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MLD Burn or GG Murmur
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Brad Abrahams
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 09:48:22 MDT Print View

Greetings everyone, I'm looking for a pack for long day hikes and overnighter. Right now the Burn and the Murmur are top of the list. The Murmur appears lighter, while the burn sturdier. Otherwise they seem very similar. Could anyone with experience please chime in?

Thanks kindly,

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Re: MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 09:54:48 MDT Print View

You really can't go wrong either way. When you get to this level, a lot of the difference boils down to personal preference. For the record, I absolutely love my Murmur. It is more durable than most UL packs, and it carries very comfortably. I also think the pocket layout is perfecto. I've had dozens of backpacks, and this one tops my list.

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
BURN on 03/20/2013 11:05:02 MDT Print View

The Burn is a great pack. I sold mine a while back to John M., who currently has it for sale for a great price on Gear Swap. Excellent pack for SUL to regular 3 season backpacking. Get one.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
difference right on 03/20/2013 11:32:02 MDT Print View

I think you're right that the Murmur is slightly lighter and Burn is a little sturdier. That seems like main basis to make a decision. They do also have different top closure systems (which I assume are personal preference), there's a difference in cost, and if GG has Murmurs in stock then there's also big difference in how long it takes to get the pack after you order it.

I have a 2012 Murmur I got last spring and it suffers from the slight (but sometimes annoying) shoulder-strap and hip-strap slippage that seemed present in Murmur and other GG packs sold in (I think) first half of last year. I believe that was resolved by them changing to slightly heftier straps. . .

Edited by hes on 03/20/2013 13:05:44 MDT.

Bradley Attaway
(AttaboyBrad) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
GG on 03/20/2013 11:38:09 MDT Print View

I think the better comparison would be between the Burn and the Kumo. You'll have the added durability of GGs ultralight Dyneema all around the pack instead of just the bottom and top flap like the Murmur, and save $15 over the Burn.

That said, I've had both the older generation and 2012 Murmurs, and I absolutely love them. The straps are fantastically comfortable, and the general design is very well thought out. I think those qualities would transfer directly to the Kumo. I can't speak for the Burn, though the few products I have from MLD have been very well made.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Well.... on 03/20/2013 15:01:33 MDT Print View

You didn't mention esthetics. I think the GG wins hands down there....but the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Tried on a Kumo last August and thought, "Damn, this is one nice pack!" then thought it, or the Murmur, would be, without a doubt, the pack I'd get if I had to buy one off the shelf. Light, exc craftsmanship, design, comfort, and esthetics.

Sorry I can't offer a more meaningful response.....

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 15:26:56 MDT Print View

I've had an MLD Burn (and Exodus and Newt) for a few years now and the Burn is still my goto pack for short trips. I've even used it on week long trips thanks to MLD's willingness to do custom modifications (added a wider waist belt and a few side compression straps to hold gear). The quality of the MLD gear is top notch and the ability to customize is a huge factor IMO.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Preference on 03/20/2013 18:05:37 MDT Print View

I used a MLD Burn for around 1,700 miles on my AT thru hike (switched from the Exodus) and even over loaded at 30 lbs it never failed !! Suffering amidst abuse and constant long hours of use every day for months, I never had an issue with the pack. I also tried the 2012 GG Murmur and think is seems to be a visually appealing and extremely comfortable pack for UL or dayhike use. I don't think you have a bad option - but my gold standard is still MLD for durability and stitch strength.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 18:52:37 MDT Print View


I have both a Burn and an Exodus. I usually use the Burn only for dayhikes or a fair-ish weather overnighter -- exactly what you are looking for. I can get an overnight kit into the Burn but prefer the Exodus for anything more b/c everything fits inside with ease. The Burn (for me) sometimes requires more careful arranging of gear and putting a little more than the basics in the main mesh pocket. That said, it is a great little pack.

I don't think a person, carrying identical weights in each pack, would feel any difference in the few added ounces of the Burn. I'd say go for whichever fits best for you.

Edit: I don't seem to hear much about it, but have you looked at the SMD Feather?

Edited by saparisor on 03/20/2013 23:10:10 MDT.

Brad Abrahams
Re: MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 19:14:21 MDT Print View

Wow, thanks for all the thoughtful responses everyone. Very much appreciated.

Besides the Burn and Murmur, any other recommends for a similar daypack? I'd even go slightly simpler/smaller.

Steven, I've not heard of the feather and don't see it on their site.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 03/20/2013 19:48:03 MDT Print View

Check out zimmerbuilt, I'm getting a custom pack done at the moment.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/20/2013 23:11:16 MDT Print View

Here's the Feather:

ZimmerBuilt is a good idea, too.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/21/2013 05:25:15 MDT Print View

Both are highly rated. I used the 2012 Murmur intensivly last year logging about 4 week long trips with it and a long weekend...about 47 nights all told...
1) VERY comfortable.
2) VERY efficient...Pad pockets kept my sleeping pad, saving internal volume. Rear Pouch was plenty large for any expansion (this was also a problem.)
3) Can fit a bear-ball.
4) "Just" fits two weeks of supplies, though it is overloaded.
5) Rain flap worked well.

Dislikes (note that I have communicated this to Grant, newer ones are corrected.)
1) Strap Slippage on the first ones, slick, nylon straps tended to move slightly within the buckles, over time, loostening them when walking. Corrected.
2) Front Pouch was too big. If you put a log book,fuel bottle, extra food in there it sagged below the bottom of the pack causing a LOT of abrasion when setting the pack down. Corrected.
3) 2nd run had some mis-placed shoulder straps. Also, the seams were not folded/rolled but simply stiched, these pulled through the fabric leaving a frayed edge. Corrected. I would also state that they had some trouble with the person(s) doing the sewing for them (shoulder harness and seams) and no long works for them.

The Murmur easily handled 23 pounds at the beginning of two week trips. It was not uncomfortable at all. 'Corse, it is hard to find anything uncomfortable about 20-25 pounds on your back. It seems small but it also includes pouches in the size figures.

The MLD Burn is a much larger pack, the main body will hold 2200ci. Really they are not comparable. After adding in the side pouches/front pouch it is a quarter bigger. After adding options, like a lid/pouch, it is more than that. It is also more durable being nearly full DyneemaX. It is also heavier and not as efficient, lacking an external pad keeper/pad frame. If you like pouches, this is the way to go. Top lid, waist pouches, stow pouches, and hydration sleeve are addons! A complete pack will be about $285 and weigh about 17oz and can handle about 3000ci. But, because of the internal pad keeping (yes, they sell the internal Klymit frame, too,) some of this volume is lost, taken up by the pad/frame.

The MLD Burn is twice the pack, but is also about twice the price. It is less efficient than the Murmur but has better overall durability, but this is a judgement call. For day trips, quick overnight trips, I would highly tend to the Murmur (knowing any failure would not put me at risk) so the lighter weight (~9oz) would be my choice. A striped Burn comes close, but the lower carying efficiency is the clincher. As you said, "The Murmur appears lighter, while the burn sturdier." But, this does not consider load carrying efficiency (external pad keeper.)

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/21/2013 11:49:27 MDT Print View

Another consideration: MLD = sewn in the USA. GG??

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/21/2013 12:08:15 MDT Print View

"Another consideration: MLD = sewn in the USA. GG??"

Kind'a depends on how you look at it. At least sewn here. Material is likely made abroad...

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Burn "twice the pack"?! on 03/21/2013 15:17:26 MDT Print View

"The MLD Burn is a much larger pack, the main body will hold 2200ci. Really they are not comparable."

If you look closely at specs on the MLD site you'll see that the 2200ci number they give includes 1.main pack, 2.extension collar, 3. front pocket, and 4. side pockets":

here is the text from MLD site:
"• Main Pack: 1500ci
• Main Outside Pocket: 200ci
• Side Pockets: 150ci + 150ci
• Extension Collar: 300ci"
MLD Burn webpage

Those add up to 2300ci, so not sure where MLD gets 2200ci. In any case, going by listed specs Burn is not much larger, they're basically identical in size. Here are numbers from GG webpage, where they apparently include side pockets in main pocket:
" 2,200 c.i. (36 l.) total
1,700 c.i. (28 l.) in main pack body/extension collar
500 c.i. (8 l.) in main pocket"
GG Murmur webpage

"The MLD Burn is twice the pack, but is also about twice the price."

$175 for Burn to $140 for Murmur doesn't seem to me "about twice the price". Though I agree with others that Kumho is the more analogous GG pack.

Edited by hes on 03/21/2013 15:18:21 MDT.

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/21/2013 16:14:44 MDT Print View

@ James. I think the difference translates into very high QC at MLD. I'm not knocking GG, but you do mention what seem to have been QC issues with the Murmur.

Also, wasn't there discussion about some new MLD packs with air beam suspension? There's another thread on this topic. I wonder if the Burn with have this option?

I don't have either pack, but I do own and enjoy using products from MLD and GG. I've been thinking about getting the Burn.

Edited by greenwalk on 03/21/2013 16:16:06 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Burn "twice the pack"?! on 03/21/2013 16:22:40 MDT Print View

You wrote:
If you look closely at specs on the MLD site you'll see that the 2200ci number they give includes 1.main pack, 2.extension collar, 3. front pocket, and 4. side pockets":

here is the text from MLD site:
"• Main Pack: 1500ci
• Main Outside Pocket: 200ci
• Side Pockets: 150ci + 150ci
• Extension Collar: 300ci"

Yeah, MLD's site is all over on the numbers and not real clear. In another spot they wrote:
"• Total Maximum Volume: 1950ci main pack / 2200ci using extension collar"

Sorry, I was a little foggy this morning and missed that.

A complete Burn with all the features is still about $285 and considerably heavier. Efficiency is worse because the pack is smaller than what I had first thought. Again, my apologies.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
burn features on 03/21/2013 17:11:37 MDT Print View

"A complete Burn with all the features is still about $285 and considerably heavier."

I agree MLD listed capacities are confusing, but looking carefully it's clear that total capacity is 2200ci-2300ci.

As for features, a $175 Burn has basically same "features" as the $140 Murmur. Pack, sternum strap, waistbelt, front packet, and side pockets.

All the options MLD lists are basically generic addon items that aren't really part of a pack proper: pack lid, rain cover, hydration pack, stow pouch, etc. You can buy them for the Murmur same as the Burn; I myself have a Murmur to which I've added one of MLD's strap pockets.

Edited by hes on 03/21/2013 17:22:08 MDT.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: MLD Burn or GG Murmur on 03/21/2013 17:11:44 MDT Print View

For short trips, consider the Newt, with the Amphipod system:

Gets water off your back and directly onto your body. Can see how much you consume, easily to refill, easy to access, and more stable. I've mountain biked with them on rough trails at pretty high speed, so no worries about losing a bottle.

It's a bit more skin-out weight (6oz for me), but it's more like carrying an extra few ounces of body mass (negligable). The belt is 1.85oz (size 2), the snap connectors are 0.75oz each, and the 10oz bottles are 1.85oz each.

Add a shoulder pouch from Zpacks/Zimmerbuilt for the quick access stuff like camera, compass, snacks, etc. Carry a 2+L Platypus for camp use and mixing water with tablets.

I actually bought this one for mountain biking (holds a pump, tube, UL first aid kit, a small flashlight, a powerbar, a tube repair kit, and a small bike multitool):

And then bought just the belt for backpacking:

Other options:

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 19:36:46 MDT.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
waist hydration belt on 03/21/2013 17:27:35 MDT Print View

Brian -- Interesting idea on using hydration belt with small pack. I have a Nathan belt already, but it seems like the bottle sizes are smaller than I'd like. I think I'd want pint (16oz) size bottles on a waist pack. Do you know of any made that way or hacks to do it well? 16oz bottles are generally too big to run with (too much shaking/jiggling), so I understand why the standard hydration belt sizes are smaller. But on a walk/hike I think 16oz bottles would be fine.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Bottles on burn on 03/21/2013 18:10:42 MDT Print View

I have four pouches on my burn waist belt that each hold a 32 oz gatoraid. Usually I have one water and one maltodextrin mix in the back two and food in the front two. This allows me to move up to 6 lbs off my pack but more importantly I can go hours without stopping to take my pack off to access. I have also done long trail runs with this setup and either I solved the bottle bouncing problem or it doesn't bother me.

With pack
Burn with hip pockets

James, if you need to spend $285 on a pack to get all the bells and whistles then it probably isn't the right pack for you. If I were ordering today it would be a standard pack, no options. When I ordered I upgraded the hip belt. I think that is now standard and I found I didn't need it with my pouch setup.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: waist hydration belt on 03/21/2013 19:48:21 MDT Print View

I can definitely understand wanting larger bottles. I'd probably at least try upgrading to 16oz bottles, too, if I could find some.

You might take a look at the waistbelt systems with real water bottles. Most of them either have the bottles too close together for a backpack, or they put a pouch in between the bottles, making it uncomfortable with a backpack. However, you can probably slice off one of those pouches in between the bottles.

This might be a good option:

But you'd have to spend some time looking at them in person to know which one you could slice a pouch off of. Another problem might be side-to-side jiggling once the pouch is cut off - the pouch may help keep the bottles from moving. If you could cleanly strip off the pouch, you could even add a strong velcro attachment to add and remove it - I even thought about doing this with my backpack, to attach it to the hydration belt.

If the waistbelt is naturally small enough, or you have a pretty big waistline, this one would work well:

The middle section looks like you could rig up longer loops pretty easily to spread the distance between the bottles. That, coupled with some trimming of the foam (so it didn't dig into your butt cheeks), would probably work pretty well.

Another idea I've played with is having a small backpack, coupled with a real waistpack. Keep the essentials in the waistpack, and your overnight gear and food in the small backpack. This way, you can quickly ditch your small backpack (in a safe place) to summit a peak from a saddle/pass in the middle of your route. This idea is what got me thinking about hydration belts in the first place, especially since most of my backpacking trips are really just a means to summit peaks and do long traverses across ridgelines in Colorado's ranges. The other idea is to use the velcro attachment idea I had above, to able to quickly add/remove the pouch from your backpack/belt.

Overall, the 21oz capacity of the Amphipod system works pretty well for me, and it ensures I have to intentionally go into my backpack to drink the last bit of my water. This works well with a tablet/aquamira system, where you need to wait a period of time before drinking - a psychologically troublesome issue to do when you're sitting there at the water source, have no water, and are thirsty. It also works well for reminding me to stay properly fueled with food. Appetites can be difficult at altitude. For these reasons, stopping every 21oz seems to work well with my hiking flow.

Keep in mind, with a 2L platypus in the pack, you can certainly carry more water, when necessary. It's just on your back, instead of on your waistbelt. My baseweight is low enough that a 3 day trip is about 11 lbs of packweight, including 12oz of water in the platypus, so the extra waterweight, and not having a waistbelt for the pack is generally no big deal. 15 lbs of packweight is about the limit for my shoulders for long days. 11 lbs is super comfortable - not really noticable. I have pretty weak shoulder muscles though.

Above 15 lbs packweight, I will go straight to a heavy framed 2lb+ pack - usually because I'm carrying technical gear or a lot of water for the desert, which means a LOT more than 15 lbs.

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 20:06:54 MDT.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Murmur and MLD on 03/21/2013 20:22:42 MDT Print View

I have a 2012 Murmur and an Exodus FS, so I can compare build quality but not the Burn directly. I love both of these packs and generally use the Murmur as a daypack. The Murmur does fit all my gear, but it's tight and the sitlite pad ends up bowing so the pack doesn't fit flat against my back. I LOVE the airframe suspension of the Exodus so I ordered GG's Air Beam for the Murmur, will see if that fixes the bow. The only other complaint I have with the Murmur is the mesh pocket, mine really sags down when loaded with any appreciable weight, I read in this thread they've changed that, mine is from the second run GG did, so I'm not sure.

I like the way both the Burn and the Murmur look, before the new GG packs came out I thought MLD made the sexiest packs available. I do think the Burn will carry more weight, better with more of a real hip belt. To me, the Murmur's doesn't transfer much load, it's more for stabilizing the pack, but your mileage may vary.

As for build quality between the 2, MLD's stitching and construction is noticeably better. I haven't had any quality issues with the Murmur (did rip the mesh pocket easier than I thought it should have) but the stitching is almost sloppy in a few places, MLD's stitching is amazing.

You can't go wrong with either IMHO. Didn't help, did I?

Edited by arttyszka on 03/21/2013 20:29:45 MDT.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
burn hip belt pockets are what? on 03/21/2013 20:45:07 MDT Print View

Hiking Malto -- I'm trying to figure out what those pockets are that you have on the Burn hipbelt. Do you mean you have four pockets on hipbelt, in addition to the two side pockets on the Burn? And you don't put water bottles in the Burn side pockets but instead in the large hip belt pockets? The two smaller middle hip belt pockets look like the ones sold by MLD, but I don't see that MLD sells anything like the larger ones on the side. What are those larger pockets?