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#162896 - 02/27/12 08:58 PM Cant fit my gear into my pack :(
pcolaheadbussa Offline

Registered: 02/27/12
Posts: 2
Hi guys, I moved from Florida to Las Vegas a little over a year ago. I love having mountains and red rock national park so close! I have been doing day hikes very regularly since being out here and have been wanting to get more serious with it lately so I started collecting backpacking gear. I have the Atmos 50l backpack. After much research I thought that 50l would be plenty for a 1 or 2 night trip with all new, fairly light gear. Unfortunatly my tent and sleeping bag seems to take up about 3/4 of my space! I have a kelty down 20 degee bag thats fairly small and the rei passage 2 tent. Not the smallest out there but not a large tent either. I have it stuffed into the bag it came with very tight but its still taking up way to much room. My question is, is there some other way i should be stuffing it/folding it? Can i somehow strap it onto the top of the pack? Or do i just need a larger pack?

#162899 - 02/27/12 09:24 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
As you have figured out, small is a really relative term. So are "light" and "heavy."

I note that the packed size of the tent according to REI is 7.5 x 22" and the packed size of the sleeping bag is hard to guess at but looking at the Kelty Cosmic 20 degree, I see that it is a 8 x 13" packed size.

This is part of why you will see in some of the threads the advice to get the pack last... depending on your perspective the gear is too large or the pack is too small, so either you replace one, or the other... Internal frame packs are typically going to be easier to wear with all the gear inside, putting lots of items on the front and sides of the pack puts weight further from your back, which means you don't have it sitting on the hip belt where it belongs. You could try strapping the tent under the lid or down the sides - fly on one side, tent on the other would help balance it out.

It is possible, FYI, to have smaller and lighter gear than you can find at REI. Tents like those available from Lightheart Gear, Tarptent, Six Moon Designs, Mountain Laurel Designs, and other cottage gear makers can work very well for backpackers without the weight and bulk. You do have choices when you eventually upgrade. One of my lighter combos is a Tarptent (24 oz) and a down quilt (20-25 degree, 22 oz). I started with a Kelty tent that weighed as much as your Passage, and a bag that was about the same weight and bulk as the Kelty Cosmic - only I'm sure the Kelty bag is warmer than the bag I had!

If you can't get all your gear in the pack you have, you might (if you got it at REI like the tent) possibly exchange it for a pack that works with your gear.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#162900 - 02/27/12 09:26 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1361
Loc: Napa, CA
Don't get a larger pack until you really try to make this one work. We use a 55 liter pack for trips up to eight days...

One option would be to tie either the bag or the tent horizontally underneath the backpack...or if you prefer, on top of it.

But once you get your tent and bag in much other stuff do you need to bring for an overnight trip? a little food and a stove, and you are good to go!

check out our website and blog:

#162903 - 02/27/12 09:48 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: balzaccom]
Tye Offline

Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 76
Loc: Texas
I've got the same Kelty 20*, and other junk. I have a pack a little smaller than yours. One option is to just stuff the Kelty in the bottom of the pack without the supplied sack. This allows it fill in all the space at the bottom. When in it's supplied sack, there is a lot of unused space down there.

#162905 - 02/27/12 10:11 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
palameto Offline

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 37
Loc: East Texas
Try packing the pieces of the tent individually rather than all together in the stuff sack. My tent always seemed to take up more space in its bag than when I packed it and the fly separately. You can wrap the tent or fly around other stuff and better fill all the available space.

#162906 - 02/27/12 10:36 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: palameto]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2502
Loc: California
Packing the tent loose inside is not a good idea. Fine if it never rains or you never get dew or the floor never gets dirty. If the weather is that good why even bother with a tent? If you pack a wet tent loose in the bag you will get everything wet and filfthy. It is a good idea to split the tent into 1) poles and pegs (they can go lashed to the side outside the pack), 2) fly, and 3) tent body. You may want to also put the fly on the outside in a long narrow stuff sack. I just put poles in the outside pocket rubber banded togther. But you want to protect the fly from getting tears, so it should be in a bag. The body of the tent can go inside the pack. Also, once you remove the poles, you may be able to use a shorter bag for tent and fly that will pack much better.

Consider getting a compression bag for the sleeping bag. I also use a compression sack for my clothing. Get light weight compression sacks- REI makes some very light ones, as does Granite Gear.

I think your pack has enough square inches in volume. You just need to utilize the space better. You may have to purchase some different sized stuff sacks that nest together better than what you currently have.

On the other hand, by the time you do all that, you may be better off getting either a smaller tent or sleeping bag. Where are you going to backpack? Do you really need a full blown tent? What about a tarp or hammock?

#162909 - 02/27/12 11:54 PM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3925
Loc: Bend, Oregon

Hey Redrocks has a lot of potential but no water. Go out there for long and you'll need to carry a LOT MORE than the mentioned tent and sleeping bag. You might even want (Oh please forgive me) an ALICE pack.

First off I am an advocate of LARGE packs. The stuff sacks and compression required to force gear into a small pack just to look cool is kinda wasted on me. confused And as you get new gear your needs will change and as some else said, this is why we say buy your pack last, but then no one wants to hear that. frown

As Wandering Daisy ponted out - its not a good thing to have your tent spread around in your pack when it comes up a storm. Better is to have the tent strapped to the outside of your pack on one side so you can remove the tent to set it up without having to open the pack in a rain. Put your sleeping bag and clothes in your pack and hang something on the side oposite the tent to balance it, like food, or your rolled up airmattress.

Of course others will tell you to ditch the tent, and everybody needs a selection of sleeping bags. Well heck a selection of packs is cool too - that way you can take one that your gear fits in. Once we ran into an injured friend in Yosemite and we split his gear into our packs - good thing we both have HUGE packs. They also make leg bivy sacks.
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#162912 - 02/28/12 12:44 AM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: Jimshaw]
pcolaheadbussa Offline

Registered: 02/27/12
Posts: 2
wow thanks for all the quick advice guys. I am gonna just play with all the different suggestions and try to figure out what works best. I do have a question though to the ones suggesting straping the tent on the side, how would that actually work, anyone got pictures or anything? Its just so bulky i cant see that working out...As far as where i will be camping, i plan to go all over. Being originally from florida, i am stoked to be in the west coast. Alot of time i am sure will be spent on the closest mt here, mt charlston. But i plan to make many trips to oregan, colorado, california, bc canada, etc, as much as i can. I only work 4 days a week so i have plenty of time. As far as getting new gear, i would like to figure out how to make what i got work first if possible. Cant take the sleeping bag back but may get a little summer bag as well..and the tent could be smaller for just me but i plan to take my lil bro out some as well.

#162917 - 02/28/12 09:37 AM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1361
Loc: Napa, CA
Please note I suggested strapping the bag or tent on the top or bottom of the pack, not on the side. And I also noted that we use a pack this small with everything inside...!

check out our website and blog:

#162918 - 02/28/12 10:05 AM Re: Cant fit my gear into my pack :( [Re: pcolaheadbussa]
DoobyDoobyDoo Offline

Registered: 11/21/11
Posts: 9
Ive got the passage 2 tent.

What works for me is this:

my pack has a "water bottle" holder on both side of the pack. I stuff the tent into this mesh pocket and secure it with the compression straps that cross the side of my pack. The packed tent fits perfectly into a 1 liter water bottle holder. Just make sure you secure it to the side.

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