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M Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2A – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Volume and Volume Reduction Capability

by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl

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Article Summary:

A lightweight frameless backpack is a core component of a lightweight backpacking kit, whether you choose to travel superultralight (SUL, base weight less than 5 pounds/2.3 kg), ultralight (UL, base weight less than 10 pounds/4.5 kg), or lightweight (LW, base weight less than 20 pounds/9.1 kg). The base weight is everything but consumables (food, water, and fuel). Pack total weight with consumables for SUL backpacking should normally be less than 12 pounds (5.4 kg), less than 20 pounds (9.1 kg) for UL backpacking, and less than 30 pounds (13.6 kg) for LW backpacking. It's best to keep weight under these limits if you expect to comfortably carry a frameless backpack.

To carry a light load, all you need is a light pack, so a frameless backpack is the pack of choice for enlightened backpackers. Frameless backpacks have become very sophisticated and do their job well. However there is a great diversity of users, backpacking conditions, and specific needs and preferences. To accommodate such a diversity, manufacturers offer frameless backpacks with a wide range of volumes, weights, features, and load hauling capability. To cover the range of packs and uses, we divide the topic into five articles as follows:

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 - Overview and Pack Selection Focuses on the fundamentals of selecting and properly using a frameless backpack, and provides specifications for all packs included.

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 2A – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Volume and Volume Reduction Capability (this article) Reports our measurements to determine actual pack volume and the extent pack volume can be reduced to accommodate smaller loads.

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity Reports our pack torso collapse measurements using different pack loads to determine the comfortable load carrying capacity.

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 3 – Packs for Ultralight Backpacking (coming soon) Provides specifications for midsize frameless backpacks popular for ultralight backpacking, and identifies the standouts.

Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 4 – Packs for Lightweight Backpacking and Load Hauling (coming soon) Provides specifications for larger volume frameless backpacks popular for lightweight backpacking, and identifies the standouts. It also covers very large volume packs for carrying high volume/moderate weight loads.

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Part 2A – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Volume and Volume Reduction Capability"