Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested on 08/31/2010 15:52:38 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
List of Packs Tested on 08/31/2010 16:21:21 MDT Print View

Interesting article!
While I realize ALL the available lightweight internal frame packs can't be tested ... but I'm forced to admit that I was a bit disappointed that the Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs lines were not included ... maybe they didn't meet the volume requirement?

Edited by tr-browsing on 08/31/2010 16:25:04 MDT.

Benjamin Evans
(bevans)

Locale: Atlanta
Great comparison ! on 08/31/2010 16:51:41 MDT Print View

This report is right on time ! I'm using a ULA Catalyst this weekend for a test run on the southern AT. I'm looking forward to the next installments. When will they be published on the website?

Cameron Semple
(camS) - F

Locale: Brisbane, Australia
Very Interested on 08/31/2010 17:09:07 MDT Print View

Very interested in the results from this article. Good to see the One Planet in there. Will be interested to see how it goes.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
datadatadata on 08/31/2010 17:16:29 MDT Print View

Good work. If nothing else the volume testing and comparision will be very useful for many future pack buyers.

While there are some extraordinary benefits to having one person/team do all the testing (the rigor and consistency of the data is certainly the foremost), the article also highlights two limitations, of time and perspective. While a case might be made that pack suspension can be assessed on a dayhike (I don't believe it can be), carry comfort is only one aspect of a good pack. Durability and useable/accessible space are two other attributes which come to mind. The useable space issue segues nicely into the second point, that such a comprehensive review is best served by diverse perspectives.

Readers know that the Caffin's do most of their backpacking off trail, in thick scrub, in a certain fashion (leisurely, tea breaks, etc), and in a fairly particular geographic area. Many, indeed most of the BPL readership differs profoundly on at least three of these. I think the feature sets seen on American designed and produced packs reflect these differences. It'd be useful for a review to be able to highlight strengths and weaknesses in a more pluralistic way than this initial article leads me to assume will happen. I'd like to see trail hikers, bushwackers, canyoneers, snowshoers, and skiers giving input. Some folks will find accessible side pockets essential, others will disdain them. Some people will find snowshoe/ski/ice axe/etc attachment points relevant. Others will avoid them or cut them off straightaway.

I'd encourage future reviews to take such things under consideration.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 08/31/2010 17:19:21 MDT Print View

Not surprised to see the smaller actual volume of a lot of these packs. Manufacturing marketing at its best!

Can't wait for part 2.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested" on 08/31/2010 17:34:46 MDT Print View

I also am wondering why the Six Moon Designs Starlight and Traveler were excluded. Admittedly the stays in the Starlight and Traveler are removable, but with the stays it is a fully framed pack and will support up to 35 lbs. comfortably.

Re volume: SMD, like ULA, gives a volume for the main bag, extension collar and each of the pockets, and adds all these for the total. Gossamer Gear gives the total for main bag + extension collar and for all pockets, and adds the two for the total volume. It appears that this may be the "standard" for US "cottage" manufacturers?

I'm looking forward to more articles, but I am disappointed that my favorites (and perhaps the lightest of the fully framed packs) have been omitted. This article can hardly be called a "state of the market" report without them, IMHO.

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/31/2010 17:37:16 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested on 08/31/2010 17:45:56 MDT Print View

Good start. Will be interesting market research.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re GG & SMD on 08/31/2010 17:49:59 MDT Print View

We discussed these, and Will decided they should fall into a difference category - sort of 'frameless with just a little stay'. So they WILL appear, but in a different review.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: datadatadata on 08/31/2010 17:58:53 MDT Print View

> Readers know that the Caffin's do most of their backpacking off trail,
> in thick scrub, in a certain fashion (leisurely, tea breaks, etc), and in
> a fairly particular geographic area.
* Off trail - check
* Thick scrub - some of the time, but not always
* Leisurely - nope, not ever. Flat-out in between the food stops.
* Fairly particular geographical area - depends on how you define that. Scrub and canyons of the Blue Mountains, open alpine regions of Australian Alps, made tracks across Europe, even ski touring.

> the feature sets seen on American designed and produced packs reflect these differences.
Yes, you may be right here, in that the outside pockets are a peculiarly American thing. The rest of the world does not like them. For the rest of the features - not really.

> I'd like to see trail hikers, bushwackers, canyoneers, snowshoers, and skiers giving input.
Well, yes, but we have to get the review written in a finite time! As it was, we spent nearly 6 months on this review. Since we (Sue and me) do in fact cover all the activities listed, we decided that would have to be enough.

However, many of these packs have been farmed out to other walkers for a second opinion, and it may be that over the next 6 months we will see some more in-depth reviews of some of them. Here's hoping.

Cheers

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: re GG & SMD on 08/31/2010 18:34:08 MDT Print View

"We discussed these, and Will decided they should fall into a difference category - sort of 'frameless with just a little stay'. So they WILL appear, but in a different review."

That will be an interesting review. Packs with light stays are starting to become a pretty popular segment here at BPL. Packs like the GG Gorilla, ULA Ohm, HMG Windrider, SMD Packs, Zpacks with stays etc are all pretty neat options.

Edited by dandydan on 08/31/2010 18:34:44 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 08/31/2010 18:52:28 MDT Print View

Light stays? All stays are light.

The OHM is omitted, but the Circuit isn't. Yet they employ the same carbon hoop. I also notice that several of the packs in the list aren't even available in North America......?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 08/31/2010 18:55:47 MDT Print View

Ahh, Roger. You've taken on a mammoth task, maybe impossible. Although I don't like mesh side pockets (they get caught in scrub), I do find side pockets (preferably durable fabric) useful for carry stuff like gas canisters and camp shoes. Stuff that can take a beating. Such largish items are not prone to falling out in my experience...and the hipbelt pockets that some packs have (I'm thinking Exos here) are of substantial size and utility. Even the back zippered pockets on the Exos are useful from an organisational point of view. I put my windshirt, hat and gloves in one and maps in the other, Not bulky items, but very handy to have accessible. Back pockets are great for (non-inflatable) sleeping mats, but you wouldn't want to put your water in them. So I think that these features should be taken into account. If you don't like a feature, you don't have to use it (I cut off many metres of webbing and cord from most of my packs). It would have been nice (though admittedly a bigger job) to have the volumes of all these extras, as they can add up to several more litres. I'm sure looking forward to the next installment. Nice work.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: datadatadata on 08/31/2010 20:11:45 MDT Print View

If European packs do not usually have outside pockets, how do they carry their water typically? All containers, hard side or collapsible, on the inside only? Curious.

It would seem a drag to stop and open a pack every time I wanted a drink.

Edited by jshann on 08/31/2010 20:12:22 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: datadatadata on 08/31/2010 20:22:05 MDT Print View

"If European packs do not usually have outside pockets, how do they carry their water typically? "

*Most* packs will have some sort of back pocket or cord attachment to hold water. Many folks now also use internal bladders. This is my preference because it keeps the heaviest stuff in my pack close to my centre of gravity. Bladders might be problematic for those who need to refill and treat your water often. Not usually a problem in this part of the world. Plenty of clean water to drink along the way most of the time.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: re GG & SMD on 08/31/2010 20:47:09 MDT Print View

Very much looking forward to the next installment!

"We discussed these, and Will decided they should fall into a difference category - sort of 'frameless with just a little stay'. So they WILL appear, but in a different review"

How about a pack like the Osprey Talon 44? It's got the upside-down U shaped frame, but I guess it could be considered a beefier single stay.

Edited by T.L. on 08/31/2010 20:47:40 MDT.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 08/31/2010 22:32:43 MDT Print View

its too bad that the Cilogear packs were not included in the review. It would be interesting to see how they stacked up in a comprehensive review of this sort and at the very least some of their dynema packs would have been eligible to review, alternativly the worksacks could be reviewed as a stand in for the dynema models considering their identical design.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: datadatadata on 09/01/2010 01:11:05 MDT Print View

> If European packs do not usually have outside pockets, how do they carry their water?

The same way we carry it in Australia - in a bottle inside the pack. Been that way for the last 50 years.

> It would seem a drag to stop and open a pack every time I wanted a drink.

We stop maybe once every 2.5 hours, for food and drink. Despite the urgings of the bladder vendors, it is NOT necessary to be drinking all the time. For proof of this I offer the practices of the rest of the world.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: re GG & SMD on 09/01/2010 01:13:02 MDT Print View

> How about a pack like the Osprey Talon 44

44 L - too small.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: ... on 09/01/2010 01:15:38 MDT Print View

> its too bad that the Cilogear packs were not included in the review.

Either too small or too heavy. We checked.

Cheers