Hey all, I'm new to these forums and backpacking so sorry if I sound like a 'newbie'
I am looking for a backpack that I can use for wild camping. I want it to be light. I need to fit a tent, sleeping bag, 3 sets of clothes and enough food for 2 weeks (also other small things.
I will be using it in England (Lake district) and Scotland, hopefully.
I have looked at bags such a the 'Osprey' brand and 'North face' and from what I have read these two companies sell the best bags. I really want an up to date pack which is comforable as well as affordable so around 100 - 150 pounds (so i think 150 - 220 dollars?)
I could really use different opinions and talk to people who have tested other bags.
You will want to look at 80-90 L backpacks for what you want to do. I am personally biased toward mountain hardwear backpacks for backcountry camping but any brand name is usually a quality product these days.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
A 90 L bag is huge and far bigger than what you likely need. I carried a 60L pack in NZ and it was fine for extended camping. Osprey and TNF are American brands. Nothing wrong with them, but I would look for something from the UK or the EU, like Deuter, Bergen or Jack Wolfskin for value for money. Have you looked at Cotswold's website? They have a lot of gear, including all of these brands. The big thing with a pack is fit. Not all packs fit the same regardless of size. I had a huge Arcteryx pack that never fit right, so got rid of it after one trip. An ill fitting pack will be miserable regardless of what you pay for it, just like boots or shoes.
Your tent can be tied to the outside of your pack. As far as clothes go, 3 sets could mean anything, so not sure what you are taking. Take a couple of sets of base layers and one set of outerwear and insulation. Go through your clothes and gear list first, then decide what pack to get to hold it all.
If you can, follow Bill's advice and go to a well stocked store with your stuff and see what fits. A really big pack is far too tempting to fill up with stuff you don't need, unless you are winter camping (as in snow on the ground winter) and the space is for lightweight insulated clothes like a big down parka (like in my photo).
Edited by TomD (04/17/1302:50 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I can't tell from your post if you are wilderness trekking (what this site is all about) or doing budget travel with occasional camping. If the latter, you might get better information from budget travel sites like Lonely Planet.
Just to add to the above advice, all excellent, except the 90L pack: I go out backpacking (wilderness trekking) for 7-9 days at a time with a 30L pack, total starting weight (including 9 days of food) of 24 lbs. (11 kg). I also have traveled in Europe for 3 months at a time with only 2 changes of clothing, which was plenty. Quick-dry fabrics are the answer. Packing light is more fun!
The three most important aspects of a backpack are fit, fit and fit. The pack must fit your gear, fit your body and be comfortable for you to carry with your gear inside. Backpack fit is as important as shoe fit!
Edited by OregonMouse (04/17/1303:44 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Portland, OR
The OP said he wants to carry two weeks worth of food at once. This can add up to a considerable bulk, depending on the food he chooses to take. It is also difficult from this distance to know how bulky his other gear is. So, it becomes equally hard to know whether he needs a 60L or 90L pack.
The advice to gather up his gear and food so he can put it into the pack he is considering buying is the best possible advice under the circumstances. He can do this at the store, or, if the store has a reasonable returns policy, he can bring the pack home and do his evaluation of fit, size and general acceptibilty there with less time pressure.
I never presume that my experience has any bearing on what someone else will want or need in the way of a pack. People differ too much in their build and their packing style to allow me to generalize from what I do to what they will be happy doing.
I too are looking for information on new backpack and new equipment. I checked a few and it seemed that front loading may have an advantage as everything can be accessed. But these are difficult to find. I found an top load Osprey which may be OK for five days with about 60 liters and weight is a little above 2 kg.
For true backcountry travel of up to that length, I use a 50-60L backpack, with food taking up about half of the space. I use a cheap "HighGear" backpack for that application, which has flaws but gets the job done. If you will be around towns or can make short detours to where food is available, I recommend buying food every couple days, so that you can travel faster and carry a smaller pack (30-45L). I use a GoLite Jam for that application, which has served me well for six or so years, and is still going strong and very light (1lb 5oz)
I apologize for bump an old topic from the dead, just have a few interesting observations from personal experience, maybe someone will need this information in the future.Some good feedback. The key, as already mentioned, is gather up all your gear (make sure you cover all the essentials); weight it and size it. Find a pack that has an adequate frame and suspension to comfortably handle both the weight and volume of your gear. For those just getting started, I highly recommend making your way to a competent outdoors store that will fit you properly for a pack. Pack fit is the most critical aspect. Once you find out how a pack is supposed to fit, you can shop around for deals on packs that have the right torso length with the features you know you need to ensure it not only fits but is comfortable.
Osprey packs are probably the most common I see on the trail and for good reason. They have some quality designs, good features, and solid suspension systems. I’ve used expensive packs (Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, Arc’Teryx) and more mainstream packs (Osprey, Gregory, etc.), and they all work well for specific needs. I would stick with backpacking designed packs, simply for the weight savings.
Volume is important. Too much and most packs won’t do well with smaller loads. Tool little and you end up having stuff hanging off the outside of your pack. Comfort ratings for maximum weight limits are your first concern, but volume is the second once you find out the most comfortable pack sized to fit you. As you upgrade gear, you’ll find you can get by with lighter and smaller volume pack.
My main three-season pack is a ULA Circuit. (Deleted link) It’s about as perfect a pack as I’ve found for my backpacking needs. I can keep full loads under 30 pounds…warmer months that can be as many as 7-days, or fewer days during winter months due to bulkier insulation needs. My base weight (minus food, fuel and water) is around 14 pounds, so the majority of my gear is pretty light and compact. If your gear is a little bulkier and heavier, I would recommend the Catalyst model which has more volume and can carry loads up to 40 pounds. I plan to pick up a Catalyst for winter loads or planned backpacking trips where you need a bear canister.There are a lot of useful and interesting videos on this topic on Youtube, I will leave one here, I hope someone will help in choosing the future. Good luck! (Deleted link)
Edited by Glenn Roberts (06/13/1806:21 AM) Edit Reason: Remove commercial links (see forum policies)