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Winter Pack recommendations
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Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Winter Pack recommendations on 09/21/2012 17:36:06 MDT Print View

Evening all,

My largest volume pack is a 3 year old ULA Catalyst (75 litres) but I am looking for something with larger capacity for some 4 day winter mountaineering trips carrying snowhoes or skis and cold weather kit.

Weight would probably be in the region of 40lbs.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Stephen

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Would you consider a pulk? on 09/21/2012 18:07:51 MDT Print View

Would you consider using a pulk (sled) that you pull behind you? When I winter camp, I don't carry a pack, I pull my gear in on a pulk. It's easier to ski or snowshoe without a load, and a good pulk does a good job of accommodating bulky loads. A kid's plastic toboggan will work, although the heavier duty black ones that are actually made for hauling loads are better because they are made of a more durable plastic. UHMW strips on the bottom can help it track properly, and stiff bracing between the sled and a hip belt keeps the sled tracking right along behind you and not running you over on a decent. You can also make a nice pulk. I have a cedar strip pulk that was gifted to me years ago by a fellow that enjoyed making such things, and it works great and is light to boot.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Would you consider a pulk? on 09/21/2012 18:11:42 MDT Print View

Hi Dena,

I would consider a pulk for some cold weather trips, but for mountaineering it would be a liability on scrambles.

Cheers,

Stephen

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: winter pack on 09/21/2012 18:12:48 MDT Print View

ULA liters are pretty small, so if only need a bit more space, something like an HMG Expedition might get the job done.

Otherwise the Cilogear 75L worksack is right up your alley.

Beyond that it's the Gregory Makalu, Mystery Ranch, Kifaru, and McHale.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: re: winter pack on 09/21/2012 18:46:18 MDT Print View

Cheers David,

Will check those out indeed :-)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: re: winter pack on 09/21/2012 19:33:47 MDT Print View

David,

I found a Bpl review that was started in January but has not been completed, I tried to bump the thread but it was looked like it was locked.

Cheers

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
40 lb? on 09/21/2012 19:58:12 MDT Print View

"looking for something with larger capacity for some 4 day winter mountaineering trips carrying snowhoes or skis and cold weather kit."

That seems like a pretty low starting weight to me for even snowshoes, let alone skis. Have you put together your full kit (including food) and weighed it?

Maybe you are sharing a shelter which will cut a bit but looking over my winter and mountaineering trips I can't see getting that light for a trip with gear. (mountaineer/climbing/skis)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: 40 lb? on 09/21/2012 20:50:04 MDT Print View

Hi Ray,

I have problay low balled my weight a bit, I have judged it off previous trips in Ireland and Scotland, I have forgotten to add the weight of the skis or snowshoes, let just that weight up past 50lbs.

What pack would you recommend?

Cheers,

Stephen

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Winter Pack recommendations on 09/21/2012 21:02:20 MDT Print View

I would look at the Osprey packs that fit your volume needs.

With loads that include snowshoes, skis, ropes and other climbing gear, a McHale or the likes is justified, cost aside.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Mystery Ranch on 09/21/2012 22:46:50 MDT Print View

Mystery Ranch packs are at their best with winter loads. Lightweight they are not, but unequalled at weight transfer. Pick the one that meets your volume needs.

Cheers, Richard

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Winter Pack recommendations on 09/22/2012 02:45:36 MDT Print View

Hello again Stephen,

(3:30 am here. Getting ready to go to the airport, need coffee...)

OK, that sounds better. I started doing my winter and mountaineering trips with a Bora 95, went to an Osprey Aether 85 and am now in an Osprey Aether 70.

For years I have tried to get my gear down to where I could use a Mutant (40 L) but can't do it. It is a great winter day-pack though.

Good luck in your search. I am off for three weeks so will not be able to respond to questions.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Molly Mac Pack on 09/22/2012 06:04:10 MDT Print View

Have you seen the Molly Mac Pack? It'll scale as large or as small as you want, though for loads above ~40 lbs or so, you'll probably want to add a pair of small aluminum lumbar stays to the pack like Rat suggests in his review.

I have a DIY version, and it's comfy up to 40 lbs. Above that, my waist belt design isn't really up to the task, but the frame and back panel themselves are just fine up into the eighty-pound range.

Hope it helps!

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
70L + for four days of mountaineering on 09/22/2012 08:16:01 MDT Print View

seems like a lot of gear/volume. here's what fits in my 40L cilogear for four + one days:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=55176&nid=466402&print=1

Even with a full rack and snowshoes i couldn't imagine going over 60L with room to spare. Too much volume in a pack just equals bringing too much stuff.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Winter Pack recommendations on 09/22/2012 10:21:52 MDT Print View

Dale & Richard,

I will check those packs out, have you experience with them?

Ray,

Have a great trip, where you heading?

John,

So you made the pack yourself, how much time and money did you out in to it?

Richard,

Your gear seems similar to mine but I do not see a hard shell pants or a sleeping pad in your list, is that an omission?

Have a great weekend all,

Stephen

Greg Fox
(Cabman) - F
lightweight on 09/22/2012 11:55:05 MDT Print View

I really like my Kifaru KU 3700 and you can get a 5200 if you need that much space. I have 2 long pockets and a grab-it with my 3700 and have yet to need both pockets but I'm sure I will this winter. I also have a Kifaru Longhunter that I just use the frame with a cargo chair when using a pulk.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Winter Pack Recommendations on 09/22/2012 12:06:35 MDT Print View

+1 to Osprey Aether

I fit all my gear into the 60 liter version but usually am sharing common gear and food with one or two buddies.

Also, I have broken several components of the pack while winter camping and Osprey has very good customer service.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Winter Pack Recommendations on 09/22/2012 12:33:58 MDT Print View

Cheers Guys,

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
hardshell pants and sleeping pad on 09/22/2012 12:41:55 MDT Print View

Stephen - I for the most part stopped taking hardshell pants when I started wearing Scholler softshell pants. I usually attach a closed-cell foam pad to the outside of my pack.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: hardshell pants and sleeping pad on 09/22/2012 13:00:24 MDT Print View

Cheers Richard,

What foam pad do you use.

I noticed you use an ID event overbag, do you use that's over your Antelope in the the tent? does it uprate the bag much?

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Re: Winter Pack recommendations on 09/22/2012 13:49:54 MDT Print View

Stephen M said: John,

So you made the pack yourself, how much time and money did you out in to it?


Not sure how much time I've got into it, to be honest. If I had to ballpark, I'd say somewhere in the range of ten to twenty hours of actual work, along with another ten to fifteen hours of research. That's for the Alpha and Beta models; I'm going to replace the shoulder straps and waist belt on the Beta model, which should take me another four to six hours if previous experience is any indication.

As to money, I have probably about two hundred, maybe two-forty into it. Most of that was in the prototyping stage (it's the first pack I've tried to make, so I had to learn a lot about sewing before it worked out); if I was to do it from scratch now, I could probably make one for an hundred, maybe hundred-twenty, total.

Honestly, it's probably cheaper and easier to buy one from MacEntyre. He's got the whole thing down, for sure. I just wanted to get a feel for how the design works and pay for it in installments as cash became available rather than all at once. Besides, I have the ability to point at it with pride and say, "I made that."