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Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 06/28/2011 13:31:14 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2B - Technical Evaluation - Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity

Edited by addiebedford on 06/29/2011 12:44:06 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation on 06/28/2011 14:35:04 MDT Print View

This was a really interesting article! Especially interesting were the results of the various pad configurations. I always wondered about the coiled vs. folded CCF pad. Since I can't use a CCF pad but only carry a 20" x 30" CCF pad for my dog (plus an inflatable for me), I never had a chance to try the coiled CCF pad. I appreciate your including these configurations in your testing!

My own pack is a discontinued SMD pack (2005 model Comet, smaller version of their Starlite), used with the removable stays. The closest to the packs you tested would be the SMD Traveler. I did, on one occasion, carry 35-36 lbs. in it--that was with the stays and with my dog's CCF pad folded in thirds in the pad pocket. My shoulders, back and hips were fine, although my knees and feet were screaming! Re the load lifters--in my SMD pack I do find that they contribute to load transfer, although for me their most important function is to keep the shoulder straps from putting pressure on my extremely pressure-sensitive shoulders.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/28/2011 14:40:57 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
pack testing on 06/28/2011 15:04:48 MDT Print View

Well done sir.

I think one of reasons the Golites do so well is the way the belt is anchored to the pack, as well as the stiff foam in the belt. Very little sag in the belt to pack interface.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 06/28/2011 15:59:34 MDT Print View

Not sure if I missed it - there are packs listed in the initial chart (indeed, the GG Virga is shown in pictures) that were not tested for torso collapse. Why was that?

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 06/28/2011 16:58:08 MDT Print View

"Not sure if I missed it - there are packs listed in the initial chart (indeed, the GG Virga is shown in pictures) that were not tested for torso collapse. Why was that?"

David, Will said that they had a number of packs on the original list that they couldn't get from the manufacturer to actually test. The Virga may have been one. I was disappointed that the SMD Swift was not tested too but they must have only gotten the Traveler to test. Being a panel loader it may well have tested differently than a top loader.

I can say that having used both the Starlite and the Swift that the folded CCF pad results did not surprise me as that is how the SMD packs work. I think the folded CCF pad in a pocket that holds it firmly in place does an amazing job. I have used the Swift, without stays, to 30 pounds and it carried very comfortably but I could tell that was about it before some "torso collapse" would begin to happen.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Packs on 06/28/2011 17:34:46 MDT Print View

Thanks Alex.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Virga... on 06/28/2011 17:38:23 MDT Print View

It's there, check out Figure 3.

Edited by nzbazza on 06/28/2011 17:50:59 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 06/28/2011 17:44:59 MDT Print View

But yet not tested with a rolled pad?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Why not the Ohm? on 06/28/2011 18:21:58 MDT Print View

I'm sort of curious why the ULA Ohm wasn't included when it came time to test lightweight internal frame packs. It is lighter than all 3 packs tested and will carry up to 25 pounds comfortably, and up to 30 pounds bearably. IME, it's a great little pack that straddles the framed and frameless worlds. It is also lighter than about half of the frameless packs in the test group and carries more weight comfortably. Did I miss some details in the selection criteria that led to testing only Osprey internal frame packs?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – on 06/28/2011 19:22:23 MDT Print View

If you look at the responses to the first article in the series, you'll see that the ULA Ohm didn't qualify as a "frameless" pack because the frame is supposedly connected to the hip belt (or some such thing). I believe there were some other criteria (size, maybe?) that caused the Ohm to be omitted from the lightweight internal frame packs articles (or maybe those authors considered it to be frameless?). It seems a shame that this popular pack (which will be my first choice to try if I have to replace my current pack) was ignored by both SOM reviews. I'd really like to see a review of the Ohm using the testing criteria that this article series uses for the "frameless" packs.

I still learned a lot from both series of articles, though! They are well worth reading just for the general information!

Re the Granite Gear Virga--I've read in several places that it has been discontinued.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/28/2011 19:24:25 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – on 06/28/2011 20:32:35 MDT Print View

"If you look at the responses to the first article in the series, you'll see that the ULA Ohm didn't qualify as a "frameless" pack because the frame is supposedly connected to the hip belt (or some such thing). I believe there were some other criteria (size, maybe?) that caused the Ohm to be omitted from the lightweight internal frame packs articles (or maybe those authors considered it to be frameless?)."

I vaguely remember something about the frame not being removable, but that is also the case with the Exos packs, if I'm not mistaken. As for size, if it can carry 25#, it seems it would be of adequate size given the nature of the gear carried by most folks here. I guess we'll have to hope Will sheds some light on the matter. I wouldn't even have mentioned it until I saw the 3 internal frame packs that were tested. No big deal, I was just curious.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
confusion on 06/28/2011 20:52:54 MDT Print View

The Exos and Hornet were cited in this article as comparisions; they're two examples of the oft cited "lighter and better carrying framed packs" argument against frameless packs.

The Ohm fell into a crack between Roger's Internal Frame SOTMR, which tested the large ULA packs, and this one which only tested the CDT.

My main take away is that there's a lot of gray between framed and frameless. We're really going for as little frame as possible for a given load.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Ohm on 06/28/2011 22:10:27 MDT Print View

"I vaguely remember something about [Ohm] frame not being removable,"

I had never removed the frame from my Ohm before, but after the comment in the earlier thread about it being difficult to remove and thus more a 'part of the pack', I had to give it a shot. Having never done this before or even contemplating how to do it, I had the frame out of my Ohm in about 5 seconds. It's super easy.

I believe the main reason the Ohm was omitted was because the stays connect at the hipbelt, supposedly qualifying the Ohm as an internal framed pack. For the BPL review on internal frame packs they considered the Ohm to be a 'pack with stays' but now for the 'pack with stays' test, the Ohm is considered an internal frame pack so it got omitted from both tests. Regardless of what you call it, anchoring the stays to the hipbelt is just smart design and it's probably the best way to do stays.

Anyways....this article is truly outstanding. The information is awesome. I'm surprised the Windrider didn't receive more raving in the articles text, because when equipped with its stays it is a stand out pack at 20 lbs. It's even better at avoiding torso collapse then those internal framed packs that were added to the comparo.

Edited by dandydan on 06/28/2011 22:11:00 MDT.

Stephen Eggleston
(happycamper) - F

Locale: South Bayish
Gorilla on 06/28/2011 22:58:22 MDT Print View

I noticed a few differences between the GG Gorilla pack in the article pics and the one I purchased this year. The velcro straps to hold the stays are different and it looks like the y strap closure is different( i don't see the webbing loop above the main mesh pocket.) I wonder is this new version, maybe old version??

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – on 06/29/2011 07:00:28 MDT Print View

Will and Janet, thank you very much for this part of the review. I think it is well written and very informative!

I will add onto the Ohm discussion that it would be very interesting to see it also tested against these criteria...perhaps in a future review as suggested?

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Fantastic on 06/29/2011 08:02:33 MDT Print View

Wow, this SOTMR is amazing. Thank you Janet and Will for bringing us this incredible series of articles.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 on 06/29/2011 09:01:51 MDT Print View

Will - what happened to the Windrider above about 22lbs or so? It looks like the 'soft' stays completely disintegrated....

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Tech evaluation on 06/29/2011 09:48:53 MDT Print View

This will definitely help me choose a bigger pack in the 50l range. Thanks

folec r
(folecr) - M
lots of info on 06/29/2011 10:02:09 MDT Print View

this is an awesome review!

has anyone tried replacing a foam backpanel (such as in the golite) with a stiffer plastic backpanel when carrying heavier loads? has this worked well?

Christopher Chiappini
(Juggles) - F - M

Locale: NJ/NYC
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011<br>Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 06/29/2011 12:23:08 MDT Print View

BPL community - For a sub 20 lb. load, how much do you find a hip-belt adds to comfort? Compared to no belt, with that load.

Does a 1" webbing hip-belt really transfer weight to the hips well? Or is a padded 3-5oz. belt preferred?