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Pack size for UL thru-hiking - 40L too small?
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Peanut Butter & More... on 07/28/2014 17:12:49 MDT Print View

"Actually, the all-peanut butter diet, if accompanied by adequate amounts of chocolate, sounds ok to me"

Take one jar of peanut butter and one jar of Nutella.


Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Pack size for UL thru-hiking - 40L too small? on 07/28/2014 17:46:10 MDT Print View

Could check out the PCT Blogs see what everyone is carrying (ULA,GG,osprey, ray-way,etc...) and how they handled their food/bear canisters

Read where one lady with an Osprey Exos 46 w/a bear can which I'm assuming to mean canister. Link went bad (or I screwed it up) but these packs making it thru the Sierra (requiring a bear canister) should give an indication of minimum volumes if planning to hike an area where they are required.

ed: link

Edited by hknewman on 07/31/2014 15:32:19 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Thanks for the info so far - really appreciated! on 07/28/2014 19:10:02 MDT Print View

Marko: I learned the daypack-in-front trick on a GCNP death march. My companion bonked, so I carried his pack on my chest then put my daypack on normally on my back (thus, the normal pack's straps secured the front pack's straps). And it was, balance-wise, easier to carry than a single pack.

I suppose you could clip said daypack onto the front of your main pack's straps, somewhere above your pecs.

But back to the original Q - going to a smaller main pack. Wouldn't a smaller pack make my butt look bigger?

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Doable, but not fun on 07/28/2014 19:22:46 MDT Print View

I have a base weight of about 14# for 3+ seasons (30F all day and above) and I use a 55L pack. I have carried as little as a 30L pack for multi day trips but in the end the larger and more featured pack wins.

Why? I like not having to very carefully pack my pack and I like having the overflow space for when I want to carry some luxuries. I carried full sized Crocs inside my pack as my one luxury last trip! Other times when I know it's going to be a cold wet trip I'll carry a thick fleece!

From a thru-hiking perspective having the extra overflow space will mean consumable luxuries. On cold wet mornings you can just cram your wet gear in the pack without carefully rolling and packing everything so you can get hiking and warm up. It also means when you resupply you can happily take an extra jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread... Or even take out lunch from the last trail town!

Resist the urge to put things in your pack just because it fits... And having a slightly larger pack than you need will be a huge upside, never a downside. Finally, be sure that your new pack has a good compression system and carries comfortably without flopping even when it isn't stuffed to the brim.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
StS front packing on 07/28/2014 19:29:05 MDT Print View

David, I was looking at mine and if you crossed the thin webbing straps over, so left shoulder to right hip and vice versa then that would probably be awesome worn front-wize. Very secure under a regular pack But they are skimpy on the length. I guess you don't get down to 2.3 oz by playing around. Looks like it might be time for a super simple mod to replace these with longer straps.

Edited by millonas on 07/28/2014 19:30:39 MDT.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
50l on 07/28/2014 19:51:34 MDT Print View

50 liters is the smallest size pack most ultra lighters will take on a through hike. 40 is too small for everyone except UL experts with a 5 lb base weight. 60-70 is needed if you are using some combination of an "ultra light" traditional tent, synthetic sleeping bag, or bringing a fleece jacket - none of which are recommended by most through hikers :).

In the spring and fall, you'll have winter-ish gear and 50 will seem too small, and you'll have to strap lots of stuff to the outside.

In the summer, 50 liters is a little big, but compresses to 40 with the side straps easily. Also, you'll want more room for food then since your metabolism goes up a lot after 6 weeks of constant walking. Plus, you'll want to be buy things like bagels, tortilla shells, jars of peanut butter, and bags of Fritos - which need extra room to carry :)

Most of the weight in a pack is in the padding and (to a lesser extent) the frame. The extra material to go from 40 to 60 liters is only about a 1/2 a yard. Look up material weights for 210 denier ripstop with dyneema grid. You'll be suprised.

Personally, I also find that having to carefully fold/roll and pack everything like I'm playing a game of Tetris gets old fast. I like a pack where everything fits in easily, but the pack has enough side/bottom/top compression to make it into a solid bundle.

Also, there is a reason the packs like the ULA circuit (etc, etc) are so popular for through hikers. I'd think long and hard before straying from that volume, amount of padding and frame/support.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Pack size for UL thru-hiking - 40L too small? on 07/28/2014 20:35:30 MDT Print View

Probably too small but Loner2012AT on youtube or snakesession over on WB made it with a used Terra Nova 20L pack he bought off ebay and budget hammock setup and that is a seriously small pack.

Just goes to show you dont have to spend a fortune on gear to go SUL.

His Nano hammock failed at about 2/3's and he bought an GT ultralight amd finished with that.

After watching every video of his trip I never could figure out how he carried his water since the side pockets are too small to hold a 1L bottle in that pack.

I asked and he answered that "On the water bottles, I always carry them in my pockets on my hiking shorts. Sometimes in the back but mostly in the front. Know that sounds strange and lots of other hikers asked about it but worked for me. Did not want all the weight on my back plus it's really hard to reach them back there. "