So, this is more of a rant than a question but by all means feel free to jump in if you have any ideas.
Lifelong Scout and backpacker here. I have an old Camptrails 70L pack and a 7lb Mountainsmith that I've lugged around Dolly Sods, Philmont and the Smokys. It was heavy but it didn't occur that I could do something lighter.
Last summer I read Skurka's book and it got me thinking..."hey, I'd like to have these knees when I get older (I'm in my late 20's right now). Started researching but didn't need to buy a new pack. A few months ago I re-read Skurka's book and then discovered this forum.
So now I'm planning a trip for April and I'd like to buy a pack. Over the past months my thinking has changed multiple times as I process the difference combinations of price/features/weight. All the while, trying to stick to the whole "buy gear then the pack" mentality.
First I planned on the Golite Jam, then I looked at the true cottage brands. MLD's Prophet costs too much (for me right now anyway), SMD Swift looked good but too big, the Borah Gear Stealth looked perfect but then I panicked that I wouldn't truly be able to cut my load down to <25 lbs and went back to mainstream brands like Osprey (ie TRY ultralight without having to commit). Turns out they make not 1 but 3 packs that might work for my needs, so now I'm confused between the Talon, Exos and Hornet. Why so many Osprey?? Meanwhile, ULA's Ohm or CDT MIGHT fit my needs anyway, and hey there's still that trusty old Jam, waiting on Golite's website and saying "it was good enough for Skurka you putz!". Finally there's still that cool looking Borah Stealth, which seems to do everything some of the other cottage brands do, but for less. This would also allow me to enjoy being "the only guy with that one pack" on the trail, which always makes me feel better about myself. Only issue is still that I haven't actually TRIED a frameless pack, I just understand the technique and am eager to try it.
Long story short - I find this whole process of picking out my new backpack to be...slightly overwhelming?
For reference, I live right near an REI so trying on all the Ospreys (and anything else there) would be really easy. I need the pack by the end of April, I'm happy to buy used, and I am still confused (that rhymed). In the near future (5 years out) this pack will only be used for up to 5 day trips. I'm also in grad school part-time and just had a baby so if I buy 16 packs at once my wife will literally end me.
Thanks for reading my rant :-)