Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Frameless packs right for me?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ross Williams
(rwms15) - F
Frameless packs right for me? on 05/15/2011 16:40:13 MDT Print View

I plan on going to Philmont in the next few years, and I realize that the lighter my packweight, the more enjoyable the trip will be. I don't claim to be UL, however I have the correct mindset: if it isn't absolutely nessessary, it's staying home! I know that a frameless pack (I am currently considering the Golite Jam) is the lightest option when it comes to packs, and the load-carrying limitations of these ultralite packs will give me extra motivation to comb through my gear list and eliminate extra items. However, even with only lunch and a liter or so of water in a daypack, I cannot hike with the weight on my shoulders, as this causes back pain and sore shoulders. I used the daypack's hipbelt, and that transfered the weight to my hips and solved the problem.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Go for it on 05/15/2011 16:50:06 MDT Print View

I bought a Golite Jam2 when my baseweight was still near 20 lbs. I packed 35 lbs in it, including snowshoes, and carried it for a 5 day trip in Sequoia National Park. Despite the heavy load, it was still the most comfortable trip I'd taken to date.

I still use this pack today, even though my baseweight is under 10 lbs. It's super durable for such a light pack, which makes it great for offtrail pursuits.

There are lighter and better frameless packs out there, but if your baseweight is still kind of high, go with the Jam, the ULA Ohm, or the Six Moon Designs Swift. All of those have decent capacity for both size and weight, and all of them are well respected. Just make sure your gear will actually fit before you spring for one of these packs!

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Frameless packs right for me? on 05/15/2011 16:51:27 MDT Print View

your sleeping pad can be adequate, or lousy - depending. let us know what pad you plan to use and if you will fold it or roll it concentrically. some packs like the Gorilla and such make your pad stay put, if you can keep a foam pad from riding up, maybe using straps like found inside the ULA models, it will make a huge differnce. sadly, the Jam does not have any interior straps for this purpose and the stock pad is a POS.

i went from a bora 65 to a golite jam, and i personally subscribe to the opposite of most claims that you should lay out your gear and then choose a pack. i did it like you want to - get the pack and then apply discipline to your gear so it fits!

and, fwiw, i never had the benefit of a forum like this one. it was all an experiment.. ;)

Ross Williams
(rwms15) - F
Re: Re: Frameless packs right for me? on 05/15/2011 17:19:14 MDT Print View

I've seen people using a rolled or folded up sleeping pad as a frame, and I will give that a try for sure. I have been using a Thermarest Trail lite as of late, however, I will switch to a more compactible one (like a prolite) to use with my Hennessy hammock Super Shelter system. Will that add an efficent enough frame to the Jam as to prevent sore shoulders/back?

Ross Williams
(rwms15) - F
Re: Go for it on 05/15/2011 17:24:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input! I am getting a lot of mixed info from articles and reviews and such about comfort for the Jam. Some say that it is uncomfortable with so-and-so pounds, while others say it felt wonderful with a similar weight. What's a person to do?!?!

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Go for it on 05/15/2011 17:33:23 MDT Print View

Get your baseweight down as much as possible, and it won't even be an issue. ;)

You'd be surprised how low you can go, even on a tight budget.

Ross Williams
(rwms15) - F
Thanks for the help!!! on 05/15/2011 17:51:37 MDT Print View

Thanks! There is a coupon in Gear Deals for 40 percent off Golite merchandise that I plan on taking advantage of. 150 buck pack for 90 = no brainer! I'll keep the tags on, pack it with my gear, and where it around the house. If it doesn't feel right, I'll send it back. It may sound like I'm overthinking this, but a 1.13 pound pack deserves a try! Again, thanks.
Oh yeah, my backup option is the Osprey Exos. Too heavy?

Edited by rwms15 on 05/15/2011 17:53:09 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Frameless packs right for me? on 05/15/2011 17:55:52 MDT Print View

If a frameless pack doesn't work for you, don't use one. A light framed pack with UL gear works for me.

And a Jam isn't all that light. A pack like a Vapor Trail with a framesheet is only 6 ounces more than a Jam. A framed pack like an Osprey Exos 58 is 9 ounces more. If all your other gear is UL, the extra pack weight is worth the comfort, IMHO.

A Jam will transfer some weight to your hips, but not as well as a framed pack. Any unframed pack will need careful loading to get good weight transfer. I got tired of the fussiness and went with a framed pack. Keep in mind that some framed packs make excellent use of materials and design and only add a couple light aluminum stays. If you can get in an REI or other large supplier, set aside some time and try the packs with weight in them. It's no different than buying a pair of shoes-- some fit, some don't.

Update (overlapping posts): The Exos packs are hardly "heavy." To be fair, they cost more too and aren't in the same class with a Jam. They have many more features than the Jam and are MUCH cooler due to the mesh back panel. You will get excellent weight transfer and the items in the pack are not up against your back, so you can pack with consideration to balance and convenience rather than weight transfer. It's not an apples and apples comparison at all.

Also, when you get in the price range with the Exos packs, you can investigate many more UL packs that have frame stays and will give good weight transfer.

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/15/2011 18:10:05 MDT.

Ross Williams
(rwms15) - F
Re: Re: Frameless packs right for me? on 05/15/2011 18:34:31 MDT Print View

Good point. Some of my most desired features are 1. good transfer to hips 2. inexpensive (in the 100 dollar ball park) 3. lightweight 4. venilation (and lots of it). Any suggestions?

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Thanks for the help!!! on 05/15/2011 19:07:27 MDT Print View

Jam pack is 1lb, 10 at some stores, 1lb, 15 at others.. may be the year. seems they put on weight every year since birth.
but you can trim out the nonsense like the pad sleeve, the hydration holder and trim the straps. this takes off 6-7 ounces. my original jam trimmed is 16.6, my wife's 16.7

philmont on 05/15/2011 19:36:25 MDT Print View

Philmont is a team endeavor. Your pack can depend on the team philosophy. You have to be prepared to carry gear of weaker team members, carry extra water for others, and tote your share of crew gear too. If your whole crew has ultralight philosophy, great. If they dont, then you mayhave a harder time going ultralight. For instance, a silnylon dining fly supported by trekking poles is light, a 12x12 heavy tarp with poles is not. It is not in the team spirit to say "I cant carry any more, my pack can only handle 30 lbs and Im there now).

Im just saying go as light as possible, but be prepared to purchase a different pack for Philmont if required.

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
Bear Cannisters Change things, too on 05/17/2011 11:31:32 MDT Print View

Are you required to carry your food in Bear Cannisters? I find dumping a big unforgiving cylinder into the mix changes how a pack feels tremendously. Food in a stuff sack will conform and flex. A bear can, especially the Garcia with the annoying middle rib can really be a pain if all you have is a single piece of ccf or a deflated thermarest between you and it. Try it before you decide for sure.- Scott

Al Nichols
(everready) - F

Locale: Sh!^^% Ohio
Lightweight Pack=G.G. Mariposa Plus (for me at least...) on 05/17/2011 11:40:00 MDT Print View

I have one and I really like it. The external mesh pockets make getting to often-used items very convenient. You might want to check one out. I have an '06 or '07 model. I hear that the newer ones are even better. Don't forget to check out the ULA packs and the ones from Six Moon Designs too.

Edited by everready on 05/17/2011 11:42:01 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
No on 05/17/2011 12:50:36 MDT Print View

No, always get a pack that has some type of frame, be it single or dual stayed or a molded one, ie some Granite Gear packs.

You'll appreciate it, when you need to hump a heavier load.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Frameless packs right for me? on 05/17/2011 12:55:15 MDT Print View


Yes - to a point. Using your sleeping pad and tightening the load as much as possible you will get sufficient transfer to somewhere to the low, maybe mid 20 lb range for most people. Under 20 lbs and I use a frameless pack.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Frameless packs right for me? on 05/17/2011 12:56:14 MDT Print View


It will if you make a frame substitute out of other gear you carry. Tent pole sections and a rolled up ccf sleep mat work well in combination.

Robert Justice
(rjustice7) - F

Locale: Central Texas Hill Country
Definitely! on 05/17/2011 17:34:18 MDT Print View

I love my Golite Jam! It transfers the weight to my hips wonderfully. When I backpacked the Outer Mountain Loop at Big Bend with some friends I often forgot I had a pack on my back at all. I was carrying 25 lbs at the time.

It is necessary to create some form of frame. Me personally, I took my GG 3/8" thinlight sleeping pad and rolled it up and used that, and it has worked marvelously!

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Bear Cannisters Change things, too on 05/17/2011 18:13:22 MDT Print View

Yep. If you hike in the high Sierra, bear canisters change the entire UL equation. Right out of the box, you have an additional 2lbs for the can, plus a bulky object that practically requires a framed pack in order to keep the canister from jamming into your back.

The original poster asked about a good internal frame pack for around $100. The pack I use is the Atmos 35, which, because it's heavy (2lbs 14oz) with respect to its size, was discontinued by Osprey. But the weird thing is, it is absolutely the best small pack for 3-5 days in the Sierra where bear cans are required.

All my gear is UL except for this one item. I'm willing to accept the additional 1.5 lb pack weight vs GoLite, etal because the air-speed suspension allows me to jam my BV450 in there without it poking @ me all day long.

Because the pack has been discontinued, I've seen them being blown out for around $100.

Edit: Osprey or other pack mfg might consider a targeted pack for the high Sierra. The whole bear canister issue, especially now that Ursack remains on the disallowed list, is a huge deal. Ironically, Osprey discontinued the very bag that fits this niche market because it didn't due well against UL packs for other regions.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 05/17/2011 18:23:41 MDT.