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Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking
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harvey b
(ryan00013) - F
Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking on 03/21/2011 17:49:04 MDT Print View

Hey guys, I've been doing a lot of reading up on packs. With so many options, I'm a little overwhelmed to be honest. I'm mainly a rock climber / guide and I've made due with a Vaude Expedition Rock 55+10 Backpack for the last few years. It's starting to wear out a bit and I want something new. Something nice and slightly bigger.

My primary use for the pack will be on climbing trips. Most of the hikes are pretty easy approaches. We're talking 30 minutes or less usually. The approaches may include some bushwacking, so durability is a must. It'll be stuffed with a rope, shoes, food, water ect. No ice climbing trips, so I'm not worried about ice axes or crampons.

I also want to get into some light backpacking. I'll probably start with a few weekend trips here and there and work my way up to 6-8 day treks. I'm new to the whole treking side of things, so I don't mind if you throw in any links for some basics.

I guess what I'm looking for is a blend between durability, decent weight, comfort, convenient gear accessibility and nice carrying of loads.

I just purchased a Big Agnes Pitchpine 40* and a POE Pack M@ air pad(essentially an ether thermo 6 from what I've read). for the first trip I'm thinking that I'll also be carrying a Jetboil Flash, a 4 pound SwissGear tent, a 2L water bladder, two 32oz nalgenes, and food for two days. Probably a few mountain house meals, granolas, protien bars, and a pack of pasta sides.

I can get better deals on Golite and Mountain Hardwear so I've been reading up on their packs. The four packs I've been looking at are:

Golite Quest 72L - 3.pounds 1oz
GoLite Terrono 70L - 4 pounds 4oz
MHW South Col 70L - 3pounds 12oz
MHW Molimo 70L - 4pounds 15oz

I've also read reviews on the Osprey Aether 70 and the Arc'teryx Altra 75, both of which weight in around 5 pounds. The downside of these two are that I don't get deals on them. If they are THAT much better, I may spend the dough. They all seem "pretty even" in my mind so I'm having a hard time deciding.

Levon Jensen
(LevonJensen) - MLife

Locale: Canadian Rockies
deal on 03/21/2011 18:28:10 MDT Print View

if you get a good deal on golite packs, pick up a pinnacle and try it out.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking on 03/21/2011 18:33:54 MDT Print View

MHW super scrambler. put you rope on the outside and save like 30 liters.

Pierre Descoteaux
(Pierre) - MLife
Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking on 03/21/2011 19:00:32 MDT Print View

I have been very impressed by their packs:
For climbing purposes, a 70L pack seems huge but they have that size at 1500g. The Kevlar/Cordura fabric is very strong and durable. It will outlast most fabric other then Spectra. My AK30 (so far) has lasted 5 years of rock, ice and alpine climbing despite the fact that I stashed my crampons in it without a crampon pouch!
I hope this helps.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking on 03/21/2011 20:05:34 MDT Print View

As someone who has carried a lot of volume and weight quite regularly, the basic question comes down to, How MUCH weight are you wanting to carry?

Since you are talking climbing, you are probably carrying typically around 50lbs or so and you are just looking for a larger pack to store more inside? What is wrong with putting it on the outside? I live in the ol' PNW and we have far more brush than anywhere else and I don't have any problems with the gear on the outside. Are you wanting to take big bulky winter items in said pack? Yea, need more volume for such items along with climbing gear otherwise...

For climbing for up to 10 days, I take a 50L pack. All climbing gear goes on the outside including tent. No big deal. Dual aluminum Stays. Good for around 50lbs. I also have McHale larger packs good for 85lbs. Used Gregory Denali Pro good for 70lbs. Used Dana Designs Astraplane good for 70lbs. Used frame packs good for 85lbs. Of all those packs, the external frame pack was the most comfortable with 65-85lbs and it weighed in at a mere 4lbs. Now, when I added bigger stays to the McHale pack it became more comfortable for loads that large. Dan McHale sells some of his packs with larger stays. Obviously said packs will weigh more.

I would throw the Andanista pack onto that list of yours. If you are looking for cheep... Good Luck. I don't have much experience with GOLITE packs, but the little I have had is that they UNDERPERFORM for the task at hand. Especially in the durability department and load carrying ability.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
"Best" 70 L on 03/21/2011 20:46:48 MDT Print View

I'm no expert, but I've heard that many climbers are crazy... I mean crazy about packs from Cilo Gear. However, some of their non-woven dyneema packs cost in the neighborhood of $750, a very hoity-toity neighborhood indeed.

k web
(kbweb) - F

Locale: Tacoma, WA
I'm crazy on 03/21/2011 20:54:32 MDT Print View

.... about my Cilo Gear 60L Worksack. Best climbing pack I ever owned (and I've owned a few).

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 03/21/2011 21:27:04 MDT Print View

Haul bag for craiging, Golite Jam for alpine/hiking

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cragging on 03/21/2011 22:32:43 MDT Print View

thats a lot to carry cragging ... i get by with a 38L in winter and no more than 20L in summer for day climbs

do you carry a lot of extra stuff for guiding?

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/21/2011 22:33:33 MDT.

Douglas Ray

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Pack for craiging on 03/21/2011 23:01:11 MDT Print View

I think the Cilogear 60 liter worksack would probably work fine for your needs. It can be pressed into service for lighish backpacking as it strips down well, and it will carry weight very nicely when you need it to. The standard model will be more durable than the Mountain Hardwear packs you mention, and way more so than the golite options.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: cragging on 03/21/2011 23:24:25 MDT Print View

Difference between carry in weight and climbing weight. That and how much sufferage one wants to put up with. Note even Cilogear makes their 20L packs able to mate easily to their larger packs for summit attempts.

Ice pro/pitons
Rock Shoes if going up 5.8 territory
4L of water/person(No water on rock climbs)
Camera Gear
Camping Gear
Foul weather gear
Emergency kit

It adds up in a hurry. There is no way that fits in or on a 20L sack unless you chuck most camping gear/foul weather gear/food/rock shoes. Yea, I have taken a tarp and a half sleeping pad only along with clothes as my "shelter" for 3 days, but it ain't fun.

Edited by footeab on 03/21/2011 23:34:57 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
wheres my lawn chair? on 03/21/2011 23:35:41 MDT Print View

Ropes ... over top of bag or on partner if only 1 pack used
Slings ... on a gear sling carried over shoulder or on partner if only 1 pack used
Pro ... on a gear sling carried over shoulder or on partner if only 1 pack used
Helmet ... strapped to top of pack
tat ... in pack
Rock Shoes if going up 5.8 territory ... inside pack or strapped to top
3L of water/person(No water on rock climbs) ... platy in pack
Camera Gear ... small camera in pocket
Foul weather gear ... 6 oz helium rain jacket, 5 oz MB exl all in pack
Emergency kit ... small first aid, headlamp, firestarting equip, blizzard bag ... all in pack
Food ... in pack

a 20L-30L will allow the leader to climb packless or with a light 10-15L pack, and the follower to carry the pack with everything else in the summer

i always wonder when i see all these people at the crag carrying 50L+ packs in the summer ... good luck doing any serious multipitch in em

course if yr setting up base camp its a different story ... but were talking cragging methinks ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/21/2011 23:36:55 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: wheres my lawn chair? on 03/22/2011 00:35:50 MDT Print View

He wasn't talking for climbing which you obviously only need 20L pack for summitting. He was wanting something for multiday trips...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
30 min on 03/22/2011 00:45:47 MDT Print View

with a 30 min or less approach?

in that case any comfortable pack will do for setting up base ... ill even carry a duffel for 30 min ;)

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: 30 min on 03/22/2011 01:00:32 MDT Print View

His point was the few lines AFTER THAT statement...


Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Best 70L pack for Climbing / Hiking on 03/22/2011 03:47:18 MDT Print View

Sounds like two completely different things: carrying gear up to a crag and doing light/UL walks. As someone else said, if you're just hauling gear for 30 minutes you don't need a pack - if you're hauling up a wall you'd carry one of those bucket packs anyway.

If you want to do light/UL walks then the pack is the last thing to change - get your cooking and sleeping gear as light as possible and lose the cappucino maker and then think about whether a lighter pack is of interest. For example, Jetboils are not light. That said, the 2.5 kg packs you're looking at are too heavy - you can get similar capacity and support in much lighter packs.

harvey b
(ryan00013) - F
I have decided! on 03/25/2011 10:06:56 MDT Print View

Hey guys,
Thanks for all your input. After looking around some more and looking at the pack accessibility of the Arcteryx Altra 65, I'm sold. This pack will be used for two main purposes, cragging/guiding and seperately as a multi-day hiking pack.

I prefer to pack all/most of my gear internally in the pack. The U-shaped zipper on the Altra looks to be great for organization and accessibility purposes. My only concern is the rotating hipbelt becoming squeaky often. We'll see how that plays out. The only other bummer is that only the top zippers are waterproof. The main compartment zippers are not. I'm not sure who approved that one. Overall, it seems like a very solid pack with many features that I like, and very few that I do not.

It has a floating lid so it expands to 72L. I've been thinking and thinking if I should get the 65L or 75L. I'm pretty darn sure I could get away with the 65L and strap things on the outside for multi-day treks. It seems like most other people do. I'm going to own one of the most packable sleeping bags and pad on the market, so that'll help. I'll be trking mostly in spring / summer so I won't have a ton of hearvy winter gear. I can strap my bulky tent on the outside. Other things that take room in the pack will be the jetboil, and clothes bag. I do need to get a more packable rain shell. I think my MHW shell weighs around 17 ounces. I just can't justify blowing another $125+ for a lightweight rain shell when I won't be doing long hikes that often anyways. Again, I'm a begginning hiker and long time climber. My initial treks will only be a few days long.

I've heard about lining your bag with a trashbag if it isn't waterproof. Thoughts?