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#121188 - 09/19/09 02:36 PM lightest expedition pack
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
What are the lightest expedition size packs available? I'm thinking something around 7000 ci, and can handle 100lbs or more.

The traditional packs are pretty heavy, has any lightweight gearmaker touched this segment? Kelty used to have the White Cloud and Phantom, which were decent sized (though not large enough) and in the 4 lbs range, but they are out of production.

The rest of the packs I see, Mystery Ranch, Arcteryx, Gregory, Osprey etc are all up around 7+ lbs.
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#121190 - 09/19/09 04:23 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
If you really intend to carry a load that big, you ought to look at McHale custom packs. Dan can build you a simple sack with his best suspension that could probably get under 4 lbs, maybe even under 3 if you really go simple on the sack and do it in dyneema.

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#121191 - 09/19/09 04:33 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
aimless Offline
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Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
I am only piping up because I am curious about your intended use for a pack that can carry 100 lbs. For many of us, a 100 lb. load could carry enough food and gear for roughly 40 days without resupply.

It is possible that your mission can be carried out better by a packboard than a pack, but I'm just speculating.

So, whatchya gonna do with this pack? I'm dying to know! confused

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#121192 - 09/19/09 05:03 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: aimless]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
You have the right idea. Long trips with no resupply. Light gear = more food and fuel = more time out.
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#121196 - 09/19/09 06:32 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
The problem I see is : how a pack lighter than 6-7lbs is going to hold "100lbs or more" (?)
I had a quick look at the McHale site. The two that could do the job are the MBCM2, 5+ lbs , 7,500ci, around 80 lbs (?) or more likely the Super Inex , 7,500/8,500ci, 6lbs +. Both are over $900 with the most basic features.
BTW, I cannot find any reviews mentioning loads carried with the Kelty 6500 but again I find it hard to believe that it could hold (without breaking your back) 100 lbs...
Franco

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#121197 - 09/19/09 07:05 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Franco]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
Franco,

I'm not sure. Perhaps Ti stays instead of Al? Dyneema fabrics, thin dyneema webbing (Mammut has 8mm dyneema climbing slings rated to 22kn)? I have no idea what such a pack would be like.

I can't imagine that it is impossible though.

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#121200 - 09/19/09 08:16 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I think it's definitely possible. The pack I use for most backpacking (homemade) weighs 16 oz and carries about 30 lbs comfortably.It has aluminum stays, full padded hipbelt, etc. If I were making my own pack for really big loads. I have no doubt I could get it under 4 lbs. the key is to simplify the bag so that most of the weight of the pack is suspension. A simple 7000 cubic inch sack of 4 oz dyneema can be as light as 8 or 10 ounces - that's just a sack, no pockets, no zippers, no suspension. So then you have room to attach that sack to the best suspension you can get. That kind of simplicity is the key to keeping the total weight down. Pockets and compartments and zippers ans flaps are heavy. Just remember that features=weight and you're on your way to a light pack. All that said, I suspect I would be thinking pretty hard about going to an external frame for a load that big - depending, of course, on what you're planning to do with that behemoth on your back. But the same rules would apply - keep the sack really simple, not much more than a sack attached to the frame. Most packs on the market, McHale's included, have lots of pockets, flaps and zippers, and all that stuff adds up fast. If you talk to Dan and make it a challenge, I bet he'd love the idea of making a superlight pack for really big loads.
I would also be asking myself how much volume I really need. If you carry lightweight gear and then lots of food, the food is very dense comparatively, so the total volume you need might be less than you'd think.for instance, I got 26 lbs of food into 2 bear canisters totalling 1530 cubic inches. If I carried 80 lbs of food at a similar density (which is about how much food I'd imagine I'd have out of a 100 lb load), that would be about 4700 cubic inches. I'm sure I wouldn't need another 2300 for gear if it's lightweight gear. your gear my be different, though, since we don't know what type of trip you have in mind (climbing or whatever). Anyway, it's worth careful consideration of just how big the pack really needs to be to get the job done.

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#121203 - 09/19/09 09:26 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Paul]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
I doubt very much that there is a mass produced unit like that. The 110L Osprey could be the closest to what you want.
Dan could provably make you a version that is 2 lbs or so lighter (5lbs or so) and may carry more weight, but a quick look at his web site will suggest a cost of around $1500...
($900 plus full Dyneema, plus Ti stays..)
Franco

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#121208 - 09/19/09 11:13 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Franco]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
Here's another idea, less expensive than a total custom pack - take a mass-produced pack, and take it apart - the suspension is pretty much just attached to the back of the pack. Remove the rest of the packbag and sew on a new one, really simple in Dyneema. Probably save you a couple of pounds and you could do it yourself if you are handy or get PennyS to do it for you:
http://specialtyoutdoors.com/
Or you could just remove portions of the existing packbag to simplify it.
If you find that an external frame would suit your needs, you could do it for less money, since you can buy some frames without packbags. Probably a little heavier, though.

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#121209 - 09/19/09 11:16 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
You need to find the "sweet point" balancing weight and daily mileage. If you carry 100 pounds you may slow down so much that your total miles for the trip is no more than if you were to carry 50 pounds and go faster (or hike longer every day). The biggest problem with 100 pounds is that few people can carry this load for a 10-hour day. All the long distance hikers I hear of go the other way - go very light and go long distances every day.

When I planned courses at NOLS we never went out for more than 15 days without a resupply. This was a single re-supply by horses for a 30-day course. If you do not want to walk out to resupply, you should consider a commercial outfitter resupply.

Now if you want to carry the load into a "base camp" and then hike from that base, this is a different story. In this case, hire a porter for a few days.

Also, if you are carrying 100 pounds, I would just find the best suspension you can regardless of weight. What is a 3 pound difference out of 100? I do not see the point of trying to go really light with a pack if you plan to carry 100 pounds. You can make this up by slighty reducing your food for each day and hardly notice it.

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#121211 - 09/20/09 12:21 AM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Paul]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I concur with paul. Get a frame and just attach a simple bag to it with no frills.

Get a mystery ranch NICE frame, then make a big bag out of light fabric and strap it to the frame.
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#121213 - 09/20/09 01:09 AM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: wandering_daisy]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
You need to find the "sweet point" balancing weight and daily mileage. If you carry 100 pounds you may slow down so much that your total miles for the trip is no more than if you were to carry 50 pounds and go faster (or hike longer every day). The biggest problem with 100 pounds is that few people can carry this load for a 10-hour day. All the long distance hikers I hear of go the other way - go very light and go long distances every day.

When I planned courses at NOLS we never went out for more than 15 days without a resupply. This was a single re-supply by horses for a 30-day course. If you do not want to walk out to resupply, you should consider a commercial outfitter resupply.

Now if you want to carry the load into a "base camp" and then hike from that base, this is a different story. In this case, hire a porter for a few days.

Also, if you are carrying 100 pounds, I would just find the best suspension you can regardless of weight. What is a 3 pound difference out of 100? I do not see the point of trying to go really light with a pack if you plan to carry 100 pounds. You can make this up by slighty reducing your food for each day and hardly notice it.


What is a 10 ounce difference out of 20 lbs? I don't see the point of trying to lighten further if you are already down to 20 lbs. . . and that line of reasoning prevents innovation.

The sweet point is a key. . . classic optimization problem. I think an easy way to gauge that is some test hikes with 50lbs and 100lbs and see just what the mileage difference turns out to be.
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#121219 - 09/20/09 03:12 AM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
EDIT-Not sure what the story is on the Kelty Cloud. It is no longer on their website if you just go there looking for it, but I found the page using Yahoo, so who knows. At $800, you aren't likely to see one in a retail store; a coupld of places carrry it online. It is only 5250 c.i. I believe, which is about 85 liters.

http://kelty.com/kelty/products.php?terms=spectra&id=16

I did see a big military pack on their site, but it weighs more than 11 pounds, if you can believe that.


Edited by TomD (09/25/09 02:33 AM)
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#121221 - 09/20/09 03:31 AM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: TomD]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
There were several versions from 4000 up to 6500. I cannot find a decent review on the 6500.
Kelty have now a Red Cloud that is 6500 ci, 6 lbs, but of course I have no idea what load it will hold.
I would be happy to be able to walk 1 hour with 100 lbs on my shoulders. ( not that I would want to do it)
This reminds me that my grandfather used to carry that in sugar and coffee just after WW2 for his own private import business ( from Switzerland to Italy. About 6 hours with a 3000' vertical gain both sides and at night)

He had an "external frame"
Franco

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#121230 - 09/20/09 02:07 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
You are perfectly correct to say that more food and fuel = more time out. And of course more time out is a sweet notion and I heartily approve! However, I would try to talk you out of carrying loads in excess of 60-65 lbs. - ever.

You say your goal is to take "long trips with no resupply".

I am going to interpret long as meaning covering many trail miles. The longest sections of trail in the USA where you can walk continuously and not cross a road are the John Muir Trail and an obscure route that criss-crosses the Pasayten wilderness up near the Canadian border in WA. You can do both trips in considerably less than 40 days.

With a lighter pack, you will enjoy your trail miles FAR more than if you're lugging a pack that stays considerably over 60 lbs. for the first couple of weeks. Such a load greatly increases your chance of injury or physical breakdown, too. That is bad news if it happens to you.

If by long trips you meant a lengthy stay in one remote spot, then you are typically going to be within a couple of days hike of the trailhead. If you fill your vehicle with a summer's worth of food, all you need do is hike down every few weeks, load up and head back in. There is no logistical need to carry 100 lbs in one load. The psychological difference between a trip to the trailhead every 20 days and every 40 days is pretty negligible. Or, you could hire a horse packer to bring it all in, as wandering daisy suggested.

The investment in such an enormous pack is not likely to repay your time or money, when there are other ways to skin the same cat at less cost, and less risk to your body.

Either way you decide, good luck and happy hiking. May you fnid your shangri-la.

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#121236 - 09/20/09 04:44 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: aimless]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
I appreciate the concern, but I'm well versed in carrying big loads.

In addition, the US is only one destination. There are plenty of wild places left in the world. I'm looking at putting together a long solo expedition. I'm still in preliminary planning phases, but it looks like this could take a pretty serious amount of time.

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#121239 - 09/20/09 07:00 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: wandering_daisy]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
I just cannot imagine carrying 100 lbs on my back. I would have to have a pack animal. My present 30 or so lbs causes me a lot of effort at times. I must be getting too old for this hobby smile

Howie

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#121282 - 09/21/09 12:34 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Originally Posted By Echterling
I appreciate the concern, but I'm well versed in carrying big loads.

In addition, the US is only one destination. There are plenty of wild places left in the world. I'm looking at putting together a long solo expedition. I'm still in preliminary planning phases, but it looks like this could take a pretty serious amount of time.


Just a well-intentioned comment about this post and the kinds of responses you have been getting and are likely to get . . .

In this post you said absolutely nothing. Clearly you are keeping your cards close to your chest -- and that is certainly your right to do so. However, there is not enough information to enable anyone to provide an intelligent answer (although people here are trying). There are too many factors left unsaid -- density of load, durability of load, how much will be used over time (e.g. carry some temporarily w/collar or hang loops), need for water resistance (Amazon or Outback?), etc.

So, my question is why not just spill it out and tell us what you are up to? Peak to peak in the South American cordiellera? Solo across the Australian outback? Siberia from Sakhalin to Kamchatka? Whatever it is, there is more knowledge collectively "out here" than in your head. Why not take advantage of it?

Also you claim to be "well-versed". Do I correctly read that to mean "inexperienced"? How about laying out your actual experience level, as well? Have you ever hiked more than 100 miles? --and with a 75# load? I haven't gone that distance (yet) but I certainly would before even contemplating some kind of venture that involved a 100# pack.

You need to realize that the expression of concern in some of the posts is a direct function of your failure to give any real information. That could mean you are just secretive (but want everyone else not to be). Or, it could mean that you are hopelessly clueless -- a justifiable conclusion because you provide inadequate information to the contrary. For me, this thread reminds me of an account I read in Backpacker Magazine about 15 years ago:

A guy flew into Alaska from Germany and stayed at a lodge before embarking on a trip he had planned. A local guide saw his proposed itinerary and told him it couldn't be done. The German guy just said "yah-yah" and refused to believe that the reality on the ground was different from his extensive planning with maps at his table back home. Fortunately he made his way back out but not in real good shape (or mood).

It would be a great delight for me to find that this post is completely off the mark and I apologize in advance if it is. I wish you nothing but the very best - which is my intent in writing.
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#121291 - 09/21/09 03:22 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Franco]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By Franco
The problem I see is : how a pack lighter than 6-7lbs is going to hold "100lbs or more" (?)
I had a quick look at the McHale site. The two that could do the job are the MBCM2, 5+ lbs , 7,500ci, around 80 lbs (?) or more likely the Super Inex , 7,500/8,500ci, 6lbs +. Both are over $900 with the most basic features.
BTW, I cannot find any reviews mentioning loads carried with the Kelty 6500 but again I find it hard to believe that it could hold (without breaking your back) 100 lbs...
Franco


So far, the McHale packs look like the best option. The Super Inex may work. I'll have to look into it some more. Thank you for the help.
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#121468 - 09/24/09 11:36 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Echterling]
alanwenker Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 812
I'd look for a Jansport D2 or Kelty Serac on ebay. Both are HUGE, old school external frame backpacks that can actually hold 100 pounds of gear. You may want to swap out modern hip belts and shoulder straps for that sized load.

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#121471 - 09/25/09 03:56 AM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: Paul]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Those REALLY needing to cary herniating loads (no joke) have a good choice in Cabela's freighter frames, meant to carry quartered elk or caribou.

Eric
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#136476 - 07/17/10 08:14 PM Re: lightest expedition pack [Re: 300winmag]
Zeno Offline
member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 29
Originally Posted By 300winmag
Those REALLY needing to cary herniating loads (no joke) have a good choice in Cabela's freighter frames, meant to carry quartered elk or caribou.

Eric
I noticed someone mentioned Mystery Ranch, but I was surprised to not see more hunting options offered. Whether the hunting packs perform like they claim, I cannot say, but as you said, these packs are intended to carry out tens and tens of LBs of awkwardly shaped carcass. 100LB hind quarters are not unusual. I might look to an Alaskan outfitter or two for some advice.

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