I am in need of a new "big pack" since my original Cilogear 60L bit the dust. I am contemplating trying to modify a Golite Pinnacle pack to suit my needs since I can pick one up cheeply and it looks about the right size...
I am in the habit of using frameless packs a lot. I do a lot of alpine climbing and I like having a flexible pack that is less restrictive, and I don't mind carrying 20lb or so on my shoulders. I have carried 30lb in a Montbell Zero-Point 40l which has a 3/8in foam back pad and a 1.5in webbing belt. I have used the Cilogear with a very stiff foam back panel to carry 50lb in reasonable comfort. All of this requires that you pack properly but I'm pretty good at that. I rarely carry more than 50lb.
I am wondering if I can make a Pinnacle carry 50lb alright. I haven't gotten to handle the latest generation so I really have very little idea how well the hip belt will support weight. If I can stiffen the pack enough to get 30lb onto the hip belt, will that be comfortable or leave me bruised.
Also, I know there is a pocket inside that holds the backpad. Does it extend all the way up to where the load-lifters attach, or does it end down at the base of the shoulder-straps?
My scheme to modify the pack involved building a framesheet-and stay combination that goes into this pocket. Possibly I can extend the pocket up if need-be. If I find that this makes the pack carry acceptably than I will cut off all of the outside pockets and sew on the attachments, that I want to have, as well as maybe changing the compression system so it is a little stronger.
Anyone who owns the current generation of jam please pass along your thoughts and experiences, along with all you other gear tinkerers.
Thanks in advance.