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Packs: Which one?
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Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Packs: Which one? on 12/27/2010 15:00:16 MST Print View

I currently use a Golite Pinnacle(my first UL pack). I want to get a new pack, as there are a few things I dislike about the golite. I have widened my choices to ULA Ohm/CDT, MLD Exodus/Prophet, GG Mariposa+/Gorilla, SMD Swift. As you can see I can't even decide on models from the prospective manufacturers. So if you have one of these packs could you throw in your 2 cents as to what you like, dislike, how many days can you go out of each pack, what kind of gearlist are you using with each pack, etc. I would like to stay on the lower end of volume, but I am not sure if my kit will fit. So any insight would be appreciated. Thanks

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Packs: Which one? on 12/28/2010 14:36:25 MST Print View

I heard from someone last night that suggested I post a gear list in order to receive more feedback. I do see the point in that, just haven't gotten around to it yet. I have no scale, and don't really care to use one( I know the benefits of using one, but at this point I have not gotten my kit to the fine tuning stage of shaving ounces. I'm still shaving obvious pounds.). To clarify what I am asking, I am looking to take your insights on one of these packs you might have and use that info to make my decision. I am not looking for someone to tell me that a certian pack is the one I need, I hope to make that decision. Let me know if this is of the mark as far as asking for info, but I was just hoping for some feedback I could filter through and possibly as more questions from. Thanks

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
The next one on 12/28/2010 15:07:16 MST Print View

In my experience, the best pack to get is....

....the next one!

Enjoy the search!

Kevin Haskins
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
I'm a ULA fan-boy on 12/28/2010 15:19:55 MST Print View

So that would get my vote but I don't have any experience with the others. I have a ULA Catalyst now and plan to buy the Ohm sometime next year. Great company and great products.

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"Packs: Which one?" on 12/28/2010 15:51:08 MST Print View

Since you're still fine tuning your pack (as you mentioned still shaving pounds or something of that nature) I would suggest staying with a pack with an internal frame or at least one that is removable/replaceable.

Volume is a big issue, as well as weight, which makes it difficult to suggest a pack. What are you using for shelter (tarp, tarptent, double wall)? At least this will possibly give us an idea.

Going blindly here so I'm refraining from frameless I'll suggest
1. ULA Circuit - Hooped Frame, Optional Aluminum Stays, Comfortable Hipbelt & Shoulder Straps.
2. Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus - Internal Frame (Removable)....more volume than the Gossamer Gear Gorilla....probably not at comfortable at higher weights as the Circuit
3. Six Moon Designs Swift - No experience with this pack but seems to have a nice feature set to include a removable internal frame.

Edited by cgraf on 12/28/2010 15:52:55 MST.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Wait on the pack. on 12/28/2010 16:05:47 MST Print View

Since you are still trying to lighten your load...i would actually suggest you getting your pack to be one of your last purchases. Then you can know how big your pack needs to be, and how heavy.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Wait on the pack. on 12/28/2010 16:08:48 MST Print View

What Samuel said. We all have our favorites, but is your gear the same as any of ours? Decide on your next pack after you've finalized your gear pieces.

Edited by ben2world on 12/28/2010 16:11:39 MST.

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
+ ULA on 12/28/2010 16:12:23 MST Print View

I have a Circuit and a new Ohm (as of last summer). Great packs. My base-weight is just under 12...throw in a camera, fishing stuff, plb...and I'm at about 13.5lbs. I carried the Ohm for 5 days on the CDT in the Weminuche last summer, and have hopes of getting everything needed into the pack for a long trek in the Winds this summer.

To me, the difference in these 2 packs is more about volume than weight. If I can get 8-12 day's worth of food into the Ohm, I'll carry it. The use of a bear canister might necessitate the use of the Circuit, however.

Either pack is highly recommended.

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Packs on 12/28/2010 16:16:55 MST Print View

For sake of getting some more input, here is a basic run down of my kit.

Golite Pinnacle
Pack liner
MLD Hipbelt pockets

Oware 1.5 Cattarp
Easton gold nails(2)
Vargo Ti hooks(6)
TiGoat bivy

Sleeping Bag:
Lafuma Warm/light 800

Gsi Soloist pot
MYOG Alcohol stove(olive can)
Aluminum foil primer pan
Beer can windscreen
Light My Fire spork
Alcohol( bottle size dependent on trip length)
mini bic

Clothing Carried:
Mont-Bell Down Inner
REI Midweight Base Long sleeve
REI Midweight Base Bottom
Extra socks(1 pair)
Sierra Designs Microlight jacket
Synthetic Beanie

AMK .3 FA Kit
AquaMira Tabs
1 liter Aquafina Bottle(2)
Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp
Silva compass/Map( if trip warrants)
bug juice(1 oz)

I am sure i missed something, but that is the majority of it. So any input would be appreciated.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Packs on 12/28/2010 16:24:44 MST Print View


Don't know why, I read into my head that you were still deciding on gear pieces... but apparently that's not the case. My bad, sorry.

Methinks it will also be helpful to let us know what it is you don't like about your Golite Pinnacle.

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Bags on 12/28/2010 16:32:02 MST Print View

I am still tuning the gear. I am after a new sleeping bag, possibly a quilt. Either one would be in the 20 deg range. Looking at a caldera keg for the kitchen. Also a new shell, but mostly set with the other stuff. The Pinnacle to me is a a one compartment bag, the front pocket is virtually useless when the bag is packed, the MLD pockets are great but don't work so great on the Pinnacle. I would love more packable volume external to the main compartment. It also seems the large volume lends itself to the "what else can go in here" syndrome. I think I might like a light frame for sierra trips that require the bear can. I also tend to go 5 days plus on the food when in the sierras.

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Packs: Which one? on 12/28/2010 18:13:37 MST Print View

I love my OHM. Used it for a JMT thruhike with a Bearikade Weekender and 3 or 4 other trips. I'll give you some of the reason's I went with it over the Mariposa/Gorilla. Some of these differences have been addressed on the Gorilla.

Tougher fabric on the OHM

Side pockets are tougher on the OHM

OHM is a more streamlined pack. Doesn't take on a barrel shape when packed. I like the taller stretch back pocket better on the OHM than the blousy mesh GG pocket.

Functional load lifter straps on the OHM

Smoother/easier to use compression on the OHM

I use the D rings on the OHM shoulder straps to attach my DSLR camera pouch.

Hipbelt pockets are included in the price. Newer OHM has sewn on pockets instead of floppy detachable ones.

I didn't like the idea of the external pad pocket on the GG packs. Many people do like that feature. I use a short neoair and coil a small piece of foam (used under my feet) inside the pack so it would be redundant for me. I also like the weight in the pack as close to my back as possible.


Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Ohm on 12/28/2010 20:08:14 MST Print View

Hey Ryan

What is your height, weight, etc. What sizing did you get for the pack?

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Packs: Which one? on 12/29/2010 00:59:13 MST Print View

Hey Chad,

I am 6'2" and 200lbs, 21" torso, 35" waist. I bought an OHM when they first came out and got the large torso with large belt. They then changed the belt design and I picked up another OHM (current version) on gearswap with a large torso/medium belt.

I may sell them both and get the current version with the large size belt.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Packs on 12/29/2010 04:29:48 MST Print View

Nice piece of kit.
Rather than going with a heavier pack, with your gear and the packing system you obviously have I would be looking at a smaller and lighter pack.

Being that you are used to a larger volume pack with UL gear, you would probably not care for the CDT or Prophet. They would restrict and force you to go smaller on your gear. It will take a few trips to get comfortable with either.

I would consider a 3200ci pack, around 1#. Depending on your trip length, this will work for most trips up to about 5 days with no restrictions. If you want to go for longer trips, a week or more, you can go back to the Pinnacle for the extra space in food you will need. Typically, you will end up with a stable of packs, large and small. A single pack to cover a single set of circumstances will not work for everything...count on it. Downsizing in steps will be much more comfortable. Also,
with your gear and obvious experience, you undoubtedly have a "spot" for most things. Checking features and pocket arrangements is a must. This really threw me about 25 years back. I went from a Kelty with lots of pockets to a UL internally framed pack (magnesium) with only 2. It seemed messy to throw stuff in bags and into a pack.

The GG Gorilla doesn't offer any real weight savings. But, it does provide some internal frame for carrying. If you have some trouble with loads, this is a good pack. The Mariposa is almost the same but has a larger volume. Both are heavier packs and are somewhat larger than stated. GG is no longer offering the Miniposa. Have you looked at a G4? It is a larger pack, but quite light at ~16oz.

The Ohm is a bit heavier and again offers no real weight savings. I don't have it, but I have heard good things about it as far as load carrying. But, that is VERY subjective.

Soo, sticking with a quite arbitrary set of parameters:
The Prophet barely fits, but is also very expensive after figuring in options and weight of options.
The Swift falls into the same category and looks to handle loads better. Options add weight and expense.
The Exodus is a short compromise in size from the Pinnacle. Again, options add weight and expense.

Depending on what you are prepared to accept, in terms of size, I would offer the Prophet as being about the best solution for a light pack. This will allow shorter 3season trips with no problems. Again, the Pinnicle could be used for longer trips. This is assuming you have no problems with loads up to 25#. I don't have it, but have heard nothing bad about it.

If you are very serious about getting your gear size down, you could drop to another category, 2000ci packs at about 1/2pound. But to make one jump will be uncomfortable at best. And it would make things more difficult with a partner and shared gear.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Packs: Which one? on 12/29/2010 09:44:49 MST Print View

I actually disagree with Ryan on the barrel shape. I thought the Ohm really turned into a barrell. The Gorilla conformed to my back perfectly.

I like both, but the Gorilla fits like a glove. The Ohm has load lifters and seemed to fit more gear to me. The compression is better on the Ohm and it is really sharp looking to boot.

The Gorilla shoulder straps annoy some. I use collared shirts for sun protection so they don't bug me at all.

You can attach the DSLR camer puch to the shoulder straps to the Gorilla as well...that is what I do.

Really both companies are great and so are the packs. It is so personal it is a hard choice to make. My wife went with the Ohm since she demands load lifters. She likes it. I use the Gorilla but kept the Ohm cause I like packs. :)

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Packs on 12/29/2010 13:49:59 MST Print View

Does your large w/ med belt have the sewn on belt pockets? If so keep me in mind if you decide to sell, as of right now I'm leaning towards the Ohm.

Sometimes my thinking is that a small penalty on pack weight is the lesser penalty when carrying 5+ days of food. I think that the penalty for a light frame to better transfer weight leads to better comfort and thus longer days and more miles. Also leads to less of the compounding effects of being tired or sore over a longer trip. My last long trip with the Pinnacle resulted in a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder, which I believe was from not being able to shift weight off my shoulders over the course of long days and compensating my posture unknowingly to remedy the problem. I don't notice the weight transfer issue so much on shorter trips( less food and no bear can). So maybe I am just exceeding the weight limits on the Pinnacle with longer trips. I do admit my logistics department needs a little work( better planning for resupplies and carrying less weight early in trips). Like everyone says it is a process to dial in one's gear.

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Packs on 12/29/2010 23:31:29 MST Print View

So as I am on vacation thru the end of the year, I have been thinking about gear of and on all day. James put a new perspective into the mix, and i like the idea of a smaller pack and keeping the Pinnacle for a larger volume pack. I think I will have my wife(pretty handy on the sewing machine) make some mods to the Pinnacle to address some of my issues with it.
That being said who has used the ULA CDT? Also who has done any mods to a Pinnacle or Jam?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Packs: Which one? on 12/30/2010 00:23:13 MST Print View

It would be interesting to hear your dislikes on the Pinnacle to help point you to other pack models. It is a pain to pick a pack when you can't lay hands on it and try it out.

Volume is the first thing that comes to mind, seeing that your Pinnacle is a big one in the UL world at 72 liters/4392ci. It is still fairly light at 34oz. Changing to a smaller pack like the Gorilla will reduce volume to 46 liters/2800ci and dropping the weight to 24oz-- just 10oz less. You can reduce the capacity of your Pinnacle using the "Compacktor" features, but you'll still be stuck with that extra 10 ounces. I doubt you would feel any radical differences between two unframed packs, other than shoulder strap and hip belt padding/design. The rest is really more dependent on your skill in loading the pack.

If you tend to go on longer unsupported trips, you will need the room for food, which equals volume and weight. If you go on a lot of weekenders and just a few longer hikes, I would have two packs.

I would personally look for one of the lighter framed packs if you are going on longer trips or need the volume and carrying capacity. I'm pretty much of the opinion that frameless packs are fine for day hikes and really light overnighters, but a lightly framed pack is more comfortable. I've opted for an Osprey Exos to fill that niche. You can get a lot of good information on framed pack options from the series of articles published here on BPL this year.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
frameless on 12/30/2010 08:05:52 MST Print View

I do 4 or 5 nights, 21 or 22 pounds max with frameless pack.

I see no reason to add weight of frame. My back and shoulders don't get particularly sore.

My ankles and knees tend to get a bit sore which is probably my limiting problem, which is helped by minimizing total weight.

It does take more care in packing. Occasionally something will poke into my back and I have to rearrange things.

But, different people will have different experiences.

Just don't discount frameless pack if you're doing about 20 pounds max.