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Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear?
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Steven Inge
(tnis0612) - F
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 06:24:33 MST Print View

My mom is asking me for recommendations for my brother for a pack for christmas. His gear is light, but definitely not ultra-light (3lb bag, 4.5lb tent). She really doesnt want to spend anymore than $150. So my thoughts were, GG mariposa plus, ULA Condiut, REI flash 50, or Golite jam. Does anybody have any thoughts on which of these is more comfortable carrying more weight? Or any other suggestions in that price range? He probably wont ever do anything more than a 3-4 day trip. Thanks!

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 06:39:14 MST Print View

I've had good luck with both the ULA Catalyst and REI Flash 65 packs. For $150, that puts you in the REI 50 pack.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 07:00:26 MST Print View

If his total pack weight is over 20 lbs or so, he would probably be more comfortable with some of the framed packs you mentioned (maybe add the Granite Gear Vapor Trail to the list)....but as another option...if you think he might be interested in lightening up his load, then $150 could get him started on a great lightweight setup. Right now with the code DSW10, has Jams for $90. You could get a coated nylon Campmor 8x10 tarp for about $35. Some $10 window shrinkwrap insulation from Home Depot would make a nice groundcloth. If he needs guylines or stakes, those can be found cheaply too. So, you could stay under $150 and get him started on a much lighter setup.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 07:23:22 MST Print View


Gossamer Gear has the Mariposa Plus on sale right now for $144.50. :-)

FYI only, as I have no personal experience with this pack.

Jason Klass did a really fine You Tube video review of this pack on his website.

Party On,


Edited to repair broken link ;-)

Edited by Newton on 12/02/2010 07:34:21 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 08:29:21 MST Print View

Look for the Golite Quest on sale ($175 MSRP). You will not fit a 4.5lb tent and 3lb sleeping bag in any of the packs you mentioned without leaving the food at home .... ; )

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 08:31:32 MST Print View

My vote would be the conduit, although the Mariposa might work. Depends on how heavy the rest of his gear is, or if he plans to reduce the weight of the bag and tent someday. And I will say that for me, the Mariposa was more comfortable than the Jam2 with an identical load. You might check the GoLite website though, there was a 40% off code posted above. Hard to beat that price, and you could get something like a Golite Pursuit with a frame.

Edited by skinewmexico on 12/02/2010 08:38:29 MST.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
+1 on 12/02/2010 10:34:04 MST Print View

+1 for what David said, the packs you mention are too small volume wise for a 3lb bag and a tent. You might get away with using a ULA Catalyst, but if it were me, I'd be looking into a larger full framed pack. 60 liter or larger. Although, I did do a 4 day trip with my ULA Circuit, and carried a BA Cooper Spur-1, but used a small lightweight quilt, that weighs 20oz and packs down very small. The cooper spur packs down fairly small too though.

Nate Powell
(powell1nj) - F

Locale: North Carolina
REI Flash 65 on 12/02/2010 10:43:10 MST Print View

These are really nice packs. The Flash 65 should be enough room for that type of gear and they're light relative to the other equipment you mentioned - just over 3 lbs. The 65 is $169 so not much over your price point. Plus you'll get the REI lifetime guarantee. Also options to remove components and drop the weight to 2lbs. I've used one for just a bit but found it very comfortable. My 2 cents.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 12:12:16 MST Print View

The typical baseweight associated with a 3# bag & 4.5# tent is probably going to exceed the comfortable capacity of a UL pack... & there's probably not going to be nearly enough volume. And that's OK! But I wouldn't buy a small UL pack for a non-UL load; he'd be miserable.

Someone mentioned the GoLite Quest as a possibility; I'd also look at Deuter packs. Something like the ACT Zero is 3# & ~$170.

I'd go for a larger-volume pack for the bulkier gear, and a more substantial frame for a heavier base.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
try on 12/02/2010 12:35:46 MST Print View

there's only one way to find out

go to your nearest REI with yr brother and have him try on every pack with 30 lbs worth or weight ... up and down the stairs

if youre going to go cottage ... make sure that they have a good return policy

thats the only way ... fit is everything

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 13:34:20 MST Print View

Since the most important component of a comfortable pack is fit, fit, fit, I would strongly recommend giving him a check that he can use towards buying the pack he wants. I'd say the chances are 50-75% that if you buy him a pack as a gift, it will have to be returned.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 13:41:23 MST Print View

It's tricky buying a pack as a gift, between gear weight, gear volume, pack size, belt size, etc. +1 to what eric said about making sure returns/swaps will be hassle free.

Nice thing about getting a pack from REI, Backcountry is that he'd have a lot of other options for packs if he wanted to upgrade on his own dime. I know if it were me and a relative got me a new pack, tent, or sleeping bag I'd appreciate the thoughtfulness but it'd probably not be what I wanted. I don't know about your brother, but when someone gives me an almost-but-not-quite gift that I can't exchange/return it ends up in the closet.

Between the 3 lb bag and 4.5 lb tent, I would steer away from the ULA Conduit, Golite Jam, and anything else frameless. IMHO, the Mariposa Plus may work, but might not be the most appropriate. You can find the Nimbus Ozone within your limit, might be a better choice than the Vapor Trail.

Good luck, and I hope he loves it!

EDIT: +10 to what Mary said!

Edited by areichow on 12/02/2010 13:41:56 MST.

James McDaniel
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 14:52:31 MST Print View

Deuter packs are adjustable so it makes a good safe bet as long as his torso is under 21".

My girlfriend has one and loves it. I bought another for my son. Good solid 'general' pack if you want a safe bet. There are more wise packs(mentioned) but your getting yourself into tastes.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/02/2010 16:20:17 MST Print View

I have to change my vote, I was confusing my Conduit with my Circuit. Circuit yes, Conduit no. I have the aluminum stay on my Circuit, and I think it handles being overloaded better than my Mariposa.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Packs on 12/02/2010 16:33:18 MST Print View

I would reccomend the Golite or REI packs. And for sure take advantage of the extra 40% off if you go with the GOLITE route.


Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Gift Packs on 12/02/2010 18:01:43 MST Print View

First thing I say to someone wanting to buy a pack as a gift is that whatever we select, it probably won't fit. You absolutely have to try a number of packs on to ensure the most comfortable fit.

However, many people feel that giving a gift as a surprise is more personal & "of the moment," I guess. It's less, well, business-like then the whole "Let's go in & try packs on, then I'll wrap it up & you can act surprised" routine.

What I do with people is determine what kind of use the pack is likely to get, show them a few options that would fit the need (& selecting options that tend to have easier fits), & send them out with a pack. I tell the gift-giver that this way they have something for the person to open day-of, but they'll want to include a trip to the store to get a proper fitting.

Many shops have some leniency around the holidays for returns; buy a pack you think will work, then after it's been opened/received go into your local shop & fit some. If the one they opened actually fits well, sweet! If not, no big deal... the idea and thought were there, there was some pleasure in the opening, & in the end you get a pack that fits...

MIchael MacCormac
$150 pack on 12/02/2010 19:13:06 MST Print View

sixmoon designs traveler is on sale for $157.25- recommended max load is 35 lbs and holds 62 liters- very similar to the REI flash 65 (not sure of max rec load)

Edited by mmacc on 12/02/2010 19:13:40 MST.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Which of these packs will do better with heavier gear? on 12/04/2010 20:02:12 MST Print View

The REI Flash 65 should be a great choice given his other gear.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
What pack? on 12/05/2010 01:02:27 MST Print View

When I used to carry a 4.5#tent (walrus zoid 2) and 3#bag (NF super kazoo) my loads were 45# plus cause every thing else was in the same line and heavy sometimes up to 60#. Does he know what his packs weighed before or is he new to this maybe the backpacking light bible would be a good gift. Note the items above were once bought to lighten up. Im with dave that the packs you listed would be a little light for the weights and volumns he most likely will carry.And if he is wanting to lighten up gradually the pack is not the place to start. Ive seen the Aether 60 on sale for 180 and less that was a pretty comfortable pack for me I just finally went to something lighter myself.