Rating: 5 / 5
I have just finished two backpack trips using the LuxuryLite Pack. Mine is the all carbon fiber model, with three extra large cylinders. I'm still learning how to pack the cylinders but I think I've about got it cornered. The velcro attachments allow quick removal of the cylinders. This means I can store them in the tent wihtout the frame, eliminating the possibility of gouging the tent floor and walls.
The first trip was a three day in the Sierras North of Yosemite. We were expecting cool weather and thunder storms so I was carrying about 26 pounds. The pack rode very well. The waist belt is one of the most comfortable I've ever worn, and the adjustable frame sets the shoulder strap attachment at the perfect angle to keep the weight off my shoulders.
The second trip was a seven day circuit around the Desolation Wilderness, just west of Lake Tahoe. My girlfriend got sick and I ended up having to carry all of her heaviest gear. I estimate the load was around 50 pounds. It made the hills steeper but the pack was comfortable and again, the waist belt carried the load superbly.
Next week my hiking partner and I leave for an ultralite dash up Section J of the PCT. I'm looking forward to another comfortable trip with the LuxuryLite.
The cons are but two. In heavy rain the cylinders leaked. I suspect that seam sealing the cylinder attachment points will solve this problem. The second problem is with the belt buckle. It consists of a plastic "loop" and a steel "loop". I had trouble with the "loops" getting cocked and locked. One of our party said she heard a "discouraging word" as I wrestled to free myself. I wonder if this fastener can be redesigned. NOTE: As of this posting the fasteners have been revised and the belt works flawlessly.
January 2007: I have now carried my LuxuryLite for two seasons. Of the dozen or so backpacks I have owned, this is, by far, the best pack I have ever carried. The cylinders may be removed with a flick of the wrist and taken into your tent. I even have room for 4 cylinders in my Integral Designs Unishelter Bivy. The pack rides well with minimal loads and when I day hike I just use the number and size of cylinders required for that hike. In the photo attached I was carrying insulation for cold conditions (it rained and snowed) and food for 10 days. During that trip, on a waterless stretch, we each carried an additional 6 liters of water. The load was heavier than any I've carried since our trip to Thunder River, in the Grand Canyon, but the pack carried to load better than any pack I've had.
Tracker and Red Leader with LuxuryLight Modular Backpacks at Middle Velma Lake, Desolation Wilderness, Oct. 2006
There was room for all four of my LuxuryLight Cylinders. I just stacked them in like cord wood.