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advice on woman's UL packs
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Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Jam on petite ladies on 09/01/2009 11:59:45 MDT Print View

My wife is 5'4", 130ish (I'm too afraid to ask!) and uses the original Jam (the smallest men's version at the time, as there were no women versions then). She loves it and uses it for those trips where the pack might get abused, otherwise she now uses the ULA Conduit as the back mesh pocket is easier to find things in than the fabric pocket on the Jam. She has no problems with the hipbelt at all.

Edit: her pack weighs in at 15oz with straps trimmed and she has not removed the foam back pad or hydration sleeve. The older Jams, in my opinion, are worlds better than the current Jams that weigh 2x more.

Edited by iwillchopyou@hotmail.com on 09/01/2009 12:01:59 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Jam Sizing on 09/16/2009 00:24:51 MDT Print View

I ordered a small womens Jam for my wife who is 5'6" and 125lbs. It arrived yesterday but unfortunately it is too small despite my wife's torso being right in the middle of the recommendation length. Perhaps I'm just measuring not quite right.

Anyways, we talked about the Vapor Ki but we are probably going to order her a medium womens Jam. The medium womens Jam weighs 700g and the Vapor Ki is 1051g...that's a 350g (or 12.5oz) difference which is pretty huge. Either one is a lot lighter than her current 1700g (3.75lbs pack).

I wish Granite Gear made a smaller version of the Vapor Ki. 60 liters is massive for a women's ultralight pack. My wife doesn't need more than 40 litres which is another reason why I'm leaning away from the Vapor Ki....kinda silly to have all that excess capacity just begging to be filled. The Jam is way lighter, the right volume and it has hipbelt pockets. I'm sure the Vapor Ki is more comfortable for big loads, but my wife won't be carrying more than 13lbs since her base weight is 8lbs and she'll hardly be carrying food.

Spruce Goose
(SpruceGoose) - F

Locale: New England
09 Jam2 on a "petite" woman on 09/16/2009 07:49:56 MDT Print View

I would guess that your wife will be happy with the Jam, as long as the sizing works out. It's at least worth a try.

My girlfriend is about 5'4" and maybe 110 lbs. She's been exceedingly happy with the 2009 Jam2 over the 6 months since we purchased it. And the hip pockets work perfectly for her.

Edited by SpruceGoose on 09/16/2009 07:50:29 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
women's packs on 09/16/2009 08:06:25 MDT Print View

are there any of the lighter women's pack that have swappable waist belts? I haven't found any.

my wife tired out a small Exos 34 that I thought would be perfect for her- the torso length was spot on, the waist belt too small (padding ended too soon)- of course they're sewn in- I called Osprey about a getting a larger belt sewn in- no go.

We looked at several others all were the sewn variety and typically the belt shrunk considerably w/ torso size going down.

She ended up w/ a MS Woman's TrekLight Regular- (48 liters)- it fits perfectly and she really likes the way it carries- it's not very light though- I've got it trimmed down to just under 3 lbs, 48 liters while she has plenty of room could easily get by w/ less (~35 liters would be ideal)

I'm thinking about getting her to try a ULA Conduit (or possibly a Ohm if they do decide and offer up a small) in a S/M- her torso length is right 17"

not so easy finding a women's pack :(

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Mariposa Plus on 09/16/2009 08:12:33 MDT Print View

I carry the bear vault solo in the M plus the same way I do in my Granite Gear pack - vertically on top of shelter/insulation. I've also put it in the extension then put the strap over. Putting it under the Y strap outside the pack is asking for a run down a mountain as your can bounces away in the granite. The can squirts out from under the strap within minutes of putting on the pack (and I have the BV with the little bumps that supposedly snag on a strap).

Having said that... the Mariposa Plus is a nice pack as is. I don't need women specific straps or belt and it carries 25 lbs very well. I have the aluminum stay.

My other pack is a Nimbus Ozone - not precisely light but not heavy either. My load ranges between 25-35 pounds, and once up to 38 as I carried more food for a longer hike in a larger Bearikade Weekender.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
granite gear on 09/16/2009 09:27:51 MDT Print View

evidently I did a pi$$ poor job of researching as it appears the entire line of Granite Gear Women's packs comes w/ s,m.l belt options

that opens some possibilities :)

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
advice on woman's UL packs on 09/16/2009 09:31:52 MDT Print View

Mike - I believe as well that the womens version with the Nimbus suspension also has interchangeable shoulder harnesses.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Nimbus series on 09/16/2009 10:28:19 MDT Print View

When people show interest in Granite Gear I recommend the Nimbus packs - being able to get the belt/straps swapped and the adjustable frame make them a great pack to bridge between ultralight and light. I have a tough time liking any of the name brand (Osprey, Gregory) because I am right on the threshold of medium/small. I had a lot of grief with an Osprey before finding Granite Gear. The Mariposa Plus I have is actually a medium - you have to look at actual measurements in some brands as the parameters are different from one to another.

The Meridian is a smaller pack than the Ozone, with the same frame setup. You can find them on sale still - there was a really good deal at REI a while back. Looks like Campmor has them for 149, Sierra Trading Post for 140 for a short. I ordered the Ozone from STP and got the right combo like magic - medium women's belt, small frame. Could have sent it to GG for a free belt swap but didn't need to.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
nimbus on 09/16/2009 13:15:55 MDT Print View

ahh- choices in torso and belts and straps = nice option :)

can anyone comment on the difference between the frames from the vapor line and the nimbus line?

her base weight is under 10 lbs (unfortunately mine suffers a little from this :) ) and typically wouldn't be carrying more than 20 lbs

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: advice on woman's UL packs on 09/16/2009 16:53:56 MDT Print View

My wife is Japanese, 4'8", with shoe size 5... in other words, exceedingly petite by Western standards. Even here in Japan she has a hard time finding clothing that fits and much to her chagrin she often has to resort to teenage clothing. For our trip in Canada this summer we each bought a Jam2; she a women's small. She absolutely loves her pack and it fits her perfectly. I have the older Jam2 also and though it is lighter, I really like the additions that GoLite made to the newer version. The mesh back panel makes it easier to carry in very hot weather (it was hot in BC this summer!), the top cinch strap located further down the front of the pack makes it much easier to tighten up the top of the pack for loads with less volume, the side straps being able to be crossed-buckled around the front of the pack makes it much easier to control the pack for day-pack sized loads (the Jam2 2009 is a great travel pack), the hipbelt pockets are a great boon, and even the haul strap is just easier to grab and carry for longer distances, such as when running for a bus or getting the pack out of the way when on crowded trains. It's not the lightest pack out there, but it's simple, functional, clean, and durable. Since Golite packs tend to run small in fit, a small pack would do well for a petite woman. However, a Jam2 women's small may be too small for a bear cannister. For that I would most likely go with a Pinnacle, women's small.

John Larson
(j.larson) - F
don't get golite gear on 09/18/2009 16:02:22 MDT Print View

bye

Edited by j.larson on 10/16/2009 06:30:37 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Golite Gear on 09/18/2009 16:14:30 MDT Print View

I've ordered a medium womens GoLite Jam for my wife....should be here in a week or two. I'll update then.

John, have you had bad experiences with GoLite? I've used GoLite quite a bit with good results. Most people on this site are used to being careful with their gear. GoLite's stuff is a lot more durable than some of the cutting edge fabrics people are using.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Indeed? on 09/18/2009 16:15:59 MDT Print View

"Whatever you do, don't buy golite gear. won'tlast but a couple trips. by dat 6 or 7 you are tired of being gentle with the gear."

John, either you are really hard on gear or I am really gentle with it (and I am not too gentle). I have several items of Golite gear including two packs that have had months of use. I have had no problems, whatsoever, with any of my Golite equipment and would recommend it to anyone who asks.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
advice on woman's UL packs on 09/18/2009 16:26:22 MDT Print View

Several post about how bad Ratsaks are because they 'took' some money from a buddy and now this. Lets hear your experience with Golite. Pulleeeeeze.

I have an old Gust that has seen over 5000 miles without any issues.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
Golite and Osprey on 09/18/2009 16:47:37 MDT Print View

Just my 2 cents. I have used golite for about 10 years, I beat the crap them of it and have had very few issues. I did have a haul loop pull on a new pack and golite had a new one sent priority mail. I dont use golite now but only because they dont have any packs that suit me. I have been using osprey and love them. Osprey packs are far more comfrotable than anything I have ever used and they will repair or replace your pack even if a bear eats it. I cant say enough good things about Osprey and if golite ever makes a cross between the Jam and Ion I will be first to order one.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Vapor vs Nimbus on 09/18/2009 16:48:26 MDT Print View

"can anyone comment on the difference between the frames from the vapor line and the nimbus line?"

The biggest difference for me - the vapor series will not allow you to swap straps. It will allow you to swap the belt. I haven't had a vapor pack but am given to understand that it lacks the tepex frame that allows the Nimbus packs to carry up to 40 lbs and adjust strap attachments up and down/across the framesheet. Vapor packs also don't seem to have the pivot point belt connection, but they aren't intended to carry a lot of weight, either.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Golite and Osprey on 09/18/2009 16:49:21 MDT Print View

"if golite ever makes a cross between the Jam and Ion I will be first to order one."

Like the new GoLite Peak?

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"advice on woman's UL packs" on 09/18/2009 16:53:14 MDT Print View

Huh? Its not on thier site. Please do tell. Ali

I just looked it up at 38L for a medium its pretty much still a jam and way too big for me :(

Edited by barefootnavigator on 09/18/2009 17:00:17 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
What Size? on 09/18/2009 18:36:07 MDT Print View

What size are you looking for? The Ion is 25 L and the Jam is 51L.....so at 38L the new Peak is smack dab in the middle. The Peak also has a removable waistbelt and since the waistbelt has pockets (ie. heavy), you would probably shave off 5-6 oz by removing it. I think the sternum strap is removable too and if you removed the hydration bladder and trimmed the straps you'd probably be looking at 16oz or so.

Danielle Williams
(DaniLou22) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
What about the Granite Gear Virga? on 10/19/2009 12:13:08 MDT Print View

I've been using the Virga for about 2 years on several long distance hikes (50-105 miles), and I love the pack. I'm 5'6" and have been between 130-145 during that time. The padded harness (more like a traditional heavier-pack harness) is really comfortable, though the hip belt is just a strap. So far that hasn't been an issue even though I was a skeptic. The Virga holds about 3200 ci (and has a ridiculously long extension collar if you really need it), which is plenty of room for me to have all of my gear including a WM Versalite, my TT Double Rainbow, and about 4 days of food. At 21 oz (add a Gossamer Gear hip belt pocket if you need it), I think it's a great option for women.

The only limitation I have found so far with it is if you are packing it over 25 pounds, it can be a pretty uncomfortable carry. But since it is rated to about 20 pounds, I can't complain. I am looking into a Vapor Ki to carry more food (30 pounds) on the JMT.

Before buying the Virga, I tried out the Jam2 and my clavicles were really sore and bruised after just one day with about 20 pounds of gear/food/water. There is just not enough padding in the shoulder straps for me. The thin layer of back padding is kind of nice, but I haven't had any problems with the Virga if it is packed right. I use a NeoAir, and even without the CCF burrito, I think it's a great carry.

I can also solidly endorse the Nimbus Meridian, which was my first Granite Gear pack. If you pull off the lid, it cuts off about 8 oz of weight. Still a 3 pound pack (and huge for ultralight at 3800ci), but with customized hip/harness, it is a great winter pack. I bought the men's version (women's color was ugly!) and switched out the straps. Perfect!