This is my first time posting here and have a question about these packs and your experience.
My son and I current have Teton Explore 4000 and Teton Scout 3400 backpacks. These have served us well so far as beginner backpacks and have taken them on 3 - 5 day backpacking trips.
However we are preparing for Philmont next year doing a 12 day backpacking trip, and would like to upgrade these. My son will be 16 by then, probably around 5' 8", I'm 6' 1".
I was thinking about buying Osprey Volt 75 for myself, and Osprey Volt 60 for my son. However, someone just pointed me to the Osprey Aether AG 70 as well. The only real benefit I see to that is the day pack, is that really worth the extra ~$80? I already have a pretty nice Osprey Daylight Day pack.
Just curious on your thoughts. I see the Volt 75 for ~$150 on amazon and the Aether AG 70 for ~$232 on Amazon.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I am not familiar with these packs--I've never been able to wear an Osprey pack because their hip belts all cause my hips considerable pain (just to illustrate that pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit).
However, I'm very familiar with teenage boys, having raised three of them ahd then having four grandsons. Your boy is at what is usually the most rapid growth stage, so you may want to wait a new pack until closer to the event--or you may be buying another one by next summer! Of course if his present pack is already too small, you may have to bite the bullet.
Pack measurement has little to do with height, but depends on torso length--the length between that bump at the base of your neck and a point on your spine level with the top of your pelvic girdle. That measurement doesn't necessarily correspond with height. Lots more info about fitting packs on the home page of this site.
It's also a good idea to have your gear, or most of it, handy when trying on a pack. Real life gear has quite different weight and bulk than do sandbags or other weights. Be sure to include a mockup that approximates the weight and bulk of a week's food. If you can't haul the gear to the store (good idea to make an appointment first), do this as soon as you get the pack home, while the tags are still on and you can return it.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Mouse knows of what she speaks; I personally love the Volt, though I don't use one anymore. (Way too much volume for any load I'm likely to carry.) Confused yet?
The volts are good, comfortable, well-built packs with beefy suspensions. (They used to have virtually the same suspension as the Aether, but I think Osprey switched the Aether to their "AG" system, which uses a trampoline-based suspension that ties into the hipbelt. I used that system on the Atmos AG, and found it wanting - so, you're warned.) The Volts still have a traditional internal frame system. (I'm not familiar with your present packs - are they internal or external? If you like externals, you might want to look at the Atmos or Aether series.)
The Volts have a nice feature set, and their advertised load range is spot on. Personally, I believe the Volts could handle any load you'd want to carry at Philmont. They are also adjustable over a wide range of torso lengths, which may address one of Mouse's concerns about growth between now and then.
However, I'd also recommend that you take a good look at the ACT Lite series or the ACT Zero 50+15. Both are classic internal frames, also with robust suspensions and a great range of adjustment.
I'm one of those lucky people who find that Osprey and Deuter packs both fit me well. That highlights a very important idea: do not buy a pack without trying it on, filled with your own gear (not sandbags.) Fit is everything; get the one that works.
In my own case, I typically carry 15 or 16 pounds of gear (not counting the pack) for a weekend trip. At that load point, I can use a very light pack with a minimal suspension - and until recently, that was an Osprey Exos 48. My gear filled the pack; I had no extra space for a few days' extra food, or winter clothing. Also, I had concerns about the suspension's ability to handle more than 20 pound loads. Since I don't want to own 3 or 4 packs (although the manufacturers might think I'm nuts), and since I still plan on taking a few weeklong and cold-weather trips, I recently decided to go with a sturdier pack, and pay the weight price of the extra pound or pound and a half of a sturdier pack. After comparing a couple of other Osprey models (Kestrel 48 and Atmos AG 50), I settled on the Deuter ACT Zero 50+15. It had the best suspension I could find in a 3.5 pound pack, and the adjustable capacity was perfect: the basic 50-liter pack holds my weekend load perfectly, and the 15 additional liters of expansion will let me take those longer trips. In particular, I like the hipbelt - sturdy, but comfortable (more so than the Ospreys); when you tighten it, it stays put, with no sliding and hitching it back up.
I think Mouse is one of those people who can't wear Ospreys, but Deuters fit her perfectly.
You've got plenty of time, so shop around. Osprey and Deuter are good, but so are Gregory, Kelly and other models. Just don't fall for the "ultralight" thing, that you no longer need a "heavy" pack. You need a pack that will handle the weight and bulk of the loads you typically (or plan to) carry - that may mean a 3 or 4 pound pack.
I would echo what Mouse and Glen say. A few months ago I went into REI to buy a pack during a sale. My previous one, which I still have and like is a REI Flash 62, but I needed more volume for an upcoming trip. I had my mind set on getting an Osprey pack since so many people love them, but the reality was that they just weren't comfortable for me. I ended up getting a Deuter ACT 65+10 which I find really comfortable. It isn't the lightest, but neither is it the heaviest, but the real key is that it fit ME very well. Having the salesperson adjust it for me helped a lot, too.