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What I would like to see on a pack...
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Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
What I would like to see on a pack... on 03/07/2010 07:11:01 MST Print View

I would like to see water bottle pockets on the hipbelt at your sides canted forward so they are easily accessible without having to do the reach around. I could do with a pack with one big mesh pocket on the back and a Batman style utility belt up front. It just makes more sense to me. Water is the heaviest thing that most of us carry, so why not have all that on your hips? Is there some major disadvantage to this that I am unaware of?

jim jessop
(LuckyJim) - F
Re What I would Like to See on a Pack on 03/07/2010 07:21:19 MST Print View

Hi Gary

These guys make packs with a hydration bottle/sleeve that fits into the hipbelt.

I haven't tried one, but it does sound a very sensible idea and the best place to carry what is, for most, probably their highest density item.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Aarn USA Packs on 03/07/2010 07:58:47 MST Print View

While not on your hipbelt, the Featherlite Freedom has 2 front packs that balance out your load, can hold water, and act as a "utility belt" to keep all the thing you need along the trail accessible. You might want to check it out:

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: What I would like to see on a pack... on 03/07/2010 08:01:59 MST Print View

If I were designing a pack from scratch....
1) Water bottle pockets like Gary described. Not on the pack but on the belt.
2) One single main compartment.
3) Small lightweight sleeves or pockets across the front and on the straps. Goal would be to never get into the main compartment during "hiking hours." That may be what you were calling the utility belt.
4) Compression straps like the Jams 2.
5) No other hydration sleeves, frames or pads, hooks, straps etc.

It would be more of a fanny pack with a larger butt back. I suspect that the weight would carry better as well by getting some of the weight, like water up front.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Re: Re: What I would like to see on a pack... on 03/07/2010 08:21:24 MST Print View

Thanks for the responses guys...

Jim - I have seen the inov8 gear before and think it is a smart idea. I am not much on hydration bladders though. My biggest problem with bladders is I tend to drink more than I ought and not check how much water I have. I like to know exactly how much water I have on hand. I do think this is a great concept though.

Jason - I do also love the concept of the aarn packs but find them cumbersome to just look at. They are at least 3 pounds and probably carry like a dream but are just too much pack for my normal base weight around 5-6 lbs.

Greg - I think we're on the same wave length when it comes to pack design. I want to have excellent pack compression but very little in the way of bells and whistles on the pack itself.

So I'll start working on the prototype :P

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: What I would like to see on a pack... on 03/07/2010 09:25:33 MST Print View

Aarn packs can make a lot of sense -- but not to us UL hikers who by definition don't have a lot of weight that needs to be "distributed".

I haven't actually tried it, so just thinking aloud here... but having two heavy bottles of water right on the hip belt might make it awkward to put the pack on. I think I prefer to have the pockets where they currently are: on the packs themselves, not on the hipbelt.

The better-designed packs allow for easy access to water bottles without needing to take the entire pack off.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
water pockets on 03/07/2010 11:10:14 MST Print View

front pockets close up

I converted two stuff sacks to do the job- they are also very easy to remove when you don't want them there.


Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
re: water pockets on 03/07/2010 11:33:28 MST Print View

I've thought about this before, and the only two problems I could think of were: The bottles could get in the way of your arms when your hiking and I could see them bouncing around a lot more.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
water pockets on 03/07/2010 13:15:10 MST Print View

front pockets wide

Here's another view, this time with the pack.

I use Pacerpoles, and the water pockets don't really get in the way. I can move them forward too- depending on the hip belt and how I anchor them.


Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
agree with Ben on 03/07/2010 16:14:35 MST Print View

I agree with Ben, regarding the low need for an Aarn-style pack if you're only carrying 10 pounds or so. The one application where I thought it might have true utility is desert hiking, when you have to carry a LOT of water.

All of that said, if the side pockets on a pack are designed competently I have no trouble getting a bottle in and out without doing the Funky Chicken. The Osprey Exos series has the opening biased towards the front, for example.

I mean, seriously, what else do UL hikers use those pockets for? The vast majority of us use them to hold water bottles. It makes no sense to make the side pocket openings level.

Here's a picture of a 1.8L POM pomegranate juice bottle in my Exos pocket:

exos side pocket

I really like the Exos side pockets- too bad the packs aren't terribly light. They are designed so that you can put a bottle in them either vertically, or almost-horizontally as shown in my picture. The POM bottles are nice- because of their shape they won't fall out.

Here's a picture of such a POM bottle, to show the shape:

POM bottle

You can see how even if the bulbous upper portion sticks out of the pocket, the lip still holds the bottle in place. And personally I think that 1.8L (or 3.6L) is quite a lot.

Edited by acrosome on 03/07/2010 16:32:08 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: agree on 03/07/2010 16:27:31 MST Print View

I love the design of the Exos pockets. My favorite pack, Jam2, has pockets straight up. It is the number 1 thing I would change.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: agree with Ben on 03/07/2010 17:57:47 MST Print View

"All of that said, if the side pockets on a pack are designed competently I have no trouble getting a bottle in and out without doing the Funky Chicken."

A major advertising point for the OHM. IME, it has the best designed pockets I've ever come across in this regard.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Water Pocket" on 03/07/2010 22:31:32 MST Print View

My "water pocket" is right in front, at waist level as part of my Dana Designs Wet Rib front pouch. (The black blob in my photo at left.) That bottle is for my electrolyte drink. For most of my hydration I use my bladder & hose system. It's nice to have both.

As an elder of the backpacking tribe I need to have electrolytes in the morning as I warm up on the trail and in mid-afternoon as I chug up or down steep grades.

Best electrolyte drink I've found is Cytomax. VERY effective and good tasting.

Worst tasting is Gookinaide.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/07/2010 22:32:56 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Water Pocket" on 03/07/2010 23:38:20 MST Print View

I find all this water pocket conversation curious. First off, adding addtional pockets adds weight. Not a goal I would have in mind.

Also I find for some packs the slanted pockets are designed to hold a sports bottle, not a platy. Platys fall out.

If I need to drink while moving, I just slip one arm out from the should strap, let the pack roll to the opposite side (it does this automatically), grab the bottle and drink my water, when done with the bottle, slip my strap back on. I have a sports type pull cap on two 1L platys, which makes it easy. Hopefully everyone's pack is light enough to do this. My GG Murmur has slanted pockets, but when using it, the gear is so light it is so light sometimes I just carry slung over one shoulder.

What I would want in a pack are large outside mesh pockets and an external sleeping pad pocket. Just about anything else adds weight.

Jack Bauer
(mclovin) - F
cytomax on 03/07/2010 23:55:15 MST Print View

Hi Eric,

What is your favorite cytomax flavors?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: water pocket on 03/08/2010 00:02:28 MST Print View

I normally backpack wearing nylon trousers that have cargo pockets at the top of the thighs. My small Platypus fits that (sticking out a bit). I can't get it any handier than that.

David Rowenhorst
(row435) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
ULA Water bottle holsters on 03/08/2010 07:24:51 MST Print View

At first I was skeptical, but I have found that I have really liked the ULA style water bottle holders that use a couple of cord loops to strap a water bottle to the shoulder strap. I use a 20-28 oz bottle (larger bottle goes in the main bag, refill the 20 oz as needed) and I hardly notice that it is there while hiking. All that, and it adds a fraction of an ounce.

G Foster McLachlan
(hunter13) - F

Locale: NYS
Re: ULA Water bottle holsters on 03/08/2010 09:48:42 MST Print View

I didn't read this whole thread so maybe someone made the suggestion..I used the ULA cords to hold a 20 oz water bottle (small gatorade) on my shoulder strap. BUt that does not work well since bottle falls out sometimes when you jump-cross streams- whatever. But the MLD shoulder pocket works very well.
Its very convenient to utilize the shoulder pocket w minimal weight increase. Its makes water very accesible and its stable. The bottle does NOT get in your way at all as you dont even notice its there. Just refill the bottle at breaks -lunch or whatever. Who wants to fumble with the reach -around or even have water dangling from your hips either bouncing around or getting in the way of your arm movement etc.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
@ John Frederick and Other Water Pocket Gurus on 03/08/2010 09:53:45 MST Print View

John (and others who know):

I am curious about positioning water pockets right on the hip belt. Did you do this because your pack's side pockets were poorly designed (hard or impossible to access) -- or because everything just carries noticeably better -- even if the side pockets were perfectly accessible?

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
positioning on 03/08/2010 10:20:25 MST Print View

Thanks for the guru tag- undeserved, I'm sure.
The hip pockets are really only a stuff sack modified with a couple of straps. I use them when I have to camel up (4kg of water), and I do notice a difference when I move 2kg of water from my back to my hips. Otherwise they perform their duty as storage sacks in the pack.
It isn't something I do all the time, and it isn't a defect of the pack pockets or anything like this, it's just a way to balance better and walk more upright.
It might not work for anyone else this way.
I tried an Aarn bodypack, and while intruiged by the great design etc, with a base weight (big 3) of only 1 kilo, the weight of the pack and complexity of the design and my packweight didn't justify the style of pack Aarn make. The Mountain Magic 33 is one on my radar, but weighs 700g (+/-) and my Murmur weighs a third. I can effectively carry the extra in water weight.
The water bags don't bounce around, as I clip them to the shoulder strap, or sternum strap for non weight support.
I hope this helps,