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I need a new pack
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 18:59:14 MST Print View

Hello ya'll. Well I'm looking for the perfect pack and interested in your input. Heres my current pack line up.
1. BPL Absaroka Pack
2. MYOG Pack (frameless about 2000 cubic inches)
3. MLD Burn

The Absaroka is my favorite all aroung pack with two issues.
1. It doesn't have much in the way of compressiion systems. This isn't a huge deal on longer trips but its a bit annoying on really short warm weather trips.
2. The fabric is a bit too light and the seams will probably fail eventually.

Here's what I would like in a perfect pack
1. About 2000-2500 cubic inches of main bag capacity.
2. Good compression system.
3. Really durable and quality construction. Not just durable fabric but durable stiching that won't fail if I overload it a bit on a longer trip.
4. An interanl frame with the abilty to handle at minimum 40 pounds and ideally 45-50 pounds in a pinch.
5. A good hipbelt like the Absaroka thats connected to the frame and won't sag on me.
6. Lightweight 2 pounds would be ideal but no more than 2.5 max. If I can keep it light enough I won't be tempted to buy a lighter pack for shorter trips.
7. Affordable, I can't buy a McHale pack right now.

I could go to REI and get a pack that would meet all these criteria except it would weight 5 pounds. I dont' want that because I'd like one pack that can handle all my trips except perhaps short SUL trips.

Personally I'm not sure such a pack exists. I'm familiar with most of the packs that come close. There are plenty of packs by ULA, Six Moons Designs and others that come close but not enough. Most of them top out at 35 pounds, they seem to lack really solid hipbelts and have inadequate compression systems for my shorter trips. The HMG Porter comes close but its a bit expensive and I'm not convinced the fabric will hold up. Actually I'm more concerned the seams will fail over time. I've thought about asking Six Moons if they'd make me a custom Starlight pack and add three compression straps on either side.

Any ideas, anythign I'm missing/

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 19:01:36 MST Print View

Have you looked at the ZPack Exo?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 19:10:46 MST Print View

Hauling 50 pounds in a 37 liter pack sounds like you are carrying sacks of concrete. That's some pretty dense stuff you are carrying.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Hauling 50 pounds on 02/07/2012 19:28:59 MST Print View

Well actually it would be a tight fit and I normally am nowhere near that. Occasionally I've added capacity to a pack by strapping a large stuff sack to the top. It would probably be water and food if I ever went that high.

John I actually emailed Joe about the Exo. Looks like a great pack but he said 30 to 35 pounds would be about the limit. Its got the same cuban fiber hybrithat makes me nervouis on the HMG packs. I want something that will last 10 years. Maybe I'll have to just wait and buy a Mchale later.

Edited by Cameron on 02/07/2012 19:32:18 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 19:37:45 MST Print View

You are looking for a pack that provides good carrying comfort (50 lbs) but only relatively small carrying capacity (2500 c.i.). I would look for a Gregory type pack that can cinch down nicely.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Hauling 50 pounds on 02/07/2012 19:39:15 MST Print View

"Maybe I'll have to just wait and buy a Mchale later."

Start saving because, from the requirements you mention above, McHale is very likely where you'll end up.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Hauling 50 pounds on 02/07/2012 19:45:26 MST Print View

"Start saving because, from the requirements you mention above, McHale is very likely where you'll end up."

Could be... although 50lbs -- while seemingly heavy to most of us here -- is actually pretty average in the traditional hiker world -- which is still by far the biggest in numbers. There are plenty of packs that provide what I would view as more than enough carrying comfort at 50lbs. (or even more) at a fraction of the cost of a McHale. Not knocking on a very well respected brand, but just that my own mode of operation is start from the lightest/cheapest but good quality -- and work my way up the price/comfort/weight scale until I find something that will work well -- and not pay or carry anything more beyond that.

Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 19:56:25 MST Print View

If you end up taking the custom pack route take a look at ZimmerBuilt. I've heard he is great to work with. Not sure about cost though?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 19:56:35 MST Print View

and when carrying 40-50 pound loads can you really tell if your pack is a pound or three lighter?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 20:07:46 MST Print View

no you cant .... but you can sure as hell tell when if it doesnt fit properly ...

short of buying a custom pack ... you need to stuff 50 lbs in a pack at REI and walk up and down the stairs and about for a few hours ...

there may also be hunting packs .... but youll absolutely need a good fit regardless

make sure you can return it ...

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: I need a new pack on 02/07/2012 20:09:07 MST Print View

Yes on ZimmerBuilt! He has made two packs for me now. Great to work with in every way. Re his prices, I have found them to be more than competitive.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Weight on 02/07/2012 20:32:49 MST Print View

Ken you make a good point about not noticing an extra pound or two with a really heavy load. The dilema is I want a frame if I'm carry more than 20 pounds for any length of time. I figure if I'm going to pay the extra money for an interanl frame pack I'd like it to be as flexible as possible. I really dont' want an internal frame that tops out at 35 pounds, than a heavier pack that I almost never use. I also dont' want to put my 7 pounds of gear in a 5 pound pack for weekend trips.

Thanks for all the ideas ya'll. I was hoping there was a pack I'd overlooked somewhere. Maybe just need to save up and wait on somethign custome.

Edited by Cameron on 02/07/2012 20:35:55 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: the perfect pack on 02/07/2012 20:47:32 MST Print View

Perhaps ask Cilogear if they'd put the 45 liter worksack harness and suspension on and into a 30:30. There are some other climbing packs which are the right size and might have enough beef in the harness, but will generally be made of fabrics that will put you well over 3 pounds.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cilogear on 02/07/2012 20:56:56 MST Print View

Hum thats something to think about Dave. I wasn't sure about Cilogear though. Their frames didn't look like they mated to the hipbelt real well so I was assuming they would be limited to 30 pounds or so. The review I read on BackpackTestGear did not sound promising.
I'm going to try making an internal frame pack at some point but I'm not sure I can make it beefy enough to haul more than 30 pounds. I have some promising ideas but I don't think my sewing machine can sew through enough webbing and heavy duty fabric to get the hipbelt area as tough as I want it to be. I could buy a new machine but than I could buy a pack too...

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
zpacks on 02/07/2012 20:59:53 MST Print View

are you against having 2 packs? using your hmg for longer trips and picking up a size small zpacks zero for shorter and summer trips? that's what i do (except i use an exodus instead of hmg)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re zpacks on 02/07/2012 21:09:12 MST Print View

No I'm not against 2 packs but 3 or 4 is a bit much for my closet space and its probably not the best use of funds. I'm going to keep a SUL pack around because I'm often doing weekend trips in fairly warm weather. My SUL packs take me up to about 15-20 pounds comfortably and at any rate there isn't enough volume for more than that anyway. If I want to carry more weight or more bulk I need another pack. The most I'll ever carry is 40-50 pounds. That will only happen occasionally but sometimes I organize trips for friends or kids and find myself carry way more than my fair share because other people don't have the best gear. I was hoping for just one pack that could cover everything from just above SUL trips with 25 pounds total to my un-official "guiding" trips with 40 pounds or more.
Right now I'm set as far as personal use packs go. But someone threw away my big pack that I used when I took bigger groups out. I hate to buy something to replace it that I'll only use a couple times a year but I hate not having the ability to haul 50 pounds if I need to.

Edited by Cameron on 02/07/2012 21:43:48 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
eddie on 02/07/2012 22:20:06 MST Print View

eddie bauer has a new pack designed by the first ascent team. being marketed as a 40>55L pack. ability to expand from a 40L pack to a 55L expedition pack. i know their guides carry a lot of crap up on those big mountains. maybe worth checking into...

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
I need a new pack on 02/08/2012 00:08:16 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/17/2015 16:58:26 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Mike on 02/08/2012 06:01:04 MST Print View

Thanks Mike, yes I know I'm asking a lot, maybe more than I'll get without going the custom route.
I'll take a look at a Crown when they show up. It might do the trick if the fabric is durable enough, have to wait and see.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Cilo on 02/08/2012 12:53:52 MST Print View

Instead of reviews on Backpack Gear Test, just watch these videos. Especially the "What's in my pack!" ones.