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advice on woman's UL packs
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Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
advice on woman's UL packs on 08/30/2009 12:03:38 MDT Print View

hey. i'm looking for some advice on a UL/lightweight pack for my wife that is large enough to hold a bear canister. right now i'm thinking women's GoLite Pinnacle or Jam2 (not sure if the Jam2 is large enough for bear canister) or Granite Gear Vapor Ki Womens. she currently carries an Osprey Atmos 35 but I don't think a bear canister can fit inside due the shape of the back panel. are there any other thoughts or suggestions? thanks!!!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: advice on woman's UL packs on 08/30/2009 12:59:33 MDT Print View

I'm in the same boat as you. I'm looking to replace my wife's 3.75 lbs 40L MEC Pack before a weeklong hike that's coming up. I'm leaning towards the Jam.

My understanding is that the mens Jam can hold a bear canister, but I don't know about the womens because it is small (43L vs. 50L). Do you both need to carry a bear canister though?

The Vapor Ki looks like a nice pack, but it seems kinda big at 59L and it's also more expensive and heavier than the GoLite packs.

I guess if the Jam is too small though, then the Pinnacle and Vapor Ki are pretty close. They are the same volume and similarly price, although the pinnacle is about 4oz lighter (30oz vs. 34oz as I recall). Also the Vapor Ki doesn't have hipbelt pockets, but I think it does have a light frame.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
advice on woman's UL packs on 08/30/2009 14:27:48 MDT Print View

I had the same question about the women's Jam. I might send golite an email and see if the jam could hold a canister. If it can I think I'm leaning that way too. The Pinnacle and Vapor Ki are pretty similar overall I think. Between those it would probably depend on which we can find for the best deal.

For most trips I don't think we'd both need to carry a canister however if we're going to get a new pack I want to make sure that it could. In the event that we needed to carry 5-7 days worth of food, I don't think I would want to carry all of her food for that long :). It would get pretty heavy.

If anyone else has any thoughts or experience, please let us know.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: advice on woman's UL packs on 08/30/2009 14:45:34 MDT Print View

A bear canister does fit in the Jam2. It has to go in vertical and do some creative packing. My neighbor's wife bought a men's Jam2 because there really isn't much difference in the men's and women's shoulder straps and she used a Bear Vault for a recent JMT trip.

I have a woman's Pinnacle, only because Jam2 doesn't come in a small. A canister also fits in that, both horizontal and vertical.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Canister on 08/30/2009 14:57:20 MDT Print View

Are you sure a canister fits in a WOMENS Jam2? It sounds like you've only tried it in the mens version...which bigger (51L vs. 43L).

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Canister on 08/30/2009 15:24:18 MDT Print View

Just to make sure it's out there a canister is completely unnecessary in the SE. In fact, that's true most anywhere on the East coast.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
Women's UL Pack on 08/30/2009 18:00:53 MDT Print View

Problem with Women's Golite packs are the hip belt. Unless your wife is a VERY small lady (size 4 or 6), the padding on the hip belt stops almost before it hits the hip bones!! A real bummer for a lady. While I'm not on the small side, the Granite Gears seem to 'wrap' the hips better and still keep the pack weight down.
Also, the convenient Golite belt pockets wind up being on your backside - not too convenient...

cat morris
(catt) - F

Locale: Alaska
Granite Gear Vapor Ki on 08/30/2009 18:14:56 MDT Print View

Love this pack! My bear canister fits easily into my vapor ki, but I pack with a bear vault solo. A garcia should also fit.

The great thing about the vapor ki is the waist band & suspension. I've never had a more comfortable pack.

My friend had a hard enough time fitting all her equipment into her Golite Jam without even having a canister, so I'm don't know how you'd get a garcia into a Jam.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
womens UL packs on 08/30/2009 19:35:40 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the advice. I was worried about the women's jam not really having room for a canister. It looks like the Pinnacle or Vapor Ki might be the way to go.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
womens UL packs on 08/30/2009 19:46:40 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the advice. I was worried about the women's jam not really having room for a canister. It looks like the Pinnacle or Vapor Ki might be the way to go.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: womens UL packs on 08/30/2009 19:48:54 MDT Print View

Wait wait..Chris had a good question. Why do you need a bear canister? Is this pack going to be for a specific trip that involves hiking through Grizzly country, or do you carry a bear canister all the time?

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
canister on 08/30/2009 19:55:12 MDT Print View

Oh sorry. No I've never carried a canister before and definitely don't need to on the east coast. We've taken about a trip a year out west the last few years. So far we haven't needed a bear canister (Zion, Glacier, Grand Canyon). I haven't made it over to California yet but I've been wanting to get out to the Sierras for some time. If we're going to get her a new pack, I just want to make sure its one that can carry a canister so we can go wherever we want to.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: womens UL packs on 08/30/2009 20:09:12 MDT Print View

I will second (and third on behalf o another female friend) that the GoLite hipbelts are not really very comfy for women, especially if you're gonna load it up with 5-7 days worth of food. I also second (and third) that the Granite Gear hipbelts and suspension are far more comfy on a woman's hips. I have no experience with the Vapor Ki.

You also might consider Gossamer Gear packs. They were planning on making narrower shoulder straps a standard option on their packs to suit women, smaller men and maybe kids. Might be worth an enquiry???

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
Re: canister on 08/30/2009 22:49:04 MDT Print View

You might also look into a smaller bear canister. I use to carry the Garcia which is huge and heavy about 3-3/12 lbs empty I could pack enough food for 5-7 days for 2 guys. But now I carry the Bear Boxer half the size and half the weight, but I can still get enough food for 3-4 days for 2 guys. If you both had to carry bear canisters these are much smaller and fit in almost any pack, that would give you enough food for about 7 days for 2 people. Heres the link http://www.bareboxer.com/

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Bearcan on 08/31/2009 00:01:59 MDT Print View

It seems to me that you're only rarely going to be carrying a bear canister (if ever). If you are carrying a bear canister, it seems to make sense that you carry only one, not two, since they are so heavy. Accordingly, if you do need to carry a bear canister and it happens to not fit in her pack, why don't you just carry it and then pass some of your gear to her if you need to balance out the weight? You would need to be doing some pretty serious unsupported hiking if you both need large bear canisters....or perhaps a large bear canister won't fit in your pack?

Edited by dandydan on 08/31/2009 00:02:41 MDT.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Canister on 08/31/2009 03:40:39 MDT Print View

It would still have to go vertical as the height of the pack is the same as a men's Jam2.

As for the hip belts...this is a personal decision. I wear the women's Pinnacle and love the belt. Yes, it is a bit more 'padded', if you call it that. The most I have carried in the pack is 28 lbs. I no longer care for the heavier padded hipbelts. They tend to rub and feel bulky on me. I no longer carry anything over 30 lbs for a long trip. If you are looking at packs with suspension, you may as well look at Gregory Jade as well. Or the Osprey Exos packs.

Bear Vault solo can get 4 days of food in it, maybe more, depending on how well you pack it and depending on the type of food.

Frank Deland
(rambler)

Locale: On the AT in VA
mariposa plus on 08/31/2009 09:01:30 MDT Print View

Gossamer Gear Mariposa plus has a photo of how their pack is designed to carry a bear canister on top. I like carrying the heaviest items on top. The Granite Gear Latitude is popular with women and packs by Deuter have women specific models. The length of the hip belt is very important. Thin waists do not allow many belts to be tightened enough. The belts are too long

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Canister on 08/31/2009 13:45:56 MDT Print View

"If you are looking at packs with suspension, you may as well look at....the Osprey Exos packs."

Oh yes, the Exos is the most comfortable pack I have ever carried (except maybe the LuxuryLite), even though the hipbelt doesn't appear to be very heavily padded. At just over 1kg, the Exos 58 has plenty of room for a canister and everything else (kitchen sink anyone???). I loaded an Exos up to 16kg (35lbs) and carried it for 4 hours. The weight was dreadful, but the pack stayed comfortable. If loads are gonna be heavier and large, it's really a pack worth considering!

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
thanks for all the thoughts and advice on 08/31/2009 21:04:42 MDT Print View

thanks for all the thoughts and advice on packs. i think you've given us lots to consider - potential packs, or just carrying one canister (something i've considered but thought it would be better to each carry one (i might have been wrong). ladies, its been great to hear your perspectives. all will help a lot as we consider our options.

Edited by trevor83 on 08/31/2009 21:06:05 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Small Women on 08/31/2009 22:58:51 MDT Print View

I'd be interested in hearing a small women's experience with the Jam packs. My wife is fairly small (5'6", 120lbs) so it seems that the hipbelt padding for her will be long enough. Is the hipbelt padding length the only problem women are having with this pack? At 650g for the size small, I could easily get it under 600g by removing the hydration bladder and trimming the straps....that's pretty darn alluring compared to a kilo or more for some of the other packs being mentioned.