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Great Pack for Traveling?
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Great 70-90L Pack for Extended Traveling? on 02/28/2013 11:55:17 MST Print View

I love my 40L pack for backpacking and camping. However, I've got a great new job as a freelance writer where I can work from anywhere, which means I want to do some traveling. I am looking for a backpack for a possible trip outside the country, which is very different from backpacking.

1. I need it to be burly; I don't want to wear out a shoulder strap while walking around.
2. I need a great suspension system. Something that pivots or adjusts while I walk would be appreciated. I want to forget it's there. I want it to be comfortable enough that I can walk with it all day in the summer.
3. I'd like it to be between 70-90 liters in space.

So far, I've discarded Osprey. I've tried on a few of their packs and did not find them that comfortable for me.

I am looking at the following:

Gregory Baltoro 75
Mystery Ranch Trace XXX
Mystery Ranch G5000

The Gregory Baltoro is in the lead, because the suspension system actually pivots. This looks like it'll be the most comfortable for extended use.

I don't anticipate topping 40lbs, but I want room to be flexible.

I know a lot of backpack companies, so what I'm really interested in are packs that you've found personally to carry large loads better than the competition. Keep in mind, my budget for this project is around $400. Sorry, McHale.

Thanks for the help and suggestions!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 12:03:03 MST.

Mal Hooper

Locale: Valley of the Sun
Re: Great 70-90L Pack for Extended Traveling? on 02/28/2013 15:02:50 MST Print View

Check out the Arcteryx Altra 65 or 75. They're beefy as all get-out and the ability to unzip the main compartment makes them a great traveling backpack.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Gregory Baltoro 75 on 02/28/2013 15:13:12 MST Print View

I use the Gregory Baltoro 75 for travel (specifically overseas). I wouldn't have wanted anything else for my Paris/Amsterdam trip. Was great to travel with (packed inside an REI backpack duffel with the hip-belt pieces removed) and comfortable hoofing it all around the pace. Super SUPER comfortable suspension design.

Then I use this as a day pack:



Edited by f8less on 02/28/2013 15:15:42 MST.

Michael Ray
spire bags on 02/28/2013 15:19:33 MST Print View

You might also try out Spire bags. I have an older "torq" for my commuter and love it.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Baltoro VS Arcteryx on 02/28/2013 15:22:59 MST Print View

I'm struggling to match the Gregory Baltor 75 against the Arcteryx 75. Both have a cantering hipbelt that I am eager to try, but the Gregory also has flexibility in the shoulder straps, which is where I've had the most problems with rubbing with my Kelty Red Cloud.

Also, I know the new Baltoro has less airflow in the back than the old Baltoro, but I don't actually know whether it's bad enough to be a problem, since no reviewer I can find has actually complained about a sweaty back. The way I see it, I think I'm just going to get sweaty no matter what I'm carrying...

Also, a review of the Altra from Moosejaw:

"Four days into the trip both shoulder straps blew out and had to be speedy stiched in the field. This pack needed costant repair and with 5 days left on the trip the 2 metal stays of the pack blew out the bottom of their support system. The fabric the pack is made out of is too weak as well. Prior to this pack I had an old, used NOLS Deuter pack. This pack had lasted many NOLS trips as well as my personal use of it which included a month in the Wind River Range as well as 5 months in Patagonia. I still use this pack almost everytime I go out while I have already returned my Altra. The altra might be good for nice, wide trails but it was not built to bushwhack or do any of the fun stuff."

I'm leaning towards the Gregory.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 15:25:45 MST.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Re: Great 70-90L Pack for Extended Traveling? on 02/28/2013 15:24:11 MST Print View

check out the following pack on gear swap, large numbers of New Zealanders travelling overseas for extended backpacking trips would use one of these packs:

manufacturer's link:

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Great Pack for Traveling on 02/28/2013 16:12:17 MST Print View

Don't know if you have looked at this one. I find it quite versatile, having used it with the included 65L dry bag, a 35L dry bag and an 80L dry bag on different occasions. Carries well. I have never used the ones you linked so can't compare. Just throwing out the idea...

ULA Epic

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: ULA Epic on 02/28/2013 16:15:17 MST Print View

Thanks for the suggestion Barry, but I'm looking for something a little less minimalist. I am all for simplicity when I'm backpacking and camping, but for travel I find I want things like a suspension system, external pockets, detachable top lids, etc.

I need a casual backpacker's pack. One of those 5-pounders we all forsook.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 16:43:17 MST.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Casual Pack on 02/28/2013 16:37:23 MST Print View

If you need a casual pack for traveling this one might work. As a bonus, it's also fashionable and cool.

Edit: In case it's not obvious, I'm kidding....although my "joke" doesn't make as much sense now that the previous post was edited. Anyway, the "Quick Overview" is worth a read. Sorry for the thread drift.

Edited by csteutterman on 02/28/2013 17:30:27 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Check These Questions on 02/28/2013 16:42:46 MST Print View

Doesn't really mesh with the stuff in the OP. I admire the refined look of a canvas or leather backpack, but I need something I can literally live out of. Tent, 3 pairs of clothing, water, a small laptop, sleeping bag, etc.

That thing won't hold 80 liters or 35lbs, so it's out.

Does anyone have experience with any of the following questions?

A) Is the Gregory Baltoro's new backpanel uncomfortable to use?

B) What's the durability like on the Arcteryx Altra 75?

C) What's the comparison in comfort between the two?

For any other packs, I do appreciate the suggestions and I can always learn. Please don't hesitate to keep throwing ideas at me! Thank you!

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Baltoro VS Arcteryx on 02/28/2013 17:21:44 MST Print View

My point of comparison to the Baltoro would be the large Ospreys, so I can't comment on the Altra.

My thoughts on the Baltoro:
1. The suspension is indeed very nice.
2. It has a large u-shaped zipper for front-loading.
3. The silicone patches on the lumbar pad are very good at grabbing dirt/debris.
4. The lumbar pad is the main contact area; you won't get much (any) airflow through there, but I can put my shoulders back and get plenty of air everywhere else.
5. Something about the side pockets bugged me; either they weren't useful if the main pouch was stuffed or they opened (fully/partially) to the main pouch. Either way I didn't find them useful.

For your needs I'd recommend it; it's feels solid, durable, and very comfortable. Just wipe off the lumbar pad if you set the pack on loose soil.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Re: Baltoro VS Arcteryx on 02/28/2013 17:33:12 MST Print View


That very concisely answers my questions. I really appreciate it! I'm going to follow through and pick this pack up sometime in the next month or two. Thanks for the help!

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Baltoro VS Arcteryx on 02/28/2013 18:37:05 MST Print View

If you are really concerned with weight, pivoting action, and travel -and by that I mean not risking something you cannot afford to lose then search This term on ebay
ALPENLITE . From the 70's . Stands up on its own frame. Can handle any load. Ultra comfortable. Rare bird, Dump it before coming home for what it cost. Come home with a Outdoor products Essential Carry on for $29 bucks at Campmor. These things work and won't break your bank and the Alpenlite will make you wonder why you you ever liked anything else for weight and ventilation. I'll try to post specific links but Roger C got uptight a while back when I posted an Alpine Phantom on ebay -worried about spam.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Looking Like a Target on 02/28/2013 18:46:54 MST Print View

Thoughts on your suggestion:

First off, I totally understand not risking something you can't afford to lose. My plan was to get the basic grey Baltoro and then take some Tenacious Tape and reinforce some high-wear areas, simultaneously camouflaging the backpack. Some basic string zipper ties would complete the illusion, as well as some earned dust and dirt. I'm going to be "camouflaging" my camera in the same way with a crappy strap and blacked-out "Nikon" logo, and electrical tape.

What I don't want to happen is one of the following:

1) 40-year-old nylon tears away three days into my trip from the backpack sitting around in unknown conditions.

2) Squeaking and looking like a hobo makes me unapproachable by locals, and local women.

3) It doesn't look as comfortable as the Baltoro, but I can be proven wrong.

I am thinking I'll go with quality and take care of it, rather than intentionally skimping to look like less of a target. I'm 6'2" with a beard, sharp eyes, a good sense of how to avoid bad situations by not looking lost or afraid, and I'm in shape, so I'm not exactly a target to begin with. If you're gonna travel, I think only professional wrestlers are inherently safer than my build/mannerisms.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 18:51:21 MST.

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
osprey on 02/28/2013 18:54:47 MST Print View

if i had to choose a pack just for general traveling, i'd probably go with an osprey. While they're heavy, I really like the overall carrying capacity, comfort, and features.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Great 70-90L Pack for Extended Traveling? on 02/28/2013 19:00:27 MST Print View

Although I travel for fun and not for work -- my travels tend to stretch for a couple of months at a time -- usually two months, but the longest is seven months (a round-the-world trip). All I carry is a 28L pack -- and I've got everything I need -- including a camera and a 10-in. tablet. My pack is never much more than half full -- so plenty of space for winter clothing and laptop (if needed).

No one method works for everyone and every trip -- but unless you are carrying bulky sports gear or a full set of camping gear -- 75L is MASSIVE. The philosophy and techniques for UL hiking carry over well to traveling. Don't turn yourself into a beast of burden if you don't absolutely have to.

What do you plan to carry and how long is your trip?

Edited by ben2world on 02/28/2013 19:04:33 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Why so big? on 02/28/2013 19:04:13 MST Print View


I will take some time to carefully think about that before answering. I will probably post late tonight. I would love your feedback tomorrow. My first intent for aiming bigger is to take advantage of deals on food and pack extra, and to carry extra clothing (though, I don't need much). My second intent was to get something designed for MORE weight than I am actually carrying so I will be the most comfortable.

My tentative answer is that I'll be carrying full camping gear, and then additionally, more clothes than I usually carry, plus a laptop and charger so I can work, plus possibly a solar array if I make a little extra money this summer. Probably a roll-up Brunton solar mat and an inverter.

Look for my follow-up later tonight. Thanks!


Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 19:05:50 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Why so big? on 02/28/2013 19:12:39 MST Print View


I mentioned that UL hiking carries well into UL traveling. When you go through the items you intend to bring (which will help determine how much pack you need) -- go through these three steps rigorously:

1. Bring only what you need. While there are no stores out in the wilds -- know that stores are EVERYWHERE in most all the world's cities, towns, and yes, even villages.

2. From the things you determine as "necessities" -- see what items can do multiple duties -- so even more items can stay home.

3. Of the final list of items that are truly needed -- look for light and compact options.

My total pack weight for ALL my trips -- from two months to seven months -- weighs around 12 pounds. I've been traveling for a few decades now, and have been to some of the world's poorest countries -- like an entire month in Bangladesh -- and I haven't lacked for anything. So again, unless you are hauling sports or mountaineering equipment -- there is no earthly reason for hauling much more than 10-15 lbs.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

<3 Excel <3 on 02/28/2013 19:16:00 MST Print View

Good point. I will make a spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Me Again... on 02/28/2013 19:16:10 MST Print View


Just to give you an idea... this is the pack I used for two trips last year -- two months 'island hopping' the Caribbean and another two months in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.