Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
McHale pack or Zimmer pack?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Thaddaeus Wharton
(Thadjw) - MLife
McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/05/2013 16:59:44 MDT Print View

For high end packs are you really getting something worth paying for? I'm wondering if I should spend the considerable coin on a nice pack (maybe a very light frame or frameless).

Any other companies to consider? I'll probably try to get it in Multi-Cam if possible and may even be able to use it as a travel bag for future deployment. These are my thoughts and any advice is appreciated.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/05/2013 17:04:53 MDT Print View

Probably Zimmer for a truly "soup to nuts" custom product, unless you require a pack for loads over 45 to 50 pounds. A Mchale would be ideal for that.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/05/2013 17:37:38 MDT Print View

Depends what you are looking for in a pack, and how/what you use it for.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: lie on 07/05/2013 18:46:13 MDT Print View

Ahh. If I don't rotate my iPad I don't see avatars..
Still, glad to see the post edited a bit.

Edited by Kat_P on 07/05/2013 18:48:54 MDT.

Christopher Chupka
(FatTexan) - M

Locale: NTX
Military loads on 07/05/2013 19:00:47 MDT Print View

Check out Mystery Ranch or Kifaru, I love my McHale but those Kifarus are some serious multicammed load haulers.

May wanna go a solid color, military looking at new camp pattern AGAIN.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
light loads on 07/05/2013 19:08:31 MDT Print View

You did not buy your LBP for 'over' 45-50 lb loads.

Edited by wildlife on 07/05/2013 19:11:48 MDT.

Christopher Chupka
(FatTexan) - M

Locale: NTX
McHale on 07/05/2013 19:10:37 MDT Print View

With 10 pounds or 60 pounds in my McHale, except for my quadriceps, the load feels the same

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/05/2013 19:12:29 MDT Print View

I own a Zimmerbuilt and have a hiking buddy that has a McHale and I would say they are apples and oranges. The Zimmerbuilt I have is immaculately constructed better than Golite, SMD, Gossamer Gear,ULA, and even HMG and MLD, and Chris was great to work with. I will say however that the McHale was similar quality. Zimmerbuilt's packs are more along the line of other lightweight framed packs and in fact uses the same frame as Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs; it performs very well for what they are designed to do. If I were looking for something for light loads, say under 25-30 pounds, then the Zimmerbuilt may give you a lighter weight pack, for less money and still give you impeccable quality and customization. If you want something for heavier loads, nobody knows pack fit and suspension like Dan McHale. I am not sure how light he can make a pack, but I would say it would be something in the 2-2.5lb range. If I was going to carry 30+ pound loads regularly and didn't mind forking over a nice chunk of change for a pack, McHale would be the choice, however for less than half the price and my 20 pounds loads, my Zimmerbuilt rocks.

Both are excellent packs, and I don't think you would be unhappy with either assuming you buy the pack that best suits your needs.

Of course Dan is a pack maker and not a web designer and it shows. His site doesn't showcase his light packs much either so I think you are best off calling him and talking to him.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: light loads on 07/05/2013 19:13:22 MDT Print View

I bought it for large loads over a week of trekking. And yes, the load will get over 40 lbs quite easily. Especially in the colder months. Ever been to Alberta in the winter.

It is a LBP 38, FWIW.

I only had 27 lbs in the pictures because it so poorly with that weight in it. 40 lbs would feel no better so what was the point? I still can't get it to fit right. I wonder if I should send it to Zimmer to get modified?

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/07/2013 07:28:32 MDT.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
light loads on 07/05/2013 19:43:04 MDT Print View

You know very well I make packs for lighter loads, and when you sent me photos with your LBP 38 you never loaded it with more than 27 lbs., and then yesterday you are trying to claim I 'adopted' featuresd from Golite and MLD.

David Ure said,

"I bought it for large loads over a week of trekking. And yes, the load will get over 40 lbs quite easily. Especially in the colder months. Ever been to Alberta in the winter.

It is a LBP 38, FWIW.

I only had 27 lbs in the pictures because it so poorly with that weight in it. 40 lbs would feel no better so what was the point? I still can't get it to fit right. I wonder if I should send it to Zimmer to get modified?
Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/07/2013 07:28:32 MDT.

Just so people know, David Ure edited and inserted the bit about the 27 lbs in his post above AFTER I said and posted this in this post;

You know very well I make packs for lighter loads, and when you sent me photos with your LBP 38 you never loaded it with more than 27 lbs.

Edited by wildlife on 07/07/2013 19:05:01 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/05/2013 20:05:16 MDT Print View

>> Of course Dan is a pack maker and not a web designer and it shows. His site doesn't showcase his light packs much either so I think you are best off calling him and talking to him.

Yeah, that's for sure. In my opinion, his website is horrible. I would say that Zimmer's website is better, but is still pretty bad. Unless you know exactly what you want, it is all a bit overwhelming. Both make outstanding custom packs, but it is tough to know how to get started with either one of them. A good web designer could make it all a lot easier, but you are better off just communicating with them and then deciding what you want. The overall weight of your packs probably depends a lot more on what options you want, rather than the general construction (both packs can be made of Cuben, for example).

Basically, when they say custom, they mean custom. Send them an email (or call them) tell them what you want and have them build it for you. I think in either case, you will be happy.

Edited by rossbleakney on 07/05/2013 20:09:30 MDT.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Grow up Davy and Dan! on 07/05/2013 20:18:05 MDT Print View

Please confine your personal-issue rants to PM's.

Edited by Rincon on 07/05/2013 20:23:34 MDT.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
not that custom on 07/05/2013 20:33:23 MDT Print View

Russ, I am not as custom as you make it sound. I only customize my own designs rather than making designs from scratch. I sent the OP to Z-Packs as soon as I could.

Edited by wildlife on 07/05/2013 21:04:30 MDT.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Both are great! on 07/05/2013 21:04:35 MDT Print View

It comes down to price and the load your carrying. If you want a one of a kind very light pack, I would go with Chris, if you want an indestructible pack that will last 15 years, go with Dan. If I was heading out mountaineering with snowshoes, crampons, shovel strapped to my back I would go with Dan. If I was packing with my 3 season list I would go with Chris. I don't ask one pack to do it all, that's why I make my own.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: not that custom on 07/05/2013 21:14:55 MDT Print View

@Dan I know you don't custom design from scratch, but my recommendation for someone buying a pack from you is to contact you, rather than try and navigate your website. At least, that is what I would do. It doesn't hurt to look at the website, but frankly, I find it extremely difficult to navigate the site. The Zimmer website is a bit better, but not much. I want to be clear here: I think the packs you (and Zimmer) make are outstanding. I just think your websites are bad. It is a shame because I think you lose business as a result. Back in the day, I would just visit your shop on Nickerson, but that was a while ago...

To be fair, it is a tough thing to translate to the web. There are many options, and a lot of technical information to convey. You also are asking for information from the customer. It is your business, but you might consider talking to someone who does web design.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Agreed on McHale website flaws. on 07/05/2013 22:47:51 MDT Print View

If I knew how to fix Dan's website, I would do it for free just because I like his packs so much. I saw one in action a few years ago and a guy my size (tall and bony) was carrying a 40 lb load like it was nothing. To me that means 10-15 lbs of gear, and massive quantities of food. With my low caloric intake, I could stay out on the trail for weeks. With my current internal frame pack (that fits me like a glove), 25 lbs starts to suck the fun out of it. Dan's hip-belt design alone is worth the price of his packs.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/06/2013 00:49:11 MDT Print View

If I remember correctly, from a thread a few years back, Dan doesn't think there is anything wrong with his website.

John Marics
(Jammmin)

Locale: The North Coast
Re: McHale pack or Zimmer pack? on 07/06/2013 09:23:29 MDT Print View

It's Dan's business and he can run it the way he wants. I don't get why people feel compelled to change his website or attack it. It is what it is. For me his packs are great even though they are heavier then some others I own. To me as well as others it's about how it feels on your back over long periods. I have a 15oz. framed pack that I have tried repeatedly to make work and it is just never comfortable. It sits at home.

By going custom you know you will get the right fit. Important to those who can't always buy off the rack.

Never owned a Zimmer but can highly recommend a pack from Dan. Keep it simple and use lightweight materials and you get a pack that I consider light enough.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: I think, therefore I remember on 07/06/2013 13:03:51 MDT Print View

Dan McHale will build you a pack that will be customized to his designs, not yours. There is no off-the-shelf, one size fits all (or even S, M, L) pack. And there are a plethora of configurations for each design. IMO, Dan sells real solutions, not options.

At first his website seemed overwhelming and unorganized. But Dan walked me through his site over the phone in a few minutes, it then made sense to me. One good thing about the site are the large numbers of pictures. You just need to know if you need a Bump, LBP, Sarc, etc. Keep in mind that Dan wants you to have the perfect pack for your individual needs. You may find that the pack you liked on his site is not the one you need. So there is no shopping cart button.

You need to talk to Dan to get your perfect pack, so a fancy website is not needed.

If you don't demo the pack you need you don't get one. Dan isn't selling you a piece of inventory sitting on a shelf.

And the demo costs money and time to package and ship. Your demo and final pack are shipped UPS with tracking numbers. The packs come in a big secure box, not stuffed into a Tyvek envelope. You will learn a lot from Dan about packs during the process.

Some cottage companies will build you a pack of your design. But if you are so expert in a good design, you don't need someone to build it, you can do it yourself. Most cottage packs only last 2 or 3 years if you hike a lot. My full Dyneema LBP will out live me.

Think of Dan as a master backpack consultant, who happens to build extraordinary packs too.

Thaddaeus Wharton
(Thadjw) - MLife
Umm... Didn't mean to start an argument on 07/06/2013 13:05:31 MDT Print View

Thanks for all info. The site wasn't slick but Dan messaged me right away with good advice. I'd say that I'd wish that Dan did a few lighter weight category packs and everything looks great that I see (but is sturdier than I need bc this is mainly for light pack recreation).

A good website to me is mainly the pic examples and the contact email. That was there.

Thanks again and I'll check out ZPacks (my tent is from Joe). Any other info is always welcomed and well-considered.