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How Packs Work
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Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: How packs work on 12/14/2012 11:12:52 MST Print View

Seems impossible to design one pack that fits a wide range of people really well. If you want a pack that works well for you, you need to try a lot (and return or resell a lot), or get a custom pack.

Now I understand why some packs get rave reviews, but I hate them when I try them.

book says:
"I'm curious: if someone were to produce an external frame pack that weighed two pounds or less, would members of this forum consider it?"

Ten years ago I tried the LuxuryLite StackPack (just over 2 pounds), and it was agony for me, even after many adjustments and part rearrangements. Must fit some other people OK because he still sells them.


"Oh wait, even more: how many members of this forum have even used an external frame pack?"

You mean Kelty, North Face, Trailwise, LuxuryLite, and some no-name canvas-and-aluminum pack my mom bought me for Boy Scouts?

Most comfortable pack I ever used, regardless of construction, was an Alpenlite internal frame pack from the early 1980s.

Though my new HMG Windrider 2400 is pretty good fit, too. Got lucky on that one.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: re: frameless packs on 12/14/2012 16:32:00 MST Print View

"Having made packs with all the variations - no frame at all, foam pads, plastic framesheets, stays, and with and without lifter straps, I have settled firmly on lightweight stays and skip the framesheets/pads. 3 oz. worth of aluminum gives me weight transfer far better than any foam pad ever will, plus effective lifter strap attachment points."

Hi Paul,

In this context, what do you think of the OHM/Circuit design? The OHM has been nearly perfect for me, but I'm curious what you think of it's design for a broader set of users.

Tom

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: re: frameless packs on 12/14/2012 16:52:06 MST Print View

Tom - I haven't had my hands on either pack, so I can only comment on what I see in the pictures. I can't tell you what I think of the frame and its load transfer capability.

The one thing I don't like from what I see is that the belt is attached to the sides of the pack. I have found that I get the best performance if the belt attachment points are about 6-8" apart. Wider than that, at least for my average build, and you tend to get gaps at the "corners" - which can only be eliminated by tightening the belt enough to compress the pack contents far enough to get the belt to wrap tightly around the hips. Obviously the degree to which this happens will vary depending on body shape. The Circuit appears to have a narrower attachment, although I don't like the way the attachment is wider at the top than at the bottom. That's the opposite of what I would do.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: frameless packs on 12/14/2012 17:25:21 MST Print View

"The one thing I don't like from what I see is that the belt is attached to the sides of the pack. I have found that I get the best performance if the belt attachment points are about 6-8" apart. Wider than that, at least for my average build, and you tend to get gaps at the "corners" - which can only be eliminated by tightening the belt enough to compress the pack contents far enough to get the belt to wrap tightly around the hips. Obviously the degree to which this happens will vary depending on body shape. The Circuit appears to have a narrower attachment, although I don't like the way the attachment is wider at the top than at the bottom. That's the opposite of what I would do."

Thanks for the input, Paul. Grist for my mill.

FWIW, the OHM 2.0 uses the Circuit hipbelt and now attaches closer to the middle of the pack, more or less in the 6-8" range you mention. I have used all 3 versions of the OHM, and found that the 2.0 is by far the most comfortable and effective at transferring the load to my hips. This is a really big deal for me, as I hate weight on my shoulders. So, it seems that they are at least evolving in the right direction, at least for my body type.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: frameless packs on 12/14/2012 18:39:43 MST Print View

Maybe have the hipbelt be one belt, that goes around your hips

Then, have the pack attach to the hip belt

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: frameless packs on 12/14/2012 19:45:49 MST Print View

Jerry - I agree. That's what I do on my lightest packs - make a belt and sew it on. For somewhat heavier loads, like the pack I use for backcountry ski trips, I find a lumbar pad is a good idea, although that can be part of the belt if you want to do it that way. THE most comfortable pack I ever made had the hipbelt one piece, and attached to the pack only by two points at its bottom and one at top center. Involved velcro and webbing and worked great, but heavier than just sewing the belt on, requires a beefier belt construction(and thus heavier again) and makes no difference if the load is under 30 lbs anyway.

Bruce Kolkebeck
(cjcanoe) - M

Locale: Uhwarrie National Forest
UL packs on 04/02/2014 13:46:20 MDT Print View

My advice to folks who are starting out buy UL equipment first and then buy the UL pack. Heavy loads will kill you with a UL pack. Backpacking on my own with my Jam70 is great. At Philmont Scout Ranch last year all the stuff I carried for the crew plus the food and a gallon of water was not UL. It hurt. When I do my thru I'll take the Jam.

BK

Bruce Kolkebeck
(cjcanoe) - M

Locale: Uhwarrie National Forest
oops on 04/02/2014 13:48:04 MDT Print View

I just posted a reply to a two year old article. Still a very helpful article.

BK