I'm not sure where you are getting your data. I have over 4000 miles on the AT and PCt with a little eight oz. pack and with the exception of the day I had seven days of food in it leaving Kennedy Meadows, I have never even noticed my pack is on. You can easily use a frameless pack if you have low weight AND the experience to know how to use it. Experience also goes a long way to help you trim not only base weight but also food and water weight as well. You are trying to extrapolate your experience on others and its just not valid."
First off, I'm not giving out "Data." You just said "Except for when I have 7 days worth of food" and that's the only time I'm talking about- maximum thru-hike weight. So your exception is my rule.
Secondly, "I have never even noticed my pack is on" is the farthest thing from data ever. It's completely subjective. You could be significantly stronger than some, or more used to your pack, and a host of other things.
Again, if you're keeping it under 20lbs, you probably don't need a suspension system. You might need it and not know it, it's worth assessing for yourself. If you're under 20lbs with maximum food and water for a thru-hike (7 days food, 2-3 days water), this conversation barely applies to you, if at all. I know long-time thru hikers who have traversed most of the trail systems in the United States. My good friend David Eve has an outdoors center in NH named after him because of his history of outdoor education, and he is the advisor for my campus's club. I was there, on Mt. moosilauke, when he was walking three days after knee surgery because of backpacking damage over years and years, and he is the first to repetitively tell us not to play around with your body's tolerance for distance. Before you jump down my throats, I'm sure the majority of people here know this out of experience. If you walk on a trail with an ill-fitting, poorly supported pack and you don't use trekking poles, you'll feel it eventually.
I am not claiming to be correct, and I'm not trying to prove a point! I'm just trying to understand why some people choose suspension and others don't while I figure out what works best for me.
You guys have a really hard time understanding that I don't have an agenda...