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Jerold Swan
(jswan) - F - M
Climbing packs on 12/12/2004 14:48:37 MST Print View

I'm curious about the collective wisdom on climbing packs. I have a quite long torso and hate having the waist belt on packs ride up around my ribs. Most climbing packs are small enough that this is a problem for me. I usually use my McHale Zero-SARC-UL, which works well, but I'd like to know if there are smaller climbing packs that nonetheless fit a very long torso.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
climbing packs for long torsos on 12/12/2004 15:27:58 MST Print View

I'm not clear on how small you can compress the McHale pack
in question. I've used a Wild Things Andinista since the 80's.
It can be stripped down/compressed to something like 1800
cu. in. I have a very long torso and this was one of the few
production packs for the job that would work for me. It
probably won't carry as comfortably as your pack,though.

Jerold Swan
(jswan) - F - M
Andinista on 12/12/2004 16:26:43 MST Print View

I have no idea what the volume of the McHale is when fully compressed. Mine is not one of the newer models that has a "bayonet" feature to make it smaller. But I did see someone with a fully compressed Andinista yesterday and it looked about the same as my pack with all the straps tightened down.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Climbing Packs & Dan McHale on 12/15/2004 21:04:22 MST Print View

Jay, you've seen the light. A small volume daypack with a nice long torso that can carry a meaningful amount of weight (say, enough for a summer bivy and light rack) is a terrific product. Who makes them off the shelf? Just ... about ... nobody.

I was looking for one of these 2 yrs ago so I called McHale. For those of you that don't know Dan McHale: Visit the McHale Packs Website.

I had him make a 2200 cubic inch "Summit Pack" loosely based on the Subpop design in that it forgoes compression straps in lieu of the Subpop's trademark feature: modular compression cords (lacing, bungee, whatever you want to call it).

My McHale Summit pack is made with Spectra Gridstop, has a full Spectra bottom, full Spectra shoulder straps and hip belt (padded, both), internal frame (light stays, 3/4" x 1/16" x 23.5" frame length), a real top pocket, kangaroo rear pocket, and wand pockets. Weight is 38 oz. Strip all this out out (except the Kangaroo pocket, which is sewn in), and replace the padded belt with a web belt w/gear loops, and it weighs 24 oz.

I'll try to post a photo here tomorrow when I get to work.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Wild Things Andinista Limitations on 12/15/2004 21:09:47 MST Print View

I like the concept of the Andinista but it doesn't really play out in real life. I borrowed a friends and have used it a few times.

It's a big sac, about 5500 cubes, so, you load this all up with gear to fill it, rope, and half a rack, and you're easily busting over its intended 30 lb limit and the thing feels like you're carrying the Eiffel Tower on your back. It's a really tall pack.

So, then, you zip it all up, and guess what, it's still a really tall pack, just really skinny. Because of the serious lack of helmet room, you have to just consider any kind of volume capacity above the load lifter to be wasted, in either its expanded or compressed state, if you're going to wear this climbing the steeps.

A good solution (sorry for the repetition) is a McHale SARC with P&G bayonets that you can use to drop the pack height for climbing if needed. Even with the P&G's in, you can bring the top pocket back a little and give yourself plenty of helmet room. I demo'd a P&G S-SARC a few weeks ago and this versatility was incredible. Cinch it up with compression straps, and you have a great option for hauling in a monster load while still compressing to a reasonable alpine day pack.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Andinista redux on 12/16/2004 10:32:36 MST Print View

Ryan,what we used to do with our Andinistas to create helmet space was to create a hollow in the back of the upper part of the pack through creative packing and to adjust the lid so it sat away from you. Granted,not perfect but useable. Body type may play a role in how much the pack interferes with the helmet. I'm
6' 2" with a long torso.
If I were in the market for a new alpine pack I would consider the McHale (and cringe at the Maserati-like cost for something that is going to be ultra thrashed)-- love that bayonet feature, but would consider packs by Cold,Cold World or Mystery Ranch.

Edited by kdesign on 12/16/2004 10:34:19 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Cold Cold Works Packs / Andinista on 12/16/2004 11:02:31 MST Print View

Kevin - you have a big advantage with your height! At 5'8", I've tried to carve a helmet hollow in the Andinista but I think I'm just too short to make that pack work. One of my climbing partners is 6' and he is able to do that fine.

I've climbed quite a bit with a Cold Cold World Chaos - but it suffers on the approach as well if you're humping a bunch of weight for a multi day trip. I really like the Cold Cold World Chernobyl - good size for short routes and a nice simple design, nice and compact for climbing as well.

Jerold Swan
(jswan) - F - M
McHale packs on 12/16/2004 17:54:08 MST Print View

Ryan, I'd love to see the photos of your McHale pack. After shelling out the coin for the Zero-SARC-UL, however, I'll probably stick with it at least for a while.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
McHale Summit Pack (Photo) on 12/16/2004 18:31:16 MST Print View

You got it, Jay/others. Here it is. The pack is buckling slightly under a 20 lb load because there is no backpad or frame in it right now.

Ryan Jordan's McHale Summit Pack

Edited by ryan on 12/16/2004 18:32:59 MST.

Jerold Swan
(jswan) - F - M
McHale photo on 12/17/2004 13:27:55 MST Print View

Ryan, that is a really cool pack. You need to get it dirty!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
McHale Summit Pack (Photo) on 12/17/2004 14:53:07 MST Print View

Just cleaned it up, actually! unfortunately the spectra won't clean back up to white tho.