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Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Oct 18 2005 7:49 pm
by hddan

I'm looking to shave a few pounds off of my current internal frame pack. I'm looking to get a pack that I can use all year around so I need 3000-4000 c.i. capacity.

I'm looking at the following:

REI UL45 Large size
Golite Speed Pack
Gregory Z-Pack
Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone

If anyone has any suggestions as to which would be better, I would appreciate it. They are all within $60 of each other so price is really not a consideration. Thanks for your help.


Posted: Nov 02 2005 4:12 pm
by Lizard
I had the Tarptent Squall out with me this summer and went through two monsoon showers out in the Rim country, and a storm above treeline in Colorado one night. It performed just fine. I had to resite it once when some water pooled under the Tyvek groundsheet, but once I moved to higher ground I was fine.

The tarptent is a tarp in many ways. If you want to use it you need to practice good campsite selection and pitch it properly so the low end faces into the wind. I think a lot of the people who are disappointed with tarptents are expecting them to perform about the same as a tent. A tarptent is really just a tarp without some of the the tarp disadvantages. You need to take more care in choosing a site, pitch it properly, and be willing to put up with a bit more condensation. For me, the exchange is worth it for the weight savings, spaciousness and flexibility of use.

Posted: Nov 02 2005 6:35 pm
by RedRoxx44
Off topic of light weight packs, but the tent issue.
I think it is personal choice for sure.

I recently went on a trip with someone using the tarptent ( I am not sure which one) who had some issues with pitching it in the campsites I chose.
I tend to camp on ledges, on slickrock, et al, very few are grassy or dirt that I utilize esp in southern utah. Freestanding is necessary for me.

The tarptent requires a sizable footprint to set up properly, and ability to guy out the lines correctly.

I had my Marmot EOS one tent up in less than 3-4 minutes, just needed staking down, while my partner still struggled with his tent. In a rainstorm I can have mine up in half that time easy. That said I like the EOS better than the MSR Hubba (single) in that it seems slightly lighter, but has better fly coverage and higher bathtub floor to mesh ratio which gives you better protection from sand in high wind, common in the desert also.

Downsides, its small, although for me I can sit up in it, store all the gear inside or in the vestibule, and its bombproof in weather.

Of course, I'd rather just sleep out and have a regular tarp in case of rain anyway, who needs a tent.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 7:01 am
by RedRoxx44
I feel like posting today for some reason. Recent update purchased a Marmot Zephyr as a slightly larger daypack and I liked the features. First trip tore the netting of the hipbelt pocket. Second trip has a hole in the fragile material near the bottom. Not recommended for off trail, bushwacking.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 9:39 am
by te_wa
thanks, Letty. I had a bit leftover to say on backpacks, in my own experience since this thread was started. In these past several years I have gone thru a few of them, to name what I can remember: Granite G. Wisp - Zpacks Z1 - Six Moon Designs Starlite - Gossamer Gear Miniposa - ULA Amp - maybe 1 other that i cannot recall... but I still have and use my trusty ol' GoLite Jam. It has seen at least 1000 miles of catsclaw, granite, manzanita and other thick brush and has no signs of wear at all. Dyneema. gotta love it!
I have the newer 08 Jam2 which has a few new features and a bit more capacity (3600" i think) and ive trimmed out all the unneccessary straps and pockets for a weight of 16.2 ounces. Still just as comfortable as anything ive used if the overall pack weight is under 25 lbs. It usually runs in the 8-15 lb range depending on water issues. But I dont recall seeing any Jam or Jam2 on the trails.. the last time was over a year ago and it was worn by Andy. ('course, he is sponsored by GoLite)

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 11:14 am
by big_load
My G-Pack is starting to wear in a few places. That's not too surprising. I'll switch to something made with Dyneema when it finally goes.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 11:36 am
by Davis2001r6
My Z-pack is getting pretty worn out now as well. I got the Golite Jam 2 for the shorter and lighter trips. It's been good so far, although the first time I used it my cookset was up against my back, after 12 miles of hiking I really felt were that thing was at the next day. Some careful loading would have prevented that. Just something I never had to worry about with the gregory.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 11:59 am
by te_wa
Tim, I am using a sitlight pad from Gossamer gear to aid in pack support. Also it doubles as a sit pad. And can be used to help insulate key areas like shoulder/hips in addition to a ground pad. (or hammock, for that matter) The only drawback is i cannot use it until I unpack, at camp. GG packs anwser this dilemma well enough.
Gossamer Gear gives you a free sitlight pad with every pack purchase. I gutted the inside of the Jam by removing the hydro sleeve, the stock padding, anything inside that didnt need to be there and shaved off 5 ounces. The stock pad in the Jam is fairly rediculous in the sense that it offers little to zero support as a framesheet. The Jam2 for me works as a multi-day pack and I could pro'lly squeeze all of my junk into it along with a 7 day food supply. Its just too big for overnights. It would fit the average lightweight packer for a weekend trip just right.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Nov 11 2008 1:09 pm
by fairweather8588
I've used the jam2 for awhile now, i've gotten rid of the rest of my packs. Put 4 days of gear in it last april, with room to spare

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 23 2011 8:55 pm
by kevinweitzel75
I have been looking at getting a new backpack. Have my eye on the GoLite Jam. Like the 2 pound weight, the fact that you can make it a smaller pack for day hikes and the price. My only concerns are the quality of the pack and the size. (3000 cubic inches). I understand that I will have to downsize everything, hence the ultra light end of it. Not a problem, just tired of lugging a 20 - 25 pound pack around on my overnighters. Does anybody have any pros and cons on this pack, or maybe a different suggestion?

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 23 2011 9:50 pm
by te_wa
i do have a con for the Jam2 pack. its made in China

look at ULA packs who now have a presence in tempe's LowerGear. I have a ULA CDT and a OHM. Zpacks even does great stuff, geared towards the "build it yourself" type customer. MLD has packs and I am happy with the quality of mine too. I have the Burn, a SUL pack designed for base loads of UL standards, it is my SUL (sub 5lb base) pack for warmer months. I have also owned many of the UL offerings by other Cottage builders.

want a pack made by a person that actually backpacks? not a child in a sweatshop?

all these companies use the best cutting edge designs and fabrics. they lead the industry in the direction it should be heading. unfortunately, GoLite was purchase by Timberland shoe company several years ago, and without the direction of our AZ resident Ray Jardine, it has lost its UL roots and has now earned the unpleasant nickname "GoMainstream"

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 24 2011 5:28 am
by azbackpackr
I have to agree with tewa on the Golite. I have been using a GoLite Quest this year, and while I like it and it works fine for me for the time being, I don't think it can be considered to be ultralight. I have seen some of these other packs he's talking about and that is the direction I want to head. However, my current gear will not FIT into one of those little packs!

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 24 2011 6:37 pm
by kevinweitzel75
Thanks for the site info. I would have never thought that these types of packs were even out there. Almost mind blowing how light you can get them. I have been looking at Ultralight Adventure's CDT pack. Now the question is... how much weight can I cut on the crap that goes in the pack. :)
I know what you mean. Where do I start? Certain things are a must, and certain things are a have to. But what comes first? The "must" or the "have to"? :-k

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 24 2011 7:27 pm
by te_wa
the CDT, or any "frameless" pack, should be a limit of 25 lbs. there is one brand that claims it has a frameless pack that carries 30-35 without too much fuss. find it here: ... gory_id=11
(btw, i owned this pack, but the strap angle was weird on my smaller shoulders, otherwise a fantastic item)

six moon also makes other great gear, including the critically acclaimed Lunar Solo and Duo.

btw, "frameless" only refers to a lack of ptfe or other carbon/plastic/wood/moonrock frame, that is usually thought of as a sheet inside of the backpanel's foam.

this does not mean that all of these packs dont have a suspension system. many of them have optional or built in "stays" made of aluminum or carbon.
the Mariposa, Gorilla, Starlite, Swift, OHM, Circuit and others have a set or loop stay that will greatly improve handling over a plain fabric backpanel. The "stay" is designed to effectively transfer weight from the load lifters, to the hipbelt. In many of these packs, like my OHM, the stay(s) can be removed, when loads are under 20 lbs and the stay is not needed. (this is usually to the delight of us gram counters, as the stay can be as "heavy" as 2 ounces) :D

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 1:38 pm
by kevinweitzel75
te-wa wrote:(this is usually to the delight of us gram counters, as the stay can be as "heavy" as 2 ounces)
:lol: I have dropped my gear weight from almost 25 pounds to to about 15 pounds. It was hard, but some things I can live without. I know I will be thanking myself when I hike the switchbacks to Reavis Saddle again. :D My buddy wants to backpack Flatiron. Think I will save that for a day hike.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 5:44 pm
by te_wa
well, here's the cold hard truth:
getting to the goal of 15 pounds is very respectable, and should be congratulated.
however, reaching the 10lb or less weight commonly accepted as "ultralight" takes a lot of dedication, experience, and gumption.
But, just as sportscars get lighter bodies and stronger engines, you too can look forward to becoming lighter and stronger.
Having an ultralight pack and near unstoppable legs is just pure badassness. Ppl will literally fall off the trail to get out of your way.
Do It!

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 7:34 pm
by azbackpackr
Ok, to all that. But, te-wa, I did try a hammock for a few minutes. I don't think I will go that route. It didn't seem all that comfortable to me. Not to mention the fact that I fell out of one when I was about 4 and got knocked out for a minute.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 8:43 pm
by te_wa
Liz must be an INTJ

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 8:52 pm
by azbackpackr
Do I have to look that up or are you going to tell me what it means?

I like being connected to Mother Earth, ya know?

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 25 2011 9:13 pm
by big_load
It's an evil personality test thing.

Re: Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Jan 26 2011 5:31 am
by azbackpackr
Yeah, well I'm a flopper. I would flop this way and that, and flop right out of the danged thing!

How do these young folks have sex in those hammocks? Or maybe I don't want to know.