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Lightweight pack for children?
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Jeffery Price
(JefferyRPrice) - F
Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 07:32:08 MST Print View

Does anyone have any suggestions on a lightweight pack for a child of about 8yrs old?

I've been taking my oldest daughter backpacking since she was about 4 and she's now ready to carry her own sleeping bag in addition to her clothes. Plus, I need the extra volume in my pack (GG Mariposa) so that I can fit her 5yr-old sister's sleeping bag (that way we can all three go together!).

I'd ideally like to find a pack that is very light and that she can continue to use for several more years. Any suggestions will be sincerely appreciated!


Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 07:58:58 MST Print View

My 8 year old (was 7 in the summer when we did an overnight) just used his school backpack, a Yu-Gi-Oh model purchased at Target. The pack weighs about a 1 lb and he carried his sleep gear (North Face Tigger, Prolite 3S pad, small slumberjack pillow) which totalled less than 4 lb, so the total carried was a little under 5 lbs.

Edited by DanG on 11/21/2005 07:59:49 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 09:08:02 MST Print View

It might not be the lightest, but I am a huge fan of the Deuter Fox 30-simply for the fact that it is built very well, has great support, etc. REI has been carrying it forthe last year finally.

My son uses that pack-after going thru a number of losers. There are not many choices for kids, especially if they are small torsoed. The Deuter is still lighter than all the other "kid" packs out there-but is over 2 lbs.
Having said that...I'd rather he has a bit heavier pack so I don't warp his bones and back before he gets to be a teenager!
Another option many parents don't think of is using a women's technical mtnering daypack-many times you can get small torsos.
This is him in action :-)¤t=Ford-1-23.jpg

Edited by sarbar on 11/21/2005 09:08:37 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 09:12:44 MST Print View

I meant to add, that unlike some parents I do have Ford carry all of his gear-and he has for a couple years. No way am I doing it ;-)
He carries his pack, his bag (NF Tigger), his pad, his butt pad, sandals, rain jacket, fleece or down jacket, 1 pair pants, underwear and socks, toys, Gameboy for camp, water, drinking cup, toothbrush, spoon, pack cover, hat, gloves, gaiters if needed, Thermarest Prolite pillow and whatever else. It coems out to around 9-13 lbs per trip. Not too bad, could be less..but he is fine with it ;-)

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 09:35:41 MST Print View

I'll second the Fox-30. It has a fully adjustable torso length so it will "grow" with your child. The hipbelt can be a bit too big for skinny kids (say less than 8 yo). Weighs 2.2#. Has a few too many "stupid" pockets (2 side "bellow" pockets, and a "mock" sleeping bag compartment pocket), but its probably the best you can get.

With a 18.5" torso, I can almost wear it at its fullest torso length. I suspect the pack is good from 12"-17".

For children under 8, or so, I use a smaller book bag. For my younger children, they only carry their spare clothes, pad, mess kit and "toys".

Older kids get to carry their bag as well. And, eventually thier water, etc.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Kid's pack on 11/21/2005 11:16:09 MST Print View

It's been too many years since I was in the kid-pack business, but I do remember my son's first pack, around age 10, was purchased at the local Boy Scout Supply store because they had several packs specifically designed for youngsters. (That was back in 80's, when a 5 pound pack, empty, was considered reasonably light. Hopefully, they've upgraded the inventory since then.)

You might also check out the Gossamer Gear website. Glen van Peski is (or was) heavily involved with Scouts, and may have some good tips on making or buying kid-size packs.

Jeffery Price
(JefferyRPrice) - F
Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 11:47:45 MST Print View

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions! I think we are going to go with the Deuter-30. My daughter has been using a simple Coleman rucksack, but it doesn't really have enough room for her bag (TNF Tigger).

What's also great about the Deuter is that blue is her favorite color, and we all know how important color is when selecting the appropriate gear ;-). I think it will take some time before I'm able to convince my daughter(s) about the true relationship between functional value and color.

Oh, in case anyone wants to see one of some pics of what became my favorite overnight trip of all time (which was also with my oldest daughter):

Thanks again!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Hehheh... on 11/21/2005 14:49:08 MST Print View

Lol..I don't think they get the color thing :-D I know I am lucky mine loves blue!! I am laughing because I don't know how many times I have argued with Ford over colors on gear..and he is only 8!

And jeez, I am feeling like a bad mom...I had Ford carrying a full load at 6..oopsie! Eh, he is of fine Norwegian stock and was designed to be a mule ;-)But he loves backpacking so he doesn't whine often!

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 17:05:19 MST Print View

Hi everyone,
Normally I would not post a response lest it be viewed as too commercial, but in this case the relm of SUL kids gear is almost nonexistant, so I will.
My kids are 6 and 8 and before long I want to be able to take them out and have them carry most of thier own gear.
I hope to have a complete line of SUL kids gear in early Spring. It will basically be scaled down versions of the Prophet 30, Superlight Bivy and Devotion bag. My goal is to have the three weigh a total of 1 lb or less and still be plenty tough. Any prototype purchase inquiries are OK. Ron, Mountain Laurel Designs.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 17:15:49 MST Print View

I DEFINTELY would be intrested :-)
Thanks for going into that area of I am sure you know well, there isn't much well made or light gear for kids. It has been learning experience for me over the years!

Michael Freyman
(mfreyman) - MLife
Re: Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 20:16:52 MST Print View

You might want to look into this rei pack here -->

It is $25. I just bought it and will be using it as my daypack. It is a very nice, and light pack (for the price). It can also double as a stuff sack.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/21/2005 20:45:36 MST Print View

I'll second the recommendation on the REI Flash UL pack (9.4oz; $25). I just picked one up on Saturday and used it today while snowshoeing. There should be enough room for the gear you mentioned, and the shoulder straps and waist strap should fit a child. It seems beefy enough, and has good stitching. It has an internal pocket for a sleeping pad or hydration bag to stiffen up the back, as well as two smaller pockets for organizing personal items.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Fox-30 not Deuter-30 on 11/22/2005 08:09:43 MST Print View

Unless they changed the color, the Fox-30 is grey/black.

Just looked, I guess they did change the color.

Edited by tlbj6142 on 11/22/2005 08:12:14 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Fox-30 not Deuter-30 on 11/22/2005 09:00:54 MST Print View

Ford's and the ones at REI are blue/gray :-)

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Re: Lightweight pack for children? on 11/22/2005 14:17:56 MST Print View

LOL, Ron, i'd say "you suck" because i'm also planning to offer UL kid gear, but since my kids are 3.5 years and 5 months you're in a much better position than i am to be in business. alas, timing is everything. i'm super glad to see SOMEBODY planning to offer truly lightweight kids' gear. i can sew pretty much anything we need, but i have a mailing list of over 1000 backpacking parents that probably don't all want to sew gear for their families. it'll be nice to be able to point them your way.