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What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack?
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Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: light packs with frames on 06/01/2013 22:42:24 MDT Print View

Personally, a number of the packs mentioned I won't want to use over around 25lb. The suspension starts to degrade above that. As you say... you could put up with if for a couple of days as your weight comes down from the food being eaten.

I really wanted to like teh Osprey Exos 58. You might find it too big, but the real issue I ran into was I found the waist strap inadaquate for more than around 20lbs. Above that I found it got uncomfortable after around 1-2 miles. Clearly this varies person to person since there are people here who love it.

I used to use The Granite Gear Vapor Trail and really likely it... but as GG added features the lightened the suspension. I am not fond of the current packs :(


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/02/2013 05:20:19 MDT Print View

Well, this kind-of gets into a very grey area. What is a a light pack and how does the weights fit into each category: Regular, Light, UL, SUL, XSUL?

In answer to your question, for an internal framed pack I use an old, as in very old, Tough Traveler. This is about 3000ci (50L)and weighs 2#3. It has an internal frame made from magnesium, two side pouches, and a 2" hip belt. I use this most days as a training pack carrying ~50 pounds through the park. I believe it was produced around 1974/5. I don't think anyone currently makes a similar pack, though. None have a magnesium frame. Way back when the kids were little, I would load this with close to 60 pounds of gear and take the family out camping. Really a rugged pack and still in use. But, I don't consider this a UL pack. More of a light weight pack.

Regular packs (heavy weight packs) I consider as anything above 4#.
Light weight packs I consider 2#-4#.
UL packs I consider to be 1#-2#.
SUL packs I consider to be 8oz to 1#.
XSUL packs I consider to be anything less than 8oz.

The current trend in backpacks is heavier, more durability, additional features.

Modular packs are nice, letting a hiker dial in his pack to his load, but this often adds excess weight to the total. Example, your aftermarket side pockets: These are totally enclosed pouches with attachments. If attached to a pack, it is possible to skip one side(using the pack body as a side,) and, only attach five of the six sides and skip the attachment weight for an overall weight savings. Removal, ie, not carrying it, is also a weight savings if you do not need the extra volume. Current philosophy will allow manufacturors to add modular pieces. Strict UL philosophy says no. The lightest pouch should be added. I would suggest not considering any modular packs as Ultra Light, regardless of how much they actually weigh.

Perhaps volume is another consideration, as you mention. I have a couple packs(Osprey, and a wal-mart loaner) that list 50L as the size. There are a couple pouches on the Osprey (for example) that open *internally.* Ie, they subtract from the internal volume when full. They are not big enough for a tent (though they fit a 10x10 tarp, OK.) Simple "organization" pouches like that can be eliminated. They really serve no usefull purpose beyond gear segregation. This is one feature than can easily be eliminated.

With the destruction of most of the early generation cuben packs (for one reason or another) most companies have switched to hybrid materials to increase durability. This was at about the same rate as spinnaker packs were destroyed, forcing manufacturers to look for more durable materials. But instead of .36 or .51 material being used we now find 1.1 and 1.6 material being used. Again, the trend in durable packs is showing. but this means that we now can get better packs even if the weight as increased by 50% or more.

(Joomy) - M
Crux on 06/02/2013 06:33:07 MDT Print View

I use my Crux AX-47X for almost all my multi-day trips.

It's not the lightest pack for its size (about 1300g in my size 3) but it is mega tough and mega comfy. It has the stiffest tubular frame I've ever encountered on a pack. It's also functionally weather proof. I think it compares very favourably to packs like the ULA Circuit, and the Kevlar/nylon fabric is way tougher than the Dyneema X ULA use.

That said... the Arc Blast looks bloody awesome at less than half the weight.

packs on 06/02/2013 06:39:09 MDT Print View

A lot of factors go into pack selection.

Your average carry weight, maximum required carry wt, volume of gear, and durability needed are a few.

I use an Ohm, and a circuit.

There are startling few packs that fall into the range these packs serve, which is the sweet spot for most UL backpackers.

Up to 20 lbs, I prefer the Ohm packed loose so it conforms to my back. 20-30 lbs the support of the Circuit, and shaped back stay makes packing easy and carrying comfortable.

I usually carry 5-6 days food .

Another good pack similar to Circuit is the Elemental Horizons Kalais. A tad lighter (not much when compared on equal basis with stay and pockets), a bit smaller, but a load hauler and durable.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
A little small for your stated requirements, but... on 06/02/2013 07:26:04 MDT Print View

If you can go just a tad smaller, I really am happy with my new REI Flash 45. It proved very comfy on a shakedown two day hike with my planned long hike load. I hardly knew it was there once I got the adjustments all right. I am looking forward to longer trips with it.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/02/2013 07:31:49 MDT Print View

HMG Porter 4400 (formerly "Expedition"). Great pack that carries very well. I use it when I need the capacity to haul bulky winter loads, or for longer trips. No complaints at all.

Edited by backslacker on 06/02/2013 20:42:03 MDT.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Half Pound MYOG Frame Pack on 06/02/2013 09:58:05 MDT Print View

I use this MYOG frame pack:


Edited by lyrad1 on 06/02/2013 10:12:15 MDT.

Darren McClintock
(Darren) - MLife
GG on 06/02/2013 10:21:59 MDT Print View

Yes Eric, Nimbus Ozone or Meridian without the lid dialed in on my 19" torso. Super comfortable.

Edited by Darren on 06/02/2013 10:25:04 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: GG on 06/02/2013 10:30:33 MDT Print View

I recently had a chance to use the GG Leopard AC58 and it was very comfortable. The Crown varients simply don't fit me...mind you neither did the Vapor Trail. I was between toro sizes.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
packs on 06/02/2013 11:05:43 MDT Print View

These are the pack I tried:

GG Gorilla
ULA OHM and Circuit and AirX
MLD Exodus
Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone
Osprey EXO
HMG Windrider
and others

But now I only have:

Zpacks Blast with stays and
hmg porter

and I'm very happy they put the weight on my hips, my Total pack weight
for most trips is about 18 lbs including food and water and these packs
handle it with ease.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/02/2013 16:03:57 MDT Print View

Currently using the HMG Porter 3400. It is a pretty fantastic pack and hauls a load surprisingly well. My only complaint? I just wish I could have a color other than white!

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: What's your light or UL internal FRAMED pack? on 06/02/2013 16:45:29 MDT Print View

"I just wish I could have a color other than white!"

Email HMG. There's a small upcharge, but they may still have some black available.

scree ride
Orange you glad I didn't say bannana on 06/02/2013 19:36:30 MDT Print View

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Tough Traveller on 06/02/2013 19:55:45 MDT Print View


I actually have a Tough Traveller given to all Olympic Nordic ski patrollers when I was a patroller at the '80 Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

It's all Cordurea and has a top flap made to hold a sleeping bag. I modded it (natch, it's an affliction I have)) by cutting off the webbing belt and adding a Camp Trails belt. Sometimes I use it for backcountry skiing but I mainly keep it B/C it has the '80 Winter Olympic emblem sewn on it.

EDIT: Some packs like the Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus are nice packs but I do not want my back against WP pack cloth like the Exodus and several otehr light internal frame packs have. The mesh trampoline of an Osprey EXOS 58 ia the ideal for me.

My old REICruise UL 60 at least has mesh covered open cell foam. AND it has an adjustable harness with 5 inches of torso length adjustment, unlike the current REI Flash 65 with its sewn-on harness. It's just that damn hard waistbelt I don't like.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/02/2013 20:05:30 MDT.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Rainbow Porters on 06/02/2013 20:40:26 MDT Print View

That orange porter is indeed good lookin'.

I think I'll wear out my white porter before doing anything else. Here's hoping it gets enough use that it ends up black anyways!

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Rainbow Porters on 06/02/2013 20:43:07 MDT Print View

I've heard that since cuben can't be effectively dyed, that the color will start to bleed. Can't confirm this, however.

Christopher Kuzak
Exos 58 on 06/02/2013 21:32:30 MDT Print View

I'm using an Exos 58 without the top pocket to cut down about 5 oz. The pluses are the air suspension and the ease with which I can stuff my bear canister in it. Downsides are the waist belt and weight (there are lighter options). I've carried up to 30 lbs in it comfortably, but wouldn't want to go beyond that. It really shines in the 20-25 lb range.

Nils Mann

Locale: Rockies
Re: packs on 06/11/2013 14:15:57 MDT Print View

I am just in the process of selecting my first UL pack. Was looking at Gorilla, Blast with stays, or Jam 50; or possibly Hornet 46, Porter 3400 or Kalais though I suspect they are too big. Andrew, you seem to have used nearly all of them - how do you compare them?

What do people recommend for the following? (I'm not keen on shipping stuff back over the border to the US so buying a few and then returning them isn't too attractive!) Base wt currently about 11 lbs w/o pack for Canadian Rockies and Monashees (I likely still have too much extra clothing), so I suspect about 20 lbs common wt and 25 lbs max. (nice to be comfortable with 30# if need be but I'd like to know if people with experience think that is asking too much of a UL pack - framed or not). Base volume in a box is about 1900 cu in. I use a neoair but may also carry a torso pad in shoulder season.

p.s. My internal framed pack is an ancient TNF, about 70l by my calcs, only 1.65 kg - looks very much like the Porter with a lid.

Edited by Billman on 06/11/2013 14:44:32 MDT.

John Holmes

Locale: SouthEastern US
Depends on your definition of FRAMED :) on 06/11/2013 16:19:31 MDT Print View

I've settled on Granite Gear packs, at least for the time being. For my "heavy" winter and/or long distance loads (17lb base, 35lbs max) I love the GG Blaze AC 60. At 2lbs 14oz not exactly ultralight, but definitely "light" and I love the suspension.

For my light loads (12lb base, 25lb max) I recently got a Crown VC 60. Not sure many people would call the super flexible frame sheet a suspension, but I think it works great. Pack it tight and it sure feels like a suspension :)

Both of these packs fit me perfectly, carry weight comfortably and with lighter loads almost disappear on my back.
For the performance, design and cost, I don't know of anything I would want to replace these with. Super satisfied.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: Orange you glad I didn't say bannana on 06/11/2013 16:35:11 MDT Print View

Jebus I want one of these stinkin packs. and I DONT need it..... 7yr old daughter is going to have to get a job to buy daddy Cuben fiber gear for fathers day.

I am a UL hypocrite and proud...Either that or a gear junkie.