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Building Your Gear from Day One
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David Spaedt
(alwaysone) - F
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 18:20:04 MDT Print View

I'm in the process of examing / replacing every piece of gear I own and I need a TON of input. I'm approaching this with an eye towards counting every single ounce I carry, wear, etc. Creating a standard 3 season pack with a base carry weight of around 10 - 13 pounds (not including consumables). I don't know if I'll end up being a true gram weenie but we'll see where this leads. My general "hiking" needs are as followings:

- 3 season, primarily Michigan. We can see the low 30's at night even now (October) but this would be the exception not the norm.
- Typical trip time is 1 - 4 days with 2-3 being the norm and probably one trip a year at 6-8 days.
- I'm 5' 10" and about 190 # with size 9 to 9 1/2 shoe.
- For the most part, pretty sissy stuff, not uber intense hikes. We'll do long miles but over some pretty moderate terrain.

So I'll start with the backpack. I need a pack that will be able to handle my upcoming 7-8 day trip. My goal for that trip would be to carry 10-13 pounds and then another 16-19 pounds of consumables. Reasonable or no? For a total first day pack weight of 30 pounds or less.

I'm consider the following packs:

Go Lite Jam
Granite Gear Vapor Trail
Osprey Exos 58 / 46 (I'm assumming the 46 would be too small for an 8 day trip?)

Keep in mind that I'm buying this pack to handle an 8 day trip but it will be used primarily for 3-4 day trips.

My current pack is HUGE so I'm not even sure if these size packs will handle an 8 day trip?

Thanks for your input!

Edited by alwaysone on 10/05/2009 18:26:46 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 18:41:41 MDT Print View

Various comments on my recommended light weight packs. I consider the Jam in the "ultralight" class since it doesn't have a frame. When I get over around 14lbs I would rather have a frame of some sort. I would add the Six Moon Designs StarLite and the packs from ULA to your existing list. If you were carrying less than 25lb I would add the Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack.


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 18:43:14 MDT Print View

What's your torso length, and what volume is your current pack? I'm pretty fond of ULA packs, they take being overloaded pretty well. I have a Jam2, and I don't think there is any way I could get gear and food for a trip that long in it. And it wouldn't carry very well until some of the food was gone.

Aaron Lastname
(Cloudveil9) - F
Backpack on 10/05/2009 18:45:02 MDT Print View

Some ULA Circuit action might work.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 18:50:54 MDT Print View

For that length of time and coming from more traditional loads, I think the Granite Gear Ozone would be a great choice. Good volume, excellent suspension, and customizable parts....for under 3 lbs.

Unless you have a base weight that is 10 lbs or less, you are not going to like a frameless pack coming from your other pack. Its an acquired taste.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 19:37:35 MDT Print View

You need to decide what maximum volume you will be carrying. the Jam, Exos 46 and Gorilla would be way too small for me on such a trip, the Exos 58 would be ideal, and the granite gear packs a close second (just in terms of volume). I wouldn't touch anything without a frame, but I'm a whimpy chick! The other pack I love for larger/heavier loads is a LuxuryLite frame with a modified GoLite Gust attached...awesome.

David Spaedt
(alwaysone) - F
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 19:37:58 MDT Print View

O.k. I didn't realize that the Go Lite Jam was frameless. There site is a back lacking on the info. I agree for now, I don't think I'm going to go that route and stick with a light frame pack in the lowest capacity I can get by with for a 7-8 day trip. Thanks, more advice, tips and recommendations are welcome.

David Spaedt
(alwaysone) - F
Re: Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 19:46:56 MDT Print View

That is part of my dilema. My current pack is a really old HUGE pack (some obscene number like 6000 cu in). So I simply don't know if a 3300 cubic inches (Granite Gear Vapor Trail for example) will carry 7 - 8 days of gear.

What I can tell you is this.

I've done quite a bit of research on gear that I intend to replace /add and I'm pretty confident by this spring I'll have a base weight in the 10-13 pound range. I've also read you should figure 2 pounds of food per day. So...I believe I should be able to come in at 30 pounds or less when it's all said and done. I also have the advantage that this 7-8 day hike will be done with a hiking partner and I'll save some weight there. But I'm approaching it as if I'm doing it myself to create a "safety cushion". And since I'll only use this pack once a year on a trip of this length, I'd like to keep the capacity low because it will be primarily used for 2-3 day trips.

Thanks for your input, I'm looking into the LuxuryLite fame (?).

Edited by alwaysone on 10/05/2009 19:48:21 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 19:54:57 MDT Print View

ULA Circuit would work at that weight. Love mine.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 19:59:48 MDT Print View

My Gossamer Gear Mariposa plus is 3600 ci. Has a minimalist frame. It's a little uncomfortable starting out on a 5 day hike but as you know, it gets lighter over time. My base weight is about 16, so your 13 lb. would probably be more comfortable. I wouldn't have any trouble getting 8 days worth of food in it unless it had to be in a bear canister.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 20:00:36 MDT Print View

I would say get a GG Mariposa plus rated for 30#. It has an internal frame and mesh pockets.

Keep your big 3 or 4, however you look at it under 6#
(pack, sleeping bag and pad, tent or tarp/bivy) and you should be good to go.

That leaves you 6# for everything else. 12# base. 4# for 2L of h20. 2# of food per day for 7 days.


Jeff Cadorin
(JeffCadorin) - F

Locale: paper beats rock
Re: Re: Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 20:04:22 MDT Print View

If I was doing it over again. I would buy all my gear and throw it all in my old pack. Get an idea of how much space you are filling and then buy an appropriate sized pack. Otherwise you will end up buying a pack either too small or too big. If you end up on the small side you will have to sell it, usually for a lose. If you get a pack that is bigger then your needs, you will feel a need to fill it out, atleast most people do.

Just think about all the gear companies out there. Take MLD for example. Most of the features dont change over their entire line, just the size. If you get partial to a certain company, its pretty easy to find a pack that will fit your needs.

Unless you find a pack like cilo gear or MLD that has alot of compression in its bigger packs, you will end up needing a weekend pack and a long trip pack. My .02 worth.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Other stuff before pack on 10/05/2009 20:43:48 MDT Print View

I'm going to echo what others have said and suggest you get your pack last. I would personally decide on my shelter, than my sleeping bag, than think about a pack to haul all of that. Otherwise you wind up with too much or too little pack. When I was transitioning from heavy backpacking I went out and spent $250 on a Gregory Z55. Now its a great pack but its just overbuilt for what I do what I should have done was spent that money on a really good sleeping bag and bought a cheaper (and ligher) pack. If you watch your odds and ends and get your shelter, bag and pack right you could proabably go sub 10# without too much trouble. Goood hiking and shopping.

David Spaedt
(alwaysone) - F
Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/05/2009 21:48:45 MDT Print View

Excellent advice. Now I know why I'm doing all this research. I've made a list off all the suggestions and will stick with my current pack (I'll probably only use it one more time this year) and buy a new pack last in the spring once I've got all the other gear. So I'll start a new thread for what was next on my list. A bag and sleeping pad.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/06/2009 07:27:13 MDT Print View

The common consensus is to buy the pack last. However, I didn't have a suitable one to start with so I didn't do that. :) I was in sort of a similar situation as you, but I was totally new to BPing. I figured MOST trips would be just 2-3 days, but would take some week-long at least and also with Scouts (meaning I'd have to carry some extra gear). Thus I needed something that would cover about all the bases. I choose the GoLite Pinnacle. For my torso, I have the largest size (4650 cu in I believe), but it compacts down very small for just an overnight trip also. I carried 32 lbs total (<18 lb base) quite comfortably, and you'll find a thread here where I also managed to fill it to 47 lbs (!!!) for a special occasion. I didn't hike with that much, but I could have for a while if needed. So I now know I COULD do up to a 3-week trip unsupplied if I really wanted. So you can see it's quite flexible if it will work from overnights to over 2-weeks out. However, I'd stick with your current huge one for now until you get most of your gear lined out first.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

UL on 10/06/2009 16:42:56 MDT Print View

If you're serious about rethinking everything and counting every ounce, then I strongly suggest you go with a frameless pack, but as others have said, you can decide this later.

If you make smart decisions along the way, you can have a great 3 season setup for 8-11 lbs. Even adding a weeks worth of food (at 1.5 lbs per day), you won't be starting out on the trail with more than 20lbs and it'll be dropping fast because half of the weight is food. This is easily in frameless pack territory. My first trip with a frameless pack I started out with 17lbs and that felt like nothing. I'm going on a 6 day hike in 2 weeks with my wife and I'm carrying my gear plus BOTH our food (approx 17lbs) for a starting total pack weight of close to 30lbs. This is getting heavy for a frameless pack, but it will be dropping fast and I'd way rather start with a bit of discomfort than spend the last few days carrying 10-15lbs in a unneccesary framed pack.

The Jam is a good choice and plenty big but there are other great makes too. I like what MLD and ULA are doing. I think ultimately you want a frameless pack around 15-18oz with a volume around 2500-3000 cubic inches.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Packs on 10/06/2009 18:17:17 MDT Print View

I think there is no reason to put up with a frameless pack, given packs like the OHM that give up nothing and add so much for a miniscule weight increase. This is the next wave of packs - UL with an UL frame (i.e GG Gorilla, the new BPL packs, etc).

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Gorilla on 10/07/2009 14:35:04 MDT Print View

You raise a good point...there is some neat stuff going on with UL frames. I particularly like the packs with removable UL frames so you've got options.

I am excited for next weeks review on the GG Gorilla. It does look like an amazing pack. You can use it as a 23.2oz framed packed or at the other extreme, remove the frame, waist strap and sternum strap and you've got a 15.8 oz pack that's perfect for UL weekend getaways.

That's still heavier than a comparable frameless pack but the penalty might be acceptable. A comparable frameless pack is the GG Miniposa UL which is 4-5 oz lighter than a Gorilla with the frame removed. I'm not too sure why this gap is that large. Maybe something else is different that I'm missing.

All this talk about packs is making me drool for new gear. My modified Jam is 23oz and I love it, but the prospect of getting a frame for no weight penalty and having the option to go as light as 15oz is tempting.

OP: Framed or not, I wouldn't go over 1.5 lbs for your pack when you've got options like the Ohm (3500 cu in, 21 oz).

BTW, from the looks of it, I doubt the new BPL back is going to be anywhere close to 21-23oz like the Gorilla and Ohm. I'm guessing 30-35oz.

Edited by dandydan on 10/07/2009 14:47:59 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Building Your Gear from Day One on 10/07/2009 14:44:30 MDT Print View

I like the versatility of packs with generous side straps. That way you can start a longer trip with pad and tent strapped outside, and migrate them in as supplies dwindle.

Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - MLife

Locale: Central TX
Re: pack choice on 10/07/2009 15:58:30 MDT Print View

As far as mid-size framed pack suggestions go, I'd also like to throw in the GoLite Quest.

It got a great review on this site, and in my year of using it, I think the high marks were well-deserved. Carries heavy well, compresses well too . . . if I was going to have one pack for all my trips, this one might be it.