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#91267 - 02/24/08 01:32 PM Need some odd backpack advice...
bigwig Offline
member

Registered: 03/11/03
Posts: 101
I need some help finding a backpack. My old REI Greatstar just isn't big enough anymore. I actually am into lightweight backpacking and the last time that my wife and I did a week-long trip our packs, including food and water, weighed 20 pounds each. However, I now have 4 kids. So, my wife carries the new baby on her front, the toddler on her back, and I carry gear for 6 people.

I need help finding the best solution to carrying gear for 6 people. I've been looking into most of the standard packs at REI but I'm not satisfied with them for a couple of reasons. First, I'm a big guy and it seems waist belts are made in only one size most of the time. Second, most of these packs aren't taking into consideration that they will have to have 5 sleeping bags, a tent, 5 sleeping pads, extra clothes for the kids, about 3 days supply of diapers for 2 kids, food for 6, water for 6....... In other words, they either aren't big enough or not comfortable enough once I get 50-60 pounds of gear in them.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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#91268 - 02/24/08 02:27 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
EdK Offline
member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 120
If I were you, I think I'd be searching out an older Dana Design Terraplane, or even an Astraplane. These packs are probably overkill for many situations, but with the weight you're carrying, the suspension on these older packs can really support quite comfortably the heavy loads. And if you have the money, you can check out the new packs that Dana is making at Mystery Ranch. The G5000, G6000 and G7000 seem right up your alley. Ed

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#91269 - 02/24/08 02:50 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: EdK]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
I have a Terraplane for sale on the gear board if you are interested.

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#91270 - 02/24/08 03:03 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Salish Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 129
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Wow, what you need bigwig, are pack goats. I'm only half kidding. I've had the same issues, but to a lesser degree. I have two large backpacks that do the job. Like others have said, you can't go wrong with one of the huge Dana Design packs. I have the external framed version of the Terraplane, called the Terraframe. It's basically the same pack (almost) coupled with the external frame. It's a real load hauler but terrible when off-trail.

My other one is a McHale expedition pack. It's so old I think it precedes his Inex, but it equals or surpasses the Dana in how much it can carry. Mine is used, and since they are custom made packs it's very difficult finding a McHale that fits well, unless you have one made for you. And they're pretty expensive.
But with the loads you are talking about it might be a solution for you. I feel they are the best heavy duty packs available.

Cliff

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#91271 - 02/24/08 03:07 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: Salish]
bigwig Offline
member

Registered: 03/11/03
Posts: 101
Quote:
Wow, what you need bigwig, are pack goats. I'm only half kidding. I've had the same issues, but to a lesser degree. I have two large backpacks that do the job. Like others have said, you can't go wrong with one of the huge Dana Design packs. I have the external framed version of the Terraplane, called the Terraframe. It's basically the same pack (almost) coupled with the external frame. It's a real load hauler but terrible when off-trail.

My other one is a McHale expedition pack. It's so old I think it precedes his Inex, but it equals or surpasses the Dana in how much it can carry. Mine is used, and since they are custom made packs it's very difficult finding a McHale that fits well, unless you have one made for you. And they're pretty expensive.
But with the loads you are talking about it might be a solution for you. I feel they are the best heavy duty packs available.

Cliff


lol. that's great. When I can get my brother to come along he acts as our pack goat...only I call him an [Edited for inappropriate languge, please review forum policies for more information]. Edit: lol. it edits out the other term for donkey.

I'll look into the McHale packs. I've got an email out to the dana people already and am looking into them thanks to the suggestions above. Thanks!


Edited by bigwig (02/24/08 03:08 PM)

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#91272 - 02/24/08 03:07 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
MysticMoose Offline
member

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 69
Wow, you're ambitious! It's commendable that you've chosen to expose your kids to the wilderness at such a young age. I hope that when we have kidlets we can do the same...

Just curious, how old are the kids? Obviously one is a toddler and another a baby, but are the others old enough to carry a light pack? Kids generally don't need as much padding as adults for sleeping pads, so they might be able to carry at least their own closed-cell foam pads and a small water bottle...

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#91273 - 02/24/08 03:13 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: MysticMoose]
bigwig Offline
member

Registered: 03/11/03
Posts: 101
My kids are 8,5,2, and 11months. The 8 and 5 year old each carry a little canteen and a backpack with some of their gear in it like their led headlamps, a couple of small toys, snacks, and usually a sweater. They love backpacking but I know that one of the reasons that they love it is they don't carry any weight. lol. I'll deal with the pain to make it so I don't have to listen to whining all day on the trail.

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#91274 - 02/24/08 04:17 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I second the Dana and McHale ideas, but I have more thoughts for you. I also take my kids backpacking, and have found that I can keep my load mangeable by using ultralight gear for everybody. I made custom packs for my kids, so they can carry most if not all of their own stuff by about age 5. They started carrying just the stuffed animal at age 3 or 4, then just their sleeping bag and stuffed animal, and so on. By 6 or 7 they are carrying all their own gear, which measn a pack weight of about 5 or 6 pounds - no problem for them to carry. The kid size UL packs weigh about 12 oz with hipbelt and internal frame. The key is keeping everybody's gear light, and starting them out with a pack, no matter how light, on their very first trip. That way they get used to carrying a pack and you can add stuff to it as they grow. My older son is 14 this year, we are doing the JMT this summer, he will carry his full share of everything except the tent.
Oh, one more thing, I believe Gregory offers different size hipbelts for their packs, and some others may as well. But the packs are pretty heavy - that's the advantage of getting a McHale - you can have him build a big pack with a great suspension using light fabric and a simple bag, so it will be as light as possible. I'd expect you could get a pack that weighed about 3 pounds and carried those nig loads as well as anything you could buy.

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#91275 - 02/24/08 04:55 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
shaggy999 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 3
I have just recently been looking into 6000+ cu in packs recently and developed a spreadsheet of the basic technical data. Here it is if you're interested:

Model Capacity (cu in) Torso Range Weight Price Cu In / lb
Eastern Mountain Sports Solitude 6000 18 22 5.38 lb $199 1116.28
Jandd Goliath Expedition 8974 17 23 8.19 lb $320 1096.06
Osprey Argon 110 6900 18 24.5 6.81 lb $399 1012.84
Mystery Ranch G-7000 7000 12 24 8.25 lb $550 848.48
Gregory Denali Pro 105 6450 15.5 21.5 7.75 lb $459 832.26
Bergans of Norway Alpine Escape 7900 18 24 9.50 lb $440 831.58
Arc'teryx Bora 95 6220 16 23 7.50 lb $435 829.33


Sorry it doesn't look any nicer. Check out the last column where I calculated cu in/lb. The Jandd Goliath Expedition looks monstrous - 8974 cu in and weighing in at 8.19 lb! After looking at all these I think I've settled in on the Osprey Argon 110. It's large enough for major expeditions, has a good ratio of weight to carrying capacity as well as good overall weight in this particular category of packs and I can get the hipbelt custom molded, which is a real plus since I'll be carrying a major load.

Also note that if you get the Bergans Alpine Escape there's a replacement top that has extra carrying capacity of about 1800 cu in, making it a total of 9700 cu in!! But... very heavy.

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#91276 - 02/24/08 06:53 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods

Bigwig,
Will you consider an external frame pack? With all the gear you carry, it might work out better. If so, check out Cabela's Alaskan frames and bags. You can make your own sack to fit the bag if you can sew.

Are you open to suggestions on how to reduce weight for the young ones or do you pretty much have your system set? For example, the 5 & 2 yr old could probably be covered by a quilt rather than having to carry two separate bags.
But, like I said, if you've got your system set and only need something to carry it all then no need for going on.

Have you read the threads in Backpacking with Kids forum down below?

We'll be happy to help if you want.

Tango

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#91277 - 02/24/08 08:12 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Give them the bulky but light stuff. Actually a sleeping bag is light and if they carried their bags, you would not need such a huge pack volume. When my daughter was 5 we did a trip and she carried her sleeping bag and the cook pots. She loved to hear it clunk-clunk down the trail. Foam sleeping pads are also light and free your pack up.

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#91278 - 02/25/08 09:32 AM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
If you have a large budget for this then I will third the McHale suggestion. Dan makes some stinkin huge packs if you want 'em big. I myself have a smaller McHale (Popcan that's probably 4,200 - 4,400 cu in). As far as I'm concerned his packs are hands down the most comfortable you can buy, and for the size/weight you are looking to carry that is an important thing to consider.

One comment on something Paul said. He said something along the lines of you can get a large McHale for around 3 lbs. My pack is about as stripped down as you can get in the lightest materials and it weighs slightly over 4 lbs, so I doubt something as large as what you are looking at is going to be under 5 lbs. If you want more details on my pack search the forums as I did a detailed writeup about it in a post sometime last year.

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#91279 - 02/25/08 10:01 AM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Wow, someone else has my same problem. I have a 6,5,2 and 17 month old. So far, the wife is not willing to go with the younger two. When we do go day-hiking, it isn't long before I am carrying the two young ones, and the problem is that they are getting heavier, not lighter. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I would suggest that you make the older two carry their sleeping bags. I just finished making my 5yr old a pack that fits him perfect, and can carry his sleeping bag ( I haven't found a commercial pack that does this). Probably 5 lbs total (Pack, bag and pad). I will make one for the 6 yr old as well. Then I only carry my bag, and all the other gear. Also, make them carry their own pad. Give them just a cheap blue ccf that is cut to their height. It will weigh almost nothing. This will also reduce a huge volume requirement for you. If all they carry is their bag and pad, it will hardly be any weight. I would also make a quilt for the two young ones, if not just have them sleep in your bag with you. That way, you know they are warm, and you reduce your bag load.

Good luck! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#91280 - 02/25/08 12:35 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: finallyME]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Some really good points offered up in this thread folks. I think he would need an external frame pack if he follows his intentions. They excell for the weight carried vs cost factor of a custom pack IMO. He'll eventually be able to downsize his own pack when the kids grow into regular size packs of their own. He can distribute ala WD some items amongst them now to reduce his own cu in needs.
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#139129 - 09/21/10 11:43 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
the man Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1
how the He@! do you pack out 3 days of loaded diapers?????

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#139130 - 09/22/10 12:19 AM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Richardvg03 Offline
member

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 276
Loc: San Diego, Ca
Originally Posted By bigwig


Does anyone have any suggestions?


A pack Mule?
_________________________
Sgt. Richard V. Gilbert
USMC Retired
Scout/Sniper

Already getting notifications to be more "gentle"..?? smile

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#139143 - 09/22/10 09:57 AM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: Richardvg03]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Is this "respond to two year old posts" day?
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#139155 - 09/22/10 12:09 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Sure looks like! lol
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#139163 - 09/22/10 03:45 PM Re: Need some odd backpack advice... [Re: bigwig]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
_________________________
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.

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