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Stuart Allie

Locale: Australia
Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 19:28:17 MDT Print View

Having had a look at the usual suspects, I've been unable to find any UL or even LW packs that I would consider robust enough for off-track walking in difficult scrub. The features I am looking for are:
- reasonably tough fabric (dyneema X or tougher)
- no external mesh (no mesh side or front pockets)
- clean design (minimal straps, loops, etc. to avoid catching on scrub)

So, any suggestions?

Before you suggest one of the usual manufacturers, here are my notes on a few:

ZPacks - dyneema X no longer available... toughness of the hybrid material in the exo is unknown
MLD - mesh on all packs by default - the "super" (all dyneema X0 option seems to have vanished from the web site... insfficient demand?
ULA - my non-scrub pack is a catalyst (with the mesh side pockets unfortunately), but all the ULA packs still have a mesh front pocket.
SMD - lotsa mesh - an all dyneema X swift would be most interesting if only it existed
GoLite - stretchy mesh on side pockets (and part of the front?)... might be the best of the bunch, but hardly the lightest

Have I missed anybody? Is there a tough, light, clean pack out there that I have missed?


Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 19:35:28 MDT Print View

My understanding is that the MLD "super" option will be available later this fall when demand slows a bit. You can email Ron to confirm this.

I would not hesitate to carry my MLD "super" Burn through any conditions.

You may also want to consider the HMG Windrider SW, this is HMG's "super" version of the Windrider. The exterior pockets are made using Spectra Hardline (a tough dyneema x type material) in place of mesh. This is a tough, off trail worthy, pack of high quality.

Edited by thomdarrah on 09/19/2011 19:38:35 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 19:48:13 MDT Print View

I wonder if this is a case where a pack cover would be effective. You could have a sacrificial cover of something cheap to be replaced more often, or something really bulletproof (and heavier) that could be left behind when not needed. Maybe something like Tyvek for the cheap alternative and Kevlar or some other cut and snag resistant material for the long-lasting alternative.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
military style or make your own on 09/19/2011 19:49:46 MDT Print View

You are probably better off with a low profile pack if you are going to walk some serious bush. This may put you out of the light category. You need a tough, slippery fabric and a pack with few bells and whistles...pockets, straps etc. You want it to be just above your shoulders, but below your noggin.

I ended up just making my own because of my style of hiking and the type off trail terrain characteristics. My pack is nowhere near ultra light, but it has made it through the past season of some serious bushwhacking.


Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub?" on 09/19/2011 19:50:13 MDT Print View

"I would not hesitate to carry my MLD "super" Burn through any conditions."

(+)1...Neither would I. The Super Burn is a nice blend of lightweight and durability.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 19:56:52 MDT Print View

Hi Stuart,
I have been using the Golite Ion for the past year, I highly recommend it. Fits everything I need for a few nights away, nothing to snag, relatively heavy duty, great straps and its thin profile also helps a lot to avoid abrasion.

Richard Fischel
depending on your definition of ul/lw on 09/19/2011 20:32:47 MDT Print View

check out cilogear - they build a bullet-proof mountaineering pack in a bunch of different volumes that could fit your requirements.

Pepe LP
(PepeLp) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 21:00:52 MDT Print View

This might work..........

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
pack on 09/19/2011 21:09:56 MDT Print View

thank you for the plug in pepe i do offer a all girdstop option in various pack sizes and configurations here's the link to my blog for more info " i am not advertising i am simply giving further info to aid the op in his search"

Pepe LP
(PepeLp) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 21:16:20 MDT Print View

Hey William, your packs sound just like what he's looking for.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Re: Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/19/2011 21:45:43 MDT Print View

Check out the State Of The Market Report by Roger Caffin on lightweight framed packs:

I would say that the packs reviewed from Lightwave, Crux or One Planet would match your requirements.

I use a Golite Gust here in New Zealand off-track and find the Dyneema ripstop is reasonably robust. You do get holes in the nylon but the Dyneema reinforcing does stop the rips.

You could modify some of the packs you mentioned by cutting off the offending pockets.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Climbing pack on 09/19/2011 22:10:47 MDT Print View

Tough, low profile, not the lightest though, youll need to look around

Stuart Allie

Locale: Australia
re: Are there any UL or LW packs suitable for scrub? on 09/20/2011 03:14:40 MDT Print View

Thanks to all for the replies. Lots of new options for me to check out!

Super MLD -I'll check with Ron to see when they are available.
HMG - Didn't know about their "tough" option - looks very interesting.
Ion - I'm not sure I could fit my gear into 25L but maybe
I should consider that a challenge!
Cilogear - I had forgotten about them - I will give them a closer look.
Crux and One Plsnet - I will check them out too.

William - I've only had time for a quick look at your site but your packs look amazing! I will have a closer look and PM you if I'm interested.


Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
Lowe Zeptron 50 on 09/20/2011 20:47:02 MDT Print View

Stuart Allie, your requirements are almost the exact description of the Lowe Alpine Zepton 50.

Dyneema, no mesh pockets - actually my main complaint about this pack was the tightish side fabric pockets, but reading your requirements makes me realize that maybe Lowe wasn't as stupid as I thought with their smooth stretch fabric pockets.

Major downside: only two sizes, the standard men's and the hd women's.

This is a true 50 liter pack, not 50 liters like others claim by adding up all their pockets etc. Good weight control, pack actually supports the weight, you don't need to use the weight to support the pack like some of the UL framed packs I've looked at, can handle I think up to 35 pounds. 30 pounds felt to me quite decent, not that bad, so could see going with 5 more at the start of a trip if required re food or water needs. I did a first test with this pack last week in Big Sur on an 8 day trip, which has some major scrub and brush, tight trails, etc (well, it does if you hike out of where everyone else always ends up...).

The best part: true frame, no playing with padding etc, weighs 2.5 pounds, handles weight quite well, stands a bit off back, feels like nothing in 90 degrees facing sun on 3000 foot climb. Lowe is good at what they do, the major drawback to this one is your torso has to more or less fit, either be longish, like mine, or super short. I got it, to make matters even more superb, at Any Mountain on sale at $120, minus a 20% discount on one item for signing up as a member. Of all the new gear I bought for this trip, this was by FAR the most superior and un-disappointing product I got. But Lowe has always been pretty good at this game. Very good shoulder straps, very good hip belts, I read people complaining about the mesh liners but I believe that was a case of user error or improper setup, I found nothing of that sort of problem.

This pack might not get you the cool UL cred but I can tell you I saw exactly zero UL types where I went over 8 days....

I did not worry about taking this pack off trail, hitting tight overgrown chapparel bushes, etc. I actually added some z-packs stretch cord to the back so I could dry stuff when I walked, though I wouldn't put anything there when going through the more tough chapparel areas, that won't work. (major props to z-packs for their bear/raccoon bagging cord, bear bag rock pouch, and mini locks and cords/connectors, good stuff there... that cord came in handy fixing some funky broken stuff I ended up with too)

The one thing I had to tweak was the bend of the top part of the wire frame, which had a bend that was too sharp for my back, so it poked me, but I just pulled out the frame wire a bit and stepped on it until it unbent a bit, that is some tough wire/frameing material by the way, took a bit of force to get that kink a bit less extreme, after that, zero issues.

Oh, I should add, I am absolutely NOT an UL or SUL backpacker, though I'll use any of their gear or methods that make sense to me. I'm firmly in the 'Light' backpacker camp.

Edited by hhope on 09/20/2011 21:13:11 MDT.

Aris Dennis
(wentworth1) - F
aussie options on 09/21/2011 00:05:19 MDT Print View

I've been after something similar myself for a few years. Made my own with 500D cordura and 1.9oz ripstop which wasn't quite what I wanted.
I had Summit Gear make me up something too, but it was still much heavier than I had planned. They used to offer packs in 500D cordura, might be worth checking out too.

I've placed an order with Z packs for one of the dyneema packs (the last of the fabric) that has the back pocket also made of dyneema instead of mesh and the side pockets extended so that it can accept platys. make custom aussie gear. I do know the owner, but have no business interest in the company. He made up a few packs similar to the one I have on order from dyneema too.

It's a shame that all Australian gear is still so heavy duty. Our scrub is thick and harsh on packs, but not so harsh as to warrant 1000D packs in my opinion.

Edited by wentworth1 on 09/21/2011 00:06:33 MDT.