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bryanmertz
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Joined: Feb 28 2003 1:20 pm
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Packs

Post by bryanmertz » Mar 03 2003 3:25 pm

Hello all. I have enjoyed hiking for years and am just now getting into some hike/ camp trips. I am hoping to get the groups thoughts/ opinions on what to look for in a good pack. I have done some research on my own and have found a lot of information.

My questions are:

1) What is a comfortable size pack for 2-3 day hikes. I want to get something big enought for the gear yet not a monster. I see sizes ranging from <2000 thru 6000+ cubic inches.

2) I am leaning toward an internal frame. What are the pros/ cons to Internal vs. External?

3) Is there a consensus on an integrated hydration system? I have a small pack I carry on day trips, and like the convienience. Are the multi-day packs with built-in hydration worth the extra $$? Should I jsut take the baldder from my current system and put it in antother pack?

4) I have been looking at Kelty/ North Face/ REI - are there some other names to consider. I'm not affraid to spend some money if there is value there.

Thanks in advance for all your advise.
Bryan

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Lizard
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Post by Lizard » Mar 03 2003 5:21 pm

Hi Bryan,
1) What is a comfortable size pack for 2-3 day hikes. I want to get something big enought for the gear yet not a monster. I see sizes ranging from <2000 thru 6000+ cubic inches.
Most backpackers carrying a standard load will want somewhere from 4000-5000 cubic inches. If you tend to travel alone and go light weight you can probably get by with 3000-3500. One thing that's been recommended is to take all your gear with you to the store when you buy the pack. Its the only way you'll know for sure what size will work for you. Alternatively, you could try renting packs of different sizes before you buy one.
2) I am leaning toward an internal frame. What are the pros/ cons to Internal vs. External?
Please read this thread:
http://hikearizona.com/dex2/viewtopic.php?t=258
3) Is there a consensus on an integrated hydration system? I have a small pack I carry on day trips, and like the convienience. Are the multi-day packs with built-in hydration worth the extra $$? Should I jsut take the baldder from my current system and put it in antother pack?
I consider hydration systems too gimmicky and superfluous (sp?). The more complex a pack is, the more possible points of failure there are, and the heavier the pack is. But, if this is something you must have, it would probably not be too difficult to rig something up with your current bladder. Its not neccessary to shell out extra $$ for a built-in hydration system, IMO.
4) I have been looking at Kelty/ North Face/ REI - are there some other names to consider. I'm not affraid to spend some money if there is value there.
Those brand names are all good starter packs. If you are positive that you will enjoy backpacking and will put your equipment to good use, then you may want to invest a bit more in one of the high-end packs made by companies like Gregory, Dana Design or Osprey. They cost more but they will last a lot longer as well.

Happy Trails,

Lizard

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Fritzski
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Post by Fritzski » Mar 03 2003 5:24 pm

3000-3500ci will cover you for one or two nights and still stay light.

Internal frame is lighter and less bulky and the technology has come lightyears in comfort.

Don't pay a bunch for built in hydration. A "sleeve" is nice and you can just put your old bladder in there and it shouldn't add much, if anything to the price. Even without a sleeve you can still get one those canvas type bladders by MSR and just jam it in somewhere that works. It is a beautiful thing to be able to take a drink along the way without having to remove the pack.

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Randy
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Packs

Post by Randy » Mar 03 2003 5:31 pm

Hey Fritzski, long time no hear....Hope Rusty is well, and you are not subjecting him to this off belay craziness, at least without his own little harness.

On Packs, I said my say on the last post that Lizard references. His summary here is very good too. There is truth to his comment on quality. I'd probably add ArcTeryx to his list and thats about it...-R

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youngboy
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Post by youngboy » Mar 03 2003 6:13 pm

externals are usally cheaper and have more air flow on your back which could keep you cooler, but internal frames are much more comforable but also more expensive.

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kiluam
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Post by kiluam » Mar 03 2003 7:37 pm

Bryan,

this is what i did..when i went backpacking in the grand canyon for the first time a couple years ago, i decided that i will need a pack (i had a mule carry my stuff in and out, as i had no idea i was paying for that when i went with a particular group. i had also paid to ride a horse back out, but i opted not to.) anyhow, before i went again.. i went to "play it again sports" and found myself a really decent sturdy external frame jansport pack for only $40...its not the creme of the crop when it comes to backpacks..but it serves my purpose really well...i have gone on quite a few trips now and its still holding up nicely..so that may be a path you can take before you shell out hundreds of dollars...basically im saying you might be able to find what youre looking for used..as for hydration, i just attach my current bladder on to the outside of the pack and im ready to go..its worked out really well..not that you dont already know. but lizard has some really good points you should keep in mind as well...

cheers

kiluam
Last edited by kiluam on Mar 04 2003 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
cut me some slack jack

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desertgirl
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Re: Packs

Post by desertgirl » Mar 03 2003 7:48 pm

Randy wrote: I'd probably add ArcTeryx to his list and thats about it...-R
I'd definitely say that ArcTeryx is the best fitting pack I have owned..Very comfortable harness and fairly good ventilation (for an Internal Frame!)

If you are not in a hurry to buy a pack...Couple of things/strategies...

1) Take you time buying ...REI is an excellent place to try out packs (Do not forget Popular -- I have seen some good packs there from time to time --selection is limited but some times they run cheaper). Load up the pack with the weighted sacks or your gear & kinda hang out at the store checking out everthing else -- after about 30 mins of having weight on your back..it feels quite different! Think about your experience & try this a few times.....& you wll natuarally gravitate to some packs (regardless of what others, reviews or manufacturer says). If you can rent/borrow/buy it at used store to try out..it will be worth it....

2) Hydration systems --- One thing to caution, If it is an internal baldder pocket/sleeve..it is kinda cumbersome ....If the baldder is located in an external / surface (not smashed down by gear - it is easy to handle it as well as easier to pack... I have noticed that if have a baldder i tend to hydrate efficiently -- little by little along the way rather than a whole lot when I stop & get to the bottle. May be then I just need more discipline....

3) Some resources for buying packs cheaper (sometimes) --(Figure out what pack you want by trying it on somewhere & the shop on-line for best pricing)

http://www.sierratradingpost.com
http://www.campmor.com

3) Watch out for too mant belts & zips -- they always give out at the worst of times. So the fewer you have the less likely you will have an issue.

4) You might also want to consider the different pack access modes a pack offers...some have a 2 compartment system, other provide side access ( allows you access interior contents w/o unpacking the whole thing)

Good luck with your quest! ..By the way ..make sure you have good backpacking boots & socks when you hike with a pack! The lighter you go..the more fun you will have on your hike given you have adequate food /water & appropriate clothing!

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pfredricks
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Post by pfredricks » Mar 03 2003 8:18 pm

there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet.
I was in your shoes a few months ago and the choices are overwhelming- think carefully about your selection as you will have to live with it or spend the money again.
some of the important things you may want to consider in packs are:

-some larger packs allow you to retract the sleeping bag compartment-essentially giving you a smaller pack when you want, but allowing you a big pack too.

-hydration packs may be worth it to you, but, it is very simple to stow a water pouch in the main compartment-heaviest items should also be closest to your back (center of gravity)- so if hydration system is on back of pack- consider that a poor design.

-Load control is important-external packs do tend to push loads away from the back and can tend to pull you backwards and cause you to lean more forward (unnatural position) to compensate.

-good packs have compression straps that flatten the pack and pull the load toward you. Very important for carrying comfort

-look for quality zippers-and back up straps that will hold your pack together if the zippers fail

-ripstop material

-some shoulder pads are designs to go around your neck instead of putting pressure on your neck muscles. As Martha Stewart would say....."it's a good thing"

-the hip belts should for over your pelvis-they should cup your iliac crests (boney areas). They should ride above and below. they should be thick enough to be comfortable but not so thick that they compress and allow the load to shift around

- there are different sizes of backpacks and fits- make sure that the pack is your size and make appropriate adjustments-talk to a retailer that you feel knows what he/she is talking about when fitting your pack- it makes a HUGE difference.--Dont be afraid to load it up at the store-SERIOUSLY!

-I dont want to endorse a single pack, but give you ideas to make your own informed choice. I am sure that there are lots of opinions- yours is the only one that matters

-Even consider color- let me just say BLACK is bad in the desert.

-Daisy chains are nice. So are meaningful places to clip things and thoughtfully place pockets.

-Examine the stitching to see how it is done. You have to rely on it afterall.

-Some packs even do a better job covering their zippers for improved wet weather performance

IF you shop around you can find top flight packs for just dollars more than the entry level packs-they are generally worth it IMHO

All packs are light years better than what they were just a few years ago. This is the time to be a gear junkie for sure.

I am sure that I forgot a few design points- I am sure a HAZ crew member will (ahem) inform me>
"I'd feel better if we had some crampons. Oh, what the hell, let's go for it..." — Common climbing last words.

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montezumawell
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Post by montezumawell » Mar 03 2003 8:35 pm

pfredricks wrote:
-Even consider color- let me just say BLACK is bad in the desert.
pfredricks and the others above have given quite a "short course" on packs. Man, it'd be hard to do better anywhere! Especially on the spur of the moment! Great job!

Well, here's our two cents worth. We rec'd our REI dividend dealie in the mail a couple of days ago and we've been laughin ever since about avocado sleeping bags and dijon hiking shorts and such.
But the biggest belly laugh we've been having is for those flaming red packs they are selling.

Have you ever heard the term, "bug colors?"

Well, here's what it means: Let's say you are a garden variety, self-respecting bug. Any kind of bug. You're out trying to make a respectable living for yourself and feed your family. Mostly, you make your living off flowers and other critters who congregate around those pretty, colorful blooms.
Sooo...what do you respond to? Mostly color. Red and yellow especially.

Here's a test. Put something flaming red out and watch what gets attracted to it. Anything from ruby red throat hummingbirds to a whole host of various insects. Then try yellow. Whoa!

A lot of people wonder why bugs are swarming around them on their hikes. Some of it has to do with their odor and their personal radiation. But a whole heck of a lot has to do with the simple color of their gear. If they are wearing, packing, carrying bug colors, guess what?

They got bugs!

Our favorites are people we see on the trail in Sedona wearing red bandanas and red sweatshirts carrying a yellow fanny pack. Man, they must be driving even the late winter bugs into a veritable feeding frenzy! (Besides, the vortexes are color blind!)

In summary, avoid a pack (or anything else) that looks like flowers or any derivative thereof.

J&S

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Fritzski
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Post by Fritzski » Mar 03 2003 10:17 pm

Hey Randy. Wish I could meet up with you guys tomorrow night.

When it comes to a subject like this, I'd be willing to admit you've probably forgotten more than I'll ever know! I sure like the Arc Teryx stuff for climbing also, but I can't say I know of any brand prouder of their stuff, and they don't hesitate to let you know it by the price! That dividend money will go a lot further on an REI brand pack- Talus (like I bought with mine :) )

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MaryPhyl
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Post by MaryPhyl » Mar 04 2003 6:13 am

Those bugs: I am careful to use as few scented things as I can. I use unscented laundry soap and softener. Oil of olay makes an unscented sun lotion and I use unscented hair spray. Not being a walking flower really helps.

A souple of years ago I went on my first east coast (read buggy) hike. I sprayed my clothing with permithrin (sp?), wore long sleeves and long pants---I even sprayed my hat. Those bugs left me alone.

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hikeaz
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Post by hikeaz » Mar 05 2003 8:38 am

Campmor had a Kelty Haiku (5700 ci.) for 129.00 (down from 200) that I purchased about a month or two ago.
The weight is <4#, which rivals most 3000-4500 pack weights. Additionallly, you'll be equipped for a longer trip if the spirit ever moves you.
It has a sleeve for a bladder, but I'm a nalgene guy, myself.

I use the Kelty pack when brush & trees are an issue, but for open areas like the Canyon, I use my trusty (12 yr. old) Jansport external frame. It allows you to stand straighter, as well (as mentioned above) the ventilation is far superior.
kurt

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jeremy77777
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Post by jeremy77777 » Mar 07 2003 5:02 pm

I cannot stress the stitching. If you hike alot, You will understand. I took me several hikes and four packs to get it through my skull! GOOD STITCHING! If you want it to last at least. I have found that internal seem to work the best, and feel the best. I own both. I used the external maybe twice last year. And if you plan on doing a long hike (Time wise), Go for a big pack. 6000+. You wont be sorry. Just remember. Dont go to just one store. Go to at least three. Make it a day adventure. You will be glad you spent the time to fing the perfect pack that was "MADE" just for you!
Oh Be Wise, Need I Say More?
- Jeremy

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MaryPhyl
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Post by MaryPhyl » Mar 10 2003 8:06 pm

I like an internal frame that is relatively narrow. I make sure everything on it is cinched down so that when I swing it from side to side it stays with me. I had a woman break her arm in a fall a couple of years ago because she tripped and her heavy loose fitting pack brought her down.

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pfredricks
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Post by pfredricks » Mar 11 2003 11:56 am

backpacking magazine have their gear review this month-may be very helpful for you
"I'd feel better if we had some crampons. Oh, what the hell, let's go for it..." — Common climbing last words.

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montezumawell
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Well,whatever

Post by montezumawell » Mar 11 2003 7:15 pm

We've been thinking and talking about this topic ever since it got started.

Sometimes you can "overthink stuff." Here's a case in point.

We were in "Nowhere, Oregon" this summer.

I saw an old orange CampTrails pack for a buck at a yard sale. How could I resist? It was a "classic."

A few days later we signed up to do trail work on the Lower Rogue River Trail in return for two Northwest Forest Passes. They gave us a HUGE load of tools to take up to Agness and walk out on the trail with.

Susun took one look at those heavy tools and said, "NO WAY!"

I took 'em back to camp and rigged 'em up on that old Camp Trails frame pack with some river-runner cam-buckle straps and some parachute cord and, BLAM, we're headed out on the Lower Rogue IN STYLE!

We walked through "downtown Agness" with our heads held high. For two days, no less.
(And this was BEFORE the Bisquit Fire.)

The point of this post is that an old pack can do just as good as a new pack, depending on your needs for the pack. You don't necessarily have to look cool, you just have to be able to carry whatever you need for your trip!

Think about it.

J&S

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