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Lightweight Packs, with conditions....
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Doug Parker
(BuffaloSkipper) - F

Locale: Gulf Coast
Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 12:18:59 MDT Print View

I am looking for lighweight backpacks for some friends of mine. All are looking for a "framed" pack, that is to say something with at least a minimal internal stays or hoops. Not frameless.

Lighweight and (minimal) Internal Frame are key. Money, less so.

Here is the list of what I have found so far:

ULA Circuit
Granite Gear Crown VC
Osprey Exos 58
REI Flash 62
GoLite Quest

Am I missing any others that we should be considering?

FWIW, a year ago, I switched from an Osprey Aether 70 to a ULA Circuit. The Circuit was the lightest, framed pack I could find with a comfortable, adjustable (interchangable) hip belt. I am so happy with my Circuit, that I gave it to my son, and ordered me a custom Circuit (with the mesh backpanel/pocket from the Ohm).

Edited by BuffaloSkipper on 07/06/2012 12:22:24 MDT.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
+1 for the EXOS 58 on 07/06/2012 12:21:40 MDT Print View

I love my Exos 58. Not as light as a frameless pack, but is it comfortable. I don't even notice it on my back when I'm carrying under 25 lbs.

Edited by HairlessApe on 07/06/2012 12:22:24 MDT.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Locale: www.jolly-green-giant.blogspot.com
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 12:27:45 MDT Print View

I'm testing one of Gossamer Gear's new Mariposa packs right now. Take a hard look at it as I'm really liking it.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 12:51:43 MDT Print View

www.hyperlitemountaingear.com

Either the Windrider or Porter. The Porter will out carry all of the packs that you have listed for less weight (mine weighs 30.7oz with the stays / frame - the Windrider is lighter). The fabric is rain proof and completely bomber to abrasian and punctures. I have had all of the packs you mentioned and only the Circuit would come close in my opinion.

Doug Parker
(BuffaloSkipper) - F

Locale: Gulf Coast
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 13:15:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. I am curious to hear more about your experiences with the new Mariposa. What can you offer about load carrying, loadability, comfort under load, or anything else.

I have had no exposure to Hyperlight Mountain Gear products. The waterproof feature of the cuben looks interesting, but I have never seen a cuben pack with a frame. What more can you say about it?

I neglected to mention at first, but I would expect for most of us to carry 20-25 lbs max on our upcoming 6 day AT section.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
McHale on 07/06/2012 13:28:14 MDT Print View

Look at McHale custom packs. More spendy but the absolute best in materials and construction.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: McHale on 07/06/2012 13:31:32 MDT Print View

Eric - probably a LBP34, which would be similar in size but much heavier.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 06/16/2013 09:28:20 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
ZPacks Exo and ZPacks Arc Blast on 07/06/2012 13:38:58 MDT Print View

I switched from the Osprey Exos 58 to the ZPacks Exo. The Exo weighs 1.5 lbs less than the Exos 58 and carries very well.
The new Arc Blast uses a mesh panel like the Exos 58 and looks very interesting.

Manfred

NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 14:32:23 MDT Print View

Can't exclude the ZPacks Exo...fully adjustable frame, water resistant if not waterproof, comfy, and oh yeah, only weighs 14 oz!

I am really liking mine so far.

Cheers

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Six Moons Designs on 07/06/2012 15:40:12 MDT Print View

Depending on how much volume you need either the Starlite or the Swift have a hoop stay which combined with the pad pocket are very good at weight transfer. I have carried 40# with the Starlite with stays and 30# with the Swift without stays.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 17:27:15 MDT Print View

G G Gorilla. I find mine (the old model) very comfortable. Have carried about 22lbs in it so far. The new one has tougher materials. My only disappointing has been that some of the construction isn't as good as it could be. The HMG packs look well built, but I have read a report of stretching at a seam and the Porter is pretty new to the market.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 17:55:42 MDT Print View

Jason, I haven't seen that review regarding the stretching. Can you provide a link for me? Thanks,

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 18:57:06 MDT Print View

Hi David. I thought you might ask. I was careful to say it wasn't a review, but a report and after some thinking and googling I have tracked it back to the comment down at the bottom of this page http://www.backpackingnorth.com/2012/06/first-impressions-gossamer-gear.html. I believe he is referring to Jaakko Heikka's http://korpijaakko.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/the-average-day-on-the-artic/ pack, so you could contact him for clarification. Hope this helps.

I may well end up with a Porter as I am looking for a larger and tougher pack than the Gorilla.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/06/2012 22:12:30 MDT Print View

I am really impressed with the durability of the fabric but am now going to watch the stitching. So far so good (crosses fingers). Thanks for the links.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 12:42:39 MDT Print View

The GG Gorilla backpack, as well as other backpacks I've tried with similar designs (hipbelt wings and removable stays) all exhibit a good amount of backwards pull - about the same as a frameless pack. IMO, they're worse than a frameless pack when loaded with around 15-20lbs.

A centrally-attached conically-cut hipbelt with solid connections to the stays or hoop makes a huge difference in carrying comfort. With the current cottage designs, even if you can contour the stays or hoops to properly adjust the load towards your vertical center of balance, the torsional flex in the hipbelt wings and attachment systems makes it irrelevant.

I just wish ONE of these cottage makers would get that. It doesn't take more than a few seconds after loading the pack up with ~15lbs to feel the difference and see the problems in their current designs. It would be a very modest increase in weight, as well (an ounce, at most). All they need is a better-designed pack-to-hipbelt-to-hoop attachment, a conically-cut hipbelt, and a slight difference in the shape and design of the hoop/stays (narrower at the bottom for the hipbelt and wider at the top for the shoulder straps).

I'm at the point of designing my own. I'm tired of waiting for a lightweight backpack with a *well-designed* internal frame.

I'd say stick with the main manufacturers (most), that still seem to understand this problem and are designing proper internal frame backpacks, even if they are about a 10-16oz heavier than they need to be. If you can find a good fit, they'll carry a LOT better.

It's a shame we have to decide right now between buying a pack with lightweight materials or a proper frame design. I think the problem is mostly rooted in the fact that the cottage makers are frameless pack users, and don't have enough experience with framed packs to design one properly.

So yeah, my opinion, based on my experiences in trying over 30 different sub-3lb backpacks is either to go UL frameless (<12oz) or pick a well-designed framed backpack from a main manufacturer (>2lb). (or McHale)

Edited by lindahlb on 07/09/2012 14:20:01 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 13:34:56 MDT Print View

I think I will have to disagree with Brian. I have a Murmur (2012) and no stays. It carries really well with a Nightlite pad as a pack frame...up to 23lbs for 8 nights out. I have used the GG MiniPosa with ~25lbs for 11 days out. The old G5 was equaly comfortable with 20lbs. Many trips of shorter duration, of course. My base weight is around 9-11lbs. These packs all weigh between 7 and 15oz. The pad acts as a frame, one of the better frames to be found, actually. It is a bit heavy at ~10oz, but since it does double duty, it works. It works far better than rolling a pad up inside. Anyway, this is a 5 section pad made from a 3/4 length Nightlite. Cut to 10.5" pieces, nested bumps and fanfolded with tape. Best I ever found up to 25lbs. Since I can get most of the way across the ADK's with that, I never had need of more.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 14:09:52 MDT Print View

James - I don't think we disagree. I think one should either go with a frameless or a properly designed framed backpack. If backwards pull isn't a problem for you with frameless, then it isn't a problem (for you).

It's the hipbelt wings and removable stay design that I find inadequate. The stay designs I'm talking about are a problem. They add weight without adding the full benefit of a proper framed design. My bone to pick, is this - if you're going to have a frame, design it properly. It will carry much better with little to no weight gain. I'm not saying they're uncomfortable - they're not. It's just that a proper frame design is noticably more comfortable, even when trying the pack on for just a few minutes.

I'm also not saying I wouldn't use one of those backpacks, I'm just saying I'd prefer to go frameless and lose weight, as, as you've discovered, a pad used as a frame works just about as well for weight transfer as the hoop stays for loads around 20lbs. Preventing torso collapse is about the only thing those hoops are good for, which isn't a problem for lighter loads. However frames have MUCH more to offer than just preventing torso collapse.

I do prefer a lightweight framed backpack, but the only way you'll see me wearing one, however, is if it's properly designed to carry over the vertical center of balance, which means conically-cut and centrally-attached hipbelt, bendable stays/hoop, and solid connections. Unfortunately, there is NOT a single one that is also made from UL materials (DyneemaX, Cuben, etc.) with minimal features. I feel this is a largely untapped market.

Edited by lindahlb on 07/09/2012 14:25:45 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 14:24:36 MDT Print View

" do prefer a lightweight framed backpack, but the only way you'll see me wearing one, however, is if it's properly designed to carry over the vertical center of balance, which means conically-cut and centrally-attached hipbelt, bendable stays/hoop, and solid connections. Unfortunately, there is NOT a single one that is also made from UL materials (DyneemaX, Cuben, etc.) with minimal features. I feel this is a largely untapped market."

HMG Porter fits your requirements.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 14:35:44 MDT Print View

> HMG Porter fits your requirements.

It's frameless? But if you mean the HMG Windrider, it's still a hipbelt wing design which allows for torsional flex of the overall suspension system.

The flex in these designs is pretty easy to see when someone else puts the pack on. Bottom line, air pockets in the corners of the hipbelt, located where they attach to the backpack = no good. The stays/hoops will pivot away from your back. There's a few other no-nos, but that's a pretty big one, based on my experience with various framed packs.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Packs, with conditions.... on 07/09/2012 15:51:47 MDT Print View

Mmm, no, the Porter has stays as a frame. It also has hip belt straps which pull the stays to the hip belt. The Windrider does not have this feature. The load transfer is superb for such a light and durable pack.