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What is the biggest backpack?
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Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
McHale on 02/18/2010 14:36:03 MST Print View

I would also recommend McHale. I have one of his packs, custom made, and it's pretty big (I carry a 4x5 camera kit when I hike and backpack). It fits extremely well, and it's lighter than I'd expected, which might be due to the fact that I went for the full Dyneema option.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
What is the biggest backpack? on 02/18/2010 19:06:21 MST Print View

With the weight you will be carrying you may find the Odessey pretty uncomfortable for all its volume. (I tested one for 4 moths.) My best load haulers have been the Bora 95 and Osprey Argon 110.

I know, I can't believe those were mentioned on BPL...


Jay Bonzani
(UltraBound) - F

Locale: NE Oregon
Large Pack on 02/18/2010 19:29:48 MST Print View

I would second Mystery Ranch. I used a few of there packs for military applications and they can swallow up some gear and are pretty much bullet proof. They make a few different designs that seem like they could fit what you want.

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Gregory Whitney on 02/18/2010 21:34:53 MST Print View


You have to admit though... the Gregory Whitney is about a 100L backpack and, even though it weighs about 7 lbs empty, it sure is a comfortable pack.

BTW: I have one for sale if you want it. It's a 2004 version.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Gregory Whitney on 02/19/2010 01:12:05 MST Print View

If you want a really big pack, see if you can find a Kelty Serac external on eBay. Here is a Whitney 95 next to the mammoth Serac. I can't part with gear and my garage is full of my 40 year collection :)

Big Packs

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: What is the biggest backpack? on 02/19/2010 01:43:48 MST Print View

Top choices for 6001-7000 cubic Inch backpack.

1. Dana Design Astralplane, 7000
2. Gregory Denali Pro, 6588
3. Osprey Xenith, 6700
4. Gregory Massif, 6475
5. Osprey Crescent 110, 6900
6. Gregory Wind River, 6085

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
best load carrier on 02/19/2010 07:35:16 MST Print View

Hi, Alastair,
I have read both your books so in some small circles you are a "bit of a legend" too.
This is not quite what you asked but look at
this 90 litre rucksack balances your heavy load front and back. No pack will be totally comfortable with that load.I think this may be the best. I have the lightweight Natural balance pack and it can be loaded with as little as no load on the shoulders because of the balance. I find it comfortable with 50 pounds. I have not carried more. The load limo has a heavier more sophisticated hip belt. Aarn will answer questions

Lau Chi Man Vincent
(bbyellow) - F

Locale: Hong Kong
McHale on 02/19/2010 07:58:30 MST Print View

McHale+2 with full dynnema

I had use Denali Pro,Astraplane,Bora 95 before, but McHale is the best.

Edited by bbyellow on 02/19/2010 07:59:49 MST.

alastair humphreys
(alastairhumphreys) - MLife

Locale: UK
. on 02/19/2010 08:03:53 MST Print View

Thank you for all the advice, and thanks for reading my books, Derek! I wondered who had doubled my sales...

N. F.
(NeezyDeezy) - F

Locale: ADKs
yikes on 02/19/2010 08:56:12 MST Print View

With no resupply this must be well over 100 pounds. That seems impossible to me.

bj bretzke
(lilorphanbilly) - F

Locale: Montana, MT (Stealth Mode)
Re: Re: Re: Thanks on 02/19/2010 09:17:34 MST Print View

Snowbound and down

Edited by lilorphanbilly on 02/19/2010 09:18:54 MST.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
AARN wins hands down on 02/19/2010 10:20:21 MST Print View

Really? Noone has mentioned AARN packs, the best load carriers in the world? They are specifically made to carry heavy loads and distribute the weight properly while maintaining center of gravity at all times.

I have hte featherlite freedom FF, recently took it in the smoky mtns for 4 days, purposefully took heavier load than necessary (45lbs), after 4 days and 40 miles i had NO soreness in my shoulders. Not a shred, even surface abrasion on the skin was missing. My hips had no red marks from the hipbelt digging into me, and all my gear was immediately accessible because of the frontpockets. I never took my pack off except to rest/camp. You will not be dissatisfied, guranteed.

BUT you must go on youtube and watch the videos on how to fit the pack properly, as well as read all documentation on the aarn website. This pack has adjustments for EVERYTHING. shoulderstraps can be raised up and down, increased in width for wider shoulders, hipbelts can be adjusted to degrees, and more. In order for it to work properly you must have it properly adjusted, which is not too bad to do. Took me about 2 hours.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 02/19/2010 10:22:29 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: AARN wins hands down on 02/19/2010 10:26:15 MST Print View

Does it really win when it appears to be one of the smallest, if not the smallest, packs in this thread?

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
AARN on 02/19/2010 10:32:55 MST Print View

THey have lots of larger packs, goto the website. The same load carrying techology is in use on those packs as well.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 02/19/2010 10:34:27 MST.

Alex Gilman
(Vertigo) - F

Locale: Washington
Fold Out Pockets on 02/19/2010 10:58:10 MST Print View

Arc'Teryx Bora 95 Pack

The bottom sides have pockets that flip out not as streamlined when theyre out but they hold stuff like sigg bottles, snacks, etc. Freeing up room on the inside of the pack.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Large Pack on 02/19/2010 11:12:54 MST Print View

If you are carrying that much weight, then the most important thing about the pack is how it carries the weight. In other words, if you find a pack that weighs two pounds more than a different one, but carries 50 pounds a lot more comfortably, then get it. I would say that the second most important thing is probably efficiency. If the two packs are just as comfortable, then you might as well save the extra two pounds. That is why I (and several other people) suggest you check out McHale. He has made packs to carry huge loads, while reducing the weight by using light (but strong) materials and eliminating bells and whistles (or, more to the point, giving you just the bells and whistles you want). I don't think he has a very good website, but you can see some of his pack philosophy and craftsmanship reflected on it. If you contact him and tell him what you want (and what you are doing) he can definitely give you a good pack (although, because it is custom, it won't be cheap).

As well as the other packs mentioned, I would browse around climbing websites and forums. Climbers carry a lot of weight (ropes, etc.) but are always looking to lose weight.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: What is the biggest backpack? on 02/19/2010 11:50:29 MST Print View

You won't find a big pack capable of hauling the weight you're talking about that is lightweight. Just physically not possible to get a stout-enough frame, beefier padding, more robust construction needed in a pack twice the size of most UL packs. That said, for the kind of volume and weight you're talking about carrying, the weight of the pack becomes relatively inconsequential (horrors!).

A month's worth of food will end up weighing at least 40 pounds, plus a standard UL base of 15 pounds, plus packraft and accessories... I'm guessing you'll have a minimum of 70 pounds at the start.

Current production models would include the Osprey Argon 110, Arc'Teryx Bora 95, Gregory Whitney 95 or Denali Pro 105. Several mentions of Dana Design: the packs were awesome, but haven't been made for about a decade. As was also mentioned, the guy who made Dana packs now runs Mystery Ranch, and they make some huge, burly, Dana Design-influenced packs. MR has a fair bit of military contracting, so you know they'll take the load. No dealers for MR, though... have to deal direct.

Edit: Whaddya know... a fellow BPL'er kindly pointed out this website:

I called MR a year or two ago to establish a dealership, but they informed me they were switching over to purely direct sales. I guess a few of their original dealers are still floating around?

Edited by 4quietwoods on 02/19/2010 14:13:57 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
What is the biggest backpack? on 02/19/2010 12:47:28 MST Print View

You should also consider the Granite Gear Stratus 5500. 90L and quite comfortable from what I have heard. Custom fit as well with interchangeable hipbelt and shoulder harness (which also adjusts for torso length):

Paul Gilbert
( - F
Big Pack - UK Alternatives on 02/19/2010 15:21:10 MST Print View

There are a couple of UK brands that offer large volume, light-for-what-they are packs:

The Crux AK70 (70l, 1500g)

The Berghaus Expedition 80 (80l, 2430g but can be stripped to 1430g - the full weight includes a welded dry-bag!)

Both have great reputations as manufacturers and you should be able to find one to try on somewhere!


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
What is the biggest backpack? on 02/19/2010 15:44:43 MST Print View

The largest of the Aarns is the Load Limo, that is a 90L pack with the pockets. About 5lbs 8oz.
Filling those pockets with dense gear/food would make it provably more comfortable for heavy loads than most.