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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) - M

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

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Availability on 09/01/2010 01:59:17 MDT Print View

"I also notice that several of the packs in the list aren't even available in North America......?"

A fairly sizeable portion of the BPL readership aren't available in North America either.

Actually, what % is that?

John Dunn
(arcticman)

Locale: Southern California
Deuter on 09/01/2010 03:30:25 MDT Print View

No Deuter act zero 60+10 ???

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested on 09/01/2010 06:16:00 MDT Print View

I'm looking forward to the other instalments.

One nitpick - in the 7th para you refer to 11kg as 41 lb - I think that should be 24.5 lb as discussed a bit further down in the article.

WV Hiker
(vdeal)

Locale: West Virginia
Lowe Alpine on 09/01/2010 08:33:55 MDT Print View

I'm looking forward to the review of the Nanon - I'm thinking of getting one.

Edited by vdeal on 09/01/2010 08:36:37 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Pack on 09/01/2010 08:37:56 MDT Print View

"A fairly sizeable portion of the BPL readership aren't available in North America either."

If all of the packs mentioned are available in your parts, but only 1/2 are available in the US, where the majority of membership resides, then I would opine that this is not a particularly robust sample.

To comment that "a fairly sizeable portion" and then immediately ask what that percentage would be suggests that you should first ask the question, get the answer, and then provide an irrelevant comment.

Gerry Brucia
(taedawood) - MLife

Locale: Louisiana, USA
Internal Frame Pack Review on 09/01/2010 08:41:10 MDT Print View

Regarding the American market's preference for outside pockets,besides access to water bottles, this may be in part due to our climate, especially in the eastern and southern United States where rainfall is plentiful. I never put my shelter inside my pack, preferring to put it in an outside pocket because it (the shelter) is more often than not, WET.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight packs on 09/01/2010 08:41:19 MDT Print View

"> How about a pack like the Osprey Talon 44

44 L - too small.

Cheers"

Roger, too small because of the trend by manufacturers to overstate pack volumes? Several of the packs listed appear to be under 50L in reality. Is this what you are finding?

I have always felt that Granite Gear packs are much smaller than claimed. It appears this is the case.

WV Hiker
(vdeal)

Locale: West Virginia
Measurements on 09/01/2010 09:06:41 MDT Print View

Just a comment about mixed measurements. It's usually a good idea to keep units the same. In the first table we have cubic centimeters (even though liters are how packs are usually listed) converted to cubic inches. That's all fine but in the summary of that table it's now liters converted to cubic feet. Keep the measurements consistent. This is bad editing. No one talks about cubic feet in relation to packs. BTW, 1.43 cubic feet is 2,471 cubic inches. This should be fixed.

WV Hiker
(vdeal)

Locale: West Virginia
Missing packs on 09/01/2010 09:53:52 MDT Print View

As another poster mentioned the Deuter AirContact Zero 60+10 fits your criteria with a weight of 3 lb 1 oz and a volume of 3650 ci. The Jansport Ascent Regular also fits with a weight of 3 lb 1 oz and a volume of 3203 ci.

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
How many readers still use internal frame packs? on 09/01/2010 09:55:47 MDT Print View

Roger; thanks for being a lightning rod and undertaking this task. It’s great to see someone establishing comparison criteria for such a complex task.

I am curious how many readers use the packs listed (or similar packs). If they do use these packs, how are they used? Are they used for multi-day trips with or without resupply? Are they used for winter trips or three season trips? Are they used for quick overnights?

I still use my Gregory Z-pack but only for a winter trip where extra gear is needed. My weights on these trips are generally over 30 lbs because of the heavier gear needed. For my three season trips and multi-day trips I use my SMD with stays. For the two to three day it has been my SMD but I plan on using my recently completed MYOG frameless pack.

Does BPL have the ability to take a reader poll? I think this would be a great companion to this article and in sharing the experiences of the BPL readers.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: How many readers still use internal frame packs? on 09/01/2010 10:02:57 MDT Print View

I use my Ohm for anything more than a day hike. That includes 4 seasons and trips from overnighters to 5+ nights. I really need a smaller pack for 3-season outings but I'm trying to keep my clutter down and the Ohm has good compression.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
Cilogear on 09/01/2010 10:43:04 MDT Print View

Rodger the NWD Cilogear packs fit your test criteria at 3lb 5oz and 60L --- it really is too bad that they were not included in the review, or that the normal packs were not tested as a proxy

WV Hiker
(vdeal)

Locale: West Virginia
Lowe Alpine Nanon mistake? on 09/01/2010 10:56:56 MDT Print View

Roger,

I believe there is a mistake in the table as regards the Lowe Alpine Nanon 50:60. Lowe, on their UK site lists the volume as 50lt+10lt extension=60lt. This makes sense based on the name. They however screw up their conversion and say that it is 4000+600cu.ins when in reality it is more like 3000+600 cu ins. (actually 3051 ci + 610 ci for 3661 ci.). I wonder if the 10 liter extension counts the hip belt pockets, stretchable side pocket and back side pocket. Shouldn't these "2 size packs" really be based on their initial size and not the extended size since we don't really know what that means? If that's the case then the Nanon is well within it's listed size. I think part of the problem with Lowe Alpine is their US website is a subset of their international one and doesn't seem to be really put together all that well.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Cilogear on 09/01/2010 10:59:02 MDT Print View

Hmm...The NWD 60 Worksack is 3 lb 8 oz according to the site. It's also $750 which is likely too steep for the majority of BPL members/readers. Just pointing that out, not saying it shouldn't be reviewed because it's very expensive.

Edited by simplespirit on 09/01/2010 10:59:27 MDT.

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
BPL? on 09/01/2010 10:59:54 MDT Print View

I thought this was BPL. A 45 oz tent and a 45 oz sleeping bag?

As far as the question of who still uses a internal frame pack? I use an Osprey Exos. I tried several frameless packs and they just were not as comfortable as the Exos.

Edited by knarfster on 09/01/2010 11:01:57 MDT.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 09/01/2010 11:44:47 MDT Print View

No, but I think its worthwhile reviewing them, even if you were substitute the normal 60L as a stand-in for the NWD. I personally wonder how the packs would stack up (esp b/c the trail weight is so variable for them) and am disappointed that BPL did not include them in the review. Although I understand BPL not wanting to spend $750 on a pack - I think its a mistake not to include the Cilogear packs - they clearly meet the criteria of the review and have generated a lot of interest.

Edited by nanookofthenorth on 09/01/2010 11:47:14 MDT.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
as the saying goes... on 09/01/2010 12:19:51 MDT Print View

You can't make everybody happy all of the time.

Especially in this very interesting topic. I would have preferred more packs in the GG Gorilla, ULA Ohm range myself. But I understand that they had to draw the line somewhere to get this done in a reasonable timeframe.

Interested in reading the rest of the market report!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 12:35:16 MDT Print View

ClioGear makes climbing specific packs, which based on the initial criteria, would not fit in well with the group.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Interesting! on 09/01/2010 12:52:39 MDT Print View

Very interesting Roger, I'm looking forward to reading the next articles in the series.

Eins

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Cilogear on 09/01/2010 13:02:19 MDT Print View

Yowsa. They're in the same league, price-wise, as McHale.

Unless, of course, you get a McHale in full Dyneema... which is worth it if you carry stuff over and above the survival gear, like a view camera.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 14:24:54 MDT Print View

The OHM is omitted, but the Circuit isn't. Yet they employ the same carbon hoop."

The Circuit has the same hoop as the Ohm but it also has an additional 'dense internal foam frame'. That's probably why they slotted the Circuit into this review and the Ohm will likely be in the 'frameless with stays' review.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 14:27:13 MDT Print View

I forgot about the backpad. My 2007 version of the Circuit doesn't. But then it weighs 31oz as well.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 16:14:03 MDT Print View

I think it's unreasonable to expect BPL to review every single pack on the market that fits the review criteria. aside from cost and availability, it would be a mammoth undertaking. As for gear not available in USA, I would argue that the US can do like the rest of the world does with US made gear...import it at a high postage cost. If lack of availability were a criteria, there are very few packs in tin the review hat I could buy locally, but I still have owned some of them.

RE: hydration
I know the argument well, and suffered under this premise for many years with a pocket-less MacPac Ascent. Comfy pack, but a PITA to get to stuff quickly without risking rain getting into your gear, and lack of outer pockets meant I only drank every few hours or when I crossed a creek. For over a decade I also suffered bad migraines when I went hiking, until a sports doctor friend mentioned I might try more frequent and larger volumes of water. I got a bladder and never looked back. No more migraines. So YMMV. I'll take a hydration pocket at the very least. This is why I couldn't cope with Aarn packs. Speaking of which, the Aarn Featherlite Freedom has a minimum trail weight of 1.2-1.3kg and claimed 50-55 litre volume...

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
cilo on 09/01/2010 16:14:20 MDT Print View

Hi David - you wrote "ClioGear makes climbing specific packs, which based on the initial criteria, would not fit in well with the group."

Cruk (uk) specifically makes climbing packs which were included in the review. Thats not a reason to exclude the Cilos

Considering that the review was for packs for "For walkers going on longer trips, or going up in the mountains where the weather is more variable and requires more gear for safety, a slightly larger pack is needed." My point is that Cilogear packs should have been included.

I for one would like to see a bit more mountain focus on gear for the AB/BC Rockies. I've heard so much about these packs, been curious about them, but have been wanting to read a really good independent review on them.
Its too bad BPL did not include the Cilogeat packs despite them clearly matching the review critera, as well as all the publicity on the net about them.

Anyways, I dont care too much about it - but I'd like to see them reviewed and indexed into this series. Seems like their exclusion was an oversight.

Cas Berentsen
(P9QX) - MLife
shop testing on 09/01/2010 16:45:27 MDT Print View

(Since this will be my first post - nice to meet you!)

Nice comparison, curious to the results of the field test

I did some "shop testing" of the Lowe Alpine Nanon & the Osprey Exos 58. Being tall (over 6'3") with a tall backbone I needed the largest versions. I loaded both with 15kg of sand bags and walked in the shop for approximately half an hour. For the Exos 15kg this appeared to be above its load limit as the lower end of the pack starts hanging. Unfortunately, the hipbelt of the Nanon appeared to be too wide for me.

I actually want(ed) the Gossammer Mariposa but since (this year) my start weight would be over 15kg I decided to skip this till more of my gear will be in line with that pack.

Eventually I ordered the Lightwave Ultrahike because of the design of its hip belt. Walking for 20 days in the Pyrenees with a weight between 12 and 18 kg I absolutely didn't regret my choice. For me that pack is very comfortable and, for my slim hips, the hip belt is simply superb. The only minor complaint I have is that the foam used at the "harness-face" is slightly warm.
( Sofar I always carry the water bladder in one of the outer pockets )

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
water access in packs on 09/01/2010 17:13:23 MDT Print View

Lynn, I agree. Drinking water at 2 hour intervals and backpacking at anything other than a truly tepid pace in cool weather means you will become dehydrated. A non-negotiable physiological reality.

Relevant because good water access, in whatever form it takes, it central to a decent backpack.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: shop testing on 09/01/2010 17:17:19 MDT Print View

" I loaded both with 15kg of sand bags and walked in the shop for approximately half an hour. For the Exos 15kg this appeared to be above its load limit as the lower end of the pack starts hanging. "

Sand bag testing is inherently flawed in this respect. All the weight end up concentrated at the bottom of the back, exaggerating the downwards pull. When I shop test a pack, I actually take my gear in with me and load it up with a representative heavy-ish load, distributed in a way to keep the centre of gravity as close to my back as possible.

Cas Berentsen
(P9QX) - MLife
sand bag testing on 09/01/2010 17:24:11 MDT Print View

Sorry, I actually meant sand bag loading in combination with fluffy plastics bags. Weight of sand was concentrated in middle against back.

Edited by P9QX on 09/01/2010 17:27:25 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 17:31:22 MDT Print View

"Cruk (uk) specifically makes climbing packs which were included in the review. Thats not a reason to exclude the Cilos"

I completely missed that Robert! Thanks.

Wesley Witt
(weswitt)

Locale: Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Cilogear on 09/01/2010 18:57:28 MDT Print View

I vote for McHale. His packs are the best for sure.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 19:25:40 MDT Print View

Kind of disappointing that some are ...disappointed that the review ONLY has 26 packs considering that it is limited to a fairly narrow criteria.

One point I did not see considered is that with both the ping pong ball and Roger's version ( I came up independently with that 'solution" also)of the volume test, I am sure that you could add a few liters of water in between the balls , therefore taking it much closer to the claimed capacity.
Maybe a thin bladder (like a dry sack) filled with water could give a better measurement.
But of course even if the numbers are not correct the review does offer a comparison between the models tested.

As for the roll-top standard, I used that 3x bit also to measure the difference between the old and the new Circuit, however often I only fold my Aarn twice and that is enough to keep it dry. (the Aarns have a dry sack built in)

Franco

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks Roger on 09/01/2010 20:20:55 MDT Print View

A good review of volume. Now on to more subjective topics like adjustability, hip belt comfort, shoulder strap comfort, lift straps (yes/no), side pocket attatchment provisions (yes/no) etc.

And thanks for introducing the self-descriptive terms "harness face" and "back face". I like them and hope the industry will adopt them as well. Perhaps if we all began using those terms in out posts industry WILL catch on.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/01/2010 20:37:44 MDT Print View

"Maybe a thin bladder (like a dry sack) filled with water could give a better measurement."

+1

Or maybe a trash compactor bag used to line the pack before filling with water.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report on 09/01/2010 20:47:48 MDT Print View

While I found the the pack selection rather disappointing, I was definitely interested in the volume measurements. Roger's findings confirmed something I always suspected!

Despite some disappointments, I'm looking forward to the future articles!

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
cilo gear on 09/01/2010 20:49:55 MDT Print View

cilo gear packs are $750+? Wow, bet they wont sell very many, thats insane.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: re GG & SMD on 09/01/2010 20:53:38 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."

It would be nice to get some comment(s) in that next review to help link the two categories since I might not separate packs into the same categories as Roger did.

Tom

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
wow on 09/01/2010 21:31:50 MDT Print View

holy crapola, they have a 1200+ backpack. Will suck when that thing rips falling down a hill. ouch, but i guess if you can afford that you can afford a few of them.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
like reviewing shoes on 09/01/2010 21:49:42 MDT Print View

while i appreciate all the hardwork put in ... IMO reviewing packs is like reviewing shoes ... you cannot quantify the most important thing ... the fit of the pack ... what works for one may not work for another

youre left with stuff you can get by looking at the manuf websites ... like weight, volume, features, materials ...

the only way to figure out what pack works for you IMO is to try it on

everyone likes different features and different fits ... all the discussion about missing packs just shows it

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Measururing volume on 09/02/2010 02:04:49 MDT Print View

"One point I did not see considered is that with both the ping pong ball and Roger's version ... of the volume test, I am sure that you could add a few liters of water in between the balls, therefore taking it much closer to the claimed capacity."

The ping pong balls/poly peanuts have the same air gaps between them when they are in the in the box as they do in the packs - so this is not an issue with the method. ie. you measure the volume of balls+air in the box - not just the volume of the balls.

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Availability on 09/02/2010 02:26:53 MDT Print View

"If all of the packs mentioned are available in your parts, but only 1/2 are available in the US, where the majority of membership resides, then I would opine that this is not a particularly robust sample."

I wish all the packs were available in the UK. Elemental Horizons, JanSport, Montbell, One Planet, REI, and ULA are all very hard to come by here. We can of course import them sight-unseen - as can you with the Crux and Lightwave packs.

"To comment that "a fairly sizeable portion" and then immediately ask what that percentage would be suggests that you should first ask the question""

I suppose you have a point, but I know that there is a portion of the readership who are not North America based, what portion I don't know so I asked. 7 non NA readers have commented in this thread - so it's not tiny.


", get the answer, and then provide an irrelevant comment."

Have a nice day!

Edited by andydolman on 09/02/2010 02:28:19 MDT.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
pockets on 09/02/2010 03:36:56 MDT Print View

Suspect outside pockets not so much a UK/Europe vs USA thing as climbing vs mountain marathon etc.

Climbers (Crux very much and Lightwave by inheritance) don't use them of course. Mountain marathon sacs the other source of lightweight things, and they seem very keen on all kinds of external storage. Like OMM(UK) for instance.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
pockets and cilogear weigth on 09/02/2010 04:45:21 MDT Print View

Mostly european manufactures has a strong tradition making "mountaineering packs"
when they manufacture "light packs" sometimes they use "alpine designs" (no pockets)

Anyway in european users use to "keep all the stuff in" and use to drink during stops or use hydration bags as roger explain

About Cilogear packs My pack (dyneema 60 2010) weights more than 2kg total weight ... much more over the criteria...

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
No good deed goes unpunished on 09/02/2010 08:12:16 MDT Print View

Good stuff. Great point and review about the inconsistencies of pack volumes. Something to be aware of even if your favorite pack/brand isn't in the article.

Looking forward to the next part of the review.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/02/2010 08:49:01 MDT Print View

"We can of course import them sight-unseen - as can you with the Crux and Lightwave packs."

No. We can't.

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Yes you can. on 09/02/2010 08:56:17 MDT Print View

Er, why not? Try this store here.

http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/lightwave_ultrahike_60.html

They will ship to the USA for about £20.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/02/2010 10:08:49 MDT Print View

I'm in Canada.

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Canada on 09/02/2010 10:10:08 MDT Print View

They ship to Canada too. Are you doing this just to annoy me?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Canada on 09/02/2010 10:20:16 MDT Print View

Whether you are annoyed is irrelevant to me.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Ping pong ball test on 09/02/2010 13:31:37 MDT Print View

Andrew
Re Ping Pong balls...
You are indeed correct. I am posting this at 5:30 am cause at about 4 am I woke up thinking about that..
I run a test (in my head...) using a bucket of a known size only to realise that as you state the air gap remains more or less the same regardless of the shape of the container..
Franco

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Deuter on 09/02/2010 23:02:04 MDT Print View

I do have a Deuter ACT Lite 40+10 pack, but it turned up just a little late in the day ... Apparently that was the largest they could send at the time. It will be reviewed along the same lines as soon as.

I haven't checked recently, but I suspect the ACT 60+10 might be over the weight limit?

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I've been away in the snow on 09/02/2010 23:15:16 MDT Print View

which is why I haven't kept up with all the questions. There may even be a few typos in the articles, but NOT in the metric measurements as far as I know (because I took those measurements myself, rather than relying on the vendor).

Yes, I am sure we could have tested even more packs. But do please note the word 'tested'. BPL does NOT do desk reviews like some mags: all gear gets taken out into the field and USED. The amount of work involved has been huge; the volume of packs lying around the house has been equally large. Sue (my wife) has been very tolerant, and even cooperative.

Anyhow folks: there are another FIVE instalments to come! Another two on 'theory', and then three with mini-reviews of EVERY pack tested.

Policy statement: you can expect more in-depth surveys of this nature in the future - with lots of real measurements. Feedback is always appreciated.

Cheers

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
A few things on 09/03/2010 09:23:59 MDT Print View

First of all: PLAY NICE. I will put the smackdown on you guys if need be. Mostly by harassing you via email.

That counts as smackdown, right? Right?!

Second, apologies for the conversion errors. Roger included some conversions for our American readers, I came up with some of the others, and it's just a messy task, especially considering how big this article is. The errors that were pointed out have been fixed. Please feel free to PM me if you notice typos or errors - they drive me nuts, and I appreciate the help!

Third, we're trying something new with this SOTM. The big SOTM itself will be published in three sections (first one here) in successive weeks (almost all at once, but with one-week breathers between each). We'll skip a week, and the last piece of the SOTM will have individual mini-reviews published all at once. Rather than draw things out like we did with the down jacket SOTM, I will be loading ALL of the reviews and making them accessible from one page. I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but it will hopefully be a great tool for readers.
Thanks!
Addie

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: I've been away in the snow on 09/03/2010 10:12:33 MDT Print View

" the volume of packs lying around the house has been equally large"

... a new meaning for the phrase, "Pack rat" ...

Anyway, I have to admit that the plethora packs cluttering up your house would be entertaining to see. Now I'm imagining a similar profusion of tents...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: I've been away in the snow on 09/03/2010 16:40:51 MDT Print View

> a new meaning for the phrase, "Pack rat"
Please: the technically and politically correct term is 'gear freak' :-)
(Pack rats collect ANYthing; gear freaks collect interesting gear.)

> Now I'm imagining a similar profusion of tents...
I have no more than 7 tents .... (I think)

But there are a few sleeping bags and quilts here and there, and a growing pile of other gear items waiting to be tested. Yeah, my wife does make the occasional comment.

Cheers

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Re: I've been away in the snow on 09/03/2010 19:00:31 MDT Print View

"Please: the technically and politically correct term is 'gear freak' :-)"

True... but since you were collecting packs, "pack rat" is funnier ;)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: I've been away in the snow on 09/03/2010 19:53:27 MDT Print View


> Now I'm imagining a similar profusion of tents...
I have no more than 7 tents .... (I think)


only 7? heh, heh

Was in Petersburg, Alaska for whale watching once and commented to our guide/captain that from the looks of things the per capita boat ownership might be greater than 1 ... after a few moments of thought he replied that between he and his wife they accounted for nine!

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
McHale on 09/04/2010 13:26:28 MDT Print View

2nd or 3rd for McHale packs, I'm sure Dan makes a pack in this size class that would come in a 3lbs 5oz.

The LBP36 is close in weight specs, and bomber over most of the packs tested.

Edited by mfog1 on 09/04/2010 13:30:43 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: McHale, and others on 09/04/2010 16:21:18 MDT Print View

OK guys

If any supplier feels that we have missed a pack with an internal frame which should have been included, contact me with the details AND an offer to supply an unused pack for testing (non-returnable). My email is
roger@backpackinglight.com

However, please remember that the specs are 50 - 75 L and under 1.6 kg. In imperial, that's 3050 - 4575 cu in and 3.5 lb. 3000 cu in or 49 L does not meet this spec, neither does 1.7 kg (3.75 lb). We have to have a cut-off somewhere after all (but we can be a little flexible).

Also please note we measure pack volume per the ASTM Standard: unclosed outside mesh pockets will not be included in the measurement. Roll tops are measured with three rolls in the seal.

Under most circumstances we would test a Medium torso and a Medium hip belt. We are open to testing Mens and Womens models.

If the pack is more like a frameless pack with a stay (and several have been mentioned), then feel free to contact us but we may put it into a different category from 'internal FRAME packs'. They won't be rejected, just put into a different survey.

Cheers
Roger

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Doesn't add up? on 09/04/2010 18:12:31 MDT Print View

Your saying that they have to have a manufacturer's volume spec of at least 50 liters, yet most of the packs you tested fall under this anyway = dumb?

Here ya go, but I doubt you'll get one for free, unless you want a demo, that you'll have to return.

http://mchalepacks.com/ultralight/detail/Little%20Big%20Packs.htm

Edited by mfog1 on 09/04/2010 18:14:57 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/04/2010 18:22:18 MDT Print View

So what good does it do to compare a full-blown custom pack to what's available off the shelf? How is that fair, or even relevent?

Edited by skinewmexico on 09/04/2010 21:52:51 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Internal Frame Packs on 09/04/2010 19:18:48 MDT Print View

True Joe.

I agree with you.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:13:50 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Off the Shelf? on 09/04/2010 19:41:03 MDT Print View

Well, ULA,Elemental Horizons,etc, are these considered off the shelf? Not really.
Just a way for these guys here to get free stuff, IMO anyway. What makes it relevant is many folks here may or probably are always going out and purchasing the "all new, latest and greatest lightweight pack" Which I was one myself, until I started to think about using one pack, maybe two for all types of trips. A pack that is light,versatile,simplistic, and bomber as well, thus enter McHale. When you finally settle on one pack, it will actually save you money, especially, if you're the type (was Me) that falls for this marketing ploy type stuff. All the packs that I've bought and sold over the last 5 years would have probably paid for 4 McHale packs. Not that I need 4 packs mind you :)

Edited by mfog1 on 09/05/2010 08:11:39 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/04/2010 21:54:52 MDT Print View

Never heard of New Horizons, but yeah, ULA makes standard sizes and they're on the shelf.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/05/2010 04:01:44 MDT Print View

> So what good does it do to compare a full-blown custom pack to what's available
> off the shelf? How is that fair, or even relevent?
I have no idea.

All I am saying is that we WILL report on any suitable relevant gear provided for testing.

Cheers

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
A Sampling Definition and Solution on 09/05/2010 07:55:03 MDT Print View

"Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of an unbiased or random subset of individual observations within a population of individuals intended to yield some knowledge about the population of concern, especially for the purposes of making predictions based on statistical inference. Sampling is an important aspect of data collection.
Researchers rarely survey the entire population for two reasons (Adèr, Mellenbergh, & Hand, 2008): the cost is too high, and the population is dynamic in that the individuals making up the population may change over time. The three main advantages of sampling are that the cost is lower, data collection is faster, and since the data set is smaller it is possible to ensure homogeneity and to improve the accuracy and quality of the data........."

Idea - Read the review(s), use the same techniques on your pack, post the results. Problem solved. You're represented and it gives you a chance to be reviewed on your review.

You'll just have to do some leg work (hehehe hiking pun) and not just finger work (hehehe typing pun).

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Caffin's Pack Article on 09/05/2010 07:58:55 MDT Print View

Gotta admit, I'm a little surprised by the complaining. Of course there will be some packs missing. Of course not everyone will think this was the perfect review for their needs. But dang, this is as thorough a roundup as exists anywhere, folks! It's easy enough to see how your favorite pack compares by plugging into his chart and comparing it to the packs he does cover. From my perspective it's nice to see some of these kinds of articles. It's what BPL used to do and probably the reason most of us joined all those years ago. I, for one, would like to encourage this instead of taking shots at what's wrong with it. I'm quite certain that if you go out and do a better, more thorough summary of the pack market BPL would be happy to publish it. Okay, back to my coffee now...

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
complainin on 09/05/2010 09:30:43 MDT Print View

yea its odd. Its obvious Roger worked really hard on this, he covered ALOT of packs, and this is only part 1A anyway. Good work Roger, your appreciated.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 09/05/2010 09:33:12 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Off the shelf? on 09/05/2010 10:21:56 MDT Print View

I would consider an off the shelf pack, as one that you could purchase from any retailer, like REI etc........ ULA does some custom work on request as well.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/05/2010 11:04:45 MDT Print View

You win dude. I'm calling McHale Tuesday, and telling him to overnight me a pack so it will be here Wednesday.

Roger......thanks for another amazing test. I really didn't think you could top the stove test. Only bad thing about the stove test was that I thought I was going to have to remember some of the things I supposedly learned getting my engineering degree. Luckily I was able to skip over most of that!

Edited by skinewmexico on 09/05/2010 11:07:08 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Can be done on 09/05/2010 11:14:31 MDT Print View

Yes, it can be done, its called a McHale demo pack. (try before you buy) Which I probably had for over 3 weeks, and even used on a cut short, 6 day trip. When ULA, and Elemental Horizons are out of stock, you won't be getting one of their packs overnight or within a few days either.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Off the shelf? on 09/05/2010 12:48:50 MDT Print View

Lacking a hard definition I'd opine ULA is off-the-shelf, just eschewing a traditional wholesale-retail distribution network.

They're sufficiently small to simply sell direct to the consumer in the fashion of, say, Tarptent and Six Moon Designs, but their "custom" work appears primarily limited to monograms. One orders a ULA model by bag size then selects from among 5 (IIRC) hip belt sizes, but that's what all the big pack makers used to do until recently. However, stores seem to have rebelled against stocking an array of bags and belts and attachments for several makers, so the in-store custom selection is today rather limited compared to what it was as recently as five years ago. Pack prices have lowered commensurately. (You could once easily drop $400-$500 on an Osprey pack plus accessories.)

My definition of "custom" is to pick up the phone/mouse or appear in a store, provide measurements and have a pack (or sleeping bag or tent or...) made to order, not assembled from warehouse bits and shipped in a day or two. I've done this once each with a backpack and a sleeping bag. It's quite fun but time-consuming and costy, but there's something undeniably rewarding about having a pack that fits "just so" or a sleeping bag with the fabrics, colors, fill and extras all of my choosing.

Cheers,

Rick

Edited by halfturbo on 09/05/2010 12:49:35 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
review custom packs??????? on 09/05/2010 21:52:51 MDT Print View

someone's complaining that BPL isn't reviewing custom packs .... hmmmmm

there's a reason why its called ...well ... custom

Brian Macari
(BGMACARI) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Roger's MYOG Ext. Fr. on 09/06/2010 06:55:32 MDT Print View

Great job here Roger, whinin and complainin not withstanding. Is there anywhere you reviewed or even posted a picture of your external frame pack? It's stats seem quite impressive. Thanks, Brian

Nicolas Costes
(ncostes) - F
Kudos for attempting this enormous task on 09/06/2010 10:12:45 MDT Print View

Coming after the remarquable stoves articles, I am looking forward to reading the rest of those articles (I still long for getting the full MYOG article on the A-frame tent from Roger)

1 Remark regarding why manufacturer go for narrow pack:
a/technical reason: traditional climbing pack are narrow, without side pockets and very close to the porter's back (no airflow, alas) to allow for a better control of the mass while doing balance moves
b/marketing reason: easier to make customer believe that the pack is small

1 remark regarding european manufacturers:
you may want to have a look at the specialists' packs from cilao http://www.cilao.com/english/index.php
or the mountaineering packs from OMM
http://www.theomm.com/products/packs.html

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Roger's MYOG Ext. Fr. on 09/06/2010 17:39:12 MDT Print View

> even posted a picture of your external frame pack?
Yes, on my FAQ web site:
http://www.bushwalking.org.au/FAQ/DIY_RNCPacks.htm

Cheers

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Kudos for attempting this enormous task on 09/06/2010 18:28:02 MDT Print View

In addition to what Nicolas stated, there is another reason for a narrow pack.

In winter, cross country skiers want a narrow pack. They swing their arms back and forth a lot, and they don't want their arms colliding with a wide pack.

--B.G.--

John Coyle
(Bigsac)

Locale: NorCal
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/07/2010 13:25:43 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insightful and informative report on packs Roger. A fine job as always.

Just wondering if you categorize your gear into individual stuff sacks when you backpack as shown in the report, or if that was just for the photograph.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs on 09/07/2010 19:03:40 MDT Print View

Hi John

>wondering if you categorize your gear into individual stuff sacks when you backpack

Yep, sure do. Keeps everything tidy, clean and dry. In fact, anything critical is inside a plastic bag inside the stuff sack.

Note: our weather can be sunny one moment and pouring rain (or hail) an hour later. We do NOT get the weeks on end of fine weather you guys get in parts of the USA.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Kudos for attempting this enormous task on 09/07/2010 19:06:07 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> cross country skiers want a narrow pack. They swing their arms back and forth a lot

Well ... my winter ski-touring pack is actually quite wide compared to most of the packs tested. Never had any problems with the frame though. Maybe I use the fish-scales more and don't wave my arms around too much. Easier that way.

And I find narrow packs a RIGHT PAIN to pack, and they roll across my back too much!

Cheers

Roman Vazhnov
(joar) - F
bask light 69 on 09/08/2010 06:17:28 MDT Print View

Does some kind of a plastic sheet counts as internal frame?
http://www.bask.ru/catalog/rucksacks/expedition/143481/
weight 1150 gms
volume 69 liters

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Pack pockets on 09/08/2010 14:33:30 MDT Print View

I like properly-done pack pockets, because they make it easier to be organized. If you always put the same thing in the same place, it is easy to quickly find what you want (without opening the main bag for small things or disturbing everything else). Furthermore, it is easy to keep everything in its place, even when in camp.

The downside is that by permanently partitioning the pack volume you make it less flexible. As far as I am concerned, that is no problem -- I am looking for convenience, not a freighter.

These days, in the name of light weight, I accept the loss of convenience. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

-- Bob

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: bask light 69 on 09/08/2010 16:04:24 MDT Print View

Hi Roman

> http://www.bask.ru/catalog/rucksacks/expedition/143481/
Well, I don't speak Russian, but that sure looks like an internal frame pack to me. Good specs too. How do we get one to test?

Cheers

Dan Healy
(electricpanda)

Locale: Queensland
pack comfort ... and carrying water on 09/08/2010 21:56:56 MDT Print View

Geez Rodger you sure picked a tough gig on this one. Good on you. Qualitative data is easy to come by in packs - just check out some of the manufacturers websites. There are some very expensive packs out there with very little science behind them so some hard data is really appreciated.

But I am thinking that at the end of the day that 'comfort' is waaay too subjective. … for example…
Our club has a Tuesday night pack training hike and we often swap/try packs. Interestingly the owner of a new pack would never admit that the 15kg or so does not carry with the same 'comfort' as another pack - while it is obvious to everyone else!

I do have to disagree with you on the water front though. By carrying water (we use bidons) on the front of the harness you are able to monitor how much water you are using - as opposed to a bladder in the pack – (critical if you are carrying 2 days worth and it has to last), water is easy to use on the move as opposed to a bottle in the pack, significant weight is taken from your back and put on the front of the pack. A bidon is great for getting water from shallow pools and getting a bladder out of a pack can be a pain and then filling it from a pool and putting a soaking bladder back in your pack is not great. A bidon/s on the front of the harness does not impede general travel but does need to be moved to a pocket for scrambling and climbing of course.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: pack comfort ... and carrying water on 09/09/2010 04:17:05 MDT Print View

Hi Dan

> By carrying water (we use bidons) on the front of the harness you are able
> to monitor how much water you are using - as opposed to a bladder in the pack

A lot of assumptions there! Let's see:

For a start, we don't use bladders. Second, we don't drink on the move either. Only when we stop every few hours.

I assume by 'bidon' you really mean some sort of bottle? Well, we use 1.25 L PET (fizzy drink) bottles for water carrying, and they give us a very good measure of how much water we have at any time. And yes, we do use them for dry camps overnight.

But those bottles go inside our pack, out of the way, especially in scrub and around cliff lines. Since we don't drink all the time, that works fine for us. Ymmv.

> 'comfort' is waaay too subjective.
Well .... true in some ways, but I know when something is NOT comfortable!

Cheers

Alexey Adamov
(BASK-company) - F
BASK light 69 on 09/09/2010 06:48:40 MDT Print View

Hello!

My name is Alexey and I work in BASK company Russia.
I tested Light 69 by myself in Asian mountains in winter and found it very nice, comfort and surprisingly durable. Actualy we developed this moder for the famous russian climber Gleb Sokolov, he wanted light, comfortable, easy pack without any odd or unnecessary parts.
Here is a Google translated web page about this backpack
http://translate.google.ru/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=ru&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bask-company.ru%2Fcatalog%2Frucksacks%2Fclimbing%2F143481%2F

There you can find 3D picture and take a look at the pack from all sides (even if you do not have 3d glasses)

In future we plan to make it even lighter 850gr vs 1kg (current weight)

Perhaps in future we will get an English version of our website.

Right now we have one sample that can sent for testing if you provide us with detailed testing results, description and pictures.

For any questions you may wright on my e-mail adamov@alpmail.ru

Have a nice day
Alexey

Dan Healy
(electricpanda)

Locale: Queensland
Re: Re: pack comfort ... and carrying water on 09/11/2010 18:22:06 MDT Print View

Roger, re water carrying... you have a different option with keeping water bottles in the pack. I was more pointing out that that technique is not the only one employed in Australia and ergo is perhaps not the reason we don't have mesh side pockets on many of our packs here.
I think the reason is, as you suggested, that when you go off track here the scrub is very tough on mesh and loose pockets. Though I am not sure it should be. The bigger the pack the harder it is to push through stuff... I am sure you remember the old Mountain Mule style - low and wide - great for scrub bashing.

Edited by electricpanda on 09/11/2010 18:22:52 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: pack comfort ... and carrying water on 09/12/2010 15:44:21 MDT Print View

Hi Dan

Oh yes: my wife had a Mulette for many years.
Edit: and she says she had bruises on her arms from the wide frame too!

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 09/13/2010 16:29:49 MDT.

Daniel Fluri
(dani) - F
BP-L? on 09/17/2010 01:18:24 MDT Print View

Roger,

Your statement

"A Super-Ultra-Light (SUL) frameless pack is fine for a couple of days in the summer when you can be sure it will stay fine and warm, but for many walkers SUL remains a distant goal. For walkers going on longer trips, or going up in the mountains where the weather is more variable and requires more gear for safety, a slightly larger pack is needed. As the load increases, the limitations of a frameless pack become apparent, and greater comfort can be had with a framed pack."

is pretty far away from the truth as not only I experienced it. We just did a three week trip on the HRP (Pyrenean Haute Route) me with a golite breeze and my friend with a GG mariposa (with the stays removed!).

Living in Switzerland we hike the alps quite regularly, always just with our 200-500g bags and yes, we do carry crampons, tarps, sleeping bags, mats etc., and no, it is not uncomfortable.

This venture into the ever heavier and sturdier is very much in contradiction of all that has been established, not only by this website, over the last say ten years.

I do however see the limitations of SUL. Once you have reduced your pack weight to zero, the website and all that live of it become obsolete. Go-Lite experienced this a couple of years ago, so they went Go-Heavy. Let's hope BPL does go the same way.

Best Regards from Europe
Dani

Dan Healy
(electricpanda)

Locale: Queensland
Re: BP-L? on 09/19/2010 23:49:27 MDT Print View

I am going to defend Mr Caffin here... he said 'greater comfort' ... not... 'you can't do it'

You also said 'it is not uncomfortable'... your 'not uncomfortable' is someone else's 'not comfortable enough' and someone else's 'its ok - but I wouldn't carry it for a week' ... etc etc...

I think we agree that 1.5kg pack will carry 12kg more comfortably than a 500g pack... whether you are ok with the weight trade of is up to each individual.

Rolfe de la Motte
(rgdela) - F

Locale: Northern Tasmania
An affordable alternative on 04/18/2011 04:35:27 MDT Print View

Terrific work Roger.
I would like to propose the Black Wolf B-lite 55 for inclusion, perhaps in your suggested 'frameless with a little stay' reviews. It's a 55 litre, 800g internal frame pack which can be purchased (online) for $79.50 + $15 postage (in Australia- not sure about general distribution). I've done a little review at http://tasmania.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5293 if you would like to have a look.

Rolfe

James Anson
(jab@eastontp.com) - MLife
Your MYOG Pack on 08/18/2011 14:53:08 MDT Print View

You've piqued my interest with your comments on your MYOG pack. Can you show us a picture or tell us more about it?