Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 
BCG Holiday Sale

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
BackcountryGear.com
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance


Stay Healthy--Eat Well

MARY JANES FARM ORGANIC MEALS

Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals

NATURAL HIGH GOURMET MEALS

Natural High

 

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#149901 - 05/04/11 01:50 AM Backpack Size Question
FlashPacker Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 25
I have been backpacking for a year now, about a dozen times total. I currently have an REI Flashpack 50 liter. I am thinking about getting the Flashpack 65 liter instead. I love my Flash 50, but on my first multi night trip, I really overloaded it. My guess would be 40 lbs. I like to keep everything inside the pack but was unable to do so on the last trip. On one night trips I would guess that I have about ten-fifteen liters to spare and my pack weighs about 30 lbs. Also, I often bring by boys with me and end up carrying a little more of the share than I should. I guess my question is, is better for comfort, to max out a pack, or have extra room left in the pack. My fear with getting a 65 pack will be that my gear will be too loose inside the pack and make for an uncomfortable hike.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Dave

Top
#149902 - 05/04/11 04:52 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: FlashPacker]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I have not used that specific pack, but I see that it does have cinch straps so that the pack can be tightened up if you are carrying less than a full load. In comparably equipped packs, I have never had any kind of a problem carrying a less than full load.

I would rather carry a larger pack, partially empty, than an overloaded smaller pack.

Top
#149904 - 05/04/11 07:19 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: FlashPacker]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Generally, I'd agree that it's better to cinch up a too-large pack than try to overload a too-small pack. However, it's not because of the size of the packbag.

If you look at the specs for most packs, you'll see they give some variant of a "comfort range" that specifies how much weight the pack can carry and still be "comfortable" (for an "average" person, whoever that is.) It's not a perfect, objective system, and not precisely comparable from one company to the next, but it's a starting place.

The larger packs typically have higher load ratings. Yes, the bags are larger - but more critically, the suspension is usually beefier, and it's the suspension that determines the weight-bearing capacity. (In fact, there are some pack frames sold without a pack bag, for carrying heavy loads like firefighting tools, wood, or for hunting. They are all suspension.) Oftentimes, within a line (say, the Osprey Kestrel with which I'm familiar) the suspension design and features will be the same for the entire series, but as the load ratings increase, the hipbelt might be a bit wider or stiffer, and the framesheet might be a bit less flexible or be reinforced by a stay.

So, as you look at larger packs, pay attention mostly to the suspension - especially if you start looking at packs from other manufacturers and other lines from the same manufacturer. I know, from personal experience, that 50 liter packs from Gregory, Granite Gear, Deuter, and Osprey all carry differently with the same gear in the packbag. Within the Osprey line, the Talon, Atmos, Kestrel, Exos, and Aether each carry a bit differently from the other with the same load; each has a different comfort range, and each has a different type of suspension.

So, when shopping for a new pack, it's all about the suspension.

Top
#149905 - 05/04/11 07:56 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: FlashPacker]
FlashPacker Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 25
Thank you for the replies. I did not realize there are different kinds of suspension systems.

Top
#149910 - 05/04/11 10:16 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: FlashPacker]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Try on a few different packs with 25 lbs in each, and see how different they all feel.

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#149911 - 05/04/11 10:34 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: lori]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Which reminds me: load distribution also matters. (The OP may already be aware of this; if so, my apologies - I wasn't trying to insult your intelligence.)

Lori's right about loading the packs when you try them on - I'd add to use the actual gear you plan to carry, if possible. (Pick a day when the shop you visit isn't too busy, because you will use up a lot of floor space and their time.) Each pack will probably have some features that will let you arrange your gear a bit differently - generally, loading heavy things into rear pockets will tend to pull the center of gravity back, and into side pockets will affect the side-to-side balance of the load. (Personally, I don't like a lot of pockets, but I do like the rear "corner" pockets on the Kestrel - they expand inward rather than out, and are a great place to isolate my rain gear without affecting the center of gravity.)

Using your actual gear to test-load will reveal pretty quickly any pack eccentricities that affect the fit.

Top
#149913 - 05/04/11 11:37 AM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The other thing to note - while I have not used the Flash 50, I have hiked with many who have, and just observing and listening to the folks using them? I don't think I would buy one. I think the 50 or 60 liter volume is too big for the suspension on the pack. It invites packing 30-40 lbs of traditional gear in, when it's better suited to 20-25 lbs of ultralight gear. Most folks in my hiking group have traditional (5 lb tent, 3-4 lb bag, etc) gear and it will all fit. But since the suspension is in no way adjustable, and isn't as stiff or fitted as, say, a Gregory or Granite Gear, the wearer has difficulty carrying the load.

This is why you should try other types of suspension. You may find that a stiffer, more stable, more adjustable pack suits you better. And if you have not been measure, get it done. Fixed frame packs aren't for everyone - they work well for those they fit, but when they don't fit, ugh.

I am on the long side of a "short" pack frame, and the short side of a "normal/medium" - and so I am extremely careful about pack choices. Two of my current backpacks allow me to adjust the shoulder harness in inch increments to better fit my back. Not being able to fine tune the harness to my back has led to some miserable days.

I think that when you have the right pack, one that fits and carries your gear properly, you will experience an AAAAAH moment - a lot of folks I've backpacked with don't seem to realize it's possible to be comfortable with a pack on.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#149918 - 05/04/11 12:47 PM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: lori]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Great catch - I forgot all about mentioning adjustable versus fixed suspensions, and how much of an effect suspension length can have on fit. Fixed length suspensions on the Granite Gear Vapor Trail and Osprey Exos/Atmos made those packs no-go's for me, because they never truly fit properly. "Infinite" adjustablity (position the velcro at any length) versus fixed-increment adjustability was one thing that swung my final decision toward the Kestrel and away from the Granite Gear Escape and Deuter ACT Zero - my perfect length ended up halfway between two of the settings.

Top
#150017 - 05/07/11 10:51 PM Re: Backpack Size Question [Re: FlashPacker]
FlashPacker Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 25
Thank you all for the replies. It all sounds like good advice. I like the idea being able to adjust the suspension. I have been measured several times and I am exactly in between a medium and a large. I think my torso measures 19.5 if I remember correctly so in addition to the volume issue, I have the pack size issue. When I initially tried out packs, I did have them weighted to 25 lbs but I had never worn a pack, so I had no point of reference. I have had some days with my Flash 50 where I didn't even know it was on, and others days where it felt like the cross I had to bear. I know longer keep my hydration bladder in the pocket against my back. I could really feel it and was very uncomfortable. Each time I take a trip, I am trying to make notes of what works and what doesn't work.

Thanks again,

Dave

Top

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source
by Jim M
Yesterday at 07:34 PM
Bivvy bag with wired peak
by Petro1234
12/10/17 01:06 PM
How cheap can you go?
by EMT Dave
12/05/17 07:07 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Greetings - and a question
by valongi
Yesterday at 11:35 AM
Just found out about UCO candles
by toddfw2003
11/30/17 08:41 AM
Hitting the eagle rock loop, Ark in 3 days
by toddfw2003
11/19/17 11:31 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Plant based insulation...
by billstephenson
11/18/17 02:58 PM
lightest grommets to use
by toddfw2003
10/22/17 06:13 PM
avalibility of thin ti rod
by the-gr8t-waldo
01/26/17 04:45 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 29 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
valongi, Atkinson J, Dcarpenter, Woodland, ultralight
12469 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
HOME
Backpacking.net
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum.com