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Going from Traditional to Lightweight
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Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Re: Big 3 on 01/01/2013 14:03:14 MST Print View

If you are handy with the thread and needle you may want to check out some of the kits the sell at thru hiker (I think its They sell a down quilt kit for $150 that will get you below 20* (if you don't think you are up to that, the elightned equipment quilts are tough to beat on price as are the Golite 3 season quilts). They also have kits for windshirts, down jackets, synthetic jackets,etc.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Base Weight and Volume - Help choosing a pack on 01/02/2013 12:18:24 MST Print View

(I might check out one of those kits in the future...thanks for the suggestion!)

I got around to measuring my base volume and weight.

My base weight is ~17 lbs. and my approximate base volume is 2500 cubic inches. I then figured I would need 500 cubic inches for three days of food and fuel (canister stove). So thats roughly 49L. Does that sound right? Keep in mind, this is a winter pack.

So now I'm looking at REI for packs. I'm stuck with buying one there because I have store credit and no more funds to buy one elsewhere. Can you guys give me some thoughts on the following packs? I'll either try them on in the store, or order 1 or 2 to try on if they aren't in stock locally.

REI Flash 45 - 34 oz. - I know this would be a stretch, but I think I could drop down in size by taking a serious look at some of my gear. This would easily work (I think) for a summer bag when I don't have as much clothing to carry.

Mountain Hardware ThruWay 50 - 29 oz. - The size is much more convenient and the weight is low. This is intriguing, but I have yet to do any research on this pack.

Osprey Exos 46 - 37 oz. - This is one that I am seriously considering. The size is a little small, but I think I could make it work...probably more-so than the REI Flash 45.

Osprey Atmos 50 - 50 oz. - This is the beefiest of all of them. I probably wont get this pack, but I threw it in there for good measure.

Edited by FightingTheTide on 01/02/2013 12:39:46 MST.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Mountain Hardware ThruWay 50?? on 01/02/2013 15:04:24 MST Print View

I just found the MHW ThruWay50 on sale. The wife did a torso and waist measurement at 19" and 32". However, I think my torso is at least 19.5" or maybe even 20". So I would probably go with a large.

I'm not sure how long this sale is, but I can get the pack for $160 (originally $230) w/ free shipping.

EDIT - it seems this might not be a good pack - most reviews say it works best with loads under 20 lbs.

Edited by FightingTheTide on 01/02/2013 16:06:51 MST.

Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: Base Weight and Volume - Help choosing a pack on 01/02/2013 16:12:58 MST Print View

I went into REI last week, pack still loaded from the trip I returned from two days prior, and did a one-to-one dry run of all my gear in the packs I was considering. In that short list was the Flash, which while more comfortable than my existing pack, didn't quite work with my gear. It didn't seem to pack well based on the dimensions of my stuff, and the top lid was really disappointingly small (but I loved my Arcteryx's top lid) and lumpy when loaded. I had probably 25 pounds loaded and it felt pretty good however.

That said, I have my Exos 58 sitting next to me as I type this from work. I haven't had time to go pack it yet (bought it sight unseen) but we'll see how it does tonight. I'm still slightly worried that a 46 would have been better, but I'll only go that route if the 58 doesn't compress down well to a smaller volume.

I'll report back and let you know how it feels!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Going from Traditional to Lightweight on 01/02/2013 16:39:31 MST Print View

Some backpackers know that they operate in black bear country. In some of these areas, bear canisters are required or else extremely practical. The only trick is that is a huge lump to drop into your pack. Granted, your food volume goes into the canister. Still, that can be a big lump, and you want to think about that when selecting the pack.

My rule of thumb is that a carried weight of ten pounds means 1000 cubic inches of pack volume. So, I generally end up using 2000-2500 cubic inches, depending on the trip. If I am filling up a bigger volume, like 3000 cubic inches or more, then that tips me off that I have too much stuff, so I start trimming things down to get it all into the smaller volume.

One pack I have is 6000 cubic inches. If I fill it up, it is just plain uncomfortable no matter how you slice it.


Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Quick Exos 58 Report on 01/02/2013 20:03:48 MST Print View


I saw your PM but figured I would put the info here for the good of viewing public. Hope you don't mind...

One word: "wow". The Exos is night and day different than my Arcteryx Atmos 50. It's even night and day compared to the three other packs that I tried all my gear in at REI. For reference I tested the Flash 60 not 45, Boreos Lost Mountain 60, and the Boreos Buttermilk. Obviously I'm testing the next size up if you will, in volume, compared to you. More on that in a second though.

But yes, the Exos is fantastic. I just loaded it up with everything I typically take, including 3L of water and food for a few days, and the suspension feels that I barely feel the load. The Exos's suspension would have to turn on me, court my girlfriend, and key my car, before I thought negatively of the trampoline. Total convert. Contrary to what you've read I would also argue that the weight transfer to my hips is the best so far for a couple very individual reasons: the torso length is spot on, and the fabric/foam used for the waist belt and straps is very nicely stretchy. To the former regarding fit, I measure 20" but much prefer my pack riding low on my hips to address some back problems. Regarding the latter, the hip belt in particular is extremely comfortable because of it's flexibility and the forward pulling straps that pull the top and bottom of the hip belt as you tighten. However, of note, the 58 has additional padding than the 46. Having tried on both, I'd definitely err on the size of the 58 for the additional padding and simply compress down the pack's volume.

And when it comes to volume, boy does the 58 work well for me! All of my things fit comfortable with plenty of room to include more food, or perhaps a slightly larger cook kit without fearing that I'll burst a seam. The aforementioned bear canister would fit fine in this pack, that's for sure. I just picked up a Fly Creek UL2 for solo trips but even with my larger tent (see below) for my girlfriend, dog, and I, everything fits quite comfortably. And I'm quite pleased that carrying smaller loads the over/under compression system works fantastically to bring the volume down. I'm really glad I didn't go with the 46 now because of the flexibility. This pack will cover 4 seasons if a person is even remotely paying attention to what they're doing.

Here's a quick gear list of what's going into it (the major stuff):

Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 40* bag in Sea to Summit eVent compression bag (15L, about 8" around by 12" long)
** soon to be replaced by EE 20* Quilt which will pack a ton smaller and be a pound lighter
REI Quarter Dome T2+ tent w/footprint
** split into a pole bag, and a dry bags for body and fly (3L and 5L respectively)
Exped SynMat UL LW
Stoic 700ml Ti Pot with Caldera Cone Fusion inside
Exped inflatable pillow
Exped Schnozzel pumpbag with all my clothes (occupies maybe 7L of moldable space with air sucked out)
Outsak UL (the larger one) with 3 days of backpacking meals
Eddie Bauer Downlight jacket in stuff sack
Camelback 3L bladder (one without baffles so it's kind of a log)

In the two vertical pockets on the outside I have:
One pocket:
1/2 gallon ziploc with toiletries
couple compressed rolls of TP
poop trowel
Other pocket:
REI Taku WPB jacket (all 26oz of it, oof)
* soon to be replaced with 13oz alternative on order

Top lid is quite a bit roomier than I thought and easily fits all this plus room for a lot more:
Rab Cirrus wind shirt stuffsacked
Tikka 2 headlamp
Mechanix gloves

And the hip pouches have more room than I have stuff!

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Quick Exos 58 Report on 01/02/2013 21:28:58 MST Print View

No worries on the reply here. That's a great review! What size (M or L) Exos 58 did you get?

I'm torn between this and the REI Flash 45. Part of me wants to get the Flash so I can slim my load down a little more, but I wonder if that's not realistic...especially in the winter.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Quick Exos 58 Report on 01/02/2013 22:47:06 MST Print View

Welcome to the Exos club Alec ;) I agree with a lot of what you said.. lets you pack without being OCD and cramming.. even with 4-5 days of food for me and 12-13lb summer baseweight.

hip pockets are good for snacks and photocopy of map folded up.

my body didn't like the Flash in the store.. which is why you try them on :)

Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Exos sizing.... on 01/02/2013 22:54:40 MST Print View

I went with the size large.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Ordering a few to try on on 01/03/2013 12:51:43 MST Print View

My local REI doesn't have any in stock, but I'm planning on ordering a few to try on. Thanks again for the review! I'll report back with what I find.

Oh, and I ordered an EE 20* quilt! Stoked!

Edited by FightingTheTide on 01/03/2013 13:31:36 MST.

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
EE and packs on 01/05/2013 19:39:52 MST Print View

Congrats on the EE, you will love it. And you are focusing on the Big 3 which is an excellent start.

I will give one warning with packs- If you have any back or shoulder problems a pack with a frame or pseudo-frame will take the pack weight off of your shoulders. The frameless packs are lighter...but can feel heavier if you have sensitive shoulders or back injuries.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Ordered a few packs. on 01/05/2013 20:52:18 MST Print View

Thanks! I'm excited about getting the EE quilt. I talked with Tim and got the 2013 version - the biggest improvement seemed to be the 5" baffles.

As for a pad, I just bought a LW Synmat UL 7 in gear swap. Stoked!

And with packs, I'm not looking for a frameless one right now. The two that I'll be testing out are the Osprey Exos 58 (and the 46) and a Granite Gear Crown VC 60. I ordered different sizes in each and had them shipped to my local REI to try on for size. Do I need to bring my gear with me to see how it all fits? Or do the weighted pillows suffice?

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
not sure on 01/05/2013 20:59:04 MST Print View

I'm not sure about the weighted pillows, but I'm guessing the closer you can get it to reality, the easier it will be to make your decision.

Very jealous about the Granite Gear VC! That pack is on my short list, but I can't seem to find one anywhere to try.

Have fun.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Going from Traditional to Lightweight" on 01/05/2013 23:46:03 MST Print View

Am I the only person in the world who found the Exos 46 and 58 to be incredibly uncomfortable? I guess I am. All I wanted to add, and I hope I didn't miss it, is someetimes your hip will hurt if you overinflate a pad. I inflate mine just enough to keep my hip off the ground.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Some thoughts. on 01/05/2013 23:49:44 MST Print View

Hi Tyler,

I know this seems obvious but try everything you buy, one at a time. I made the mistake thinking that because I read all the reviews and asked questions that the gear that works for most would also work for me. In some cases it did but in a lot of others it didn't. Buy a new pack, load up your gear and go on an overnight. Get a new sleeping bag and spend the night in your backyard. Bring one new thing with you each time and see if you like it. Take notes. Buy your first chunk of gear from REI (I know it's not ultralight) but you can return it no questions asked if you hate it.

Ex: When I first started lightening my pack I purchased a foam pad from GG and it was ok at first but after two nights my hips were super sore. Then I bought a neoair, shortened it, and used it for 10 nights. It was better then the foam pad but I didn't like the way my legs dropped off the pad and the 20" width was a killer. So I eventually just bit the bullet and purchased a full length neoair and took the weight penalty. Lessons learned: I'm a side sleeper, I thrash a lot at night, my hip bones stick out a bit, I like to sleep comfortably and the extra ounces are worth it to me.

I learned a lot by listening to what others had to say but mostly from trying new gear out every time I hike. I hope my rambling helps a little.


Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Overinflation... on 01/06/2013 00:48:51 MST Print View

I've been there with the overinflated pad. I realized that a few trips ago that if I schnozzel my SynMat UL with the requisite 3 bags, then top it off with 3 instead of 2 breaths, I'll likely wake up in the middle of the night with a super painful hip. I've also found this to be the case at home so who knows maybe I have some physiological thing. So provided I don't overinflate my pad and, when I sleep on my slide, rotate my hips another 10 degrees or so towards sleeping on my stomach, it relieves enough pressure to not be a problem.

One more piece of advice on the Exos: I've found that the shape of the bag's main compartment towards the bottom lends itself towards better packing if your stuff is in less structured stuff sacks. I pack all my clothes in my Schnozzel pump bag and then punch and mould it into a shape that contours better into the pack. Just now I switched my sleeping bag out of its usual cylindrical compression sack into a simple roll-top dry bag, sat/knelt on it, and then jammed the whole thing into the bottom of the pack with much better results. The bottom of the bag especially, because (and this will make sense once you see it in person) has sort of wings, it's not just a simple cylinder or cone stitched to a frame, that curve and conform around the lower frame and as a result you could easily have some dead-space there, as I did, with a standard compression sack. On the plus side, my tent poles and sleeping pad nestle down perfectly into that space in the pack body with the aforementioned switch to a roll-top stuffsack.

Anyhow, best of luck with the packs! I would definitely try them out with your actual gear if at all possible. I ruled out a couple packs because they just didn't hold the gear well based on its' shapes and sizes.

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
re:overinflation on 01/06/2013 07:59:05 MST Print View

I didn't know about this issue! Thank you gentleman. I was getting a sore hip with my Synmat UL.

I *heart* BPL. :)

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Good stuff! on 01/06/2013 12:56:17 MST Print View

Thanks for all the tips! Knowing not to inflate the pad to the max is a good one to know. And I'll check out the Exos in detail before making a decision.

It'll be a few weeks before all of my gear is collected and ready for a trip. Once I get to actually use it all, I'll report back.

In the mean time, how reliable are SteriPens? I picked up a Traveler Mini for pretty cheap, but not sure if I'll keep it. I like the idea of how quick is purifies water, but I'm also eyeing the Sawyer Squeeze bag system - no need to filter the water first.

Edited by FightingTheTide on 01/06/2013 13:44:38 MST.

Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Sawyer Convert on 01/06/2013 17:07:18 MST Print View

I just went on a trip with my Sawyer for the first time and it made a stark raving evangelist out of me. Between the weight, the thoroughness of the filtration, ease of use, and general convenience of the setup, it's by far the best $40 I've spent on any equipment. I doubt my MSR Sweetwater will ever get used, and my Aquamira will be relegated to backup in case something breaks down with the Sawyer (which I'm mitigating by using Evernew 2L bags). Here's what I had to say in my trip report located here about the Sawyer...

4. Sawyer Squeeze Wins (aka "This Water Tastes Like The Good Water at Your White Friends' House with the Fancy Fridge")

It made a believer out of myself (first trip with it) and 4 other people. We were filtering spring water sourced streams in a canyon with delight. Literal, unabashed, "this tastes like Brita water!" delight. The sources weren't cloudy so no idea how it would do with that, but it did a fantastic job filtering water we probably didn't need to filter despite having hard-to-fill bags and retaining enough water inside the filter, even after being shaken and blown through, to soak through my cargo pants pocket and dribble down on my ankle in 35 degree weather.

So yeah, it's an awesome piece of gear. Get one cheap on Amazon, order an Evernew bag from, and if you have a camelbak (or even if you don't) I would suggest getting the little adapter so you can rig up a piece of tubing to the outlet and quick-connect to the camelbak (or just use the tubing full time as a more convenient filler hose like I did with individual canteens).

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Sawyer Convert on 01/06/2013 17:35:58 MST Print View

When I was a "Traditional" backpacker, filters didn't exist. A filter would be additional weight to my traditional kit.