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#170215 - 10/07/12 09:12 PM Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
Hi my name is Max Berney and I am currently a junior Industrial Design student at Virginia Tech. I am re-designing storage for families hiking with kids in middle childhood. I would really appreciate your guys thoughts and opinions on the main issues encountered. All comments are helpful, feel free to comment on problems with anything from managing kids hunger needs to the hassle of storage access for everyone. Also feel free to email me at mberney@vt.edu with your thoughts. I really appreciate the help.

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#170217 - 10/08/12 12:34 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
It seems odd to hear you speak of "storage" in this context. With a backpack or day pack nothing is far from reach, although some items might be buried a bit deeper than others, if you can't lay hands on anything in your pack in less than two minutes after you take the pack off your back, you are probably not going to be aided by having more pockets, pouches or zippers to deal with.

And if two minutes is too long to wait to get at something, you should probably put it closer to the top of your pack... or in one of your pants pockets... or in the little pocket on your hip belt... or something like that.

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#170228 - 10/08/12 10:08 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I was thinking he meant storage at home for gear.

Clarification helps in these matters.
_________________________
"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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#170230 - 10/08/12 12:10 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: lori]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
He mentions dealing with kids' hunger, which doesn't really apply to home storage of hiking gear. Yes, some clarification would be nice.

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#170260 - 10/09/12 10:12 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Or speaking the same language. After further consideration I wonder if he means kids can't get into bear canisters?
_________________________
"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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#170305 - 10/09/12 11:52 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Does sound rather strange. Adding compartments to packs just makes them heavier, and most kids' packs are far too heavy already. Any pack whose weight is a fourth to a third of the total weight the kid can carry is far too heavy! My experience with my grandkids is that they inevitably forget which compartment has the snack they want.

If the OP doesn't come back to clarify what he's talking about, there's not much use of our speculating here!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#170395 - 10/11/12 01:03 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Yes, I agree, we need more information. One thing the OP needs to learn is to communicate his/her ideas more clearly.

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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170580 - 10/15/12 11:12 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: finallyME]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
Sorry for the lack of clarity. I am Re-Designing the hiking backpack to try and improve access to goods in your pack. I also want to make the sharing of goods in your pack with family members easier. I need your guys help to pinpoint the main problems you deal with while hiking with your family. For example is the main issue finding items buried away in one large compartment, or is the main issue having to constantly take off your backpack to give kids items(like snacks).

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#170585 - 10/15/12 12:40 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
My son's rei pack has sections of clear plastic allowing a person to view what's in the pockets, saves a ton of time and effort, and should be incorporated in more packs!
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The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#170590 - 10/15/12 01:37 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
A key point to remember, as remarked by OregonMouse: "Adding compartments to packs just makes them heavier..."

I think you'll find that the majority of members of this forum would look at a pack with an extra compartment or two, but which weighed a half pound more than a similar pack with just one big compartment, and they'd choose the lighter pack over the heavier pack every time. The added convenience of extra compartments is more than offset by the drudgery of carrying extra weight.

That's just how we roll around here. smile

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#170592 - 10/15/12 01:53 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By mberney
Sorry for the lack of clarity. I am Re-Designing the hiking backpack to try and improve access to goods in your pack. I also want to make the sharing of goods in your pack with family members easier. I need your guys help to pinpoint the main problems you deal with while hiking with your family. For example is the main issue finding items buried away in one large compartment, or is the main issue having to constantly take off your backpack to give kids items(like snacks).


I hike with little kids frequently. I have found the best way to divy out stuff is to give each kid his/her own pack. Then I give each kid their own snack bag. They each carry their own water bottle as well. That way, they can get their own stuff out whenever they feel like it. And, I don't have to mess with my stuff in the process. For me, I like pouches on my hip belt that I can reach without taking off the pack. I like to carry water, food and other items that I need to get to on the hip belt.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170593 - 10/15/12 02:03 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: aimless]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
Do you guys think there is more of a necessity for a pack that makes accessing goods easier or a pack that has detachable smaller packs for kids. My project is currently at a stopping point, because I am unsure whether the main problem in family hiking is locating and accessing items or if it is sharing the burden/weight and responsibility of items with multiple/detachable packs.

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#170594 - 10/15/12 02:07 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: aimless]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
Do you guys think there is more of a necessity for a pack that makes accessing goods easier or a pack that has detachable smaller packs for kids. My project is currently at a stopping point, because I am unsure whether the main problem in family hiking is locating and accessing items or if it is sharing the burden/weight and responsibility of items with multiple/detachable packs.

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#170596 - 10/15/12 02:17 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
rionada Offline
member

Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 493
Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
I don't mean to stomp on your fun, but it's my guess that almost no one here would use a pack that has attachments for other smaller kids packs. I backpack with my kids, but they have their own lightweight single compartment packs. If I ever needed to carry their pack(s) I would simply lash it on to mine or wear it backwards on my chest. I wouldn't carry an extra once for the unlikely convenience of carrying another pack. As far as compartments - a single compartment pack with a few lightweight stuffsacks is really no inconvenience at all.

I would recommend that you find a more mainstream backpacking site. Most hikers here will likely not be able to relate to the problem that you have presented - sorry.
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i really don't think that applies to me.

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#170600 - 10/15/12 03:40 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: rionada]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
All these comments from all of you are very helpful. The last post that mentioned the alternative use of lashing was a very interesting solution. I have just a few more questions to spur more posts:
What are the main items you always bring while hiking, do any need more attention to protection or access?
Are there any common occurrences/annoyances that you deal with hiking that you could design a solution to? (For example having trouble finding an item at the bottom of a pack)
Do your kids prefer having their own pack or do they prefer for their parents to hold some of their items?

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#170606 - 10/15/12 05:54 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Thanks for coming back and explaining what you're looking for! Here are, hopefully, some answers to your questions. For explanation, I'm the mother of 4 and grandmother of 6. I try to take the three younger grandkids (currently ages 7-12) out backpacking several times a year. One grandkid at a time, though, unless their father (my youngest son) comes along!

My own pack is a single large bag with three outside mesh pockets. It's a smaller version (since discontinued) of the Six Moon Designs Starlite, with added "optional" stays. I pack so that nearly all of what I need during the day is in the outside pockets: snacks, water bottle, water filter, rain gear. My insulating clothing (in case it turns cold) is inside but right at the top where it's easy to get to, with the first aid kit (the only other item I might need to access) just under it. The only time I've ever had to get into the bottom of my pack during the day was when I fell during a difficult stream ford and had to dump several inches of water out of my pack (my critical insulation was in dry bags and didn't get wet). Of course then I had to empty the whole thing out!

As I mentioned previously, with the many pockets on standard kids' packs, my grandkids inevitably forget which pockets the water bottle and snacks are in and have to open three or four to find what they want. I've been thinking of labeling the pockets! They and I would both prefer a lighter, simpler pack like mine (single pack bag with outside mesh pockets). With mesh pockets, they can see where their snacks and water are! They learned early on to pack what they need during the day where it can be easily reached without unpacking the rest. They have also learned to treat their packs gently and not drag or throw them around.

Nearly all packs built for young children weigh 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. It's really disgusting that when the weight limit for a 9-year-old child should be no more than 9-10 pounds, a quarter to a third of that is the weight of the pack itself. Children's packs need to be made simpler and lighter without sacrificing the needed support structure. This could easily be done by leaving off the gewgaws and many pockets and using a lighter fabric (such as Dyneema, which is just about as bombproof as the extremely heavyweight coated nylon used in most children's packs).

If I could sew, I'd cut the pack bag off the frame/harness of a Deuter Fox 30 and make a simple Dyneema pack bag to incorparate the frame and harness. The Fox 30 is a wonderfully supportive and comfortable and fully adjustable pack for elementary school children, but it weighs 2 3/4 lbs. Getting rid of the gewgaws, multiple pockets and heavy zippers, plus substituting Dyneema for the overly heavy coated nylon, would cut at least a pound, maybe more!

Even the youngest child (that's of 4 children and 3 grandchildren) always wanted his own pack, although for preschoolers it contained only a fleece top, rain gear, small water bottle, the day's snacks and a small stuffed animal. If they needed help, I (or their parents) took out part of what was inside, usually when the kid's back was turned. It was a matter of pride for the kid to carry the pack the whole way, even if (unknown to them) it was nearly empty!

My personal gear list is modeled after this one on the home page of this site: 27-pound, 7 day gear list. (My gear is now a bit lighter than that; 25 lbs. for 9 days.) This would vary according to the part of the country and expected weather, but works fine for me in the high Cascades spring through fall and for the northern Rockies in summer. With young children, the main difference in their list is that they need a complete change of clothes--if there's any water around, they'll inevitably get wet!. Parents (grandma in my case) carry all the shared gear--tent, cooking pot and stove, food, water treatment, first aid, etc. My grandkids started carrying their own sleeping bags at age 8; before that Dad got to do it. Next summer when the oldest grandson is 13, he'll be able to carry part of the shared gear as well as all his own!

You might want to read this article: "Hiking with Children" by Penny S. as background info, since you don't seem to be very familiar with the process.

As mentioned, this is a lightweight backpacking site, so most of us are quite concerned about the weight we have to carry. A 25-lb. pack is the absolute maximum I can carry, and I prefer not to exceed 20 lbs.

I'd personally like someone to investigate the commercial possibilities of a simpler and lighter children's pack, with support structure (including adjustable torso length) similar to the Deuter Fox 30 but the entire pack a pound lighter, rather than adding even more weight and complexity to an already overly-heavy pack. It could have multi-colored fabric and logos to be appealing without adding to the weight. Elementary school children, younger Scouts and other youth too young for adult packs would be the market.


Edited by OregonMouse (10/15/12 07:21 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#170650 - 10/16/12 01:49 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By mberney
Do you guys think there is more of a necessity for a pack that makes accessing goods easier or a pack that has detachable smaller packs for kids. My project is currently at a stopping point, because I am unsure whether the main problem in family hiking is locating and accessing items or if it is sharing the burden/weight and responsibility of items with multiple/detachable packs.


I wouldn't buy a pack with multiple detachable packs. The packs my kids use change over time as they grow, and the number of kids change, based on the particular trip. Having a pack that I can lash on other packs is important though. But, I use an external frame when I hike with my kids, so that one is easy without any modifications. However, accessing items is something that needs to be addressed, regardless if you are family backpacking or not. I don't like to have to set down my pack, open a pocket, get out an item, then put it back, and put back on my pack. I also don't like asking others to get an item. I would rather just stand there, or continue walking, and access an item, then put it back, all without reaching around or taking off my pack.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170651 - 10/16/12 01:57 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By mberney

What are the main items you always bring while hiking, do any need more attention to protection or access?


Map, compass, snacks, water, first aid kit, rain gear, camera, knife, flashlight, sunglasses, bear spray. All these items need quick access.

Originally Posted By mberney
Are there any common occurrences/annoyances that you deal with hiking that you could design a solution to? (For example having trouble finding an item at the bottom of a pack)


Like I said in a previous post...I don't like to have to stop and get stuff out of my pack. So, I carry items in front of me. Most of the items I listed above, I carry in front of me. Except my FAK, which I carry on the top of my pack. If I use it, I will have dropped my pack, so no need to carry it up front.

Originally Posted By mberney
Do your kids prefer having their own pack or do they prefer for their parents to hold some of their items?


They prefer their own pack. But, I carry most of their stuff, depending on their age. If they are over 8, then they carry their sleeping bag and clothes, along with snacks and a water bottle. If they are younger, then they carry snacks and water, rain gear, and maybe a light jacket.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170792 - 10/22/12 10:40 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: finallyME]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
It would be helpful to hear more about kid's behavior with their backpacks while hiking. Do your guy's kids have any difficulty accessing goods, or do they use their backpacks in any sort of alternative use like commonly using it as a seat/backrest when resting during a hike? All information is helpful, I just generally would benefit from hearing more information on general information regarding the child's favorite parts and least favorite parts of hiking.

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#170843 - 10/23/12 12:45 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Way back in 1975 I redesigned my Kelty external frame pack to carry babies. First I had an extra bar welded onto the extension bar to attach a home-made canopy with mosquito netting. I put a 2-inch thick pocket on the top of the canopy for diapers. Then I made a suspension seat so the kid could sit inside the pack. After they grew, I had to make a slit for their feet to hang out (zippered slit). With this design I was actally able to carry the kid plus all gear for a 2-3 day trip. I had to use an extra large stuff sack and put tent, sleeping bag and ensolite in it and strap to the bottom. I doubt this set-up would be very popular - taking a baby backpacking is not easy!



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#170844 - 10/23/12 01:24 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: wandering_daisy]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Love the photo. Thank you for sharing!

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#170869 - 10/23/12 09:28 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: mberney]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 510
Loc: Virginia
OregonMouse's comments are brilliant. Wandering Daisy's picture should be instructive.

The PRIMARY driver when backpacking is WEIGHT.

This is less of a driver when dayhiking (only going for one day) but it still is a large concern for the kids.

What we REALLY need are packs for kids that are lightweight - not a more optimal pocket design.

The reason is that we don't want to put more than 10%-15% of their LEAN body weight on them to carry.

Most of the kids in our cub pack are between 50 and 100 pounds (elementary school age active kids). That means that the packs can't weigh more than 5-15 pounds - LOADED.

Commercially built sleeping bags weigh 2lbs if you're lucky. Water is 2lbs a quart. Fleece is heavy, but it meets other warmth/drying criteria and it's cheaply available. If you can drive the weight of the pack itself down AND maintain its structure at reasonable cost, you have something everybody wants.

Suggest looking at the make your own gear page and look up the DJ2 pack there and on backpacking light. Mr. Clark is onto something, and you might be in a position to play with carbon fiber and fabric to advance the cause.

Did I mention to listen to OregonMouse and Wandering Daisy?

Steadman
Backpacking father of 4


Edited by Steadman (10/23/12 09:31 PM)

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#170873 - 10/23/12 10:02 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: Steadman]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Just an idea. I do not know what level of training you have had in design. I do remember in a class on building scale models of water flow systems (I am a civil engineer, not mechanical) that all aspects of the structure and fluid has to be "scaled down". You even have to adjust the viscosity of the fluid!

So, kids gear should NOT be simple small sized adult gear. Just think of shoes. With the thickness of a leather adult shoe - if you were to make that shoe 3 inches long, the relative thickness (and stiffness) would make the shoe a cast. Kids packs too should be made of lighter, thiner material. The shoulder straps should be also scaled down both in size and thickness. If you put in stays for support, they probably do not have to be as big as those used in adult packs. Because zippers and do-dads add weight, they should be minimally used. Kids packs should be very simple. Perhaps use velcro closures.

When my kids were 5-7 year age, they wanted to carry a big pack. I solved this by letting them carry the bulky but light stuff - cooking pot was a favorite. This really helped me too because when you have to carry all the group gear plus some kids stuff, finding room in the pack is usually a problem. I always made my kids sleeping bags. All the available kids bags back then were way to big and heavy.

If you keep your pack light, taking it off to get stuff is not a big deal. I take my pack off for every photo I shoot! Packs should be easy to take off and put on. Straps should be really easy to adjust.

Once I bought a pack with dividers. After the first trip I ripped them out. The compartments were never the right size. One big bucket is better. When you design outside pockets, think of what goes in them. If it is for a water bottle, be sure a water bottle fits and does not fall out when bending down.

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#170881 - 10/23/12 11:49 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Kids love to take their packs off at rest stops. So do I! For one thing, even with a relatively light pack, when you first take it off there's a minute or two when you think you're floating. For another, on a hot day we get to cool off when the sweat under the pack evaporates. Third, they love to dig into their snacks! Of course they pick out all the M&M's and cashew nuts the first day, so on succeeding days the snacks aren't quite so much fun. laugh



Edited by OregonMouse (10/23/12 11:50 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#170894 - 10/24/12 11:44 AM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: Heather-ak]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Heather- you may appreciate this photo since you live up there in snow country. OM- you can also relate- Wind Rivers in August! This is the same pack with kid #2, on the way out of a trip where we got caught in a snowstorm. We had a commercial packer haul out our gear, so that is why the pack is not fully loaded. This is my daughter that I made go down Bull Lake Canyon with me when she was 17. Yes, she is still talking to me!


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#170914 - 10/24/12 07:16 PM Re: Family Hiking Storage Re-Design Help [Re: wandering_daisy]
mberney Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 7
Thank you all for the continued discussion. All of this information is very helpful. Due to the recent discussion I have changed my project to simply re-designing a lighter, more accessible, and better adjustable pack for kids. Also all the photos are very helpful for giving me more of a contextual understanding of various situations you guys encounter with your families. Feel free to posting more photos of examples of different situations your family is in while hiking together.

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