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Lighter backpack?
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Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Lighter backpack? on 08/14/2013 19:21:10 MDT Print View

Hey Guys, I have this...

It weighs in at 46 oz. I am wondering if I could get a lighter pack that will be as comfortable and still hold up well (be durable). Any ideas for a good one?

Adam G
(anonwums) - MLife
Granite Gear Crown? on 08/14/2013 20:35:02 MDT Print View

You could try the Granite Gear Crown

It is actually cheaper than the Blaze, holds 60 L, weighs about 12 ounces less at 2 lbs 2 oz. I can't vouch for it (since I've never owned it), but I'm really considering buying one to replace my trusty Osprey Aether 70.

It's got pretty positive review online. I'd be interested in seeing other people's experience.

Edited by anonwums on 08/14/2013 20:36:01 MDT.

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
MLD? on 08/14/2013 23:24:50 MDT Print View

Looking at the MLD Exodus. Great reviews and only 17oz.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: MLD? on 08/15/2013 10:59:30 MDT Print View


I have the Exodus and it has been my go-to pack for several years. There are a lot of UL pack designs but this one has stood the test of time: a simple durable Dyneema top-loader, large mesh "front" pocket and 2 mesh side pockets. Sometimes I think the Prophet is maybe MLD's best-sized UL pack, but the nice thing about the Exodus is how easy it is to get everything inside without looking like a yard-sale hanging from your pack. A few things to note:

(1) The Exodus does not have any suspension; it will collapse without anything inside. This is different than your Blaze; if you have access to other Granite Gear packs, you can look at the Virga to see this kind of design (but buy the Exodus over that pack). People usually pack these non-structured packs by putting a rolled up CCF or inflatable pad inside, with gear going inside this. If I was buying today, I'd buy the Exodus FS (full suspension) that comes with an inflatable backpanel and delrin support rods. These are removable, leaving you with a regular Exodus.

(2) The outer fabric of the pack rests directly on your back; there is no suspension or back-panel foam. Your back can get sweaty in hot weather and the pack itself can get wet as it is in direct contact with your clothing and back. It all dries out fast though and I don't remember it being significantly cooler with a suspension pack.

(3) A non-suspension pack like the Exodus can get uncomfortable on the shoulders with weights around 25+ lbs. Without any suspension, the weight isn't directly transferred to the hip belt (Jhaura Wachsman, a BPL member, has such a dialed-in UL kit that he has an Exodus without a hipbelt!). Just make sure that your base weight is light enough to work within the parameters of a non-suspension pack and that you understand the pros and cons of a pack like the Exodus.

Hope that helps a little!

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: MLD? on 08/15/2013 11:13:14 MDT Print View

thanks. for these downsides (no suspension, nothing on the hips) i think i would prefer either the FS version or the zpacks arc blast. they both look pretty sick and comparable.

Edited by StevenDavisPhoto on 08/15/2013 11:39:30 MDT.

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
GG Crown on 08/15/2013 11:21:49 MDT Print View

I have a crown and I loved it. No complaints at all. I now use a ULA CDT, but kept the Crown as a backup and a lender. I don't think you would be dissapointed going with the Crown.

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: GG Crown on 08/15/2013 11:25:05 MDT Print View

i'm sure the crown is great, but im trying to get my base weight near 7 lbs, so i need a pack around 1lb if possible.

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
7 lbs on 08/15/2013 11:31:03 MDT Print View

Yup, that's why I went with the CDT. Going lighter also. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: GG Crown on 08/15/2013 11:34:14 MDT Print View

wow, it looks nice and is cheap. i'm a bit skeptical about frameless packs though. why go with that over something like the Exodus FS or the ZPacks Arc Blast that have lightweight suspensions?

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
ULA CDT on 08/15/2013 12:08:35 MDT Print View

Honestly? I couldnt tell ya. I was looking for a lighter pack and a few people recomended ULA packs, so I checked them out and decided on the CDT. Frameless doesnt bother me at all. My packweight is at about 9 lbs, minus food and water. It is so comfortable to wear and hike with. It has not been time tested with me yet, but I do plan on keeping this pack for a long time and useing it on all my treks.

Kent C.

Locale: High Sierra
getting lighter; frame vs. no-frame on 08/16/2013 03:33:55 MDT Print View


I don't know what your current base is, but wonder if, once getting down to 7 lbs, you may be overestimating the value of a full suspension or actual frame. Once you get down that low in base, are those features still that highly valuable, or very necessary at all? (I don't know because I'm still up at ~11.75 lbs w/a couple luxuries.) Just a thought...of course, so much of these things are really about personal preference!

However, with that said...I just took out my brand new Arc Blast for 6 days in Mineral King (SeKi) and loved having it! Had been hiking with an '09 Mariposa Plus for several years. If you get to 7 lbs base, the Arc's frame may prove overkill, but it sure was nice not having a sweaty back!

If your weight was heavier, I'd wholeheartedly recommended the Arc Blast! I just don't have experience in the 7 range.

Maybe the ultimate answer is...what is your gut telling you? May be best to listen to that little voice?...

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: getting lighter; frame vs. no-frame on 08/16/2013 04:40:02 MDT Print View

Weell, you can get a LuxuryLite pack( at around 2 pounds/56L that is external frame. At 2 pounds I don't consider it as a UL pack, which is why everyone is(or should be) here. The cost is fairly reasonable given Gossamer Gear and others have raised prices so much. Less than two pounds is what I would consider a UL pack. Around 1 pound is good. There is no reason a pack has to weigh more.

The biggest reason I have about 4 packs I use relativly regulary is the overall SIZE. Not so much for my base gear. This changes very little, a couple pounds one way or the other. Maybe another 2 pounds if I need to bring a bear ball. But the duration I will be out, with no resupply stops makes a huge difference in my pack choice. My activities change my pack pack size. Again, my base gear does not really change that much.

For 1-2 weeks I use a 22L pack (Murmur). For two-three weeks out I use a 50L Miniposa (now they call it a Gorilla.) For longer 4-6 week trips, I use an old 75L Trek. This sort-of depends on what I will be doing. If I am fishing, or photography, or climbing peaks, or canoeing, I may choose a pack size up or down.

Note that I chose all frameless packs. With a good pad, these all have good suspension systems. Yes, my back is always sweaty. Even at 35F my back gets sweaty. this is the trade off for using a frameless pack, besides being a pound to three pounds lighter.

Food is always my biggest weight and volume. Maybe not for a couple nights out, but my usual trips are at least a week or two. (Not this summer, though...a couple broken ribs has slowed me down.) On a through hike, the larger volume means I can resupply at a store, including a box of donuts, or a few pieces of pizza. I cannot buy just a half liter of fuel, I need to buy a liter. I cannot buy just one bandage, I need to buy the box. I use corn starch for crotch-rot, I cannot buy a baggies worth, I buy the box. I need duct tape, well, you guessed it, I buy a smaller roll, not just a few yards. On the trail, such resupplies never pack as compact as what I can manage at home. IFF you have to resupply, bring a slightly larger pack to allow this. I hate to resupply due to the inevitable volume increase...and extra weight. And dehydrated beer just does NOT taste the same.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Lighter backpack? on 08/16/2013 08:58:10 MDT Print View

If your base weight is in the 7 pound range, I wouldn't hesitate to get a frameless pack. Unless you're carrying more than a weeks worth of food, you're going to be mostly below 20 pounds. If you're doing weekend trips, more like 10 pounds. Everyone's tolerance is different with regard to shoulder stress, I would assume. For me, I can feel a little shoulder stress at 25 pounds, but its not terribly uncomfortable. At 10-15 pounds, I don't feel any shoulder stress at all. For a shorter trip, I will carry a zpacks zero and have been very comfortable with it.

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Zpacks on 08/16/2013 19:28:35 MDT Print View

I just ordered the 52L Zpacks Arc Blast with front shock cord lashing and one belt pocket. Total weight 17.65 oz. I felt it was the lightest pack that still had some sort of frame system.

All the reviews I've read are great and Joe @ Zpacks makes high quality stuff. I'll post my review once I get it and take it on a trip.

Edited by StevenDavisPhoto on 08/16/2013 19:29:34 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Lighter backpack? on 08/20/2013 22:24:20 MDT Print View

Gosh, a lot of suggestions without a discussion of the total pack weight (food, water, etc.). How can anyone make a recommendation without this rather important piece of information?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 08/20/2013 22:31:23 MDT Print View

If he's like most hikers he's going to go out and back with no resupplies. Usually it's 1 week max or 2-3 day weekend type trips. He did get a good pack at least....

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
total on 08/20/2013 22:35:55 MDT Print View

My total weight for 2 days is about 15 lbs carrying 2 liters of water and 30oz of food each day.