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Backpack for a Small Scout
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Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Backpack for a Small Scout on 02/28/2012 14:34:19 MST Print View

My son just crossed over to Boy Scouts and I'm trying to find a pack that would fit him. He has a pack I made for him that fits fine, but only is only about 21 L and weighs about 12 oz. That's fine when we are backpacking as a family, but I don't think he's going to have room for the shared patrol gear. Right now he can fit his sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes and water and everything weighs about 8 lbs.

The problem is his torso lenth is about 13.5 inches and he only weighs 55 lbs. We would like to keep his total weight under 11 lbs. I really don't want to put him in a 3 - 4 pound pack, but most of the commercial packs seem to be in that range.

Any ideas of a commercial pack that might fit him, or do I need to get the sewing maching back out and just make him a bigger pack?

Jason Williams
(whiskey) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Osprey on 02/28/2012 19:08:20 MST Print View

My daughter is a bit taller, but I put her in a Osprey Talon 33 S/M. It has an adjustable harness and I adjusted it small enough to work for her. I think she's around a 15" torso, but this might be worth a test fit.

Check out this thread

pack on 02/28/2012 20:37:55 MST Print View

13.5 sounds like a large torso length to me for a 55 lb scout, especially if they are 10 yo and just crossed over. Are you sure thats correct? There are a few packs that go down to 13", but you need to be sure you have the length right.

A ULA circuit in small with adjustable shoulder straps goes down to 13" and adjusts 13-18" so they can grow with it. Its custom made, but can be returned because they consider it a stock option. Not on the website, but call Chris at ULA and talk to him. The straps mount to a moveable sheet that velcros into position. Will weigh about 34oz.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
MYOG options on 02/28/2012 20:43:41 MST Print View

I don't know how into pack making you are but Gossamer Gear sells the aluminum frames that they put in their packs. They are U shaped and prebent.

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
He's a string bean! on 02/28/2012 21:40:46 MST Print View

He's actually almost 12 years old, but very small and extremelly skinny. I reweighed him and he's up to 59lbs. He's got a 22 in waist so the hip belt is another area that he has trouble fitting.

I've sewn 4 packs and a couple of quilts, so I'm comfortable with sewing, but if there was a commercial pack with an adjustable torso that would prevent me from having to remake a pack every time he has a growth spurt.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re He's a String Bean on 02/28/2012 22:13:40 MST Print View

I feel your pain. I think my little brother averaged one or two trips off our MYOG packs before he outgrew them!
Have you checked out Granite Gear? I believe some of their packs have adjustable torse lengths. Trying a womens size might work.
If you make another pack I'd make the torso about an inch too long and add load lifter straps. Between those I figure you could accomodate about 2-3 inches of growth.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: He's a string bean! on 02/28/2012 23:51:18 MST Print View

Rebecca, odds are that by the time you make a pack that fits him now, he will have out grown it. That answer doesn't really help-
Most of the commercial options available in a 13" torso are external frame packs and a 22" waist further compounds the problem. An external frame is not the worst option but at 59 pounds it doesn't help make the 25% rule. See these articles What a Beginner or Scout Needs for Backpacking Part 1 and What a Beginner or Scout Needs for Backpacking Part 2

Kids are pretty resilient as long as the weight is not too much (<25% see above articles) so sometimes you just have to make do. Here is a picture from August of 2002, the three kids are 8,10 and 7. Though the 8 year old had an old Jansport, everything together only weighed about 10 to 12 pounds (the 8 year old was about the size of your son)
Barclay Lake 236

Maybe use a pattern of the Gossamer G4, but rework the pattern to the size needed, you can Google to find the pattern.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/29/2012 00:01:32 MST.

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Hopefully he'll grow soon on 03/01/2012 10:34:02 MST Print View

We found out that the upcoming trip that we were originally told was a backpacking trip is a car camping trip, so we may have a few months until he needs a backpack for scouts. We may wait and see if he spurts up this summer or else I may be making a new pack for him.

I've made 2 G4 packs and 2 packs based on the BPL article (I can't remember the name).

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
External Frame for young scout on 03/03/2012 21:51:11 MST Print View

I have found that the smallest external frame packs work well for young people, like 11 years old and younger. REI and Kelty both make one that is very small. My son used one, and I got a couple of additional ones to loan out to new scouts, and they are great. This post has some photos of the progression of packs that my son experienced in scouting. Sorry, I don't know how to insert a link in this post. Frame on 11 year old scout

Edited by rshaver on 03/03/2012 21:53:15 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re External Frame for Young Scout on 03/04/2012 17:53:25 MST Print View

Bob I was researching kid packs about a year ago and could not find any external frame packs that weighed less than 3.5 pounds. I think the OP was hoping for something a bit lighter.
One option would be to look around and see if you can find an old used pack. We had a couple kid sized external packs where I worked that were great. They were small, relativley light and had adjustable torsos.

Ryan W
(mwilks) - F
Re: Backpack for a Small Scout on 03/04/2012 18:12:52 MST Print View

Hey Rebecca,

Since you are able to sew, you might consider making your own adjustable torso pack.

I once saw a family that did this for their kids and they were pretty nice.

Key design inputs were:
1. Removable hipbelt that is slotted behind a padded lumbar area and attatched with velcro and hipbelt stabilizer straps. As he grows you can change the position a bit and also swap out a larger hipbelt.
2. Adjustable shoulder strap harness. Straps are sewn to a yolk which then velcros behind a backpanel padding. Load lifters might help.
3. Lots of compression to account for small packbag size now and larger packbag size later to go along with the harness expansion. The golite/MLD compactor system may be useful.

Large swaths of velcro are incredibly strong and many major pack manufacturers use this very system for some adjustability. I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I was growing in the right direction :), and I didn't mind the weight.

I think with some creaivity, you could get a pack that lasts for several years.

Edited by mwilks on 03/04/2012 18:14:36 MST.

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Detuer Fox 40?? on 03/05/2012 08:37:46 MST Print View

We did take him to REI and had his torso measured. They measured it at 14 inches. We're thinking of a Deuter Fox 40 for him. Has anyone had any experience with this pack? I can't find it locally to try it on him.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Pack suggestion on 03/05/2012 10:31:06 MST Print View

The Jansport Scout (external frame) due to its light weight and adjustability works well for guys as they grow. I've seen it work reasonably well from age 11 to 18. Always was what I recommended our boys get as a first pack. If you watch for sales at Campmor, can often get for about $50. Once they stop growing, then an internal frame may make sense, especially if they get into backpacking.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
Pack Availability on 03/05/2012 12:18:34 MST Print View

FYI, the Deuter Fox 40, the Jansport Scout, and the Kelty Jr. Tioga packs are all available from REI, so you can order any of those packs with little risk. If it doesn't fit, REI will gladly take it back.

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Waiting for my Dividend on 03/05/2012 19:45:36 MST Print View

Yes, I'm waiting for our REI dividend and then we will probably order the Deuter Fox and see if that fits him.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
weights on 03/06/2012 10:23:52 MST Print View

The REI small youth external frame weighs 2 lb 6 oz. The Kelty Long Trail Jr. weighs 2 lb 11 oz. There is a Kelty Long Trail Scout which is a bit larger, that weighs just over 3 lbs. I weighed these at our scout meeting last night. Many young scouts have fairly bulky sleeping bags, so the external frame allows a young scout to carry a bulkier sleeping bag, and strap some other gear on the outside. If a small scout has a super compact sleeping bag and thus can use an internal frame backpack, he is luckier than most.

Edited by rshaver on 03/06/2012 10:25:16 MST.

Vincent Lauricella
(1776SM) - F
other options on 03/07/2012 15:53:01 MST Print View

Does anyone have any experience with the Mountainsmith "Pursuit" (internal frame) or "Scout" (external frame) packs? We just gained 9 new recruits at Cross-over on Sunday so that got me thinking about packs for younger Scouts.

My son used a Northface "Terra 55" for awhile and liked it a lot. To me it was fairly heavy at 4+ pounds.

The Deuter "Fox 40" is definitely lighter than most in the youth pack market, but at 2450 cubic inches I wonder if it's large enough for a Scout on a weekend trip?

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
REI Flash 50 - Women's Small on 03/07/2012 17:45:27 MST Print View

We ended up getting our son a REI Flash 50 -Women's Small from the REI Outlet. We weren't really sure if it would fit him, but it does. At 2lbs 8 oz, it seems like a good option for a light weight back with plenty of room for his gear. The hip belt cinches up tight enough for him which was an issue with a lot of other packs he tried on. It will fit him now, but still has some room to grow. It's on sale at the REI-Outlet for $99.