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A McHale demo pack arrived today
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peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 17:46:14 MDT Print View

" I must admit I have definitely considered a Mchale for those loads, just for the simplicity of an ordinary backpack vs body pack . "

story :

some tmie ago i was looking at needing to tote big, so i lined up my choices (all in green) of my big Dana, my McHale, and a mongo Aarn bodybag.
then i made up nice load of dogfood (correct density to replicate gear), and set odd on a nice set of walking loops at time an pulse rate.
the dana peeved me off pretty quick at those weights. it just hurt too much.
the Aarn gave, (no big surprise) the lowest pulse rate, and was all but comfortable. but dang... at that mass, when you shoot your arm thru the strap,a nd miss, and it goes into any of the other Aarn selection of wrong targets, it is an exhausitng mess to sort out. in the bush, tired, wet, cold, in a willow thicket with no bottom and no end, Aarn's a non-starter. too complex. and you have to pre-flight the thing every time you mount it.
the arn hipbelt was great, until i looked inside it. the sewing was attrocious (new Aarn's are all better. no more issues)

i do now own an Aarn, and it's a forest of straps and the complexity of Empire.
next time i do a trip on designated trails, i;d love to give it a go.


Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 19:04:13 MDT Print View

Interesting story Peter - a good test to have done. I'm not surprised that the Aarn finished on top. The question has always been whether any backpacks can come close enough in comfort/hauling ability to make the added complexity of the Aarn not worth the trouble. What do you think? Has a McHale pack been your go-to pack then when hauling heavy loads?

I'm personally in the market for a modestly-sized (40-45L), simple backpack that can comfortably haul up to 20kg for those times when I have to carry multiple days worth of water/food (I hike in some pretty dry parts of Australia). I have yet to find a pack that comes close enough to the Aarn in comfort to make the added complexity not worth it, but then I haven't tried a McHale. They are definitely on my radar.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 19:17:35 MDT Print View

I use a scaled back version of an aarn. I have a standard mLD burn but I sewed four bottle pockets and two zipper pockets onto the hip belt. In a very dry scenario I could carry four liters of water plus another pound or two between the zipper pockets and shoulder pocket. So total close to ten pounds off the pack and directly onto the hip belt. This weight shift has made a huge difference in those scenarios where I have to carry a lot of water. Guess it is a poor mans aarn.

Alan Greene
(AlanGreene3) - F
it rides on my hips on 07/15/2013 19:17:50 MDT Print View


Edited by AlanGreene3 on 07/17/2013 09:13:50 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Aarn - gg-man on 07/15/2013 19:37:51 MDT Print View

"I have a standard mLD burn but I sewed four bottle pockets and two zipper pockets onto the hip belt."

Would love to see a pic of this!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Aarn - gg-man on 07/15/2013 19:48:38 MDT Print View

Best in action photo I could find.

Jack at Muir

One more

Edited by gg-man on 07/15/2013 19:51:43 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Aarn on 07/15/2013 20:24:57 MDT Print View

I don't know what you guys are talking about "pre-flight" and all this complicated stuff. I just bend the stay to fit my back when i first got my Featherlite Freedom, then adjusted the straps and the waist belt velcro in the back to be comfy. When I hike, the only thing i adjust is the two straps above your shoulders that pull the pack tight or let it loose. Sometimes i let it loose or pull it tighter, depending on the uphill/downhill. But thats it, i don't have any complicated fumbling complexities to deal with. That's all i've ever adjusted. Once i get it set, i just mark with a permanent marker where i like it and leave it there. No complexities here, last week long trek I didn't really do anything to it at all.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 07/15/2013 20:25:31 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 20:27:54 MDT Print View

So what does Aarn have to do with McHale?

Lets get back on track or talk about WKRP in Cincinnati.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 20:36:51 MDT Print View

" Has a McHale pack been your go-to pack then when hauling heavy loads? "

well, ya. of course.
i know this is bpl, and i post here on the forums, and i do incorporate a lot of ul tricks in my kit.
i have the spreadsheets all sorted one way and another. all that caca.
do consider though. 2 yrs ago i did a 35 day unsupported slog. followed by a 24 day romp.
so the food load can be like, 60 pounds. of FOOD.
that's the food/supplies. not the gear. just the food.
when one looks at a 7 week solo, the picture shifts a bit of what matters, and what maybe not so much.
it moves all manners of priorities around. thusly you get posts from peter extolling the "reliability" of things some people would never sweat if it broke or not.

and as clever people have noted, the complexity of an Aarn is a very real thing, but so it the comfort and efficiency. it all works (or not) together to make up our individual kit.

heavy loads change things. one will not be served with a 70# weight that decides to shift a little bit on a steep brushy sidehill.
no matter how well you reduce the volume, a big load that gets a vote on things is going to do you dirt in a tight spot.
pack mass is not one of those things that scale up and down so cleanly as we might hope.
this is where i think some of the confusion/contention lies. we have people doing very different things, with very much the same descriptive names. ie ; when peter yaks on and on about using poles on sidehills, he's not talking about comfort and who has a new cuben pack, he's talking about using them in shear, to keep from sliding down into something fatally bad.

perhaps if one was a homeowner, and needed to drill a hole, they might get by with a 1/2" drill from harbor freight. that might be a sound purchase (not ...).
but if you showed up a the floor of a fabrication plant with one of those prc pos, you'd be laughed a fool off the floor (and rightfully so).
peters drill are all metabo these days. $nooty west germany kind of $tuff.
gear is like that as well to some extent. we most of us do many different things with our gear.

i have hiked with (most obvious time i noticed it) Ken Knight. his gear is spot on for what he does. next to his, mine kit looks like it was bought by a troll. it wasn't of course, it's just what works in the arctic.
like my packraft. people make lighter boats that will effectively float.
when i am floating, alone, on the ocean, in the wind, across a lead in the ice, and there's sharp slabs of it bouncing off the very thin hull of my alpacka ... a lighter boat suddenly seems not that appealing.
and so it goes with the tent, the bag, the pad, the parka, and the backpack.
so, when i post, consider that most/all my experience revolves around a long running romance with the north, and what it takes to succeed up there. ie : i'm never going to walk the cdt again. i mean .. why? when we've still got northern Quebec.

did Beacroft Trail yesterday with a much younger fellow. got my butt kicked BIG TIME.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Aarn on 07/15/2013 20:47:43 MDT Print View

"Lets get back on track or talk about WKRP in Cincinnati."

We're doing a pretty good job creating "The Real Housewives of BPL"

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Customer always right? on 07/16/2013 21:42:08 MDT Print View

That's a load of B.S. right there. Anyone who has ever worked in sales (and we all sell something...) knows that the customer can be dead wrong on occasion. Just the fact that a person is 'the customer' does not make them infallible.

Now, I do believe that the customer should always be treated with respect. If a customer treats me poorly enough or makes it impossible for me to serve him, I'll say, "Thank you for your interest, but I don't believe I can help you any further."

If a situation like this arises after a sale has been made it might be hard to honor my service agreements, but you do what you can. And if it happens to play out on a public forum... well, I might have to be extra-careful with my words. Once something is on the internet, it immediately becomes true and permanent.

I sympathize with Dan, but he should probably just walk away from this one. I'm sure there are more productive and fulfilling activities than a BPL flame war.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Customer always right? on 07/16/2013 21:52:35 MDT Print View

"That's a load of B.S. right there. Anyone who has ever worked in sales (and we all sell something...) knows that the customer can be dead wrong on occasion. Just the fact that a person is 'the customer' does not make them infallible."

I don't think that is the actual meaning of that old chestnut. I always translate that to "the customer is usually wrong, but you act like they are not and somehow fool them into the right thing if you are a salesman" Or else just let them buy the wrong thing. :-).

Personally I'd prefer someone with much more experience in such a case to just forget about that and gruffly tell me what is best. I love Nick's redefinition of Dan as "Pack Consultant". If that was on the storefront maybe it wold cut through a lot of the confusion. It has the advantage of being very true as well, apparently.

Edited by millonas on 07/16/2013 21:54:19 MDT.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Customer always right? on 07/16/2013 22:16:59 MDT Print View

I was looking for the 'like' button....

I sell bicycles. The hardest thing is letting someone buy the wrong bike. Some customers are so hard-headed I don't even ask them to wear a helmet on a test-ride. Luckily, a lot of my customers have bought multiple bikes from me. After we get the first sale out of the way they usually have more respect for what I do, and approach their next bike purchase with an open mind.

I can relate to Dan in one particular way: People come to me after years of buying and using low-quality crap. They've been told that I can help them solve all their cycling-related problems. They underestimate how much work (and sometimes money) is involved in reaching a customized solution.

Case in point: I recently sold a Cannondale road bike and accessory package for just over $2000. The bike cost us $850, freight $50. It took me an hour and a half to assemble it and install the extras, and I spent an hour helping my customer select shoes and a helmet, and fitting him to the bike. He'll probably be back for some fine-tuning of his handlebar position, and consultation on training and stretching techniques. My shop offers unlimited tune-ups and adjustments free for the first year. Add in telephone and email time getting everything ordered, we really didn't make that much money. But the dude is happy, and he'll probably be back when it's time for a new mountain bike. He's gonna tell his friends how awesome my shop is. It's all worth it, but it takes a lot of work and time to see the results.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Aarn - gg-man on 07/16/2013 22:52:47 MDT Print View

Malt Aarn

Malto Aarn 1

Malto Aarn 2

McHale Bump (3 lbs 3.92 ounces as configured)

08 Mchale

4 liters shown (additional 6 liters of water in pack)

IMG 1051

Additional storage on the double buckle hip belt that carries all the weight of the pack.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Aarn - gg-man on 07/17/2013 04:54:03 MDT Print View

Nick, sweet setup. Why zipper pouches vs bottle pouches for the back set of pouches on the belt? I would think in your style of hiking that getting additional water capacity off the back would be preferred over lighter storage.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Aarn - gg-man on 07/17/2013 10:09:32 MDT Print View

"Nick, sweet setup. Why zipper pouches vs bottle pouches for the back set of pouches on the belt? I would think in your style of hiking that getting additional water capacity off the back would be preferred over lighter storage."


Good question. I really hate carrying stuff on my hip belt or shoulder strap and on most trips I take them off. I particularly dislike heavy items such as water on hip belts -- I have tried them over the years. I find that stuff on the hip belt gets in my way and ruins my rhythm; not to mention makes it hard to climb through boulder fields. I only take the shoulder strap when I do a lot of map reading -- I keep my glasses in it.

Another thing I hate is mesh pockets and elastic. They wear out, rip, and fall apart at the least convenient point in a trip.

Dan's water bottle pockets are ingenious. Bottle is secured with a cord and cordlock set up. Also the pockets can be tilted.

Lets talk about the weight of this pack. 3 lbs 3.92 oz ounces. A lot of people give me a hard time about this not being a lightweight pack. Well there are lightweight packs and a lightweight mindset -- they can mutually exclusive. I will post a link to a trip report I did last year. Folks may want to carefully study the gear list.

This was one of my first good trips with the Bump. So I wanted to load it up to over 35 lbs and do a two-day, 50+ mile hike, completely off trail, with gear that would fit any 3 season trip I do.

I had a difficult time getting the weight over 35 pounds. I took an extra pound of food I knew I wasn't going to eat. I brought 10 liters of water, which I would need. Now I had a REALLY difficult time getting my base weight over 10 lbs, which would be required to hit the 35 lb mark.

So I brought 16 tent stakes instead of 8, a tent pole for my Hexamid (even though I had a hiking staff), clothes not needed for this trip (bacalava, down jacket, sleep socks, long under wear, and glove liners). I brought other stuff I never take any more -- pen, notebook, heavy map, Nalgene coffee container, binoculars, and big air mattress repair kit. I finally got my base weight UP TO 10lbs 4.90 ounces. Of course most people would have put stuff I took into their "worn" category to say they were under 10 lbs :)

So here is the thing, people brag about their sub 16 ounce pack, but I bet my typical base weight is lower than most of these folks; even with my 3 pound pack. And with 26 pounds of consumables on this trip, it was easy walking. If I could get a bear canister into the bump I could do the JMT unsupported -- hmm... maybe I'll do that with my LBP.

The link below is for this trip. I posted it last year in Trip Reports. What was interesting is I tore my Cuben quilt, probably with a finger nail.

Now there were comments about this and unsolicited, mean Mr. McHale sent me some free cuben tape to fix it. I suspect Dan does these kinds of things a lot but doesn't publicize them. Other companies do it for free advertising -- they really don't care. Dan cares about his good customers.

Hike to a Secret Place

Edited to fix link.

Edited by ngatel on 07/17/2013 10:10:55 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
McHale. on 07/17/2013 10:43:47 MDT Print View

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
WKRP turkeys. on 07/18/2013 09:56:25 MDT Print View

Nah man, Bailey was way hotter than Jennifer.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: WKRP turkeys. on 07/18/2013 11:57:34 MDT Print View

But Jennifer was so cool (and hotter IMO)

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: You want me, Mr. Carlson?

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Oh, yeah. Come in, Jennifer. Have a seat.

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: No, thank you.

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Well all right. At this particular point in time, I would like to dictate a press release.

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: I don't take dictation.

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: What? Alright, I guess I can do this thing myself. It's probably going to be a long meeting though; so why don't you get coffee for all the guys here?

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: I don't get coffee, Mr. Carlson. We agreed.

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Oh, yeah.

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: You have to draw the line somewhere.

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: You got that right.

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: Will there be anything else I can do?

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: No. I think that about does it.

Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe: Thank you.

Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Oh, no. Thank you.

Les Nessman: How does she get away with that?

Herbert 'Herb' Tarlek: Are you kidding?

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: WKRP turkeys. on 07/19/2013 22:57:22 MDT Print View

I remember in one episode she asked, "What's a typo?"