfort grows down incredibly fast .-(

carlos
Spain

Edited by pitagorin on 07/24/2008 02:48:41 MDT.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
suspension vs weight on 07/24/2008 07:14:46 MDT Print View

The thing is I think I have finally got my gear weight down to about 8 pounds and am comfortable with it. I already own a Granite Gear Vapor Trail in a long which is about 2.5#s and have been using this really small Sierra Club pack that they gave away for free when you signed up. The Sierra Club pack probably has a volume of 1700ci and a weight of 12oz. It is okay but not great. I have only been able to use it on short jaunts so I really can't tell if the 20# weight is going to get to me after awhile with a light frameless pack. I was looking at stuff like the Jam and whatnot but really don't see the benefit of an extra 12 oz compared to sub one pound packs that are the same price.

I guess I really won't know until I am able to take some longer jaunts in a sub one pound pack with about 20#s for a longer period of time and I can see if it will wear on me. I have looked at both the Fanatic Fringe and Zpack stuff but I am still debating comfort in my head. I guess I should just order them one at a time to see if they will work out or not.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: suspension vs weight on 07/24/2008 07:26:03 MDT Print View

I'm in agreement with Ben. It's totally subjective. Every poster who answers here will have a different take so this is actually more akin to a poll than a definitively answerable question.

My opinion- for loads under 30-35 pounds, I don't find much of a difference in comfort levels framed vs. framelss, provided the frameless pack has shoulder straps that distribute the load comfortable across my shoulders (wide, well padded) and there is some load transfer to my hips. I am probably at the upper fringe of frameless pack users when considering weight carried comfortably.

One note I will add that I see little discussion of when frameless packs are discussed is about physical conditioning. Strengthening your core muscles (abs, lower & upper back) goes a long way towards making pack carrying comfortable- that much more so with frameless packs. Work on those muscle groups and you will gain benefits much like those gained by carrying lighter gear. You will enjoy your hike more, think about your pack less, and be able to hike longer distances easier.

Sumi Lavin
(jose) - F
instinct on 07/24/2008 10:39:57 MDT Print View

I agree with your instincts Brett - they are the most important advice me thinks.