Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Comfort on 09/10/2010 18:33:37 MDT Print View

Travis:

Comfort is subjective (obviously). My own "definition" of comfort is "carrying all day, every day, and not really noticing that it's there". That doesn't mean that I don't feel generally tired after a full day's hike. But "not feeling it" means not feeling any particular stress, pinch, jab, tug, or any other 'ill-fitting discomfort or sore points' that would cause me to be continually mindful of the beast on my back'.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Pack Fit on 09/12/2010 23:49:44 MDT Print View

It's nearly impossible for me to get anything to fit right. My toros is 15" - I'm short, but I'm also heavy right now (hormonal changes to blame). Trying to get all the components to work together for me is difficult. I can get the torso length right, but then manufacturers have this idea that women should not be larger than say a size 8. So that means having to get a men's hip belt to get it large enough - and then the angle is wrong. And because I'm extremely short-waisted, shoulder straps are almost always too long and too wide. And don't even get me started on trying to get hiking clothes to fit!

I can only change my body just so much! Even before I gained this weight, it was hard.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
And on 09/12/2010 23:52:46 MDT Print View

I have a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone pack, size small, with men's waistbelt in medium and trim shoulder straps, also men's (I might be able to swap those out for women's; I don't know). The pack fits me okay, but the shoulder straps do not ride flat on my shoulders - they sit a bit higher, even with adjusting the load lifter straps all kinds of ways.

I guess I'm just built wrong for backpacking!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Comfort and Fit on 09/13/2010 01:30:09 MDT Print View

Most of us hike "light." But not always. I hike mostly in deserts. Sure base weight is usually well under 7 lbs, and often under 5 lbs. But water often moves total pack weight to well over 30lbs. And the lightweight internal frame packs just don't do the job. They are not comfortable until I drink a lot of the water. So my loads are often in a constant state of flux. SUL, heavy, SUL, etc., all on the same trip.

Another interesting point I learned from Dan McHale is that is it not uncommon for an average height woman to have the same length spine as tall man. Too often an off-the-shelf pack is not going to properly fit many people.

So what is the best solution?

I have a garage full of packs for all kinds of conditions and situations. Last week I came to the conclusion that I want and need a pack perfectly designed for my body that will be comfortable in all conditions and permutations. It might be a little heavy at times by BPL standards, but no matter what load I carry, it will always be comfortable and it will fit perfectly no matter what load or volume I pack (within reason). And if I purchase a pack constructed with the best materials available, I will not be replacing light packs that have been damaged by a sharp rock or a cat-claw branch. And I can probably sell several packs in my inventory to pay for what I really want. So this week I will be ordering a McHale full Dyneema LBP, with several options to meet varying requirements.

Michael Supple
(Miguel)
Aarn Balance Packs on 09/13/2010 16:56:48 MDT Print View

I've heard other comments about not being able to see your feet when wearing the Aarn front balance packs. I have a Natural Balance which I love and have no problem seeing either my feet or the waist buckle. The trick is to not have the chest strap overly tight. It not only allows a clear view but makes everything much more comfortable. I have no problems scrambling with the pack. I was very disappointed upon discovering Aarn packs weren't included in the study. They are the most innovative packs on the market in my opinion.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Comfort and Fit on 09/13/2010 17:02:02 MDT Print View

Nick,
Are you considering replacing ALL of your other packs with one custom McHale? You're a pretty minimalist packer (water issues aside) if I remember, and I'm always interested in hearing others' anecdotes on the frameless vs. framed pack pendulum.

I've only taken one desert trip, but I quickly learned about a pack being in a state of constant flux. We did the Superstitions this past December and Arizona was pretty dry at the time--even for Arizona.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Aarn Balance Packs on 09/13/2010 19:31:43 MDT Print View

All I can add is that it' MUCH easier to see your feet with an Aarn than with a LuxuryLite. It's also much easier to scramble and boulder-hop. My only problem with Aarn is lack of hydration compatability/ports. Aarn packs feel great once you have them packed and adjusted right and actually have them on. There is a lot of stuff you can trim off an Aarn pack too, to make it lighter.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Comfort and Fit on 09/13/2010 20:06:05 MDT Print View

Travis,

I am thinking about getting rid of everything except the Murmur. Depending upon how things go with the LBP, that could possibly go too. Often trips with my Murmur are around 4lbs base weight with a little food and water, usually topping off at around 10lbs total. So a stripped down LBP would leave me with a total weight of 12lbs, and outstanding functionality and comfort. But I am not going to sell anything until I get it and test it. Dan is going on a vacation for a month, so I will have at least a couple months to play with the demo.



Good news is that last week was my wedding anniversary, and the wife said the presents were the best I have ever given her, so she could care less what a McHale costs :)

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology on 09/13/2010 20:19:44 MDT Print View

NM

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:37:48 MDT.

John Murtiashaw
(murda) - F

Locale: Ashvegas and beyond
Frameless State of the Market? on 09/13/2010 22:41:44 MDT Print View

Just not all that interested. I'm sure they're great, but if I'm carrying a sleeping pad anyway I may as well make it work for me.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
"Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: on 09/13/2010 23:09:20 MDT Print View

David, I respectfully have to disagree with your statement on load lifters. All I know is that I am in agony if the shoulder straps are not pulled away from the tops of my shoulders! This is with 16-27 lbs. total pack weight. I can manage a day pack with a hoop frame and waist belt, but nothing more than 8-9 lbs. total.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: "Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: on 09/14/2010 02:51:12 MDT Print View

Hi Mary

Odd , very odd. I am left wondering whether you have the torso length on your pack set far to short. Some side-on photos might be helpful.

Cheers

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Comfort and Fit on 09/16/2010 17:20:22 MDT Print View

"So this week I will be ordering a McHale full Dyneema LBP, with several options to meet varying requirements."

I'd be jealous if I didn't already have a full Dyneema SuperSARC II. :)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology on 09/21/2010 15:41:55 MDT Print View

A belated answer, Roger: it's my shoulders, not the pack. I have been fighting shoulder arthritis for almost 30 years. I did experiment with a number of shoulder strap adjustments (since mine is adjustable) when I first got the pack. The configuration I use is extremely comfortable for me, removes the shoulder pressure problem and basically puts all the weight on my hips. Your Part 1C article's picture of the load lifters shows mine at exactly the same angle as those of the GoLite pack on the left!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology on 09/21/2010 19:53:51 MDT Print View

Hi Mary

> I have been fighting shoulder arthritis for almost 30 years.
Ah - that sort of thing is ALWAYS tricky. Very individual, depending on the injury. Well, good luck!

Cheers

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
For some reason... on 09/24/2010 08:35:31 MDT Print View

I'm starting to remember the conversation in "Matrix" where they discuss how everything, "tastes like chicken." Here's what I mean; if it's comfortable for you (i.e. you have no discernible pain while hiking), and you can transport your kit from point a to b effectively, then you must be doing something right. The adage goes, "if it hurts, you're doing it wrong." You may not be at "maximum" comfort, but if you're not in pain, you don't have hot spots, or have some other, "I hate this pack because..", it's likely that you have a good fitting, functional piece of equipment. You may gain by going to something else, but you always have to compare the cost (I have no doubt you already know this).

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology on 09/24/2010 08:59:17 MDT Print View

NM

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:39:02 MDT.