Pack Pockets Yes or No?
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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 07:14:09 MST Print View

MYOG packs leave a lot of options open to the builder. Pockets or the lack of them is one of those options.

On a recent outing I had the occasion to do a little bushwacking and "holed" one of the lycra side pockets of my MyOwn pack. A slim profile pack without side pockets made of a durable material would naturally be less prone to damage during bushwacking expeditions.

My question is, Where do you carry items like your tent, water bottles and frequently used items?

If it is all inside of yur pack, please describe the order in which you pack your gear into your pack.

The item that sticks out in my mind is my tent which I carry in the said "holed" pocket. ;-)

Thanks in advance.

Party On,

Newton

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 07:47:31 MST Print View

I have no pack pockets.

I put my tent in a gallon zipper bag so if it's wet, it won't drip onto other stuff. Usually I put it on top, next to my back for the cushioning - I have a frameless pack so that's part of "my frame". It's easy to put in/take out, if it's raining, minimizing rain getting on my other stuff.

Water bottle is on top where I can get to it. Stuff in pack provides some insulation so it stays cool. Bag of food on top. It takes longer to get to than if it was in an external pocket, but just barely. I have to take the pack off to get to it, but this is only once an hour at most so taking several minutes to rest isn't a big deal.

Little things like car keys are in my jacket pocket, which is also on top. Or there's a miscelaneous gallon zipper bag which is on top.

The weight of several extra zipper top bags probably offsets any weight savings from not having pockets, but 2 bags weighs 0.8 ounce so it doesn't matter.

You definitely have to be a little more organized. Keep stuff in bags. Being a bit OCD helps. If you put a little thing in the pack, it tends to go towards the bottom and is hard to find.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 08:16:33 MST Print View

Here's a side shot of my typical packing method.

It consists of a large back bag (4000+ cubic inches), a tent and sleeping pad strapped to the top bar of the pack frame, and a front bag. Maxed out those 3 locations give me the capacity to carry 6000-8000 cubic inches of stuff. I like to keep weight down but don't worry about volume.

here

So packing goes roughly like this:

Big Back Bag (uncoated nylon)
(1)A 10" diameter stuff sack (inside a trash compactor bag) contains sleeping bag and all other clothes I want to keep dry. This goes in the bottom of the big back bag and helps form its shape and gives me a nice platform to set the rest of the stuff on. This stuff stays there until I make camp.

(2)Food goes on top of the 10" stuff sack. The largest of the bear cannisters easily fits horizontally here. When I backpack at the ocean a 6 gallon plastic bucket with lid sits here vertically. A stove, cooking gear, water filter, etc. would also go here.

Top Bar
(1) Tent, poles, stakes, cooking tarp, etc. go in a stuff sack, buckles to the top bar and hangs horizontally.
(2) Foam sleeping pad is buckled to and hangs horizontally from tent bag.

Front Bag(uncoated nylon)
(1) Bear spray and monoculor clip to front bag for ready access
(2) One to two quarts of water go inside front bag
(3) Everything elso I want handy goes in front bag (e.g. hat, mittens, hanky, first aid, map, compass, writing paper, personal locator beacon, signal mirror, gun, etc.

A large back bag is a real luxury, in my opinion. Most packs would not easily accomodate a 6 gallon plastic bucket, for example. A couple trips ago my wife found a 12" diameter fish float. It easily fit into her pack on the way out. It would not fit inside a pack that had a diameter of less than 36".

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
I like the pockets on 11/05/2012 08:34:14 MST Print View

I like pockets and the organization they allow me. I use an older ultralight pack ( ahem ) that's visible in my avatar...and a system of pocket organization that dates back pretty much to the pack's vintage. Water high and outside, first aid and stove low and outside, sleep gear in the former food pouch,clothing and gear in the middle, Go-to bag/quick gear in the outside back and the accursed bear canister up on top.

No rooting around, and a sense of calm order. Ha ha! Yeah.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Yes to Pack Pockets on 11/05/2012 09:10:09 MST Print View

First note - I don't spend time bushwacking. All of my trips are on marked trails. I may occasionally have to divert around a downed tree or two, but that's the extent of my time in the bush.

I really like pack pockets. The two side pockets on my Murmur are used for water (my 2-liter Platy Hoser on one side and a 1 liter Sobe bottle used for collecting and treating water on the other).

The big mesh pocket on the back of the pack holds raingear and my tarp easily.

I've also become a big fan of hip-belt pockets. I have the Gossamer Gear Large pockets on my pack and am able to keep all my snacks for the day in one of them and use the other for small items to which I want easy access (blister kit, headlamp, camera).

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 09:10:13 MST Print View

I generally do not like pockets. The exception on most trips is water bottle pockets, since I normally need to carry 2-4 liters of water. These pockets help stabilize the heaviest item I am carrying -- water.

Sometimes I will use a hip pocket or a top lid. On both my McHale's these are removable. My LBP 36 has a Kangaroo pocket. These are tough packs. The LBP 36 is made from full Dyneema and the Bump is Dyneema grid with a Spectra bottom.

The only other pack I use these days is a zPacks Zero and it has removable water pockets too. It does not have any other pockets or even a waist belt.

Bump without pockets
Bump without pockets

McHale Bump with pockets
Bump with pockets

LBP 36 vs Mariposa Plus
Here is the LBP 36 (right) next to a GG Mariposa Plus. Which would you want to take through brush?

zPacks Zero
The zPacks Zero is so small that my clothes catch on brush, not the pack.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: pack pockets on 11/05/2012 09:25:17 MST Print View

This year I've moved firmly into the no pocket camp. There are still some kinks in the system but I can't say I've missed them.

Shelter goes in the very bottom of the pack. Quilt/sleeping bag in a WP bag on top of that. Food/stove fuel on top of that next to the body. Clothing and bag of repair/FA/etc stuff on top. Water bottle on shoulder strap, food for the day/maps/etc in some kind of front pouch (still working on an ideal solution here).

Each system has to suit the conditions. I've done a lot of off-trail hiking this year, so a sleeker system makes sense. I also rarely need to carry more than 16 oz of water. Packrafting alters the way things are loaded, as would travel in another locale.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 09:38:48 MST Print View

Jerry,

"I put my tent in a gallon zipper bag so if it's wet, it won't drip onto other stuff. Usually I put it on top, next to my back for the cushioning..."

"Water bottle is on top where I can get to it. Stuff in pack provides some insulation so it stays cool. Bag of food on top."

"Little things like car keys are in my jacket pocket, which is also on top. Or there's a miscelaneous gallon zipper bag which is on top."

"If you put a little thing in the pack, it tends to go towards the bottom and is hard to find."

So you only carry really small things in the botom of your pack? ;-)

No OCD for me but a friend of mine once described me as the most anal person, but in a good way, that he knew. L O L

Thanks for the input.

Party On,

Newton

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: re: pack pockets on 11/05/2012 10:21:30 MST Print View

"Shelter goes in the very bottom of the pack."

The only problem with that, is if it's raining, you want to be able to quickly grab your shelter, then close the pack, so rain doesn't get in.

Of course, if it's not raining this doesn't matter

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: re: pack pockets on 11/05/2012 10:36:48 MST Print View

Dave did mention that each system needs to match the conditions. I am sure that when he expects rain or snow he packs his shelter towards the top.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: re: pack pockets on 11/05/2012 10:50:54 MST Print View

and I did mention that "Of course, if it's not raining this doesn't matter"

I guess I'm just an opinionated anti-pocket bigot that lives where it rains all the time : )

But pockets are convenient organizers - I see why people like them

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: pack pockets on 11/05/2012 11:33:04 MST Print View

"I guess I'm just an opinionated anti-pocket bigot that lives where it rains all the time : ) "

All my old external frame packs had pockets and it was nice to organize things -- but then it just encourage taking stuff I did not need. And it was just another place that could leak.

I like the kangaroo pocket in my LBP 36, mostly for maps and similar. But I only use it on longer trips. The Bump and Zero are normally pocket-less, unless I need to carry a lot of water. Where I often hike it almost never rains, contrasted to the PNW :)

Also most of today's UL packs are made from material that do not do well if they encounter a stray branch and such.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: wet shelter on 11/05/2012 13:46:27 MST Print View

"The only problem with that, is if it's raining, you want to be able to quickly grab your shelter, then close the pack, so rain doesn't get in."

Everything is in dry bags, and my pack fabric absorbs very little water. It makes little sense to re-structure the load based on something which happens twice a day.

Nathan Washburn
(nwashburn)

Locale: Southeast
shoulder strap pockets on 11/05/2012 14:58:38 MST Print View

I just got back from a trip where I tried out a Zpacks shoulder strap pocket and loved it. It weighs .3 oz (8.5g) and is handy for small items. You don't have to take off your pack to get to it and it stays out of the way while hiking. I'll probably get another one for the other side.

Note: I do most of my hiking on marked trails.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 15:20:17 MST Print View

My packs are mostly MYOG. The only pocket they have is on the lid. We have a LOT of scrub, and it is very harsh and spikey.

Quilt and clothing near the bottom in WP stuff sacks. Breakfast/dinner food down there as well. Then other gear. Water bottles near the top, vertical, up against my back. Small fast-access items, and there are not many, in the lid pocket. The pocket is never stuffed full.

Wet or dry tent, in semi-WP stuff sack, on top of the *WP* throat but under the lid, and held in place by at least one strap and the shape of the lid.

Cheers

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 15:41:22 MST Print View

Roger,

Picture(s) please?

Party On,

Newton

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 15:48:14 MST Print View

I've always considered myself anti-pocket for the most part, but it turns out that I have quite a few!

Pack: Six Moon Designs Comet, 2005 model, long since discontinued but a "little brother" of their larger Starlite.

--side mesh pockets: yes, used for water bottle, lunch/snacks, fishing rod, tent (last may be moved inside to the top of the pack for the same reason as John D's, especially since I've acquired a cuben fiber tent).

--back mesh pocket: yes, for rain gear and (when not raining) drying wet socks

--small interior pocket at top of pack, for car key, documents, cash, cards: nice to have but not necessary since only needed the last day of the trip.

--internal pad pocket: Another "nice to have"--protects my insulated air pad from other pack contents and eliminates a stuff sack for same, but not really necessary.

--added hip belt pocket from MLD: for current day's map and odds and ends (sunscreen, bug dope, Body Glide for feet). This is handy, since built-in hip belt pockets weren't around when I bought the pack. Yes on this one. I don't know what I'd do with the map with built-in hip belt pockets, which are generally a lot smaller.

--shoulder strap pocket from ZPacks (added): for camera. Lets me get the camera out in a hurry without removing my pack, greatly speeding up the time needed between seeing what I want to photograph and taking the picture. Yes on this one, too.

No way would I put a shelter in the bottom of my pack! I want that tent up before I have to unpack in the pouring rain! I also use a pack cover (1 oz.) because my pack is my pillow, so I want at least the front dry so it won't soak the hood of my sleeping bag.

Edited by hikinggranny on 11/05/2012 15:49:17 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 16:38:20 MST Print View

"No way would I put a shelter in the bottom of my pack! I want that tent up before I have to unpack in the pouring rain!"

Ha, ha, ha - I think we see the difference between the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies...

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 16:58:53 MST Print View

Except that in the Rockies it's quite likely to be pouring (with attendant thunder, lightning, hail) just about the time you want to camp. Of course if you wait half an hour, it will have stopped. In the PNW rainy season, it usually won't be pouring, but it will be raining steadily, and it is very unlikely to stop.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Pack Pockets Yes or No? on 11/05/2012 18:37:35 MST Print View

Hi John

Winter pack 7b (red)
Winter frame pack, OK for ski touring for a week. 1.23 kg empty. Has carried up to 24 kg for base camps in the snow (that was d@mn heavy!). MYOG of course.

Cheers