Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Best Pack size for Overnighter?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/09/2013 20:23:18 MDT Print View

well I have a tarp and bivy now, I use an alcohol stove and 600ml cup etc.
Learned lots on BPL. I am looking to shrink my pack size.
I have room in my 42L pack so I am looking for ideas on 30L ish size packs.

Looking for ideas from seasoned guys on getting a Just Right pack size.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/09/2013 21:35:55 MDT Print View

I have only one backpack. It's 40 L and I can carry up to 10 days' stuff in it if necessary. For me the only difference between one night and 9 nights is the amount of food, and possibly an extra pair of dry socks if I anticipate a wet trip. For a short trip I just compress the pack down more.

The only best pack is the one that (1) fits you, (2) fits your gear and (3) is comfortable for you with your gear in it. Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit. In other words, pack size is a personal question that can be answered only by packing your gear in the pack, trying on the pack and carrying the pack around for several hours.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: perfect small pack on 05/09/2013 21:55:34 MDT Print View

Mary, you are no fun at all.

The perfect pack size for overnighters in non-gnarly conditions (i.e. the pack 90% of people will use 95% of the time) is 28 liters. This will translate to a pack body 24-28 inches tall, 9-10 inches wide, and 6-8 inches deep (depending on contouring the sides, etc). It's not really possible to make a pack smaller than this which is long enough to have a usable hipbelt for most adults, and not so shallow that awkward objects just do not fit. A lot of the time you won't use a belt, but when you need to haul all your water or just want to haul a six pack and steak dinner it's a good option. 28 liters is big enough for the aforementioned luxury summer overnight load, as well as big enough for an early winter trip or peak bagging trip if you pack light. A pack of this volume is small enough that you don't need compression straps, as it will be full on any trip anyway.

There's a reason the MLD Newt, Golite Ion, and the like are so popular. Everyone should have a pack like this.

As far as commerical options: the Newt is the lightest and most basic, the GG Kumo is a full featured option, and you can get whatever you want features-wise from Zpacks in this size. HMG missed the boat a bit by making packs on either side of this, IMO they'd be better off scraping the 2400 line and make the Summit pack taller. The Osprey Talon 33 is a bit on the big and heavy side, but a decent option. And of course the Cilogear 30 liter, Cold Cold World Ozone, and Blue Ice Warthog 26 for the climbers, canyoneers, and those who beat their packs senseless.

Edited by DaveC on 05/09/2013 22:02:26 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/09/2013 22:04:30 MDT Print View

Golite Jam 35

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/09/2013 23:47:57 MDT Print View

In the old days, I estimated pack volume requirements this way. For each 10 pounds of total load, I needed about 1000 cubic inches of pack volume. So, for 50 pounds, I needed 5000 cubic inches. However, that was way back then.

Now I find that my lightweight or ultralightweight gear is much denser than before. So, for each ten pounds of total load, I now need about 800 cubic inches of pack volume. Then all that gets fouled up with a bear canister, because I never seem to get the food packed into it with the same density as without a bear canister.


Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
REI on 05/10/2013 08:39:15 MDT Print View

I like my REI Flash 22 and Flash 30 pretty well.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Best Pack size for Overnighter?" on 05/10/2013 11:44:04 MDT Print View

I did all my overnighters last year with a 40L GoLite Speedpack (which I think they count the outside mesh as part of the 40L). My gear is a little bulky. I'm sure there are folks here using smaller for overnighters.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/10/2013 11:52:52 MDT Print View

The one that fits whatever it is you desire to bring along.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/10/2013 12:16:15 MDT Print View

The one that fits whatever it is you desire to bring along.


Edited by simplespirit on 05/10/2013 12:18:23 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Best Pack size for Overnighter? on 05/10/2013 12:27:45 MDT Print View

I've got a 32L OMM Classic and a 54L Borah Gear Stealth. Those two packs cover everything I do. I mostly use the OMM for day trips and hardly ever fill it but for trail work its just the right size. For summer overnighters I can fit everything into it but it gets a little tight if I have to add an insulating top. Most backpacking trips I use my Borah Gear Stealth, and before that a ULA Conduit. I did a week long trip with the Conduit but the most I've done with the Stealth is a weekend. When the pack's not full of other stuff I just let my quilt loft up and take the extra space. That's a lot cheaper than having a closet full of packs in every conceivable size.


Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: re: perfect small pack on 05/11/2013 09:19:04 MDT Print View

How do you go about carrying and accessing water in a pack like the MLD Newt, with no pockets/hydration slot/etc? Just accept that it'll take an extra minute, or is it all about add-on shoulder strap bottle holders and so on?

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: re: perfect small pack on 05/12/2013 10:48:24 MDT Print View

Lately for (solo) overnighters i've been using the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Day pack, which is only 20L. But, i also don't bring stove/cookset on these trips, there is usually plentiful water where i usually hike, and i don't have the appetite of the typical over fed, Westernized grizzly bear. (if hiking with my wife, i bring a bigger pack and let her carry the Sea to Summit one).

But this little pack allows me to pack all the essentials for my trips, EE 40 degree quilt, Stoic Hadron jacket (don't always bring), S.t.S NANO bug net (don't always bring), poncho tarp w/ cord and some stakes (don't always bring), NeoAir all season medium pad, Sawyer squeeze filter & bag, kite tyvek bivy (don't always bring and if i don't, i bring polycryo for groundsheet), headlamp, and pair of warm sleeping socks. I'm actually surprised how much i can fit in there.

If you pack really light weight, you don't need any bells and whistles of hip belt, etc. Some people may need a sternum strap with this pack, but i sewed some linen-poly material onto part of the slippery shoulder straps and don't need a sternum strap. I also like that it's innately highly water resistant--minus the zipper area and seems.

Anyways, not ideal for most people, and i doubt the durability is all that great, especially not for people that do a lot of bushwacking, but it works for me so far. Oh, and it weighs less than 3 oz stock (the linen-poly on the straps adds a little extra).

Edited by ArcturusBear on 05/12/2013 10:51:18 MDT.