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Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3?
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Chris Irwin
(Chris.89) - F
Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 03:42:21 MDT Print View

Hi all, I've been lurking here for a while as I've been making the transition to more of a lightweight backpacking style. But I decided to create an account to get a few questions answered and maybe post up a gear list later.

Anyway, I currently have an Osprey Atmos 50 pack, but I find it uncomfortable as the weight seems to hang off me a little too much. When I used it for a three day trip, this caused me to tighten the whole thing up which transferred the weight to my shoulders. This felt more comfortable at the time, but it has since caused me neck and back problems.

So, I'm thinking of selling it and getting a new pack. I decided that perhaps It might be a good idea to try out a lighter pack, which ultimately will be more comfortable if I can keep the weight down. But I'm not too sure how much weight I can comfortably carry in it without causing myself pain or injury.

What weight would you say a golite Jam 2/3 would take comfortably? I don't mean what weight will it still function, but what would be pleasant to carry...

My current baseweight is about 7Kg, but transfering to the golite would take it down to about 6.3Kg

Steve Gaioni
(sgaioni) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Search function on 04/18/2012 04:40:29 MDT Print View

Comfort is relative. Near the top right of the screen appears "Search BPL". Enter "go-lite jam" and you'll find a wealth of quantitative and qualitative information.

Chris Irwin
(Chris.89) - F
reply on 04/18/2012 04:58:07 MDT Print View

Knew I was going to get a search function reply....

I already did this before posting, and read through many threads.

The general consensus seemed to be not more than 25Lbs. But I was really hoping for an answer that related to my situation. Whilst suffering with a bad neck/back - is the Jam going to be OK for me, and at what weight?

I know that comfortable is a relative term, but by understanding other peoples levels of comfort, it might help me out.

I'd love to try the pack on before buying, but unfortunately it isn't in any of the high street shops, so I need to ask questions instead.

Richard Bowns
(Dixster) - F
weight for Jam on 04/18/2012 05:54:43 MDT Print View

Hi , i my base weight for my jam pack is 6kg with food and water close to 9Kg for a weeks trip and it fits and feels great, best pack i have ever used, i have a osprey exos 55 which i find too big nowadays. cheers Rich uk.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 06:20:27 MDT Print View

I don't think anybody could reply to your situation since everyone's issues are different and what works for them may not for you. It seemed like you were implying the neck/back "problems" were simply from the Osprey, not that you have some actual physical issue. If the latter is the case, I doubt any frameless pack would do you well with that base weight so you should get an internal that fits you properly.

Re: Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 06:34:00 MDT Print View

The Golite Jam is popular because it is durable, affordable, easily available, and relatively light. It is a completely frameless pack, however, which means that it is going to strain your shoulders at a lower weight compared to other bags. The "comfort zone" is different for many people (this is why you can't get a straightforward answer), but since you have prior injuries, I would probably steer you in another direction. Many smaller companies make lightweight packs with load lifters (ie minimalist frames) that help disperse the weight in your pack to the right places (not your shoulders) for optimal comfort. These kinds of bags tend to be more pricey, but imo it's worth it for the comfort and features provided. Have you been considering any other bags?

Chris Irwin
(Chris.89) - F
Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 07:32:01 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies.

In regards to the neck/back problems. I did not have any problems prior to using the Osprey Atmos on a 45 mile, 3 day hike. One day after the trip, I woke up with really bad pain, and it's been there to a certain degree ever since. This leads me to believe it's the fact that I transferred the weight onto my shoulders as it felt uncomfortable otherwise. I've tried using the pack since, without huge amounts of weight in it, but it always seems to feel like it's straining my neck muscles.

With that in mind, as others have said I guess maybe the Jam isn't the pack for me, as it would put more weight onto my shoulders.

I have looked around at other packs, but it's difficult to get much in the UK.

I originally liked the Osprey Kestrel, but it's 1.7Kg, so I'd rather something lighter.

I found the Granite Gear Vapour trail for sale in the UK at a reasonable price, so I was considering that also.

Do you have any other suggestions for lightweight, framed packs that are available in the UK?

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 08:28:42 MDT Print View

It's almost 2 years old now, but the internal frame SOTMR BPL did lists the Osprey Exos 46 as being the lightest available at the time. The 58 was close behind. Two specific UK brands were Crux and Lightwave. The heaviest model tested of those 3 brands was 1.46 Kg.

Alternatively, you could go with a frameless that uses stays or a hoop to transfer the weight better. Those options are still lighter than any IF pack. Something like the SMD Starlight or MLD Exodus Full Suspension.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Comfortable load for a golite Jam2/3? on 04/18/2012 08:35:24 MDT Print View

Have a look at the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider and Porter. Much lighter than the Osprey Exo 46 but with two thick, stiff stays. Not to mention it is functionally rain proof.

Chris Irwin
(Chris.89) - F
re on 04/18/2012 11:29:44 MDT Print View

Thanks, I'll take a look at them all. Not sure what is available for UK delivery without high costs though.

Thomas Budge
(budgthom) - F

Locale: Idaho
20 lb tops ... on 04/18/2012 19:51:14 MDT Print View

... for me. I bought both a Jam and GG Gorilla to compare. The Jam's hipbelt was superior, but there was no comparison in carrying comfort. Jam at 15 lbs felt about the same as the Gorilla at 25.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Heres the problem on 04/18/2012 20:26:06 MDT Print View

From the way you describe your Osprey pack it really sounds like it was too small for your body size.

Edit - Here are some pictures to make this all clearer.

too small pack

Here is a pack that is too small. See the green line? That is the length from the hipbelt to where the shoulder straps attach. This is the "torso length." Here its too small. See how the pack leans back? That sounds like your problem. If I tighten up the straps it won't lean back but it will put all the weight on my shoulders (again sounds like your experience). The yellow line shows the angle from the shoulder strap attachment point to my shoulder. An angle like that is bad. Ideal it should be a perfectly horizontal line from where the straps attach to the top of my shoulder.

better fitting pack

In the second picture there is an example of a pack that fits right. The green line shows the torso lenght. The yellow line shows the angle from the top of the hiker's shoulder to where the straps attach to the pack. Notice how the shoulder straps attach at a point basically level with the guy's shoulders. This is what it should look like. He can have his pack fit close to his back but with most of the weight on his hips.

I think first you need to figure out if your current pack is too small and what size pack you need. This will be really important if you have to order something.
I would stay away from the Jam if I were you. I like it but if you have a neck or shoulder problem its not a good choice. If your neck and shoulders bother you, you should get somethin with an internal frame taht can put most of the weight on your hips. Frameless packs like the Jam put some weight on your hips but not as much.

Edited by Cameron on 04/18/2012 20:50:43 MDT.

Chris Irwin
(Chris.89) - F
Pack Size on 04/19/2012 10:14:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for the detailed reply Luke. I've tried the pack on in the mirror, and it actually seems like the opposite problem. The pack is a little too large, as the load lifter straps are about 3-4 inches above my shoulder height. Also, to get a close fit to my back I need to tighten the shoulder straps a fair bit, which in turn transfers the weight to my shoulders. I think this is the problem. I should have got a smaller size.

I measured my back size as recommended from pack manufacturers, and it's about 17-18 inches from Iliac crest to C7 vertibrae, which is a small size for an Osprey pack. I have the medium.

So, getting a smaller size might fix my problem. But, I've decided I'd also like a pack that doesn't have so much to damage (aluminium frame) during air travel. As I may be travelling to Peru next year for a few months.

I'm thinking of getting the Granite Gear Vapour trail. I know it's discontinued, but I've found it in the UK for £100, which seems reasonably compared to the Crown (it's successor). What do you guys think of it? It seems like a good compromise between weight and support.

EDIT: You can see the sort of gear I will be carrying here:

Edited by Chris.89 on 04/19/2012 10:15:46 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Pack Size on 04/19/2012 10:55:59 MDT Print View

Sounds like you have the shoulder pain problem identified. My first impression was that you won't like frameless packs much if the Osprey gave you trouble, but any pack needs to fit right. Another thought is to how you load the pack and the center of gravity. You want the heavy stuff as close to your body as possible.

IMHO, frameless packs are good to 30 pounds at best and lower is better--- 30 pounds is a *very* general estimate. I have used Jam and Peak packs in the low 20's and that seemed about right. Your packing methods will make a lot of difference. Many place their pad inside like an open tube and pack their other items inside, forming a column. Other pads work better folded and placed against the back. The trick is to aid weight transfer and not have something poking you in the back.

The Granite Gear packs are well made and have very "cushy" padding in the straps and hip belt. I see your gear list has a rough average base weight of 7kg/15lbs, which the Vapor Trail should be able to handle well.

If you are going to check your pack as luggage rather than carry-on, put it in a duffle bag. If you are going to spend a lot of time on local buses and trains vs hiking,the duffel bag can help there too, as well as providing extra storage on the way home.

Edited by dwambaugh on 04/19/2012 10:56:59 MDT.