Please help me with some input on my choice of backpack…
I’m looking for a new pack and think I have the decision narrowed down to Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus, SMD Starlite, and the ULA-Equipment Circuit. I’ve been reading some older posts about these packs, their strengths/weaknesses, comparing them, etc. Many of these posts are a little dated, so I’m hoping to hear some updated input.
Here’s my dilemma: I know I’ll be headed for a thru hike (about 7 days) in the Sierras in the next year or so that will require a bear canister, so volume is important as my base weight is approximately 15-16 pounds. I could shave that base weight down, but don’t see my base weight going down significantly, perhaps a pound or so. However, most of my trips are short (1-2 nights) and do not require a bear canister so weight and volume is much less of an issue. I do go to the desert on occasion, which means carrying a lot of water weight.
I’m thinking the Circuit may be overkill for my needs—perhaps it’s perfect for the thru hike I have in mind, but excessive for shorter trips? On the other hand, I will be in the upper limits for pack weight for the Starlite and Mariposa on any longer trips I take.
Any thoughts on these packs—especially for a thru hike carrying around 30-35 lbs v. my usual 1-2 night trips? Any other packs I should consider?
One last thought: I do pay attention to how I load my pack, but since I have limited experience (about 2 years of backpacking under my belt) I prefer a pack that does not need to be packed meticulously. In other words, I want a pack that is a little forgiving in how I pack it up. I don’t mind some fiddle factor, but I’d hate to have to load and reload a pack along the trail if I didn’t nail the packing the first time. In this regard, does the Circuit outshine the Mariposa and/or Starlite?
Thanks for any input!