Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity


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peter tooke
(petersont) - M

Locale: NYC
gorilla packing advice on 06/29/2011 12:45:14 MDT Print View

"For loads over 15 pounds (6.8 kg), a pack with removable contoured stays is better when you use an inflatable sleeping pad."
Curious exactly how this is done, thanks ( & if any pics, all the better)

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Gorilla & Mariposa - back panel - folded CCF sleep pad used? on 06/29/2011 15:55:16 MDT Print View

I'm curious - since a folded CCF sleep pad was measured best for torso support, and the Gorilla & Mariposa's back panel are both designed for utilizing just that ... yet, these two packs did not fare as well the others tested.

Hence my question: did this evaluation use a folded CCF sleep pad in the back panel during evaluation? or perhaps only used a sit pad in the back panel??

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: confusion on 06/29/2011 16:53:40 MDT Print View

"My main take away is that there's a lot of gray between framed and frameless."

+1 Some of them seem to try to have the best of both worlds, with varying success.

"We're really going for as little frame as possible for a given load."

Enter the Ohm. It's hard to imagine a lighter frame using current materials, but if there is, I'd sure like to know about it. I love my Ohm for the type of trips I do, but I'm not married to it or anything romantic like that.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Great series! on 06/29/2011 17:54:11 MDT Print View

Thanks Will & Janet for another very informative series of articles. Well done!

I will add my disappointment at the omission of the Ohm.

I am still digesting all the data but my eye keeps going to the Elemental Horizons Aquilo. I've never heard of this pack before but am impressed with both it's ability to compress loads (very important IMO) and it's rigidity. And, I am firmly in the camp favoring substantial hip belts. As a last observation, it is made in the USA.

Edited by mad777 on 06/29/2011 17:55:11 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
ohm on 06/29/2011 19:26:24 MDT Print View

great article and attention to detail- thanks!

like many others would have liked to see the Ohm included here (or in the previous internal frame SMR)

I'm thinking that many of us who already have the Ohm have a pretty good idea how it would fair though :)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Virga... on 06/29/2011 20:45:09 MDT Print View

A Virga is prominently displayed in several of the photos.

I agree that it would be nice to see measured performance with a rolled pad as a "frame" ... but I'm unsure if that's really a reasonable configuration due to it's shape ("fatter" at the bottom than at the top)

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Virga... on 06/29/2011 21:13:58 MDT Print View

I've used a rolled up sleeping pad inside a Granite Gear Virga as a frame. No real issues with just a sleeping bag, stove, food, and a rainjacket/UL down vest inside it. Side pockets are big.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 on 06/30/2011 09:29:19 MDT Print View

"A Virga is prominently displayed in several of the photos."

Jim - yes, I mentioned that in my previous post but there is very little analysis on the pack for comparison purposes. On the other hand, it was analyzed a few years ago by Ryan so there is some info there.

Not ironically, the Golite Jam tested the best with the original analysis by Ryan as well.

Matthew Lagas-Rivera
(mlagasrivera) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Great series! on 07/01/2011 09:49:15 MDT Print View

Michael - Thanks for your interest in the Aquilo pack and thanks to Will and Janet for their hard work on this article. I have enjoyed reading their analysis of all the packs and the discussion of the ins-and-outs of frameless packs.

Elemental Horizons is a relatively new company, only about 4 years old, that produces lightweight packs, pack accessories, and paddle sports gear like mesh bags and duffles. We strive to produce extremely high quality light weight gear that is feature filled and highly functional. And we are dedicated to keeping our manufacturing in the USA. The Aquilo pack is our latest pack offering and, as Will noted, is designed for lightweight backpacking. We are working on a variety of new designs as well so keep checking in to see what else is rolling off the line. Let me know if you have any questions about anything.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Very interesting results on 07/01/2011 17:42:02 MDT Print View

Man, that Jam stands out in so many categories. It may just get even more love in the future.

And I'll just reiterate the omission of the Ohm. It seems to be an obvious one for inclusion in this test. Hopefully it'll slip in somewhere very soon.

Some one (folec r) asked if any one had taken the foam out of the Jam and used a stiffer plastic back panel? I beleive GoLite calls that the "Pursuit" model. It is one pound heavier and has a few more features including a "brain" or top zippered pocket instead of a roll-top closure.

Will and Janet, very informative report. I appreciate your efforts to make pack analysis a bit more scientific and love all the tables/graphs. Sure is much more help full that "ya pack X is awesome. I've used it three times and it carries sweet!". Individual user comments are good, but this report takes it to the next level for sure. Thanks for all your efforts.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 on 07/01/2011 18:02:14 MDT Print View

I added a piece of Coroplast to the foam panel in the back of my GoLite Pinnacle, and it really seemed to help.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 on 07/01/2011 18:29:34 MDT Print View

Joe,

I've been looking at coroplast, wondering if it would make a good pack stiffener.
Is it completely rigid or does it have just a little flex?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
"Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011 on 07/01/2011 18:35:26 MDT Print View

It has some flex.

james rosen
(jamesrosen) - M
question about base weight on 07/04/2011 20:14:36 MDT Print View

When you measure base weight as being without food, water and fuel, does that mean you exclude bear canister and empty water bottle weight as well? Thanks

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: question about base weight on 07/04/2011 20:21:06 MDT Print View

include the empty weights because those never change, unlike water and food which gets lighter as times goes on

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667)

Locale: SoCal
I count them on 07/04/2011 20:36:26 MDT Print View

I count the bear canister and empty water containers as base weight.

Robert Brookshire
(brookshire) - M
To be frameless or not to be... on 07/05/2011 16:42:55 MDT Print View

Does it really matter whether a pack qualifies as "frameless" or not? Why not simply take a group of backpacks above a certain volume (not summit packs, etc) and below a certain weight and compare them to one another? If a frameless pack can carry 15lbs. while still being comfortable, then it's advantage will show in the results. If a framed pack carries much more weight with mere ounces of penalty, that will show up as well. In fact, graphing packs with a weight/volume/comfort ratio might be an interesting comparison.

Instead of testing "frameless packs for ultralight backpacking" as one category, just test "packs for ultralight backpacking" and do the same for "lightweight", etc. making sure the categories meet or slightly overlap. Fewer packs would "fall through the cracks" in that case and readers would still be able to select frameless or framed packs based on their own needs. The upside would be that the reader would be better able to evaluate the merits between totally frameless, removable frame, and framed packs of certain weight and volume classes. I doubt backpackers care much whether their pack has a frame or not, but they care a great deal about whether it's comfortable in their required weight range.

I recognize that this and the other SOTMR's represent huge amounts of work, but I've noticed that articles often experience discoveries during their creation that don't get fully incorporated into their earlier work. It's a lot of time and effort, I know, but after finding that folded CCF pads can be better, at least in some situations, wouldn't it be extremely useful to the reader to see that option in the previous graphs? And after deciding that inflatable pads do better as cylinders probably because they are more inflated and "stiffened", why not load the pack with the deflated pad folded and then inflate the pad to provide a similar comparison? It's rather obvious that the pad will provide more support when inflated, so why compare apples to oranges?

My two cents. Forgive my oversight if I'm missing something important. My criticisms and suggestions are not meant to belittle the impressiveness of this excellent series of articles. The authors' hard work is appreciated.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: To be frameless or not to be... on 07/05/2011 16:54:59 MDT Print View

"Does it really matter whether a pack qualifies as "frameless" or not? Why not simply take a group of backpacks above a certain volume (not summit packs, etc) and below a certain weight and compare them to one another? If a frameless pack can carry 15lbs. while still being comfortable, then it's advantage will show in the results. If a framed pack carries much more weight with mere ounces of penalty, that will show up as well"

+1 Excellent idea.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ on 07/05/2011 20:29:28 MDT Print View

x2

Great idea. Just throw em' all in there and let the chips fall where they may. (And don't forget the Ohm! ha)

And again, Will, Janet, Roger, et al, great report so far. I have enjoyed reading each segment and have learned allot along the way. BPL rocks.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity on 07/05/2011 21:06:17 MDT Print View

Nah, there has to be a division at some point. That would be like doing a State of the Market on solo shelters. Tents, tarps, hybrids, single walled, double walled, freestanding, non-freestanding, with floor, without floor, etc.

Frameless packs are in a specific group - they lack rigid frames and comparision between frameless packs is more meaningful for those interested in buying a frameless pack than comparing a frameless pack to a framed pack. If one is looking at using a frameless pack they are likely not looking for a rigid frame.