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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/23/2010 15:02:15 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The Evolution of Fastpacking

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
"modern" technology on 11/23/2010 19:00:57 MST Print View

Good article. I had one of the early 90s Ultimate Direction packs (picked out of the REI catalogue as I recall, I was 9 at the time). Hadn't thought about it in years, but it did have many of the "modern" features we consider to be recent innovations.

A nice reflection on the circularity of history, and how new ideas rarely are, in fact.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
marketing on 11/23/2010 20:45:20 MST Print View

most new "features" are really just rehashed marketing stuff for every new generation ...

packs are getting lighter, better materials, etc ... yes

but at the end of the day its incremental improvements ... and usually a few steps back in the process

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/24/2010 03:08:31 MST Print View

I have a Warpspeed and I stopped using it years ago:

1. the Torsoflow nearly killed me on a crude but very, very exposed via ferrata ladder in the Japan Alps: I reached up for a rung, the torsoflow slipped and ALL of the weight of the pack suddenly went to one side, nearly throwing me off the ladder.

2. For some reason I could never get the hip belt to grip: this just meant that all the weight went onto my shoulders: I have packs with much less engineered belts that shift weight better.

3. The pocket is a useful size but because it's not attached to the pack if you put any weight in it it sags all over the place.

That said, I always wanted a Voyager.

Edited by Arapiles on 11/24/2010 03:09:41 MST.

Larry Tullis
(Larrytullis) - F - M

Locale: Wasatch Mountains
Re-evolution of Fastpacking on 11/24/2010 09:58:15 MST Print View

When talking about fast-packing, we need to give kudos to those of the distant past that inspired modern wilderness travel. Fast-packing may seem modern but but it's actually a re-think of an ancient philosophy and skill-set.

Otzi, the euro iceman is one of the most studied corpses in history and his lifestyle 5000 years ago was of a fast-packing one. He carried survival items of a lightweight and portable nature. His copper ax was lighter than most hatchets today. His fire-starter kit was complicated but compact, his shoes were lighter than fast-packing shoes of today and he ate dried meat, grains and dried berries. He even had a first aid kit complete with anti-bacterial fungi. His joints showed a history of long journeys at high elevation.

The scouts, prospectors, warriors, shepherds, explorers and mountain men of yesteryear often went light and fast when away from a home base or pack animals. Their gear generally consisted of a cloak that doubled as a blanket and raincoat, sandals or lightweight leather footwear, a "possibles sack" (fire-starter kit, knife, needles etc. and "pemmican" (dried meat, berries, grains and animal lard ground together and formed into an "energy bar"). A hiking staff that doubled as a defensive weapon/spear. They often carried heavy weapons too but the other lightweight gear made it possible.

Modern materials and designs have made a big difference in gear but the whole idea of going fast and light is ancient.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/26/2010 17:43:56 MST Print View

I've been through three of these packs and still have a rampage sitting in my garage that I haven't used in years. I had mixed feelings about the torsolink suspension--it definitely yielded greater movement but made it harder to use my shoulders to control bounce. I liked the outer teardrop pocket, the waist belt pockets and small lid pocket. It was worth the extra weight to be able to run with it.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re-evolution of Fastpacking on 11/26/2010 17:48:56 MST Print View

"Otzi, the euro iceman is one of the most studied corpses in history and his lifestyle 5000 years ago was of a fast-packing one. He carried survival items of a lightweight and portable nature. His copper ax was lighter than most hatchets today. His fire-starter kit was complicated but compact, his shoes were lighter than fast-packing shoes of today and he ate dried meat, grains and dried berries. He even had a first aid kit complete with anti-bacterial fungi. His joints showed a history of long journeys at high elevation."

I'll bet he didn't have a Spot.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re-evolution of Fastpacking on 11/27/2010 01:00:22 MST Print View

> Otzi, the euro iceman is one of the most studied corpses in history

Current research is suggesting that this may have been a ceremonial burial, not an accident.

Cheers

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/28/2010 11:30:17 MST Print View

To me this article seems as out dated it’s circa 1988.
I do not believe anyone would wear any of the packs mentioned to fastpack 100 miles in 38 hours.

It seems that everyone just needs some type of intervention between light weight backpacking and fastpacking. There have been 100's of forums started as to "what do you define as fastpacking". The question is usually answered with even a broader spectrum than a question such as what do you consider light.

I have yet to read an article on fastpacking that sheds any light on the subject as its definitive for what the term really means. I can understand this, because if someone wanted to "fastpack" then the terms would have to meet "there" needs and abilities. And in accompanying the 10 mile a day hikers that want to go for a 15 mile a day jaunt or "fastpack", the term becomes so loose, it makes understanding it way too complicated.

For the majority of the topic about the term "fastpacking", one must only look at the word itself to come across the simplest definition; "FAST"!!! Other words that come to mind are simple, less complicated and multipurpose.

Fastpacking does not have to just mean the rate of distance per day or the speed one travels doesn't have to matter. A greater concern though is freedom of movement. Such as getting over a boulder fast or being able to run without haveing any restrictions of movement or having a pack bouncing up and down.
All of these restrictions hinder the movement in such a way to slow you down, (hence the opposite of fast).

A am sorry, but none of the packs above would even remotely come close to qualifying as a “fast” “pack”.

In 2007 I started a “fastpack” trip on the JMT with 14 pounds, including water, with enough food for 6 days. The pack was a Nathan 859 with about 1100 CI of volume.
Since then I have overhauled everything and learned a great volume of hands on information as to the term “fast”.

This years JMT Supported Record Aattempt was with a Salomon XT Wings 5 Pro pack with the additional custom front pocket. Although the set up was not perfect, it has led me to what I use now for my fastpack trips.
I now use an Osprey talon 11 or the Osprey Daylight pack with the Salomon custom front pocket attached to it, via sewing machine.

So what does all this mean? I believe the term “fast is looked at too loosely. We need to ask ourselves some questions if we want to consider a fastpacking trip.

What is the smallest, simplest easiest to use pack that we you can put the warmest yet smallest volume bag or quilt in plus food and water. The rest of the necessities you really need do not add up to more than a few hundred cubic inches. What is the fastest way you can both get to your water and refill it? What is the minimal gear necessary to get the distance completed? All of this may not be the lightest, but it does need to be the easiest and simplest to use.
It would just be nice to have the subject of fastpacking enlighten me in some way and make since to me.
It is now 2010, some 22 years after its first mentioning. In 1988, fastpacking was a true and pure meaning of what it stood for. I don’t see it coming back any time soon.

I’m sorry but “FAST” is not a 44 liter pack!

Edited by awsorensen on 11/28/2010 11:31:42 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/28/2010 12:42:52 MST Print View

Shannon's one cent just for kicks. No, I'm neither of these, but it is interesting to think about. Found this site and I'm sure there are many on the subject. Must get away from this computer today ; ).

http://www.backpacking-guide.com/fastpacking.html

It sounds like the original idea was to mostly run the distance. By nature of fast would mean you want to carry minimal gear since most of it is competitive? Competitive wilderness running.

Fastpacking- Getting from point A to point B as fast as possible by running most of the mileage (greater than 50%), carrying minimal shelter and sleep systems with food and water. Travel distance requires at least one night out.

Speedhiking- Getting from point A to point B as fast as possible by hiking only, carrying minimal shelter and sleep systems with food and water. Travel distance requires at least one night out.

Edited by jshann on 11/28/2010 12:47:40 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
The Evolution of Fastpacking on 11/28/2010 14:00:29 MST Print View

"I’m sorry but “FAST” is not a 44 liter pack!"

Why not? The idea of fastpacking is moving fast. Does suddenly adorning a 44L pack mean medium packing?

Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Nathan Packs on 11/28/2010 19:37:17 MST Print View

I have tried all the Nathan packs and in my opinion they really suck, even though they were designed by Bryce Thatcher who owned Ultimate Direction.

Fast is a very subjective term, especially when you look at the time being posted in ultras such as WS.

Also, we have done "Fastpack" trips that were ridge lines, no actual trail and at times 5-6 hours between water sources. Same for some trips in the Canyonlands areas. There is no choice other than carrying a heavier pack.

Edited by runsmtns on 11/29/2010 06:28:49 MST.

John Murtiashaw
(murda) - F

Locale: Ashvegas and beyond
Dem UD Packs on 12/04/2010 16:19:20 MST Print View

When I was in undergrad at Warren Wilson College in the mid-2000's, the outdoor department had one UD pack available to borrow, and I always had to dig through a slew of Lowe Alpine tall boys to find it. I would religiously yank it out whenever I was headed somewhere fun. The whole staff hated the thing for some reason, and they all told me that no one else ever checked it out. I always loved it. Ultimately it dissapeared, stolen, I suspect by some other closet ultra lighter on campus. Then a couple years ago at Baxter State Park some dude was wearing one coming off of Katahdin, and I probably picked his brain about it for a half hour ha.

Kevin Clark
(rifleman3353) - F
Ultimate Directions on 12/11/2010 08:54:10 MST Print View

Ive got 2 U Ultimate Directions backpacks.I used them for very light overnights and for day hiking.I was using one this past spring but bought something lighter.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
The Evolution of Fastpacking on 04/17/2011 15:15:53 MDT Print View

I purchased UD Voyager with the 54oz water bottle holder the bottles are gone but it holds a couple 1 liter platypus bottles. The voyager is my go to pack for bush whacking through chaparral and animal trails.
I am glad you pinned this article I lost my hang tags on my pack so I did not know the cubic inches of the pack or weight.It nice to have history of older pack designs of past. That set trends in light weight pack design.
Terry