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Oxymoronic pack question?
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Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Oxymoronic pack question? on 06/09/2011 05:59:17 MDT Print View

Does anyone make a very light weight backpack with aluminum stays? Is it possible to build a pack out of cuben but still have a supportive hip belt and stays? I'm using a Deuter pack now because it provides great support( had a discectomy with fusion C5-6 &C6-7 3 years ago, and also have a bulging lumbar disc) The stays are X configured. The pack weighs in at 48 oz. I'd love to get down to a 2 lb or less pack.
Thanks for your input,

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
If you're going light, go frameless. on 06/09/2011 06:04:59 MDT Print View

There may be a pack under 2 lbs with aluminum stays, but I have yet to hear of it. Honestly, if you're going for a pack that light, your load should be light enough that you don't need the frame. A sleeping pad should be able to provide all the support you need.

If your baseweight without your pack is 11-12 lbs or lower, I'd recommend going with a frameless pack. They're more comfortable than you think. I've carried up to 30 lbs in my Jam2 without a problem on longer and more indulgent trips.

Edited by Knaight on 06/09/2011 06:05:35 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Oxymoronic pack question? on 06/09/2011 06:09:01 MDT Print View

There are plenty of minimally framed packs fitting your criteria. Check out the Gossamer Gear Gorrilla, ULA Ohm, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider for a few offerings.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Oxymoronic pack question? on 06/09/2011 06:36:12 MDT Print View

Six Moon Designs offers the Starlite and Swift. Both meet your criteria.

I own the Starlite and love it. It's too big for overnighters, etc, though. Best for trips w/more food and/or carrying kids' gear too.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
SMD on 06/09/2011 06:37:02 MDT Print View

Take a look at Six Moon Designs Starlite and Traveler as well.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
ULA on 06/09/2011 06:40:57 MDT Print View

The circuit and others would work well. Light pack, right at 2lbs with carbon fiber stay......... And comfy as all get out.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
SMD Starlite, GG Gorilla, HGM Windrider, Osprey Exos on 06/09/2011 07:12:25 MDT Print View

It all depends on the volume you need. I own both the Gossamer Gear Gorillafor 3-season backpacking 1-3 nighters(BPL review here) and the voluminous SMD Starlite for winter camping and longer 3-season trips.(old version BPL review here).

I really like them both and they suit my purposes well. I took the Starlite on my Tahoe Rim Trail Hike and carried 27lbs in it for a 2 day dry stretch (9lbs of water to start, 4 days of food) and it carried fine, but I don't have back problems either. The Gorilla will also carry 25 lbs comfortably. Both loads were heavy, but my shoulders don't burn.. They tranfer weight well-enough for me, if not as well as an attached-frame pack.

The HMG Windrider is reviewed this week by BPL, and while I have not used it, it looks similiar to my Gorilla, if a bit lower volume.

Two other packs I tried before settling on the Gorilla were the ULA Ohm and the Osprey Exos 46 (BPL review here. I decided against the Ohm because I didn't like the hip-belt, an issue which I believe ULA has addressed, and I wanted a more modular pack that I could strip down when I wanted to.

The Exos also has a built in frame and I liked it a lot, I mainly decided against it because it was just more volume than I needed and it was 36oz (though if memory serves, the removable top lid weighs 4oz and is really unecessary) vs 24 for the Gorilla. But it carried very well and as the BPL frameless pack article points out, removable frame packs just aren't going to load transer as well as internal frame packs because the removable frames are not anchored to the hip belts. They work fine for me, but as I said, I've never had back problems. I'm generally fine up to 20lbs with a rolled up CCF as a frame.

Edited by jrmacd on 06/09/2011 07:14:39 MDT.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: packs on 06/09/2011 07:41:59 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone, gives me lots to research!
My baseweight without pack for my upcoming San Juan, CO trip is 8.3 lbs. I'm shooting for 10 lbs or below with pack. Right now I'm at 11 lbs with the Deuter. I recently bought a Granite Gear Vapor Ki, and had it up to 14 lbs which was at the threshold of comfort,but I will be at around 17 lbs with food and water for the SSJ trip.

The ULA Circuit was the first pack I tried,I really wanted it, but it placed all the weight right at the base of my spine, which several other packs have also done.

Thanks, I will do some research on what you and others have listed.

Edited by leighb on 06/09/2011 07:45:01 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Oxymoronic pack question? on 06/09/2011 08:52:48 MDT Print View

"There are plenty of minimally framed packs fitting your criteria. Check out the Gossamer Gear Gorrilla, ULA Ohm, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider for a few offerings."

As well as the SMD Starlite, aluminum stays and under 32 oz. And Chris Zimmer, at least, probably others, can make a custom pack with stays and keep it well under 32 oz.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Oxymoronic pack question? on 06/09/2011 09:02:35 MDT Print View

Ditto to what everyone said, except the comment about the frameless pack - not going to provide you enough support.

Question: given your condition and that the current pack provides great support and fits you well, do you think that it would make sense to change out to a less comfortable pack and save only a pound? Are there other areas you could minimize your baseweight?

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: pack on 06/09/2011 09:33:05 MDT Print View

You ask an excellent question. When I look at individual item weights I carry, the heaviest is my pack, and if I could find a suitable 2 lb pack, it would drop my wt by a lb, which is significant, at least to. I recently bought a steripen in order to carry less water, which obviously is the heaviest along with food. I'm also eyeing a new Deuter pack that's coming out in July. It will only be slightly lighter (less volume, which would be fine) but has the same "suspension", which may turn out to be as good as I can get. I really like the Deuter, but I just keep trying others to see if there's something that will do the same job for less wt.


Eric Marcano

Locale: Southcentral Texas
ULA Ohm on 06/09/2011 14:43:38 MDT Print View

L4-5 diskectomy/laminectomy here. The ULA Ohm feels great. Most of the weight is transferred well onto my hips. It's almost like wearing a fanny pack that's lightly supported at the shoulders.