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Favorite pack for less than $200?
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Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/26/2013 19:50:39 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a pack that's around 40-50 liters, less than 2.5 pounds, and less than $200. The GoLite Jam seems like a good option, but how does it carry? I've heard that it's not super padded. My max load with food and water will be about 20 pounds. Thanks.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/26/2013 19:55:34 MDT Print View


I have got on well with my REI Flash 45, it will easily carry 20lbs and weighs just over 2lbs and costs 129$

just Justin Whitson
Re: Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/26/2013 20:01:10 MDT Print View

I have a Golite Jam (larger size though), and i think it's a pretty good pack for the price. It's not designed to carry a lot of weight, but with 20 lbs max you should be fine.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/26/2013 20:59:34 MDT Print View

The ULA ohm is $200. I love that pack, it's perfect.

Foo Bar
(schassey) - F - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Gossamer Gear Gorilla/Mariposa on 09/26/2013 21:01:33 MDT Print View

I'd take a look at the Gossamer Gear packs. They are frequently on sale for under $200. I have both packs, and both are very comfortable well into the 20-30 lbs range. I've only used the Gorilla twice, but the Mariposa has become my go-to pack for all of my winter trips in the Sierra last year and then for Packrafting this summer. Both are under 2 lbs, in spite of the fact that they are fairly heavily feature ladden, and for me at least, carry very well.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Osprey! on 09/26/2013 21:06:32 MDT Print View

Osprey packs last a really long time, are extremely comfortable, and come with one of the best warranties in the business. All I had to do was ask for new buckles for my hydro pack- they were at my door three days later.

There's many models around that size. has the Osprey Talon 44 on sale for $120 right now. I just went with the Talon 33, myself, but not for backpacking (although, if I like the 33, I might not be able to hold off...).

Initially I found Ospreys to be kind of ugly, but i've done a complete 180ยบ and I think they're one of the better packs you can get outside of cottage/customs (which are more expensive).

Edited by mdilthey on 09/26/2013 21:07:42 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/26/2013 21:21:27 MDT Print View

+1 on the Gossamer Gear packs, especially if you can get one in a sale. I love my old style Gorilla and have just got a new Mariposa. Unfortunately the new style shoulder straps just don't work for me, so I will be selling it. The new GG packs are well made and seem great value to me.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Favorite pack for less then $200 on 09/26/2013 21:22:26 MDT Print View

My choice is a used one. Found either here or on Ebay. My last 3 pack purchases have been on the Gear Swap Forum. I get an idea of what I am looking for then, with some patience and persistence, I usually find it. I had been looking for a smaller volume cuben pack and really liked the Zimmerbilt Quickstep. Then, last week, a BPL member had one for sale. I snagged it and got it yesterday. What a great pack! Right now on Ebay there is a Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus sitting with one bid at $150 and a Six Moons Design Swift sitting at $100 with no bids. Buying used really opens up your choices, especially if you are willing to pay up to $200 for used. You can find some great packs with tons of life left in them.

Edited by on 10/18/2013 16:23:23 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Favorite pack for less then $200 on 09/26/2013 21:29:23 MDT Print View

I like what Edward said.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Favorite pack for less then $200 on 09/26/2013 21:56:54 MDT Print View

I like the REI Flash packs, but my go-to pack for the volume and weight range you're talking about is a modified REI Pinnacle 35. I think it's discontinued, but they're plentiful on the various websites and forums. Designed as a climbing pack, the Pinnacle is certainly robust. 3lbs 8 oz stock, I modified mine by removing or shortening straps and gear loops. With the plastic/aluminium frame sheet removed, mine weighs 2lbs 10 oz. It carries 30 lbs of mixed gear very well, and 35 lbs passably well. It's tough, and has a great big pocket with a water-resistant zipper and drain holes for stowing a wet tarp.

So don't rule out non-UL packs; you can often modify heavier packs and save some coin. I'd rather have a 3 lb pack that can carry 40 lbs than a sub-2 lb pack that can't carry crap over 20 lbs.

James Couch

Locale: Cascade Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Favorite pack for less then $200 on 09/26/2013 21:59:14 MDT Print View

Not available online, but many REI stores still have stock of the Pinnacle 35 and they are currently on closeout.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Re: Favorite pack for less then $200 on 09/27/2013 04:49:51 MDT Print View

Check the Gossamer Gear packs, as others have stated.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Add MLD to the list. on 09/27/2013 07:38:05 MDT Print View

These are all good packs.

I own an older GoLite Jam (before it came in different sizes) and it was my preferred pack for a very long time. Despite what some haters say, GoLite makes a reasonable tradeoff between weight and durability in most of their stuff. I would rather that the front pocket were mesh, but others feel exactly the opposite.

I'd add Mountain Laurel Designs to the list- I've had good experiences with all of their gear including packs. My MLD Burn is about perfect for a long weekend- 11 ounces for a pack that size and with those features is outstanding. They also make a reasonable tradeoff between weight and durability, though they do err more towards lightweight. But it's still REASONABLE. Their Prophet or Exodus is the size and price you are looking for. I admit that I'm a bit of an MLD fanboy, though.

A friend of mine has a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, and likes it a lot. GG seems to have had a similar weight/durability philosophy as MLD when they designed this one, though they erred a scant bit heavier. Some of the older GG stuff that was made of thin silnylon was IMO far too fragile in the interests of weight savings, but their current line is reasonable. Or maybe I'm just too rough on my packs, because a LOT of people love their G4s...

I've never even held a ULA pack so I can't help you there.

I own one of the larger Osprey Exos as my "high-volume" pack and I like it a lot. It is essentially a full-featured pack, at a reasonable weight, though significantly heavier than these others we've meantioned since it has a real albeit light frame. I'm a particular fan of the side pocket design, though others hate them. The quick-load trek pole sling is nice, too. I've only used it a handful of times, but it is holding up well.

I've only handled the REI Flash series in the store, but they look reasonable- more in the same category as the Exos than as the cottage packs, though. Like the Exos they are one of the standard "reasonably light but still mainstream" packs that BPLers tend to recommend.

Really, I think that ANY of the packs mentioned thus far will serve you well.

Edited by acrosome on 09/27/2013 10:55:42 MDT.

Aaron Smith
(Aaronsmity) - M
Re: Osprey! on 09/27/2013 07:57:11 MDT Print View

Im holding out for the Osprey Exos 48, should be out in February so could use my dividend towards it.. I believe initial MSRP is $189 and weighs in at 2lbs. Could probably get it lower if you take off the removable lid. Should hold around 30lbs of gear.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/27/2013 08:23:00 MDT Print View

I really like my Borah Gear Stealth and its very reasonably priced (although not currently available). Its about 52L and 16.5oz with two hipbelt pockets and carries 20 lbs comfortably with a Prolite Plus as a frame. My previous pack was a ULA Conduit (now CDT) which was also great but I wasn't a fan of the roll top.
I wouldn't call either of them "super padded" but I'm not sure how much more padding you need with only 20 lbs in it.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
spend the money on 09/27/2013 11:05:34 MDT Print View

spend the money on a pack that fits

other than shoes, the pack is the MOST IMPORTANT part of your gear

an ill fitting pack will be torture ... a good fitting one will feel weightless

with packs dont get obsessed with weight or price ... get obsessed with FIT

obviously people have budgets ... but look around enough and try enough on, and youll find something that FITS well for a good price

dont accept anything less

remember, unless there is free return shipping, all these packs purchased on the intrawebs will cost return shipping if they dont fit

and also remember that just because some BPLer raves about this or that pack, doesnt mean it will fit YOU


Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Another vote for used from Gear Swap on 09/27/2013 11:50:03 MDT Print View

I just purchased a Vapor Trail (I need something that can carry a larger bear can) used in gear swap for $65. It came in like new condition. They only way I could tell it was used was there was some light dirt (that came off easily enough) on it. Otherwise, just as good as new!

Marc Kokosky
(mak52580) - F

Locale: Washington, DC Area
SMD on 09/29/2013 13:31:05 MDT Print View

For me it's the Six Moon Designs Feather or Swift. The Swift is bigger than your requirements, but I've never had an issue carrying small/light loads. My quilt just lofts more to offset the extra space. For really small UL or summer loads I take the GG Minimalist

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Exped on 09/29/2013 13:35:50 MDT Print View

I like the Exped 45/60. It meets all your requirements but its got a tallish frame so if you have small volume loads you might not like it as much as I do.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Favorite pack for less than $200? on 09/29/2013 15:32:42 MDT Print View

"The ULA ohm is $200. I love that pack, it's perfect."