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What Dan McHale has to say about UL backpacks
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William F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: a pound on 02/16/2014 20:38:06 MST Print View

So I don't have to climb some distant Himalayan 5000 meter+ peak? I'm such a wimp I'd never make it Tom. And now they're telling me I'm going to get fat. The horror, it just keeps getting worse and worse.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
dream on 02/16/2014 20:38:20 MST Print View


Edited by wildlife on 02/17/2014 14:21:19 MST.

William F

Locale: PNW
Re: dream on 02/16/2014 20:53:02 MST Print View

Respect Dan. I may not agree with the tone of your site/blog but I can't argue with the quality of your product. Your packs are beautiful and anyone who gets the chance to own one is lucky. If other people were as forthcoming on their websites as you I suppose they would find themselves with similar feedback depending on the reader. But consider this, if you just got rid of all those words on the site (not the blog because that's what a blog is for) you wouldn't have to listen to whiny wimps like me complain about the tone of your website ;). You could just sell excellent backpacks and have more time to get outdoors yourself. Or use that metal detector if you so choose.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Damn the torpedos on 02/16/2014 20:58:04 MST Print View

"Welcome abored!

Craig, I saw your post about GoPros. I picked up a Hero 3 Black edition last year at Best Buy I'll sell for $200.00. I'm just not into it. I got it to film the motorcycle crash that kills me but lost interest."
-Dan McHale

Hi Dan, I could have written that exact same post. In fact that is the same email I sent to Craig, but you were $25 dollars nicer on the price than I was (I needed shipping and insurance covered;-).

The only difference is my Hero 3 Black DID film my motorcycle just didn't kill me. Hahaha. But it did catch me laughing as I picked my 550 pound beast up off the forest service road in AZ. :)

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
gopro on 02/16/2014 21:02:13 MST Print View

That's funny. The camera can actually take some nice wide angle stills. I'll probably just keep it for that. Cameras don't get much lighter!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: gopro on 02/17/2014 00:08:05 MST Print View

Thanks for the offer Dan, that's a great deal. I've got to pass though.
I just picked up an older model with a bunch of accessories for $100. I promised myself I'd go cheap on this to see if I'm even into it before getting into a more expensive model.

Jane Howe
(janeclimber) - MLife
Mchale pack rocks! on 01/06/2015 10:22:43 MST Print View

I am an alpine climber, even with the lightest gear, a total gear/food/water load of 30-40 lbs is normal to me. Other than the normal overnight gear, I must carry ice axe(s), snow pickets, ice screws, harness, carabiners, rope, etc. The flimsy UL gear did not last. I trashed a Granite Gear Alpinist after three days on Rainier. The bottom of my Golite Pinnacle had three cuts after five days of ice climbing in Canadian Rockies.

And I am only 5'4 and 120 lbs. In order to carry a load of 30% of my body weight more effectively, I ordered a McHale five years ago. It has been my go-to pack for all my long ascents. McHale just carries the load "beautifully" ( I am an engineer with a materials science and mechanical engineering background). Thank you, Dan!

Peter Boysen
(peterboysen) - MLife
frameless packs on 01/06/2015 10:59:17 MST Print View

I definitely think 35lbs in a frameless pack is going to be uncomfortable for most anyone, however for myself, having almost nothing in terms of hips, even most big framed packs take almost nothing off my shoulders anyway so adding a few pounds for the frame is still basically useless to me. Everyone needs something different, but if you don't have the hips to drop weight onto, it's still on your shoulders either way.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Pack Progress' on 01/06/2015 18:54:35 MST Print View

In the '50s Nearly everyone who backpacked thought the Kelty and later Camp Trails external frame backpacks were Very comfortable. It was "pack progress" fer sure.

Yes, we geezers DID carry heavier loads then "Before UL" but we thought the idea of transferring most of the load to one's hips and legs, the largest bones in the body, was smart.

Fast forward to sub 20 lb. loads for 4 days and "frameless" packs. If'n you can take it IN COMFORT then God Bless. I can't

I'll carry the extra weight of my Osprey EXOS 58 trampoline back netting and aluminum tubular frame any day over a frameless pack. It just feels so much more comfortable. Plus I can shift the load to more or less weight on my hip belt as I please to rest different muscles throughout the day.

So, yep, there's them that likes frameless and them that duzn't. It's whut makes we'uns whut we are - different.

If I did "frameless" there would be a CC foam sleeping pad acting as a sorta-kinda frame. Likely the pad would be cut in half (horizontally) with 2 tightly rolled halfs in 2 vertical fabric tubes inside my pack. That would give me a "frame."

Rick Adams
(rickadams100) - M
Re: frameless packs on 01/07/2015 10:12:25 MST Print View

Peter, a properly fitted framed pack with the right hip belt will take as much weight off of your shoulders as you wish. I'm built like a stick figure and have tried many packs before I bought a McHale. I use it for all 4 seasons plus day hiking, it is more comfortable than any other pack I've used. Mine is a Sarc+1. The money you lose buying and selling packs to find one that is tolerable is far more expensive than buying a McHale.

Now I need to get a smaller one.

Charlie W
(CharlieW) - F
Re: frameless packs on 01/07/2015 12:33:28 MST Print View

I find my frameless pack (a JanSport) comfortable up to about 5 lbs.

For the "minority" of folks here that don't like carrying weight on shoulders, I suggest trying out an Elemental Horizon's Kalais pack. It transfers almost all of my 25 lb load onto my hips without excessive belt tightening or loose fit in upper body. The 4-strap belt systems seems really cool. I have no idea if this is an innovation or not, but it works better for me than the massive hip padding in my old heavy lifters from the 90s (possibly unfair comparison since I'm carrying less weight now).

What I need now is a day pack to replace my JanSport that transfers at least some of that 5 lbs to my hips. Agree with general thrust of thread that getting a Cuben JanSport won't make much difference to my overall hiking comfort.

Edited by CharlieW on 01/07/2015 13:01:06 MST.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Bring back the tump line! on 01/07/2015 13:52:31 MST Print View


Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
durable pack, light contents on 01/07/2015 19:41:58 MST Print View

As a hitchhiker and an outdoor professional (shifting from conservation and trail work to outdoor education) I put my gear through a heck of lot more time outside than do most people, even thruhikers. And other than shoes and clothes, no item comes in contact with abrasive rocks and sticks more than a pack does. I prefer to have a durable pack, like an Osprey (ok not like an Osprey, an Osprey! I have three different sizes!). I will do everything I can to save weight on every item that goes inside the pack, but for the pack itself, its gotta last, gotta be able to be thrown in the back of someones rusty pickup, or be able to endure 200 + days a year outside.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
prices are crazy though on 01/07/2015 19:47:45 MST Print View

That dude is just plain nuts though for selling packs at 1K. They dont even have the cool archeopteryx fossil like Arcteryx does hehe. But seriously, Im willing to bet an Osprey or a similar brand is going to be every bit as durable with similar weights. Maybe I just dont get it. $1000 is the equivalent of 4 entire months on the road the way I live.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: prices are crazy though on 01/07/2015 20:03:56 MST Print View

Owning a McHale and either owning or having owned packs from Jansport, Osprey, Gregory, Mountiansmith, Golite, HMG, MLD, SMD, Gossamer Gear, ULA, and my wife having a Granite Gear, the McHale is by far-far-far the best made pack of them all. The design is a step above, but that is a different story. The materials are top notch, but unless you go with the full Dyneema (or Spectra) option, the materials can be found elsewhere, but the stitching and the reinforcement are beyond compare. Are they worth the money (mine was more like $700)? To some they are and others not. The packs will last a lifetime and they are custom fit to your body, but you could buy two or three top notch off the shelf packs for what you can buy a McHale for too, so it is truly an individual decision.

I will say after working with Dan, he is a pack genius and THE master of pack design alive today.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
lifetime? on 01/07/2015 20:47:17 MST Print View

Has anyone confirmed this by having had his pack for upwards of 20 years? Youve owned quite a few packs, which leads me to believe that none of them were used for years on end (unless youre one of those "old dudes"!) Furthermore, again, Im willing to bet an Osprey will match it. Theres only so much stitching counts for. In my experience, the actual pack wears out from abrasions, rather than the stitching coming apart. Thats why I appreciate heavy denier nylon.

I used an Aether 70 to haul 80-90 lb loads (weighed) for trail work, never came close to ripping the stitches. Osprey says the comfortability of that pack to be around 55 to 60 lbs. What this feels like is a guy who has found a niche market of people willing to spend tons of cash for something they will use 20-60 days a year. Im out there at least 180 days if not more, each year, and certainly dont make enough to warrant that kind of pack! But hey, best of luck to him. I also have some bridges for sale if anyones interested ;)

Edited by gregpphoto on 01/07/2015 20:49:47 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: prices are crazy though on 01/07/2015 21:11:12 MST Print View

The thing that sets a Mchale pack above an Osprey, apart from the noticeably better construction, custom fabrics, and lighter weight, is the one of a kind P&G load lifter bypass system. Not only modular, it allows a bypass of tension on the shoulder harness when the load lifters are employed. It was patent for a reason. And it is brilliant.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Who cares? on 01/07/2015 21:16:34 MST Print View

It's a backpack, not rocket science. You put stuff in it and walk. As long as it is comfortable and works well for you, who cares?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Who cares? on 01/07/2015 21:24:20 MST Print View

LOL. I guess that could be applied to any piece of gear.

But are we not all gear snobs?

jimmer ultralight
(jimmer) - F
Greg, Dude, you are WAY out of line. on 01/07/2015 21:28:05 MST Print View

The whole "bridge for sale" comment is simply WRONG. If you can live on $300 per month on "the road",good for you.

Just because a product is WAY outside of your price range does not mean it's a ripoff.
Or that the craftsman building it is some sort of a conman.

Dan McHale was building world class backpacks before you were probably even born. And ,unlike Osprey, he did not move his shop to Asia...;)

Grow up a little bit and show the man a little respect.

Edited by jimmer on 01/07/2015 21:35:40 MST.