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Kari Post
(karipost) - MLife

Locale: New Hampshire
Need a Larger Pack on 06/04/2012 06:38:00 MDT Print View

I currently have two Osprey packs that I use for backpacking, both of which I LOVE. I use a Talon 44 for day hikes (its a bit large for this but works fine) and shorter trips and an Ariel 55 for longer trips. I got a Six Moons Designs Traveler at one point but returned it because I felt I needed a beefier pack with a more substantial frame. I often carry photography equipment with me on trips, and I find that this is really uncomfortable without a good frame due to the rigid and bulky nature of those items.

I'm planning to thru hike the Long Trail (265 miles in Vermont) this summer/early fall and was looking at getting a larger pack, probably around 70L. I want to do the trip without a resupply, and go no cook to save on stove and fuel weight (I'm more of a snacker anyway). I will also probably want to bring some basic camera equipment, an estimated 6-10lbs of camera, lens, extra batteries, tripod, and ballhead.

What are your recommendations for a lighter weight, full frame, fully featured pack? I'm not looking for something ultralite, but rather a compromise between weight, features, and durability. I was looking at the Arc'Teryx Altra 75, but am not sure how I feel about the side loaded hydration sleeve.

My current options: Osprey Ariel 65 or Ariel 75, Arc'Teryx Altra 75, anything else?

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Need a Larger Pack on 06/04/2012 09:38:01 MDT Print View

Every Deuter I have tried carries very well--better in my opinion than the Ospreys.

J H
(jlhilliker) - F
RE: Deuter on 06/04/2012 11:20:06 MDT Print View

+1 on Deuter

I have a Deuter ACT lite 65+10, and I love it. It carries very well, and is fully adjustable, which I like since I have a longer torso. A little heavy, but it can carry a lot.

Edit: Also, you may want to check out ULA Catalyst (about 75 liters). I have the smaller version of it (Circuit) and it's hands-down the best pack I've ever used.

Edited by jlhilliker on 06/04/2012 11:25:39 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: ULA on 06/04/2012 12:19:27 MDT Print View

I would check ULA out too. I've never owned one, but I keep hearing great things about them. Granite Gear makes excellent load haulers too.

Jacob Smith
(Wrongturn) - MLife

Locale: The Soda
+1 for ULA on 06/04/2012 14:09:13 MDT Print View

+1 for ULA. I used a Catalyst for 60% of my section hiking from Springer to Harpers Ferry on the AT. The last 40% was with a ULA Conduit, now refered to as the CDT, after I went light weight.

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Re: Need a Larger Pack on 06/04/2012 14:12:16 MDT Print View

I love my Altra 75 for work trips (carrying remote cameras, large spotting scopes (Questar), climbing gear, etc). However I have read more than one person that did not like the way the hipbelt fit them as there is a slight hump in your lumbar region. The side hydration doesn't bother me as I can only fit a 2L platypus bag in there so it doesn't affect the weight distribution that much (for me and my load). Some people have also had the belt webbing slip a bit in the belt buckle in the rain...I've been lucky so far but I think (hope) Arcteryx has fixed that on the newer ones (just check with their customer service) It really is a cavernous pack and overkill for nearly any weekend trip.

I would highly recommend trying it out first at an REI fully loaded up with your gear...and also take a look at some of the granite gear packs which are quite nice (almost got a nimbus meridian instead). I haven't used any of the ULA packs but I hear great things about them.

Feel free to ask any specific you would like to know. Cheers

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Need a Larger Pack on 06/04/2012 14:26:35 MDT Print View

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter Expedition pack. I have the Porter and it has proven excellent.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead)

Locale: Cen Cal
. on 06/04/2012 15:20:40 MDT Print View

+1 on ULA and HMG. Went from a Circuit to a Windrider. Depending on your space needs, their bigger counterparts (Catalyst and Porter) would be also perfect.

Ed Hayes
(ejhayes) - F

Locale: Northwest
Osprey Ariel 65 or 75 on 06/04/2012 16:07:16 MDT Print View

If you have two Ospreys and they fit well, stay with the brand, IMO.

Although, going from your current 55 to a 65 liter might not be worth it. Going for the 75L will definitely give you more space.

I have two Ospreys also, an Aether 60L and Kestrel 38L. I use the appropriate one for the trip. Neither are the lightest, but they carry so well :)

I think Deuter makes great packs too, but they don't fit me as well.

Edited by ejhayes on 06/04/2012 17:17:37 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Pockets on 06/04/2012 17:10:56 MDT Print View

Kari, unless you're itching to spend the money just add side pockets to your Ariel 55. You'll gain about 800 cu. in. of volume with two average size side pockets. Plus they are great for storing things you may want quickly such as 1st aid kit, stove & fuel, potty kit, toilet kit, etc.

Some of the cottage industry pack makers have them.

BTW, a 70 liter pack seems to me to be edging into the large size for summer backpacking.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/04/2012 17:14:57 MDT.

Mark Montag
(mMontag) - F
Another Deuter vote on 06/05/2012 06:13:10 MDT Print View

Check out the Deuter "Act Zero" 50+15 - 3.25 lbs - nice big toploader with no extra bells or whistles - the top pocket can be removed for lowering weight when not needed on the new models. You can sometimes find the 2010 model on Ebay - 60+10 at 3 lbs.

The Deuters have one of the best suspension systems available for the weight & size - very comfortable. I use the 2010 (60+10) model for my Rocky Mtn solo winter pack - has room to spare including carrying an extra 8-10 lbs of landscape photography gear - handles the consolidated weight very well. With the limited features Deuter recommends this pack for the "experienced" thru-hiker - who really don't need all the extra heavy pockets & zips.

Edited by mMontag on 06/05/2012 06:18:34 MDT.

Kari Post
(karipost) - MLife

Locale: New Hampshire
Thanks! on 06/05/2012 20:22:02 MDT Print View

So funny, I just had a chance to test a Deuter bag (80L I think) on a trip I just did, but worried about testing out a brand new bag on a 6 day hike, so I stuck with my Ariel 55. At least half of my participants were outfitted with Deuters and none of them seemed to have any problems with their bags.

Agreed that the jump from the Ariel 55L to 65L is probably pointless. Looking back, I wish I just got the 65L to start because I probably won't need 75L most of the time and 65L would be just right I imagine.

Yea the Altra is probably going to be a love-hate relationship. I can pick one up off of a fellow BPL'er for a good price, so I might just do that and resell it if I don't like it. No outfitters nearby carry Arc'Teryx and I know that REI often needs to order one in because they aren't typically in stock in the stores.

So, I think I'll be testing out an Altra and may have one up for sale in the classifieds soon if I don't like it. Also turns out I get Deuter on prodeal so that opens up some new options. But then there is the tried and true Ariel. Love those packs!