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Stuff Sacks- overkill?
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Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That ol' stuff sack debate and pack organzation on 03/14/2013 18:57:18 MDT Print View

I find it hard to sleep when cold, how about you?

I always end up packing about an extra pound of pad/sleeping gear than what is necessary but always keeps me warm.

Edited by stephenm on 03/14/2013 19:13:55 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That ol' stuff sack debate and pack organzation on 03/17/2013 02:09:13 MDT Print View

IMG_0097 smaller

Nick, where are how do you arrange your water bladders? Im thinking about getting a small zero without pockets. Zpacks does sell a hydration bladder and port for $20.

Edited by M.L on 03/17/2013 02:11:45 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That ol' stuff sack debate and pack organzation on 03/17/2013 06:26:20 MDT Print View

The 1 liter platys go in water pockets and the 2 liter platy in the main bag. I have never used a hydration bladder as they seem heavy and if I need this much water I don't want it in one vessel, should it develop a leak.


William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: That ol' stuff sack debate on 03/17/2013 07:33:20 MDT Print View

"I just feel like I HAVE to be missing something big"

I suspect it's that there's not a very good relationship between a pack's weight, its carrying capacity in weight, and its volume, and that there's also a large range in various backpackers' gear density. It makes it hard to compare with others' experiences unless you match up all the details.

If I'm taking a synthetic quilt that I don't want to compress to death, a foam sleeping pad that I'm using inside the pack for support, a fleece for warmth, a Driducks jacket, and a bunch of crackers that I didn't crush first, I'm going to need more pack volume for a given base and food weight than if I have a highly compressible quilt of the same weight, an inflatable pad, more compressible outerwear and a ziploc of Grape Nuts.

If I have high volume and low weight, I might choose something like a Granite Gear Virga, which feels cavernous when I pack it. If I needed to carry a ton of water, but not a lot of gear, I might choose a relatively low volume pack but one that's designed for heavy loads - something like the Osprey Atmos 50 I used to have. About the same volume as the Virga, but easily capable of carrying twice as much weight (YMMV).

The cottage packs seem vary a fair amount in their density sweet spots, but in my experience, tend toward low-ish volumes relative to their weight-carrying capacity. (Interested to hear about counter-examples.) I'm guessing this is at least in part to avoid the half-full problems that the higher density users would experience, but that's what you're running in to. Other than getting more dense stuff or a higher volume pack (which need not weigh significantly more, as long as there's no feature creep), solutions include adding a longer extension collar and strapping stuff to the outside until food volumes shrink (with caveats related to bear can use).



Edited by sbill9000 on 03/17/2013 15:40:08 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Stuff Sack Strategy on 03/17/2013 07:56:52 MDT Print View

In order for me to carry a stuff sack it has to have a purpose other than just to hold stuff. (This is pretty easy to say since I don't carry very much random stuff.) For a multiday carry similar to say a thru hike leg, I will have three stuff sacks. Two are cuben food bags (more on these in a minute.) and the only other one is the bag for my extra clothes which serves as my pillow. Here are a couple of lessons I learned over the last couple of years.
1) I use an inflatable pad, xtherm. This needs to be protected from abrasion. I use a pack liner, trash compacted bag. If rain is not expected then I only pack my folded pad in the bag for protection and place it as the pack frame in the front.
2) I use two cuben food bags. One has the food that won't be accessed during the day. This goes in the bottom and is the highest density, solid mass in my pack. Next in is my quilt and bivy, loosely rolled to conform to space.. The hard layer is next, cook pot and tarp followed by the day food bag and the soft loose filled clothes bag on top. This gives me hard layer, soft layer, hard layer, soft layer. I think this approach help form a solid yet flexible mass without hard lumps from hard things.
3) I custom made my food bags to the inside dimensions of my pack. This was an added after my thru hike when I had one "properly sized" bag and one the was too long and narrow. The properly sized one was used in the bottom and filled out the pack much better. Now both bags fit the pack perfectly and this allows the loading to be like building blocks.

I should probably mention that my pack is very small volume, MLD Burn. Its low volume is a dream to carry but it has forced me to optimize the loading to find perfection for me.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Avoiding a Solid Mass on 03/17/2013 11:02:25 MDT Print View

"Now both bags fit the pack perfectly and this allows the loading to be like building blocks."

This is just my own comparison that convinced me to ditch stuff sacks with bag, pad, clothing and food. In my own experiment, one actually gains packing efficiency (i.e. the ability to pack more in the same amount of space) by avoiding the stuff sack's tendency to compress things into blocks. In my case, I found that simply shoving in the bag first, and then clothing, and then food, etc. items in all nooks and crannies was actually more efficient. I sometimes bring along a food bag. Even with that, I find shoving the pieces (including the bag) separately into 'the corners' more efficient than packing a solid block.

If you've tried this already and it didn't work for you, please ignore. But in case you haven't -- maybe give it a try. If you can avoid the effort of wrestling things into their stuff sacks -- esp. bag and pad -- and gain packing space as a result -- that can be a good thing, right?

Edited by ben2world on 03/17/2013 11:09:26 MDT.

Richard Mock
(moxtr) - M

Locale: The piney woods
Re: Re: Avoiding a Solid Mass on 05/09/2013 01:14:59 MDT Print View

That has worked for me for 40 years in principle however sacks can be convenient jn a large structured pack.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Avoiding a Solid Mass on 05/09/2013 03:32:03 MDT Print View

That has worked for me for 40 years in principle however sacks can be convenient jn a large structured pack.

were you meaning unstructured?

That is where I find stuff sacks worth carrying a couple ounces.

But I avoid the structured mass problem (mostly) by using sacks that are too large for their contents. That allows sacks of stuff to mostly assume the shape of available unused space in the pack. It also avoids the problem of a tightly stuffed sack (aka a "rock") abusing my kidneys or ribs when using a pack with no backpad.