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Advice on pack size
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Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Advice on pack size on 07/24/2013 23:33:43 MDT Print View

I'm looking at potentially investing in a HMG Porter for my packrafting trips - but I'm not quite sure what pack size to get (3400 or 4400) and don't have a great way of testing it out (I live in Australia, so return postage isn't an option). Ordinarily for trips 3-7 days in length I use a GG Kumo, which according to their website is 1700ci plus 500ci for the outside pocket. I don't have a higher volume pack.

How much extra volume do you think a packraft (yukon yak) and 4-piece paddle would take up? I have a generic foam PFD that I guess I will be taking and haven't worked out whether I'll be trying to stash it in my pack or lash it to the outside. It's just really hard for me to visualise this without a larger pack to try it out with.

Edited by philthy on 07/24/2013 23:34:16 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: packrafting pack size on 07/25/2013 07:09:07 MDT Print View

A Yak will take up approximately the same amount of space as a 20F sleeping bag. If you can do 7 days out of a Kumo, the 3400 should be fine. The only other thing to consider is that packrafting might require you to bring additional clothing, or perhaps even a wet/drysuit, depending on trips.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

3400/4400 on 07/25/2013 17:43:01 MDT Print View

I could be mistaken, but I thought the 4400 was just a taller extension collar on the 3400 design.

Regardless, I imagine you would be fine with the 3400, but the 4400 adds a lot of capacity which can come in darn handy if you're packing for cold weather, or rafting gear for two. Considering the 4400 is only 0.5oz and $30 more, it's pretty tempting to add that capacity so you have the capacity if needed. On the flip side, there's the old saying that you'll use whatever space you have, so don't buy too much.

Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
3400/4400 on 07/25/2013 17:59:10 MDT Print View

Interesting. I'll follow that up with HMG - if they are the same circumference then they should carry in a similar fashion with the same volume packed. Thanks for the advice Dan.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
Re: 3400/4400 on 07/25/2013 18:24:37 MDT Print View

The 4400 is actually wider around than the 3400, as well as taller. From the HMG website the 3400 bottom circumference is 33.5 inches, 40 inches top circumference and 34 inches tall, while the 4400 has a bottom circumference of 38 inches, top circumference of 45 inches and is 40 inches tall. i.e (33.5,40,34) vs. (38,45,40).

I was recently in this same position, trying to decide between the 3400 and 4400, and I ended up ordering the 4400. I've only had it for a few weeks now, and no overnight trips, so I can't give it a serious review, but so far it seems like a great pack.

My logic with going with the 4400 was that it is less than an ounce heavier than the 3400, but a substantial increase in volume, but with the side cinch straps, you can really make the 4400 appear and act like a much smaller pack. I wanted the extra volume, even if I didn't end up using it: it is easy and cheap to get smaller and lighter packs, but buying another larger volume pack for week+ cold weather packrafting trips would be expensive.

I know in the various 'pack fitting threads' people would have you believe that having any weight less than a millimeter away from your center of gravity is going to cause a torque so severe that your torso will rip in half, but the wider circumference of the 4400 is a big selling point to me, even if it might move the center of gravity a bit further away from my back. That's because I like packs that are shorter and squat rather than tall, as I find the very tall packs very difficult to bushwhack with. I'd rather the pack be essentially shielded by my back as much as possible, or else it tends to get caught and just gets in the way when navigating thick bush. Even though the 4400 is "taller" than the 3400, the large circumference means you can get more volume filled at a lower height.

The lack of load lifters of the 3400/4400 is also a selling point for me: I don't like it when tall packs come too close to your neck and shoulders because it makes it difficult to crane ones neck to look up steep hills during scrambling/bushwhacks.

I also find that PFDs and packrafts take up a bit more room in the pack than their exact volume. Sleeping bags and clothes can squish to fill available space. A folded packraft is essentially undeformable, so it ends up creating some "useless" dead space unless you can find something to fit around it. I much prefer having the packraft inside the pack rather than strapped to the outside.

I also find foam PFDs to be incredibly bulky items, and they seem to take huge amounts of volume. Paddles I like to have strapped to the outside, so they don't really eat into the packs volume.

Other than that, I am quite happy with the HMG 4400 so far. I have seam sealed it, and it is very nearly water tight, even when fully submerged. I've gone on a few day trips with about 25lbs in the pack, and it carries like a dream, very comfortable.

Edited by eatSleepFish on 07/26/2013 06:47:37 MDT.

Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Going with the 4400 on 07/29/2013 00:55:53 MDT Print View

After a bit of thought and discussion with HMG, I'm going to go for the 4400.

The 4400 is a bit wider in circumference, but is about the same height as the 3400. The 4400 has extra support in the back panel allowing you to comfortably carry more weight than the 3400 series, if need be.