I'm wondering how you are packing your HMG Porter packs? I have had mine for about a year and I've done a number of summer and winter trips with it. I'm curious about how you pack your stuff in general (in hopes that some of your ideas might inspire me) and especially how you pack your bladder and account for a lack of pockets.
How much does the bladder tube coming out through the corner of the mouth compromise water resistance? It seems to allow direct entry to the bag. I'm not PLANNING on swimming in my pack, but one of the reasons I bought this was for the water resistance that enables me to ditch the pack liner and cover, even with anticipated heavy rain and frequent river crossings. I've tried hanging my Platypus on the outside from the velcro loop and strapping it in with the bungee cords, but it inevitably sags down and squishes out the bottom if the pack isn't completely stuffed. As well, the full bladder on the back does tend to overbalance the load.
How are you compensating for the lack of pockets? I need easy access to at the very least a map and compass, granola bar or two, and ideally a very small first aid kit and some mosquito repellant. I see that the new packs come with a zippered floppy pouch sewn into the top interior to carry the small stuff that inevitably ends up in the bottom of the pack, as well as hip belt pockets. Are these hip pockets something that can be purchased from HMG and added on or are there aftermarket pockets that can be used?
Also, when the pack is very full, do you get the sense that it is too round and pulls the pack strap attachment points far away from your shoulders?
And for the packing:
I put my down quilt in the bottom, followed by some bulky items so as to get heavy items up closer to my shoulder blades. I'll put my night clothes, rolled up thermarest neoair and my Jetboil Sol Ti down, followed by a cuben bear bag stuff sack (8-10" diameter tube) in the center. I'll put my tent to one side, miscellaneous on the other side of the bear bag, and stuff fleece/down in any nook and cranny, with rain gear on the very top. Without pockets, I have a Zimmerbuilt fanny pack that I put in last with all my first aid, dinky stuff, and repair kit.
I have a quick-release on the bladder tube so that I can attach my sawyer squeeze directly to the bladder tube and refill without having to unpack my entire pack to pull out, fill, and replace the bladder. It works pretty well. I'd love to find a quick-release disconnect with a shut-off so a very tightly packed pack doesn't expel all my freshly-filtered water in the process of disconnecting the Sawyer and reconnecting the bite valve section!
How do you pack yours?