Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Time for a new pack (after a 4 year hiatus)
Display Avatars Sort By:
(strong806) - F
Time for a new pack (after a 4 year hiatus) on 01/24/2013 17:06:13 MST Print View

I haven't done in a big trip in a number of years, and I want a new pack to serve two purposes:

1) Have an extra pack to try to coax my girlfriend into backpacking (so I want to minimize pack weight but maximize comfort). It needs to be unisex.

2) Have a new lighter pack for me to use in the event she doesn't want to do the JMT (needs to be bear can friendly).

I currently have an REI UL 60 that weighs in at 49 ounces after some cutting (see my 2008 gear list in my profile). I really love the pack despite the weight because of the load transfer and frame, etc. I had a 12 pound base weight on my last big trip and could easily have gotten under 10 with replacing gear besides the pack. In fact I likely would stick with this pack if it were just for me.

Both she and I need a substantial frame/rigidity and good load transfer to the hips.

My two current contenders are:

ULA Circuit: I like the build, and it seems similar to my current set-up. At 39 ounces (maybe 35 without the accessories) I would be shaving almost a pound off my current pack. Seems solid with good load transfer.

GG Mariposa 2012: I'm not very familiar with the stay and load transfer on this pack.

I am open to other suggestions for packs that:

1) Are lighter than 49 ounces (not hard to find)
2) Can swallow a bear can (or mount one outside easily)
3) Have a substantial stay or frame with optimum load transfer to the hips (i.e. loosening the shoulder straps all the way the pack can rest upright on the hips).
4) Are very easy on the shoulders with a solid hip belt
5) Good amount of volume (I like to put my shelter and quilt in without the stuff sacks occasionally).

Thanks in advance.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
2 on 01/27/2013 10:08:23 MST Print View

the 2 packs i would recommend looking at would be:


i have owned and used both companies packs and really enjoy them.

(strong806) - F
Re: Arc Blast and Exodus FS on 01/27/2013 10:28:54 MST Print View

Thanks, those are two packs I had not considered. I have generally shied away from those pack weights out of concern for comfort, but worth taking a look.

How is the durability on the Arc Blast? I am not the most careful when it comes to fragile materials and it looks like those side pockets would shear off in not time.

The Exodus FS looks good to me, although it might be an external bear can pack? How do you find the suspension and load transfer?

I also like the REI Flash 45 (would be a 50L) or me, and at 36 ounces it is lighter than the ULA Circuit. It looks like a few ounces could e cut out from hydration sleeve and extra loops.

I know something like the Exodus FS would be perfect for my weekend trips near the AT and I could just give it a trial run on different weights.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Boreas on 01/27/2013 10:47:27 MST Print View

I like my Boreas pack a lot, the backpanel transfers a ton of weight to the hips, but because of the design of the framesheet, it does this without a lot of weight. My Buttermilk pack is something like 42oz.

The huge internal space is amazing for packing- it's like a giant dry-sack. The external mesh pockets are actually quite utilitarian because of the strong, durable stretch material in place of the usual mesh. The 60L would also easily fit a bear can. I bet the slightly heavier Lost Coast could even strap a bear can underneath the top lid.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fit on 01/27/2013 11:07:06 MST Print View

are you buying a pack for both her and you by your description ?

if so ... then make absolutely sure it fits both of you ...

nothing wrecks taking someone new out faster than an ill fitting pack ... well other than getting chased by hungry bears ;)

fit is everything

(strong806) - F
Re: fit on 01/27/2013 11:24:16 MST Print View

Thanks I'll look at the Boreas.

She is 5'9" and I am 6 feet, so I think we might be able to get one that would usable by both of us.

The reason I want it to fit me is that I anticipate that she is not going to like backpacking or really get into it and the pack will be mine.

I guess I could always get her a less expensive pack and sell it in that case.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Osprey EXOS 58 on 01/27/2013 13:44:41 MST Print View

Look at the Osprey EXOS 58. goood quality and nice frame/back mesh suspension.

You can add aftermarket side pockets for extra space and for items like 1st aid kit, water treatment kit and potty kit the you need to easily access.

BTW, I have an REI Cruise UL 60 as well. Nice pack and will hold my Garcia bear can - barely. (No pun intended :o)

Edited by Danepacker on 01/27/2013 13:46:24 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Boreas Fit on 01/27/2013 13:49:04 MST Print View

The Boreas pack and most Osprey packs have shoulder straps that cut in towards your underarms, which means it should fit you and also fit your lady without anatomy-based discomfort. I would size it for you, and tighten it down for her smaller frame, since you'll likely be the final owner. The copious back padding on both the Osprey and the Boreas would mean that a slightly imperfect fit would never be painful for her.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
q's on 01/28/2013 07:17:59 MST Print View

i don't have the hybrid cuben that zpacks uses. i just have the lighter cuben in my pack, and i haven't had any durability issues w/ it. but yes, with cuben you do have to use a little more caution than you would w/ dyneema and the like. joe has thru hiked the triple crown using his gear. so that speaks for something in the practical durability category.

as far as the suspension goes w/ the exodus fs, i don't know :D. i used the regular exodus (no frame) and that was good enough for me. my base weight was never over 12-13 lbs with it. i know that A LOT of thru hikers use this pack.

it's also nice to support the guys hand sewing packs (like zpacks and ULA, and i guess to an extent mld). i try to support the cottage industries as much as i can.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Time for a new pack on 01/28/2013 08:57:59 MST Print View

One word of warning about your girlfriend - if you want her to decide she likes hiking you ought to make sure she's got a comfortable pack. Some women wear packs around the hips (I do it this way) and some women wear packs on top of the hips. The difference is a full pack size. For women, measuring torso length and assuming you can use that to determine pack size is a risky business. If you buy from ULA or GG or one of the other small businesses, I encourage you to buy two sizes, have her wear both around the house, and return one of them. If she starts with a pack that doesn't fit, she may not know enough to know that it should be more comfortable than it is.

My 2009 or 2010 ULA Circuit without the optional stuff weighs 35 oz. Extremely durable, comfortable, and functional. Nothing not to love. I've used it for about 35 weeks of hiking. It's more comfortable than my husband's Ohm-2 for weights over ~20 pounds.

I just tried a GG Mariposa for five minutes at last weekend's Gathering of Gear Geeks. Seems very comfortable, the suspension seems effective, and the pockets are functional, although the belt pockets are not as large as the ULA belt pockets. It's a little lighter than the Circuit. As per my sizing comment, Grant from Gossamer Gear was at the gathering, and his personal pack fit me perfectly, even though I'm ~4" shorter than he is; but that same pack was way too big for another women who is my same height.