I'm after some help on my search for my perfect pack. I know pretty much exactly what I want but can't quite find it, maybe you guys can point me in the right direction.
I'm taking a 6 month trip to South America at the start if next year and want to find a pack that fits my few but potentially tricky requirements.. Them being.
45-55L 2nd entry to main compartment Removable lid
So far I've looked at. TNF Conness 55L- perfect in terms of features. But it feels huge, the back system although great is overkill for my requirements and takes the price out of budget.
Osprey Exos 58- slightly larger than planned but feels smallest out if all of them. Very light very comfortable, removable lid but no 2nd entry and not a lot in terms of additional space other than main compartment. The back system is fantastic however.
Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 45:55- Feels great looks great good price but lid is detachable (kind of) I say kind off because I think it would be easy to unpick some stitching in the webbing and sew in some buckles. Warranty wrecking granted but maybe it's the only solution?
Does any one have any other suggestions? My budget tops out around the £200 mark.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
If you have access to a sewing machine, you could always splice a zipper into a pack that does not have a second entry. Of course, that would also wreck your warranty, and you'd have to have some confidence in what you're doing. I take no responsibility over what you choose to do!
Honestly? For the features you want it's a little larger but hits virtually all the buttons: Osprey Aether 60. I have the 85 which is overkill until winter camping (but for $100 when it was new enough to have the tags put back on it I'm not complaining!) and am looking at the 60 for summer hikes.
It has the second entry, detachable top, etc. I can also say that an overloaded 85 still can feel like you are virtually wearing nothing even on a nice 2,500' ascent over 1.5 miles. (I noticed my legs being out of shape, not the 45lbs on my back!)
You really need to check out the Granite Gear Nimbus Access Trace 70. It is 70L, but it feels much smaller than that (you can always make a big pack smaller, but it's near impossible to make a small pack bigger if needed). It has a removable top lid, the best access of any pack I've seen (two zipper opening with internal compression straps), and weighs only 4lbs, 2oz. It is incredibly comfortable to carry. One of the coolest features is the utilization of a maple wood back panel instead of aluminum stays and a plastic frame sheet for it's load-hauling capabilities. The wood back panel is lighter than composite, is incased in a fiberglass resin (making it waterproof), and is surprisingly capable of carrying loads up to 70lbs. The entire pack is very durable and uses Cordura branded woven nylon as well as Cordura stretch-woven material on the back panel. Check it out: http://www.granitegear.com/nimbus-trace-access-70.html/
Next year (available February 2015) Granite Gear is coming out with a 60L version (and a 85L). It's at least worth checking out. It did take a Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine. I usually don't put much credence in these awards, but the mere fact that this pack rose to the top of the piles of backpacks Outside could have chosen from makes it worth considering.
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