What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack?
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Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack? on 05/23/2009 13:45:28 MDT Print View

As an exercise, I've been thinking about what gear I would choose in order to have the smallest pack. There's a lot of crossover between SUL and having a teeny pack, but what if pack size were what you were mostly optimizing for?

I think some good conditions to assume for this exercise are:

-Nighttime temps around 40-50 F
-Potential rain (needs something to serve as a rainjacket and a shelter)
-Not relying on found materials for a sleeping pad or bag replacement, i.e. 'forest duff' is not an appropriate sleeping bag
-Cook kit isn't necessary but food size differences should be considered for no-cook food vs. dried food that needs hot water
-Try to minimize gear carried outside of the backpack or account for its size with the rest of the gear

This may seem like a silly question, but there are times when compact gear matters at least as much as weight. I'm thinking about times like traveling on a plane and having to worry about baggage size maximums (along with all the other junk you might need for your trip), bike touring where air resistance due to larger luggage is a considerable factor, and just plain fitting into that awesome daypack you couldn't pass up. What volume do you think you could manage?

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Create the SMALLEST pack? on 05/23/2009 16:17:59 MDT Print View

First up is when I started the John Muir Trail, (thru-hike), without resuply.

Night-time temps in the low 30's with rain and high winds.

I used my Nathan HPL 759, with 1200 ci.




Next up is the Tahoe Rim Trail, (thru-hike), without resuply.

Lows in the low 40's with a chance of rain and high winds.

I will be using my Golite Rush, (size small) with 850 ci.

(No gear was/ will be carried outside either pack).

Edited by awsorensen on 05/23/2009 16:31:28 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Smallest Pack on 05/23/2009 16:48:39 MDT Print View

For UL backpacking trips I'm thinking a pack with a volume similar to the Golite Ion (1,500 ci) would be a realistic challenge for most.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack? on 05/23/2009 17:44:51 MDT Print View

I don't see any reason to go smaller than my REI UL45. Sure I can compress my stuff down smaller, but trying to go small just for the sake of going small is just stupid. Its a waste of effort trying to make everything as small as possible.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack? on 05/24/2009 18:45:48 MDT Print View

1000 cubes maybe less for the summer.

I did 3 days out of a golite ion with an actual tent and extra warm clothes for shoulder season in yellerstone.

Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Re: "What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack?" on 05/24/2009 18:52:07 MDT Print View

What did you choose to fit in these packs? I'm curious about gear choices, too.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: "What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack?" on 05/25/2009 09:36:44 MDT Print View

Hey Kit,
I think would also depend on how many days food you are carrying aswell. I can probably carry my 'sub 4' kit in a small plastic bag but add a few days worth of food and things start to grow a bit.

There is logic to small bags, especially when traveling far/fast, over rough terrain where balance is essential, or perhaps through thick bush to avoid getting caught on things.
I have a blast 24 and for a 1 or 2 nighter, the thing is absolutely massive. I want a smaller bag, perhaps the 1800 cubic inch version for trips of shorter duration but have too much stuff as it is.

I have actually been posting my trip reports with gear lists on my website. Although I may not have used the smallest packs for the trips, I can tell you that the base loads for my 'sub 4' and 'sub 5' are super tiny.

www.suluk46.com/adventure

Edited by Steve_Evans on 05/25/2009 09:39:04 MDT.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: Re: "What would you choose to create the SMALLEST pack?" on 05/25/2009 10:21:18 MDT Print View

"There is logic to small bags, especially when traveling far/fast, over rough terrain where balance is essential, or perhaps through thick bush to avoid getting caught on things."

But there is a point of diminishing returns. I would put that point is somewhere in the neighborhood of over 3750ci and inclusive of all external frames. I have never had trouble with my 3200ci pack bushwhacking or hauling butt through Maine and NH on the AT. I took my dad to Maine last summer for about 200 miles and he was using a external frame pack and had the troubles that you are talking about even with hiking poles. He got caught on trees all the time, but I made sure he packed his pack right so that he would be as balanced as possible and he only got off balance and fell in the stream once.