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Lightweight Backpacks

Posted: Oct 18 2005 7:49 pm
by hddan
Hi,

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.

Dan

Posted: Oct 18 2005 10:14 pm
by Hoffmaster
I have a Gregory Z-Pack and I love it! It is the most comfortable pack I have ever worn. It holds a ton of gear too. I just did a 3-day backpack at the Grand Canyon with it. It held everything; even my camera gear, and I had a 20 degree sleeping bag shoved in there. My only complaint is that it doesn't have straps on the bottom where some people strap their sleeping bag to the pack. Those straps would be nice cause they would open up the possibility of some extended trips with this pack.

Posted: Oct 19 2005 8:43 am
by hikeaz
I'd not rule out the G.G. Vapor Trail - 3600 ci (under 2#). I've done several 125 mi. + backpacks w/it, so it's got plenty of room for extended trips and is, to me at least, very comfortable and it saves a pound over the Nimbus (3800 ci) (but look below re. Latitude Vapor).

Also, the Osprey Atmos 50 looks decent (much heavier than the VT) but there's a (slightly) used one here http://www.backpacking.net/bbs.html

There's also a BA Insulated mummy pad (warm, light, packs small), and a GG Latitude Vapor ($85) for sale on that same board.


kurt

Posted: Oct 22 2005 4:50 pm
by Desertroux
I used to have a GoLite Infinity. I liked the pack, but felt the contruction wasn't top notch. On a recent trip i tugged it towards me by the ice axe loop and it ripped. I'm now useing a Gregory Z-Pack also. I love it. I agree with Hoffman, it's the most comfortable pack I've worn as well. I rarely go for extended trips so the size is perfect for me. If I'm lucky enough to get that much time off work for a long trip, I still have my old Kelty internal that could carry more weight than I ever wish to find out.

Posted: Oct 23 2005 9:51 am
by te_wa
like mentioned, the GG vapor trail is a great fitting pack with a comfy suspension- but the vapor has a oversized extension collar that I found to be kinda silly. Its literally the size of the pack itself. I dont know what I could have stored there without throwing the pack balance off. Still its a good pack and light too.
The Infinity like DR mentioned is made of Sil-nylon, and yes in the desert environs it might be a little flimsy.
I have been using the Jam Pack by Golite off and on (its actually my wife's) and if packed properly it fits anyone like a dream but you have to experiment with light gear due to the lack of framesheet. If light is what you want you might try it, 1 lb 5 oz and runs about $80.
Check out the German made http://www.deuterusa.com for great packs and low prices. These should absolutely go for more $ because they are well made and rival Gregory and Dana etc. for half the price. Look at the "ACT lite" series.

Posted: Oct 23 2005 11:35 pm
by Hoffmaster
While I still stand by my Gregory Z-Pack, I have to agree with Mike on Deuter. I have a Deuter daypack and it is SWEET! I seriously looked at getting one for backpacking, but they didn't really have any that I thought would be big enough. But...They are well constructed and very comfortable, and almost every model has a built in rain cover!

Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 24 2005 11:00 am
by AZHikr4444
My dad has the Deuter Vario Futura 42, and he loves it. I like it too- it seems comfortable for him and has great features. However, if you are a tall person with a long torso, its not gonna fit well. I purchased the Vario Futura 40 + 10, and still it would not fit my torso comfortably. Even with the variable torso adjust. on the Futuras and ACs, they do not adjust more than 21 inches. Then you have to look at weight- if you are truly looking for a lightweight/ultralightpack pack- go with the Granite Gear. I love my Vapor Trail- have gone on a couple of 2-3 day packs and have never even had to use the extension collar. This pack fits me like a dream. And- weightwise, you're talking 2 lbs for 3600 cubes (and I don't think that cu amount includes the collar). To get that capacity in a Deuter, you'd have to go all the way upwards to the AC Lite 50 + 10 or something similar, which is gonna put your pack weight up there (the 50 + 10 is 4 lbs for 3650 cubes). But I agree and I like the Deuters very much. I wish they fit!
What is special about the Vapor Trail is that its not an entirely user friendly pack. It demands that you re-think your gear and your pack methods. Its forces you to make a commitment to ultralight packing and can be quite frustrating until you get your gear down and figure out how to pack it. But, once you do, it fits so well and is carrys weight so comfortably you'll be amazed.
Mike

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 24 2005 4:26 pm
by te_wa
AZHikr4444 wrote: What is special about the Vapor Trail is that its not an entirely user friendly pack. It demands that you re-think your gear and your pack methods. Its forces you to make a commitment to ultralight packing and can be quite frustrating until you get your gear down and figure out how to pack it. But, once you do, it fits so well and is carrys weight so comfortably you'll be amazed.
Mike
well said!
I had to shy away from mentioning the "philosophy" of light or ultralight hiking because Ive done so in the past with no results. (well, maybe laughs and insults)
but then some of those same insults came from people who a year later all ran out and bought TarpTents. GO figure!

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 24 2005 7:41 pm
by Shi
mikeinFHAZ wrote:
AZHikr4444 wrote: What is special about the Vapor Trail is that its not an entirely user friendly pack. It demands that you re-think your gear and your pack methods. Its forces you to make a commitment to ultralight packing and can be quite frustrating until you get your gear down and figure out how to pack it. But, once you do, it fits so well and is carrys weight so comfortably you'll be amazed.
Mike
well said!
I had to shy away from mentioning the "philosophy" of light or ultralight hiking because Ive done so in the past with no results. (well, maybe laughs and insults)
but then some of those same insults came from people who a year later all ran out and bought TarpTents. GO figure!
Mike, not a one of us learned by osmosis! I'm always grateful for good information from experienced hikers/backpackers, and I'm glad you never stopped sharing! Mary

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 24 2005 9:35 pm
by big_load
mikeinFHAZ wrote:but then some of those same insults came from people who a year later all ran out and bought TarpTents. GO figure!
OK, but just don't think that I'm going ultralight just because I bought a TarpTent :D .

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 25 2005 10:14 am
by AZHikr4444
I have a hiking partner who ribs me constantly about my decision to go ultralight. He says, "I like to have at least 3 changes of underwear and a ton of comfort food!" I say, okay its only an overnight, but hey- more power to ya!

Hey Mary- it's your fault anyway (by way of Chris- him and his boston market spoons!) :lol:


Mike- any tips or advice you have- send 'em my way! I am a sponge...

Haven't gone to the tarp tent tho- thats next...

Posted: Oct 25 2005 4:11 pm
by te_wa
change underwhere?
turn 'em inside out!

I dont know what is good for anyone but me, although I like my tarptent. Others need a sturdy 4-season tent.

Mary seems to have the latest spin on the U.L. trend, she lost about 20 pack pounds!

I will let a secret out, I usually bum food and beer from my friends. Now THATS usin yer head! :lol:

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 25 2005 5:30 pm
by Shi
AZHikr4444 wrote:I have a hiking partner who ribs me constantly about my decision to go ultralight. He says, "I like to have at least 3 changes of underwear and a ton of comfort food!" I say, okay its only an overnight, but hey- more power to ya!

Hey Mary- it's your fault anyway (by way of Chris- him and his boston market spoons!) :lol:


Mike- any tips or advice you have- send 'em my way! I am a sponge...

Haven't gone to the tarp tent tho- thats next...
Mike, I say, if you need a change of underwear, switch to thongs! They are lightweight AND compact and if you need to.....turn them inside out! BTW, how is that tent working for you? It might be a pound heavier then the TarpTent, but it worked well for me! We will have to do an other trip. I'll trade lightweight tricks for fly fishing lessons. Mary

Posted: Oct 25 2005 8:39 pm
by te_wa
fly fishing lessons, oh God you and me both. Its been sooo long!
what tent are you talking about?
I had a GoLite Trig and sold it...
the one you saw was the rare Eureka Rainier and Ive kept that one for a backup.
I use the Tarptent Virga (old style) on solo's-when needed. Seems to me with this weather I wont use a tent and maybe break out the hammock or the groundcloth.
what the hey, always looking for new stuff!

Posted: Oct 25 2005 9:00 pm
by big_load
mikeinFHAZ wrote:change underwhere?
turn 'em inside out!
Underwear? On the trail? Never!

Re: Dueter vs GG

Posted: Oct 26 2005 7:59 pm
by hddan
Hey, thanks alot for the posts on the packs. I settled on the Granite Gear Vapor Trail. Its on sale right now at http://www.backcountrygear.com.

I keep thinking about the tarptent thing. I just ordered a Black Diamond Lightsabre bivy bag. 1 lb. 4 oz ain't bad. Maybe when I go with the wife it might be nice to have the tarptent.

I've been using a Vau De 2200 c.i. pack weighing 3lb. 8 oz. The GG Vapor Trail seems to be the best of both worlds. Bigger if I need it, but saves me 1.5 lbs.

As for the underwear, wow, what hasn't been said?

Thanks again,

Dan

Posted: Oct 27 2005 8:36 am
by Davis2001r6
I wouldn't recommend the tarptent to anyone unless you know you will have perfect weather a solid place to stake it down and are NOT going to have any wind. Tried mine on two different trips in the Canyon, ripped off the side guy-out loop on my second trip.

But with no wind they are great!

Posted: Oct 27 2005 8:56 am
by big_load
In response to davis2001r6's reply:

I'd have to disagree. Last year Mrs. big_load and I spent a stormy night in our Cloudburst in the Mazatzal Wilderness. It rained about 2", blew intermittently up to 40 mph (mostly from the side, a little from the head), and about 2" of pea-sized hail piled up on the windward side. We were camped on sandy soil in a burned out area, so I did have to fix the stakes twices when the soil turned liquid around us. It wasn't exactly fun, but we stayed dry. Thunderstorms continued through the next day as we walked out, then it turned to snow , got pretty deep by the time we reached the trailhead.

Posted: Oct 29 2005 5:28 pm
by Davis2001r6
In response to big_load's reply:

Well I do have the Squal 2 and not the Cludburst, that could be it right there?

Posted: Oct 29 2005 6:16 pm
by big_load
davis2001r6 wrote: Well I do have the Squal 2 and not the Cludburst, that could be it right there?
Maybe so. I picked the Cloudburst because it seemed to have a little more usable volume for two. I didn't really think about it until now, but the source of the extra volume (the front hoop pole) might improve both wind and water shedding.

I don't think the Cloudburst is as weatherproof as my SD Lightyear, but it does well enough, and the weight to volume ratio is fantastic without sacrificing floor or bug protection.