"Cesar, I've followed a few of your posts, with fervor. You're what I like to call "one end of the spectrum." "
Thanks, I think :) Glad someone has read my posts with fervor! PM me if you ever have any questions or anything, would be happy to help you out if I can.
"Your carry weight is DEFINITELY in the frameless camp. That's intended as a compliment. I don't know if I'm ready to go that ultralight, ever. Especially not with camera gear."
Thanks again. I didn't think I would ever go UL, let alone SUL and even XUL when I first found this website and started evolving as a backpacker. The biggest thing, and I don't mean to beat a dead horse but it is an important point, is to just get out there and try it. Give self reflection on how things went. What helped me a lot, and I try and do this with many things in life, is to think of a 1-10 scale of "fun" or "experience" on a given trip. With 1 being horrible and a complete waste of time (this I contend does not really exist) and 10 being perfect (again, non-existent). It takes courage and maturity to be able to admit to yourself that maybe what you are doing is a well, let's just say below a 9.
I have written this before, but when I was lugging around a 2kg backpack with a 10kg base weight, looking back I'd say it was around a 6 or 7. It was fun, but I didn't know the potential was there to improve until I let entropy take over, which can be a very good thing so long as you do so sans bad faith. Thing is, you can feel that your experience is a "9" at the time, but then when you try something else that is more of a "real" 9, you realize that you were to an extent wrong or fooling yourself. I am not saying that this is the case with you or anyone else--I speak only for myself.
So do what you think is best for yourself. If you feel strongly enough that using a 5lb backpack is the best possible option, and that your experiences with it are a 9, good for you. But if you try using a frameless pack and lowering your base weight, and give it an honest try, and still feel like the 5lb pack is better--say your frameless UL trip is a 6 or 7 or worse--you can go back to using the 5lb pack and heavier base weight with a much more informed and solid personal conclusion.
"I'm 6'2", 170lbs, athletic but almost all in my legs because I'm a cyclist. My shoulders and back aren't that powerful, just a little rock climbing. I appreciate good pack distribution, especially when I have to carry a little extra."
It makes more sense that you are looking for better distribution of weight. I agree with others that there are packs under 5lbs that probably just as good with dealing with a 30lb load. I would also encourage you to look into functional strength training for your core, back, and shoulders. This you can do without buying any equipment or anything, just do simple body weight training--push ups, pull ups, crunches, etc. I have even loaded up packs with lots of weight by filling them with bottles of water, then doing intense hikes around my neighborhood. If you are really looking to improve functional strength, I am a user and big fan of kettle bells. Just make sure to do research and/or get training on how to use them properly. As a cyclist your legs ought to be solid and you don't have to work them much, especially if you still cycle.
Good luck with whatever you do. BTW, I have an MSR Titan kettle pot and it is in my go-to cooking system. Great piece of gear. Hope the above helps :)