Lightwave UltraHike 60, Lightwave Fastpack 50, and Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Packs (UK)

Mini-review for the 2010 State of the Market Report on Internal Frame Backpacks.

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by Roger Caffin | 2010-09-28 00:00:00-06

We tested three Lightwave packs from the UK, and while the three clearly come from the same stable, they have some noticeable differences from American packs. The biggest difference is a reflection of the weather in the UK hills - sometimes raining, other times worse. These packs feature very serious waterproofing: waterproof fabric, taped or welded seams and waterproof zips. Where there seems to be a hole in the fabric (eg for an ice axe attachments point) you find that the inside of the hole is fully taped over. The attachment points for webbing are sealed on the inside, and the logos are done by bonding extra fabric onto the fabric of the bag, rather than by embroidery through the fabric. The exception to this extreme proofing are the seams down the corners of the harness face - perhaps their experience is that these seams don't get as much water on them. These seams are sewn with tape over the selvage.

The fabric on all three packs is the same: 420 denier Dynatech fabric on the back panel and structural areas, 300 denier micro-ripstop polyester on the main front areas, and 40 denier ripstop nylon for internal fabrics. Never mind the fancy names - it's good fabric. 'Airmesh' is used "on all body contact areas," which means the foam is covered with something like a light Lycra. It tends to grip nicely on clothing. The pockets are a light stretch Lycra, but with solid elasticated edge bindings.

The harness system on all three packs is similar to that on the Crux packs: an aluminium tube bent into a sort of U-shape (or M-shape) on the inside and a solid slab of foam down the back. None of the packs have hard plastic sheets across the back, but this did not seem to be a problem for any of them. The shoulder straps were quite curved, but the sternum strap is meant to help hold that curve. That generally worked OK. The straps were suitably padded on the face and at the edges. The hip belts were novel and will be discussed separately under each pack.

All three Lightwave packs took the Test Gear quite well, with a little room to spare. You will notice that our volume measurements were all quite close to the manufacturer-claimed volumes. Perhaps this is just as well, as the packs do not have a lot of overflow capacity in the form of external pockets. But, it is nice to see the honest match on volumes.

The packs do have provision for hydration bladders. You can see the exit port for the hose between the shoulder straps: a sort of oval black rubber grommet. The red haulage loop obscures it in two of the photos. Hopefully it will help keep rain out.

One target market for these packs would be walkers who have to deal with a lot of bad weather - those welded seams are waterproof (that figures of course, coming from the UK!). They are a bit expensive for novices and school kids, but I think all the rest of the market would find these quite suitable.

Lightwave UltraHike 60 Pack

Pack Rating Qualifications
UltraHike 60 Recommended For those needing waterproof

This pack has a hip belt very different from other brands. For a start, the hip belt is effectively split, as shown in the middle photo. In addition some control of the angle of tilt of the hip belt is possible, with top and bottom adjustment straps which work separately. Finally the hip belt is reinforced with a backing of flexible sheet plastic. The end result works very well, even if it is a shade complex.

Lightwave UltraHike 60, Lightwave Fastpack 50, and Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Packs (UK) - 1
Lightwave UltraHike 60, 1.20 kg (2.65 lb), 55 L (3400 cuin), m2 & M3. *I think m2 and M3 mean Men's Medium and Men's Large.

The main bag itself is clean, like its alpine cousin the Crux. There are fittings for two ice axes and short stretch pockets at the sides for tent poles and glacier wands. You wouldn't try to actually store any other sort of gear in these pockets. The throat is silnylon but a little short. Curiously the top draw cord runs in a huge tunnel, far wider than I think is needed. There is a deep narrow bladder sleeve inside the pack which could serve as a sort of security pocket - there are no other security pockets on the pack unfortunately. The lid straps start low down on the back, so the lid can adjust over a wide range. The lid itself is not huge, but it does have elasticated sides which make it adapt to whatever (within limits) is under it.

There are some stretch side pockets. They aren't high, but they would take a wet poncho or similar quite happily. They have elasticated top edges so small items should not fall out easily. There is no back pocket of any sort. Part of me wants to cheer this, but the other part regrets that there is nowhere to store flat sit mats on the back. A small omission.

The fabric pattern on the main bag makes it look as though the bottom of the bag sags down, but this is mainly an optical illusion in my opinion. There are a number of small tape attachment loops scattered over the bag, big enough to take 2-mm or 3-mm bungee cord. You could use these to hold crampons or other small things. There are number of these tape loops down the sides of the bag, carrying light climbing cord which serves as a compression system.

Lightwave Fastpack 50 Pack

Pack Rating Qualifications
Fastpack 50 Above average For those needing waterproof

It might be easiest to simply describe this pack as a slightly smaller and slightly simpler version of the Ultrahike 60. Really, that does describe it quite well.

However, it has an interesting feature. Instead of lots of zig-zags of cord up the sides as compression straps, it has just a few zigzags of webbing - visible in the photos. The top connection on the webbing is an adjustable side release buckle rather than a simple ladder lock. Right at the bottom of the side of the pack there is another compression strap with a curious looped strip of tough fabric inside it. These features are just visible in the photos, especially the right hand one.

Lightwave UltraHike 60, Lightwave Fastpack 50, and Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Packs (UK) - 2
Lightwave Fastpack 50, 1.19 kg (2.61 lb), 48 L (2900 cuin).

At first glance this bottom fabric strip makes no sense, the position of the webbing strap near the bottom does not seem all that useful either, and the side release buckle at the top seems superfluous. Ah, but try mounting a pair of skis on the sides of this pack, and all will become clear. The bottom strap, the tough loop of fabric there, and the side release buckle at the top are all for holding skis! And they do that very nicely too.

The pack may not be large enough for a long ski trip using tents, but it certainly could handle a bit of ski touring if you can keep the volume of your gear down to a minimum. Alternately, the pack could handle hut-based skiing very well, with plenty of room for emergency gear. OK, not everyone wants to do this, but it is nice to see a pack which is suitably equipped for it.

Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Pack

Pack Rating Qualifications
Wildtrek 55w Average For those needing waterproof

The 'w' at the end of the name of this denotes a Women's pack, although I can't see why a man could not use this equally well. Just tweak the curvature of the struts near the bottom a little, to suit.

This pack is a bit different from the previous two, although the superficial appearance is very similar. An up-market version maybe? The biggest difference is probably the waterproof zip around the bottom edge, between the red and the grey in the left-hand photo. Inside there is a 'sealed' nylon bag attached to the zip. My previous comments about how useful such an arrangement would be for me stand: I can see no use for it. Fortunately the nylon bag which makes the bottom compartment is loose and can be squashed down flat at the bottom of the pack: you can have your cake and eat it too.

Lightwave UltraHike 60, Lightwave Fastpack 50, and Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Packs (UK) - 3
Lightwave Wildtrek 55w, 1.46 kg (3.21 lb), 49 L (3000 cuin), W1, W2

The foam back felt very firm at the start when we took it out for a day trip, but we got used to that very quickly. In fact, it rode very comfortably on both our backs and hips. Part of this is due to the good profile of the back foam, but another part may be due to the more complex hip belt adjustment on this pack. As you can see in the insert at the bottom left of the composite photo, there are top and bottom adjustment straps on the hip belt (both sides). These allow you to alter the cant (tilt) of the hip belt - a bit anyhow. I think it works somewhat; whether it is really worth all the extra complexity is another matter. I honestly don't know.

Also in that insert to the right of the buckles is an innocent-looking bit of grey nylon. You might think it is just part of the hip belt adjustment, but it is far more than that. Concealed behind the surface fabric is a zipped security pocket and overlaying it another security pocket closed with hook&loop tape. You can't get much in there, but you certainly could conceal various plastic cards, car keys and paper money. Few would think to look there.

This pack has the strap across the bottom edge and the side release buckle at the top of the compression webbing, like the Fastpack, but it does not have the fabric reinforcing strip. Obviously it too can carry skis, although it wasn't meant for this. It would be nice if they added the bit of fabric to the bottom strap because as it stands, the ski will rub across the waterproof zip.

This is a mini-review in the 2010 Lightweight Internal Frame Pack State of the Market Report. The articles in this series are as follows (mini-reviews can be found in Part 2), and a subscription to our site is needed to read them.

  • Part 1A covers the very basics and lists all the packs in the survey.
  • Part 1B covers the frame and harness which carry the pack itself.
  • Part 1C covers the main bag and all the other pockets, plus the all-important question of comfort.
  • Part 2 in this series covers the individual packs tested.

Citation

"Lightwave UltraHike 60, Lightwave Fastpack 50, and Lightwave Wildtrek 55w Packs (UK)," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightwave_ultrahike_60_fastpack_50_wildtrek_55w.html, 2010-09-28 00:00:00-06.

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Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 2: The Packs
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Dan Healy
(electricpanda)

Locale: Queensland
Measuring CoG effect on 09/30/2010 05:58:17 MDT Print View

Derek, absolutely agree that any backwards pull that causes you to use energy leaning into is not good… what we are trying to determine is in the overall context of carrying weight from one spot to another… is a 1% increase in the effective weight you carry going to trump other factors? Certainly 20% is getting important – but is this really the case?
In the rush to get lighter packs - so that on paper we carry a lighter load - maybe we have forgotten why it was that harnesses got better/heavier in the first place… perhaps in practise we feel more comfortable at the end of the day by using a better harness - albeit making it a heavier pack.

Derek Goffin
(Derekoak)

Locale: North of England
Measuring CoG effect on 09/30/2010 06:28:43 MDT Print View

I am totally with you that, for me, a comfortable carry is worth some packweight.
People are really used to leaning forward to balance their rucksack load. I suspect you were all leaning forward a little.
Some Macpack packs have diagonal straps that pull on the sides of the hip belt to pull the load into the back and reduce the strain on the shoulder straps to some extent. Whether that is as as good (from an energy point of view) as balancing the load completely, like Aarn front pockets can, is not clear.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Measuring CoG effect on 09/30/2010 15:50:35 MDT Print View

Hi Dan and Derek

Yes, I know those packs. It is an amusing thought that Au/NZ packs have such good harness systems because our local gear is otherwise so heavy ... need to think about that one for a while!

Yes, of course we all lean forward a bit for balance. Better that we lean from the ankle than from the waist though. Bad memories of the old A-frames ...

Now, those diagonal straps at the base on the Macpac etc - I think they are there to stop sideways sway. I do notice the improved ride when they are adjusted properly. Quite a few (most?) of the packs tested in this review also had them, so I don't think they are uncommon at all.

Cheers

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Very well sorted out on 09/30/2010 17:21:44 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger, for an excellent, understandable and in-depth series. The data is very helpful for ccomparisons and the photos of each pack were instructive. Must have taken you a lot of time to prepare these articles but really, where else could we go for such comprehensive and thorough information on this subject? Magazine reviews and even "Buyer's Guides" don't lay it out this well, all in one place.


As a result of these articles I am beginning to become a fan of the Lightwave series of packs, and especially their split hipbelts. I'll have to find a US vendor so I can try the largest one on with weight.

Used to be that the best packs mainly came from the US but that's not true anymore. Lots of great packs and innovative ideas from Britian, Europe, OZ and New Zealand.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/01/2010 12:02:43 MDT.

aarn tate
(aarndesign) - MLife
Forward lean and backward pull of the shoulder straps. on 10/01/2010 02:08:21 MDT Print View

All the comments about the importance of packing the weight close to your back are right- this does make a huge difference and validates my point about reducing load leverage. Also the point that leaning forward also reduces the pull back forces on the shoulders is also correct.
However the sports science research is very clear that the greater the forward lean, the more energy is required to carry a given weight and the more strain there is on the body. As the forward lean is the result of both the weight and the center of gravity of the load, it would be the most accurate way to determine the efficiency of the load carrying system. In the research they measure this by trunk angle. A photo is taken from the side and a line is drawn from the hip to the shoulder. The angle between this line and the horizontal is the trunk angle.
The research showed that when walking at 27 degrees downhill, on level ground and 20 degrees uphill, the increase in forward lean with an Aarn Bodypack was 8.2 degrees, 8.9 degrees and 8.2 degrees respectively, while for the traditional backpack, packed in the recommended way with the same gear, the forward lean was 17.3 degrees, 21.6 degrees, and 26.0 degrees respectively.
As a result, there was a smaller physiological cost (eg 6.4% less energy required when climbing uphill), smaller perturbations from normal gait patterns and better scores on a variety of subjective measures such as balance, stability and comfort with the Aarn Bodypack compared to the traditional Backpack. There was the elimination of pain/ discomfort in the shoulders, neck and thighs, and the virtual elimination in the back (loads of 22.5kg) with the Aarn Bodypack. The experience of pain/discomfort in these areas was experienced in an average of 40% of the experimental subjects with the traditional (internal frame) backpack.
I agree with Roger that comparing different backpacks on the basis of forward lean may not show significant differences if all were packed in the optimal way with the heavy items close to the back. But why not compare with an Aarn Bodypack?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
packspackpacks on 10/01/2010 22:28:41 MDT Print View

"Personally I say bugger all if you have good core strength"

I agree with Dan. Easier to buy a new pack, rather than get fit to carry the old one.

"Why not test v. an Aarn."

Probably because, your comments thus far to the contrary, we're not your marketing tool?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Forward lean and backward pull of the shoulder straps. on 10/02/2010 04:43:27 MDT Print View

Hi Aarn

> for the traditional backpack, packed in the recommended way with the same gear,
> the forward lean was 17.3 degrees, 21.6 degrees, and 26.0 degrees respectively.

I haven't checked the research you are citing, but I strongly suspect that the 'traditional backpack' was an A-frame, or something similar. With one of those it is quite possible that someone could bend forward from the waist by that amount. Like, been there, done that, and suffered!

But there is NO WAY I lean forward that much when wearing my external frame pack. That amount of lean would leave me on my face on the ground. What lean I do is not confined to the trunk either: I lean forward from the ankles. My spine stays largely straight. That is how any experienced walker uses either an external frame pack or an internal frame pack.

0429 Standing up straight with pack on

What leaning forward from the ankles means is that the physiological cost is far smaller, the balance and stability are close to normal, and comfort is similar. Back pain? Don't experience it.

But I am quite happy to believe in all these problems with an A-frame style of pack!

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 10/02/2010 04:50:32 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: Part 2 on 10/04/2010 19:21:20 MDT Print View

Great article Roger!
Something I noticed in your comparisons, which I have often seen talked about elsewhere, is the volume to weight ratio.

I've never been impressed by this statistic because I can picture a 100 liter gunny sack made from the lightest weight cuben, tied up with a dyneema string, suspended from ones neck. Extreme, I know, but it illustrates my point. That configuration would get a "great" score.

The statistic that would impress me would be the weight carrying capacity vs. the weight of the backpack itself. A backpack, in order to have a high weight carrying capacity needs a sturdy frame and formidable suspension - however - those things add weight to the pack.

The ultimate pack would be capable of carrying 40 lbs but weigh only 4 ounces. Weight carrying capacity to weight of pack, I believe, is the challenge in making an "efficient" pack. Not the volume to weight ratio: that's too easy!

I fully realize that the weight carrying capacity is a subjective measurement, but, obviously from your article, so is a volume measurement. As long as the same person is rating the weight carrying capacity of a series of packs, like your excellent article could, the measurement could at least be "accurate" relative from one pack to another.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
great review; additional usable volume on the Exos on 10/04/2010 20:48:52 MDT Print View

Excellent thorough analysis and review Roger - much appreciated. And as usual I'm impressed with the wisdom BPL readers have added in comments.

I just wanted to add regarding the Exos - another BPL member pointed out to me in a PM conversation that the Exos has usable volume between the mesh back support and the pack bag - that member user packs this space to hold a water bladder and extra clothing - that's not a small amount of extra usable volume. That member added that this helps keep out snow in winter as well (to the BPL member who pointed this out - feel free to jump in and comment - it was a good point).

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Very well sorted out on 10/05/2010 04:47:04 MDT Print View

"As a result of these articles I am beginning to become a fan of the Lightwave series of packs, and especially their split hipbelts. I'll have to find a US vendor so I can try the largest one on with weight."

I'd support that - I've always been impressed by Crux. From 2001 to 2006 I travelled to London regularly and checked out the Crux packs and was suitably impressed. Lightwave came along later. Oddly, when I was living in London in 2006/2007 Lightwave was almost impossible to get my hands on - they seemed to have very limited dealers.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Lightwave on 10/05/2010 05:38:39 MDT Print View

They still are horribly limited in terms of UK distribution, even in the more technical shops. (rare in London, like locusts in the Lake district ;)).

The Crux packs are much easier to find. No idea why its that way round! Especially as the Lightwave sacs always seem to do well in the magazine tests.

Its a strange world sometimes :)

Edited by MartinCarpenter on 10/05/2010 05:39:44 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: great review; additional usable volume on the Exos on 10/05/2010 13:14:43 MDT Print View

Hi EJ

It's not meant to be a secret, and this is a good place to point it out. many folks shy away from the mesh backed packs for winter use, but at least in the case of the Exos, that mesh space can be well utilised. In winter I put my hydration bladder there with a thin piece of evazote between it and my back. this keeps out snow, keeps the cold water off my back, yet also keeps the water from freezing. It adds around an extra 3 litres of usable volume as well, which also comes in handy on winter trips, and it's easier to get your bladder in and out of this space than the internal hydration sleeve. other stuff like rain jacket, wind layers, ground sheets etc...could also be put there if you prefer to carry your water in bottles. It is all these little extrs that make the Exos 58 (really a 61 in large, but who know what the true main pack volume is) a suitable winter pack for me. Generous top pocket, generous hipbelt pockets, generous side pockets and a generous kangaroo pocket for sleeping mat, sit pad etc...just don't try bushbashing in this configuration or something is going to get shredded!

Mike Alford
(mikebpl) - MLife
Re: Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 2: The Packs on 10/11/2010 01:50:38 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger, great analysis!
Just one question - how come theGoLite Pinnacle, wasn't included in your selection? At only 930 g it seems to fit nicely into that space on the upper left of your weight-volume chart.
Cheers,
Mike

Oops, I can answer my own question - just noticed that the Pinnacle is frameless.
Cheers

Edited by mikebpl on 10/11/2010 02:04:03 MDT.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Bending at the waist on 10/11/2010 22:11:12 MDT Print View

Bending at the waist doesn't seem to affect Lance Armstrong's performance terribly. Sure he would probably perform better on a recumbent bicycle, but it's clear that athletes can perform for many hours at very high levels of exertion with extreme bending at the waist.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Bending at the waist on 10/12/2010 03:39:20 MDT Print View

Ha!
And how long is a day's stretch on the Tour de France? NOT as long as a day's walking for sure, AND he has a team of masseuses at his beck and call AND a super-soft bed at night (and a cook).

A totally different situation, and not really relevant to walkers imho.

Cheers

aarn tate
(aarndesign) - MLife
: Forward lean and backward pull of the shoulder straps. on 10/13/2010 14:20:14 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

The research compared an Aarn Bodypack with a Karimor Alpiniste internal frame pack - state of the art at the time- not an A Frame! Are A frames still available?

The picture shows you with quite a bit of forward lean. Forward lean is least when standing still as in your picture, greater when walking forward, and maximum when climbing. (The same is true without any load).

Trunk angle does not measure forward bend at the waist as you suggest, but the difference between a line drawn between the shoulders and the hips- and the HORIZONTAL. So bending forward at the ankles with a straight back is an economical posture to assume with the forward lean. As most of the subjects in the study were experienced backpack users, I assumed they also leaned forward in this way, but this could be checked with the original research photos.

Ray Lloyd, who did the original pioneering research on forward lean, has been doing some more work on load carriage. He recently wrote regarding his latest work: I quote "my current work seems to suggest that freedom of movement of the trunk is a determinant of economy (your double pack system allows more than either a backpack (which constrains to lean forward) or head-loading (which constrains to upright). In addition, our current findings suggest that individual variability of response in relation to economy is greater than we might have anticipated. Consequently we are intending to look at relationships between economy and kinematics at a range of loads and speeds and wondered if you might be interested in having some of your more recent designs tested in this context and, if so, if you would be able to send a sample(s)".

If you want to contact Ray his details are below:

Ray Lloyd
Head of School
School of Social & Health Sciences
Level 5 Kydd Building
University of Abertay Dundee
Dundee
DD1 1HG
Scotland

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: : Forward lean and backward pull of the shoulder straps. on 10/13/2010 15:44:03 MDT Print View

Hi Aarn

> The picture shows you with quite a bit of forward lean.
Well, maybe 4 - 5 degrees, yes.

> So bending forward at the ankles with a straight back is an economical posture
> to assume with the forward lean.
I agree, of course.

But I find it hard to imagine some bending forward from the ankles at 26 degrees, as your first posting stated. OK, maybe a severely overloaded SAS trooper carrying his FULL load of munitions and water might do that for 100 m from the chopper which landed him, but a walker with a reasonably light-weight pack???? Photographic proof would be needed.

As noted in some other postings, the backwards tension in the shoulder straps has been measured as not all that high *in practice*. This suggests to me that a reasonably light-weight load carried upright in a reasonably good pack is not really going to present that much of a problem. The amount of tilt needed to balance this will not be high.

Now, do we lean forward some more when going forward? Yes, we do, but that is needed to keep the CoG of the whole walker somewhere between the front and back feet. You would fall flat on your face if you didn't do this. And it may also be that the faster you go, the further forward the CoG needs to be.

That necessary forward displacement of the CoG has to be assessed in combination with the weight of the pack *relative to the walker's weight*. I weigh 64 kg; my pack weighs 10 kgs. The influence of the pack weight on how much my CoG has to move is not going to be all that large. This suggests that the change in position of the CoG due to a light-weight pack is not supremely important.

If there are other factors coming into play, such as the ability to see one's feet, than any small benefit from a shift forwards of the CoG due having front packs in place may *in practice* be inconsequential. This seems to be the experience of many walkers: they rate being able to see their feet far higher, especially in rough terrain.

Other factors which can detract from the front-mounted load include the increased heat load on the body from the reduction in ventilation, the increased difficulties experienced in swinging a pack on and off one's shoulders when there are large weights on the shoulder straps, and the increased problems when scrambling with a bulky thing at the front pushing you off the face. The importance of these factors will depend very much on the individual and what he is doing.

So while some people undoubtedly like having front-mounted packs to alter the CoG, the market place seems to be putting other factors higher in importance. Well, that's what the sales figures and walker preferences indicate, anyhow.

I hope this explains my thinking.

Cheers

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: : Forward lean and backward pull of the shoulder straps. on 10/13/2010 16:35:37 MDT Print View

"If there are other factors coming into play, such as the ability to see one's feet, than any small benefit from a shift forwards of the CoG due having front packs in place may *in practice* be inconsequential. This seems to be the experience of many walkers: they rate being able to see their feet far higher, especially in rough terrain.

Other factors which can detract from the front-mounted load include the increased heat load on the body from the reduction in ventilation, the increased difficulties experienced in swinging a pack on and off one's shoulders when there are large weights on the shoulder straps, and the increased problems when scrambling with a bulky thing at the front pushing you off the face. The importance of these factors will depend very much on the individual and what he is doing."

+1 to all of the above. However, Aarn packs used without the front pockets work very well too. It's mainly the lack of a hydration port that stops me from using them in this way...yet another factor important to *some* walkers.

Alan Bradley
(ahbradley)
R Caffin / Aarn: External frame / front aux pack on 10/16/2010 05:50:55 MDT Print View

Roger (Caffin):
Do you still think your external frame sacks are a lot better than commercial internal frame ones.

Aarn packs:
Doesn't the front rucksack cause overheating: now you have a lot of insulation over your temperature regulated core (chest)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: R Caffin / Aarn: External frame / front aux pack on 10/18/2010 15:19:09 MDT Print View

Hi Alan

> Do you still think your external frame sacks are a lot better than commercial
> internal frame ones.
Let's say I still prefer my external frame pack for most conditions. It is very light, the harness suits me very well, and it handles anything between 8 kg and 28 kg happily. yes, I am able to carry up to 28 kg with it when portering in to a remote hut for a ski trip. I can't normally get that much capacity with the IF packs.

However, it does have one disadvantage. The frame is very light and could be damaged if mistreated. I package it up in a cardboard box every time I fly. If you are planning on flying and don't have a high load, an IF pack might be a safer (less worry) choice.

> Doesn't the front rucksack cause overheating
I found that it did on me, at least in an Australian summer. Perhaps I am a bit sensitive to this, as I normally travel with very light clothing.

Cheers