Pack recommendation?
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Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 14:09:12 MDT Print View

I've got a friend looking for a bag. We went hiking for a week together in Ireland (the Sheepshead Peninsula) last year. We hadn't really discussed gear too much before we flew to to Dublin (I was trying to reduce overlap, but gave up because he didn't really have things together).

I brought my Zpacks Blast 20 with me and he started laughing when he saw it because a) it was half the size of his pack (and probably 1/5 the weight) and b) because the pack is so ugly. He actually asked if I put shoulder straps on a trash bag. I laughed with him, because I think cuben is a terribly ugly material, albeit extremely functional.

Anyway, in typical fashion (I'm sure everyone here has a story like this), as the hike went on, he soon realized I was infinitely more comfortable than he was and able to hike faster/able to go continue when he was ready to set up camp. He started asking me questions about the pack, the gear I was using, etc.

Anyway, he decided he wanted to ditch his 6 pound pack and started looking at lighter packs.

I'm American, he's German and I feel like the UL stuff isn't so popular quite yet in Europe as some materials are harder to source (I know there are some smaller cottage guys here and on the UK variant of this site, but he's not familiar with them). Anyway, I can order things from the US and ship them here easily, so he has lots of options.

He asked me if I could find a light pack that he can carry a good amount of stuff in. I have no idea what his pack now, but it's ridiculous big/heavy. For a frame of reference, he was looking at the Granite Gear Virga, he wants something in the 55L realm, but I think he would prefer a frame, so I'm trying to steer him away from that. His budget is around $200 (or 150EUR). He's a good friend (invited me to Christmas with his family, and on hiking trips with him and his son) of mine so if something is a little more than $200, I'd gladly cover it for him.

I could research for hours on here, but I figured it'd be easier to some rough requirements and a price limit and get everything consolidated in one place than search through pages and pages, where information might be outdated.

Personally I think the Gossamer Gear Gorilla is a nice pack, but I haven't browsed the market in about three years (last time I really looked was when I bought my Blast).

Thanks in advance for any advise :)

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 15:48:24 MDT Print View

Here is a lightweight German company.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 15:55:27 MDT Print View

I can confirm that buying packs is ridiculous in Germany because you in theory need to be able to try them on. In practice however stuff from the US is a bit much in shipping and customs to ship back and forth.

EDIT: The linked shops seem to carry a lot of the available packs however, so that should make things easier.

That said there are some internet shops where your friend might have a look:

Sack und Pack
ArkLight They're french, but because it's EU you don't have to bother with currency or customs or taxes.
Trekking Lite Store

And the producer of German ultralight packs (or better the only one I've heard of): Laufbursche same as Anna's link.

I can't really comment on packs, as I went with an Aarn pack which is not even close to lightweight.

Edited by karl-ton on 03/15/2013 16:38:39 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 16:18:49 MDT Print View

Jan,My link is to Laufbursche, and here is an explanation on embedding links.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 16:29:44 MDT Print View

Cheers Anna.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 17:02:05 MDT Print View

It's expensive, but if you're willing to cover the difference, the HMG 4400 Porter or Windrider (I think you have to ask Mike directly since it's not up on the website) might be a great pack for him. It would carry a lot of weight but compress relatively well (the Porter much better than the Windrider) and still be very light.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Is Cuben Ugly? on 03/15/2013 17:13:19 MDT Print View

I think you have enough information to get started, but I liked your comment about cuben being ugly.

Last year my wife and I did a loop day hike that required us to walk through town. It was raining and I was wearing my zPacks cuben poncho, which was all wrinkled up from being in my pack. She said it looked like a trash bag. I noticed that walking through town people were avoiding us, probably because I looked like a bum in trash bag... of course people avoiding me is a BIG plus in my book.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Laufbursche on 03/15/2013 17:20:31 MDT Print View

I have been drooling over one of these for more than a year but can't justify it (kind of the same as my gorilla). Henrik has a great review and some video on his blog hiking in Finland.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Laufbursche on 03/15/2013 17:26:02 MDT Print View

Most reviews I've seen were positively glowing. They have no frame though, so I'm not sure if they fit the bill.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Laufbursche on 03/15/2013 17:30:17 MDT Print View

My understanding is that they have a Small version and a Big version, with various fits in each volume. I think the Big version is quite big. Or at least that's what it looked like from what little German I know. Spanish, French, English I can do, not so much German.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: Re: Laufbursche on 03/15/2013 17:41:43 MDT Print View

Yep, they make 4 sizes depending on back length. The large one varies between 42 L max and 56 L max. Max weight is given as around 10 Kg (352.74 ounce, I'm never too sure if you use stone or pound or what the US weights actually mean), so it's not for people who try to get into UL.

The small one comes in one size only and has 32 L max and a carrying capacity around 7 Kg (246.918 ounces).

I'm not sure if the sizes include the volume of the side pockets.

Google Translate should work quite well.

Edited by karl-ton on 03/15/2013 17:42:25 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 17:52:29 MDT Print View

"Anyway, he decided he wanted to ditch his 6 pound pack and started looking at lighter packs."

Don't forget the adage to buy your pack last. If you send him a SUL model and he stuffs it full of not-so-even-UL gear, you may get him off on the wrong foot.

I would start with the list of packs reviewed in the articles on internal frame packs:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lw_internal_frame_packs_part_1a.html#.UUOzjTfDnTo

I use an Osprey Exos and I think it would make a good transition pack.

Brian Pendley
(newbie58)
Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/15/2013 21:43:19 MDT Print View

Osprey Exos 58 (40 0z - 58L - $220) www.ospreypacks.com
Gossamer Gear Mariposa (35 oz - 69L - $235) www.gossamergear.com
ULA Circuit (39 oz - 69L - $225) www.ula-equipment.com
Granite Gear Balze (46 oz - 60L - $230) www.granitegearstore.com
Golite Jam 70 (32 oz - 70L - $144) www.golite.com

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Pack recommendation? on 03/16/2013 01:01:28 MDT Print View

Osprey Exos 58, $176.98 and free shipping (whimper...):

http://www.prolitegear.com/osprey_exos_58_backpack.html

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re: on 03/16/2013 20:44:48 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the suggestions! I know everyone must get tired of answering threads like this :D

"Don't forget the adage to buy your pack last. If you send him a SUL model and he stuffs it full of not-so-even-UL gear, you may get him off on the wrong foot."

I know...this is my concern, and that's why I'm trying to steer him away from a frameless pack and give him some other options of things I may not know about.

The Laufbursche stuff seems very nice, but I know for sure his stuff weighs more than the comfort load of those packs.

Ideally he'll need something to could carry roughly 30-40 pounds with.

I work with the government, so my shipping address is an APO, that's why shipping here isn't really a concern.

Between the article on packs and personal suggestions here, I think I've got options enough to give him. The HMG Porter 4400 seems really nice--especially since he'll wind up wanting more volume than 55L. He often hikes with his son and usually winds up carrying all of the extra stuff.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: re: on 03/16/2013 20:56:52 MDT Print View

"Don't forget the adage to buy your pack last. If you send him a SUL model and he stuffs it full of not-so-even-UL gear, you may get him off on the wrong foot."

On the other hand, if you get a UL pack early, it will then force you to also upgrade (downgrade?) some other items so you can fit.

If you want to go UL quickly, maybe buying pack first isn't so bad.

If you want to go slowly for financial or other reasons, then UL pack later is better.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: re: on 03/16/2013 21:20:32 MDT Print View

I have no idea what an APO is, but my suggestion would very much be, that he orders the stuff at a German shop. Not because I think they're so great, but then he can load his stuff into one at home and if it doesn't work send it back. As long as he doesn't go out and puts a lot of dirt on them and doesn't remove those paper thingies on them, that shouldn't be a problem. Or better: The shops are required by law to accept returns.

If he or you aren't completely set on the trash bag look aka cuben, you might want to check out a couple of the big pack makers too. When I recently looked for a pack I looked very much at the Gregory Contour. Not exactly UL, but certainly lighter then the usual Gregory stuff and I liked the compartments it offered. Oh and the suspension system can apparently handle up to 20 Kg.