Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles...
Display Avatars Sort By:
george lawrence
(geebeaner) - F
Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles... on 11/23/2011 11:51:36 MST Print View

So, I have been lurking here for a while and have seen a lot of great ideas for packs and such as I try to "lighten my load."

With all the ideas I have seen I would like to throw my hat in the ring with a question/idea.

First, the frameless packs I have used, I always had a problem of weight transfer to my hips when fully loaded. (I know, I know, then get lighter!)but I do have lower back issues and appreciate this transfer. I find that a large portion of the weight I carry is water.

Second, when I carry water bottles and not some sort of bag (platypus etc..) I always have trouble reaching them in the side pockets of a pack no matter how "shallow", or angled they are.

With these 2 things in mind, I wondered if it would make sense to actually carry the water ON YOUR WAIST, rather than ON YOUR BACK, thereby mitigating both the "reach issue" and load transfer of heavy water. My thought is, could you design a pack that integrated the water bottle carrying onto the front of the hip belt. Like a lumbar pack but on your belly!

I bought one of these:
water carrier

Does anyone think it would make sense to make this into a hipbelt with a frameless pack?

Any suggestions/ideas? Thanks!

Edited by geebeaner on 11/23/2011 11:52:31 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Water on the hips on 11/23/2011 12:39:18 MST Print View

I like the concept. It may be tough to keep the bottles out of the way of your hands, though. The other concern is how the vertical bottle works against a waist that bends. Maybe you could use horizontal holsters of some sort? Maybe a flexible botlle like a small platy would fit better?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Waist pack and rucksack - great combo! on 11/23/2011 12:50:20 MST Print View

Back in the 1980s, my favorite "backpack" was a Frostline rucksack and a largish Lowe waist pack (fanny pack). The waist pack did a great job of transferring the rucksack weight to my hips, and it was a breeze to swing the waist pack around access stuff in the waist pack.

I urge you to make the try! Two things come to mind (as I recall from days of yore!):

The waist pack will transfer weight better if there is a fairly substantial main pocket with a flat top. The one I used had a main pocket about three times as wide as the one in your picture. The rucksack (frameless pack) bottom rested on the top of the waist belt and transferred the weight; a small belt on the rucksack kept it from sliding off the waist pack.

Depending on the design, the water bottles may snag the rucksack when you swing the waist pack around to grab the water bottles. The pockets for the water bottles need to be as low/deep as possible. The higher the top of the water bottles sit, the easier it will be to hang up on the rucksack.

Waist packs are pretty a pretty easy MYOG project; you may want to try making the perfect waist pack for this project!

Good luck and have fun!

Edited by grampa on 11/23/2011 12:53:19 MST.

george lawrence
(geebeaner) - F
Thanks! on 11/23/2011 13:14:56 MST Print View

Stephen, I hadn't thought about having it in back and spinning it around, interesting idea.

I was thinking of having the small bag on the front with the water bottles in front, and having the fanny pack (in this case belly pack)buckle into the hipbelt of the backpack...

This seem like a good idea?

rick mccoll
(rgmccoll) - F

Locale: East Tennessee
different take on 11/23/2011 14:22:11 MST Print View

I have had the same problem with water bottles in the pack and am not satisfied with my internal hydration system as I cannot tell how much is left.

I am going to try this system and it may have applicability in your application (now that you have already bought something else):


Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
reaching back - God helps those who help themselves! on 11/24/2011 02:08:41 MST Print View

almost OT but meant in a helpful way:

I'm a 40 something with chronic back problems...

After a year of a weekly Iyengar yoga class, I found that not only could I now easily retrieve my water bottles from either side, but also get stuff out of the rear facing pocket on my Golite packs whilst on the move.

Also my long term pack carrying comfort is improved.

'Use it or lose it' !?

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
belt systems on 11/24/2011 04:56:29 MST Print View

Have you thought about trying a hip-belt system with moveable pouches and water bottle carriers? The military has perfected this, but their stuff is heavy. I'm sure that it would be an easy mod to copy this with lighter materials. This would allow you to keep your most needed items within reach and scale down to a day pack.

Just a thought.


Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Water on the hips on 11/24/2011 05:38:06 MST Print View

Hmmm. Interesting idea! I can see ben's point though, about it getting in the way when bending. What about adding water bottle "holsters" the either side of the hip belt? Would that be in the way of your arms?

I've been toying with the idea of adding water bottles to my shoulder straps, or between my shoulder straps with a small chest bag between them. Should help counter balance the pack weight? I still need to work up some prototypes.

Any have some time they'd be willing to sell?!?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
shoulder strap bottle holders on 11/24/2011 11:27:20 MST Print View

"I've been toying with the idea of adding water bottles to my shoulder straps, or between my shoulder straps with a small chest bag between them. Should help counter balance the pack weight? I still need to work up some prototypes."

ULA packs do this - they have adjustable bungie loops that hold a bottle on each shoulder strap. Works pretty well, and definitely easy to grab!

Re: waist pack with buckle in back - Wouldn't the large buckle sitting in the middle of your back be painful? Especially with the weight of the main pack resting on it?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles... on 11/24/2011 12:01:47 MST Print View

IMO, if you want to effectively transfer weight to your hips, you need a real frame and a well designed hip belt that will stay in place and not slide down over time.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
this how Dana did it .. on 11/24/2011 12:36:20 MST Print View

dana gleason years ago made things called ribs. the best of them were "wet ribs" which held the water bottle. they work fantastic and trans weight off the rear, to the front, where it belongs (some of it). i had an old wet rib, deconstructed it, reverse engineered the thing and added interior packets. it come out like so ...
at any rate, they work swell and give one immediate access to important bits like maps / gps/ camera / yummies / chapstick.
construction rqs some careful prep in order of ops to avoid working into a corner.mecompartentsmountings

Daniel Sandström
+ For holders on 11/25/2011 00:19:44 MST Print View

I love the water bottle holders on my Haglöfs Endurance pack. Apart from holding bottles, I use - even more - for fast stashing, throwing my keys, beanie, whatever in there in a hurry. Haven't lost anything yet. Going to make a new (frameless) pack soon and planning on doing something similar. Alternatively Hale pockets. Recon it'll be some 50/50 pack/hipbelt load.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
nard allert on 11/25/2011 06:34:00 MST Print View

The problem with front packs that don’t attach to your shoulder straps is that they migrate down as you walk and "ouch".

I have spent the last year looking for a front pack system. I wanted easier access to my gear. I hate stopping and dropping my pack. I really like the Aarn packs, but I wanted an add-on to my current pack system.

I tried the wet-rib, dry-rib, and the ribz packs. They worked ok, but they held in my body heat and as I hiked I got wet with sweat.

I ended up cutting up a mesh military surplus tactical vest and attaching it to my shoulder straps and hip-belt. I hung different pouches on it to match the gear that I needed to carry. This system worked great and had an added benefit of transferring a significant amount of weight to the front hip area. I could walk more upright and my pack felt lighter on my back - not to mention that I had quick access to the gear that I needed the most. I am now working on re-designing this Idea with lighter materials. ( if you are fashion conscious - you might not want to go this route)

Good luck on your search and keep us posted.


P.S. If you wish to try the RIBZ or Wet/Dry rib, then send me a PM and I'll give you a good deal.

george lawrence
(geebeaner) - F
what I am thinking now. on 11/28/2011 10:19:42 MST Print View

I have an osprey pack that I don't like the hipbelt pockets on (aether 65)
thinking of removing pockets and sewing buckles onto the hip belt so I can attach the hippack that I bought if I want or just go without it.

Had both on last night and it seemed like this might be a good solution...

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Zpacks Chest Pack on 11/28/2011 10:55:13 MST Print View

Zpacks has a pack which can be worn as a chest pack.

Zpacks Chest Pack

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles... on 11/28/2011 12:24:33 MST Print View

I've thought about using a waist hydration pack with a small UL pack that doesn't have side pockets for water bottles. Water is a big part of the weight on a day pack or XUL kit and you recoup some space while you are at it.

But the waist pack can add as much weight as some light packs and they aren't cheap. Contrasting the REI Double Shot waist pack with the REI Flash 18:

Double shot: 14oz, $34.50 (normal retail, on sale for $20 at the moment)
Flash 18: 10oz, $29.50

It doesn't add up for me. A lot of the weight and cost is in trying to stabilize two water bottles for runners. You don't need all the compression straps and padded holsters for walking. The rest of the Double Shot design departs from typical UL pack design principles with heavy fabric, zippers, etc, etc, etc. The design is fairly typical of waist hydration packs.

It wouldn't be too hard to work up a XUL belt that would handle a couple water bottles and it would be hard to resist the urge to work in a pocket. With a small backpack that is carried high, you could wear it with the bottles to the back, but I would want the option of carrying it either way. There are a lot of waist packs that have the buckle on one side of the pack rather than dead center, and that would allow carrying one in the front with a pack that is long or has a waist belt-- the fuss is about having a fat buckle in the middle of your back. My hunch is that you would need a fairly wide fabric band to stabilize the bottles and provide enough traction and hip-hugging to keep it all from sliding down: you would have around five pounds with two liters of water, bladders/bottles and waist belt.

The other option that came to mind is to carry one bottle or bladder on a shoulder strap, bandoleer style, outside your pack shoulder straps-- not much different than a bota bag. You could make a rectangular bag in silnylon with a shoulder strap to hold a one liter Platypus, which would just be a rectangular bota bag when done.

When comparing waist packs and bottles, keep in mind that the bottles are typically smaller than a liter. For example, the REI Double Shot carries 41oz (1.2L) total.

Daniel Sandström
KISS on 11/29/2011 00:41:26 MST Print View

I once thought about solving the problem the easy way. Simply combine your pack and lumbar pack (one like the one in the beginning of the post). Modify you pack to have the same kind of buckle where the hipbelt would normally be (some cushions might be needed behind the buckle to avoid chaffing).
In other words, attach the lumbar pack to the pack - pockets facing forward. Voila. Now works as hipbelt/fron lumbar pocket @ once.

Yukio Yamakawa

Locale: Tokyo,JAPAN
I propose a paradox. Just behind the neck and set heavy water. on 11/29/2011 09:43:56 MST Print View


Zach is watching from above, below the neck position.
Zach at the top of the set in flexible plastic bottles band.
Aspiration tube shorter, easily lauch Sucking water.


Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles... on 11/29/2011 22:16:33 MST Print View

I've often thought about a similar concept, but I find something that size (if mounted in front) is uncomfortable when bending, stepping over logs, climbing across talus, etc. Some side waist belt water bottle holders even get in the way of hands or trekking poles if you use those.

You might consider using that as more like a chest pack though. Could replace your sternum strap if you modified and rigged it to ride on the shoulder straps correctly. This won't transfer load to your hips - in fact it will do the opposite and put more on your shoulders - but it will balance our your load front and back. Check out some of the Aarn Packs if you are not familiar.

One caution on chest packs though - they can block the view of your feet.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Weight transfer to hips in UL frameless packs and water bottles... on 11/29/2011 22:52:33 MST Print View

"One caution on chest packs though - they can block the view of your feet."

... and other very important things :)