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What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack?
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 14:35:03 MDT Print View

I currently own an older REI Cruise UL 60 pack W/ REI aftermarket side pockets. Total weight 3 lbs. 6 oz.

What do you use in a backpack (not a day pack) that is about 50 liters or more?

OOPS! I forgot, NO Cuben packs. Can't abide the look or feel.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/11/2013 19:17:31 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 15:05:04 MDT Print View

I am using the 46L Gossamer Gear Gorilla with stays and a foam sit pad as a frame sheet ... love it.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 15:08:12 MDT Print View

HMG Porter. I haven't found a better UL famed pack under 2 lbs

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 15:28:11 MDT Print View

Osprey Exos 46. There is a 58 liter model as well, which I lust for.... sigh

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 16:00:42 MDT Print View

I have the mentioned Osprey Exos 58 (actually 55 in the small i have) love it.. don't always need the volume but it cinches down nice for weekend trips.

Also have the 34L for my daypack which keeps all of the ergonomics and straps the same.

i love the horizontal bottle pockets since my shoulder flexibility isn't great and i can still reach both pockets without taking the pack off. among other features i like.

Edited by JakeDatc on 06/01/2013 16:13:27 MDT.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
lowe alpine zepton on 06/01/2013 16:01:06 MDT Print View

A fairly amazing pack for the weight, true frame, internal, also stiffener sheets of plastic, comfortable straps, 50 liters, 2.5 pounds with top pocket, removable, 2 pounds without. Dyneema / nylon fabric. That's a super stiff steel u frame by the way, I had to put all my body weight on it to alter the bend slightly. The u supports the top load lifters to the bottom back pad, making it a real frame.

Major flaw: flat lycra type side pockets, no front(back) pocket at all. Otherwise maybe the most underrated pack I've seen discussed here. Too bad Lowe was sold to some other outdoor gear holding company, I doubt they will be the same ever again.

Easily holds a full sized bear cannister horizontally across bottom of pack. I'll probably never use it again though, I just don't have that much gear to pack away.

The zepton was the name of the basic torso length version, they made two others, one shorter, women's usually, and one longer, I don't remember the names of those two.

Edited by hhope on 06/01/2013 16:03:34 MDT.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 16:17:16 MDT Print View

For a long time I have been using a 4000+ cubic inch GoLite Quest. It weighs 47 oz and has served me well. I recently acquired an Elemental Horizons Kalais. It is about 47 liters and weighs 28 oz with the stay. I have used it on several 3-4 day trips in the
local mountains and on a five day trip in the Grand Canyon so far. It is probably the best balanced, most comfortable pack I have ever owned. It will handle a BV-450 easily and a BV-500 but just barely. I will use the Kalais on my upcoming JMT hike.

Jani Kikuts
(Enginerd) - M

Locale: Southern California
Exped on 06/01/2013 16:41:43 MDT Print View

Got the new Exped Lightning 60, feels good around the neighborhood with 30 pounds in it but will have to report back after a week in the Sierras in August.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/01/2013 17:25:10 MDT Print View

I have the Osprey Exos 46 in a size Large. Osprey lists the volume at 49 liters for the size large but I think that's a bit optimistic. Osprey lists the weight at 2 lbs 7 oz and mine weighs in at 2 lbs 8 oz. so not too far off. The lid is removable but not worth removing as the extra storage/organization benefits is worth the 4 oz penalty IMO.

Brian Reyman

Locale: Rocky Mountains
GG and Osprey on 06/01/2013 17:38:57 MDT Print View

I haven't tried HMG packs yet but have heard very good things about them.

I have several GossamerGear packs (Mariposa and Gorilla) and would highly recommend both. They are my packs of choice for loads up to about 30 pounds. I also have an Osprey Exos 58, which is my favorite choice when I have to carry a bear canister. The one caveat there is that people either live or hate the Exos. It isn't terribly adjustable and the design makes the fit very comfy (as it is for me) or very much the opposite.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I use on 06/01/2013 18:35:09 MDT Print View

a ULA OHM 2.0. It weighs 1# 7 oz without the frills, and carries up to 25# comfortably, enough for a 10 day trip with my kit/food.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
HMG Porter (Expedition) 4400 on 06/01/2013 18:40:47 MDT Print View

Quite like this pack. Haven't used it extensively yet, but the construction is solid and it carries 40lbs (my top expedition weight) painlessly.


Phil Erickson
(chinadill) - M

Locale: Oregon
ul pack on 06/01/2013 18:54:14 MDT Print View

Kifaru KU3700 2lbs. 13oz.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Arc Blast on 06/01/2013 19:57:07 MDT Print View

I have a Zpacks Arc Blast, wouldn't trade it for anything!

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
ULA Circuit on 06/01/2013 21:22:21 MDT Print View

I love this pack but I keep lusting after the Arc Blast. The circuit is too much pack for 17lb 3day trips and 25lb week long trips.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Options on 06/01/2013 21:36:30 MDT Print View

I think it depends on how much weight you want to haul.

Up to 35 pounds
Most of the popular UL packs like the Gossamer Gear Gorilla and Exos 46 will carry 30-35 pounds okay. Lots of reviews and discussion here.

More then 35 pounds
I'm only aware of a couple packs that can haul more then 35 pounds. One would be the HMG Porter. Another would be the Exped Lighting 45/60. Ryan Jordan says he can carry 55 pounds in the Porter and Exped rates the Lighting to 52 pounds. However I'm inclined to think the Exped would be a bit better with really heavy loads or bulky loads. It has a more substantial hipbelt and load lifters. However the Porter has a much better compression system and is a bit lighter. It also has a shorter frame which is nice.

Bottom line if your pack is going to be bulky and heavy most of the time the Exped is a good choice. If you want a pack that will compress smaller but does okay with the occasional big load, pick the Porter.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
AT 55 - 2012 on 06/01/2013 21:37:19 MDT Print View

Normally, I wouldn't post anything on this forum until it had been used enough to evaluate, and then only if it worked well.

However, this product is quite unusual for the reasons stated below, but has been replaced by a newer model, so won't be around much longer.

It is Bean's AT 55, 2012 model: 55 pack-SR0&page=men-s-at-55-pack

AFAIK, the last time a removable, flexible hourglass framed, suspended mesh backpanel pack was offered was by Alpine Designs with an ABS tube frame. Still have one, remodeled with Spectra 4 oz. white widow gridstop for all of the pack except the original backpanel.

The unusual thing about these packs is that the hourglass frame, aluminum tentpole-size tube in this case, is removable; and when installed, is completely enclosed by the pack. Unlike the Ospreys, Z55s, Deuters and others, bugs etc. cannot get into the space behind the mesh backpanel (Well, OK, noseeums maybe).

So I was surprised to see Bean's offering such a pack after so many years. Also, unlike the others mentioned, since the entire perimeter of the backpanel is sewn into the pack and supported by the frame, it can be much less rigid than the others mentioned, making it easier to bend forward and flex the back against the panel. (Bean's calls it a 'trampoline' backpanel). For this reason, I find this type of pack much more comfortable. It takes a lot of design savvy, because if the panel is too loose, the inner pack when weighted will rub against the mesh panel and your back, and if it is too tight, your back will not be able to flex, and much of the benefit of the suspended mesh panel will be lost.

Some people think the space between the backpanel and inner panel moves the center of gravity too far backward, making the pack less comfortable. However, when this type of pack is packed and adjusted, the inner pack comes quite close to the mesh, as close as you would want and still maintain the ability to bend forward without feeling the contents against your back. I think this impression derives from the earlier Ospreys, that had a quite large separation between the inner and outer backpanels, without much give when weighted. Also, larger zip pockets on a pack back often get used to hold more than just rain gear and fording sandals, and that will move the center of gravity back more than a little bit of air space behind the suspended mesh.

As you can see from the link, these are 55 liter packs, and weigh a few oz over 3 lbs., depending on the size and gender. The design is similar to that on packs often favored on this site, with the two side lycra bottle pockets, lycra shovel pocket in the center, single bag with extension sleeve cinched top, buckle attached top pocket with separate hidden wallet pocket underneath, and there is an additional zip pocket inside the pack against the inner back panel that will hold items to be kept separated. It also accommodates a bladder for those who use one. It also has a Kodra bomber top and bottom, rawhide 1/8" diamond mesh for the backpanel, lift straps, etc.

The only changes I plan to make to the pack are to sew on a couple large buckles to the ends of the hipbelt so it will tighten like an Osprey does, by pulling the two web ends forward at the hips; shorten the extension sleeve, sub separating buckles for the top lid attachment, add two horizontal straps across the front to hold my chair and items to dry out, and remove some of the excess webbing that is longer than needed. For a while, Bean's had a review posted that panned the pack because it had 'too many straps.' Scissor challenged, I guess.

The old models are selling for $155 and come in a large size for torsos up to 21" like mine, which makes all the difference, comfort-wise. The new 2013 models have 'less straps,' a zip instead of shovel pocket, and are a bit heavier, but have a 35 liter model. Price for the new models is $179.

I've been designing and building a similar pack for several years, but with a 'Jackpack' sidearm suspension and lower weight. Until it is finished (assuming it ever is) I'm hoping this AT55 will be ideal for multi-week treks, carrying around 25 pounds total, including pack, at start, and will let you know how it works out.

Please note: I have zero connection with Bean's - haven't even read the book.

Edited by scfhome on 06/01/2013 21:40:00 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
ULA on 06/01/2013 21:39:45 MDT Print View

I use the ula ohm 2.0 and the circuit when I need to carry a bear canister. After trying quite a few packs these have become my favorites.

terry tiedeman
(Terry62) - F
favorite framed pack more than 50 liters on 06/01/2013 21:42:13 MDT Print View

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus Full Suspension. I really like this pack. Light, tough and carries really well.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks guys on 06/01/2013 22:00:11 MDT Print View

Thanks for your feedback. That's the info I was looking for.

My REI pack is still serviceable but the hipbelt is not the most comfortable. My Cruise UL 60 is a predecessor to the Flash 65, which I didn't see mentioned.

My max 3 season weight with 2 L. of water (1 L. of electrolyte drink, 1 L. plain H2O in the hydration bladder) is 32 lbs. for 7 days. Most of the packs mentioned here would handle that weight for a few days until I ate my way to a lower weight.

The Osprey EXOS 58 has been a tpo candidate but with all the other packs mentioned, some of which I wasn't aware of, it will take me a week of research to sort them out.

Anyone use a Granite Gear pack?