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#97942 - 06/12/08 01:28 PM Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack?
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
I've been shopping for a pack for my seven year-old son, and I think I've decided on the REI Comet. It has adjustable straps to change the torso length; at its smallest setting it fits him perfectly, so I think it's a pack he'll be able to use for at least the next four or five years. Any opinions on this pack? It's a bit heavy at two and a half pounds, but the Osprey packs are even heavier (and a lot more expensive) and don't seem to fit him as well. Any hot tips on other packs we should look at?
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My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

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#97943 - 06/12/08 02:44 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I bought the older model of the REI Comet on sale ($30!) last spring for my grandson's 7th birthday and removed as much gunk (trim, extra pockets, lid, extra zippers, etc.) as I could to get the weight down. It's still 2 lbs., though, which definitely cuts down the weight a younger kid can carry in the thing. I can't see making a young kid carry a pack that weighs half again as much as my pack and that, because of the weight of the pack itself, limits how much of his gear a young kid can carry (especially since Granny here has to carry the rest of it!). Except for the weight, it's a good supportive pack and fits my now-8-year-old grandson quite well. Of course it looks like (expletive deleted) after my butchering job, but it works. I wouldn't have done this if it hadn't been so cheap, though.

A pack that was recommended to me for younger kids but which I haven't tried is the Tough Traveler Super Padre. I would think that the Small or Extra Small would be great for younger kids who shouldn't carry more than about 5-6 lbs. You'd have to order it and try it out. Tough Traveler does have a good reputation and makes the "Camper" and "Ranger" packs for older kids. . The last are almost as heavy as the REI Comet, though, and are a lot pricier. I might have ordered one if I hadn't found the $30 REI Comet!

I would really love to see a pack like the REI Comet made of lighter materials, a simple top-loading pack without all the heavy gewgaws on it. I unfortunately do not have the skills to make a pack or I would have used the Comet's excellent suspension and sewn a new and simpler packbag for it out of Dyneema or some such lighter fabric with mesh pockets. The Mountain Laurel Designs Kids Prophet weighs only 1/2 lb., but it's essentially just a rucksack with no supporting structure. Most younger children need good supporting structure to be able to carry even light loads--I've found that it's the pressure from the shoulder straps that really does them in. Combine a simple pack like MLD's with the Comet's suspension and you'd have an outstanding supportive pack weighing probably 1 1/2 lbs. I just wish somebody would do it!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97944 - 06/13/08 07:41 AM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
I was not impressed with the older version of the Comet. I think more so because Ford likes water bottles over hydration packs.
So we used the Deuter Fox for a number of years. He uses it at 10 1/2 for his technical daypack and for light trips. It works well from say 6-9 as a backpack then on as a daypack.
And it has good mesh pockets.
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#97945 - 06/13/08 01:22 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
If you want much lighter weight with more room, still with pockets and hydration bladder, AND if you can wait until they make more, the Miniposa Small fits children http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/Miniposa.html

-Barry

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#97946 - 06/13/08 06:13 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
Mountain Laurel Designs has a kids' pack as well. it is NOT cheap, but it is light and is sewn in the USA.

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/sho...34560744f8d8958

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#97947 - 06/13/08 06:43 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: tarbubble]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
Thanks for the input, guys. My only issue with the REI pack is its weight; at 2.5 pounds the pack alone eats up about a quarter of what I'm willing to have him carry at this point. The Gossamer Gear and Mt. Laurel packs look interesting, but as was pointed out, the Gossamer pack isn't currently available, and I'd really like to try the pack on him for comfort before shelling out the bucks.

I guess I'll have to think about this for awhile. The Mt. Laurel pack is only forty bucks more, and it will save me two pounds on my back! so that may be the way I eventually go. Anyways, thanks again for the help.
_________________________
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

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#97948 - 06/14/08 01:08 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
One thing on pack weight....while I'll go ultra light on my packs weight...that extra weight on kids packs is not necessarily a bad thing. What you are getting is suspension. And for little kids that is so important. The hefty hipbelts and suspension keep everything in place. It helps as so many kids don't stand with good posture - they sometimes cannot tell us either that a thin pack hurts - and where it hurts.

So the extra bit of weight can buy comfort and protect their spine and growing bones/muscles. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Just something to think about. We can always cut weight elsewhere in our kids packs!
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#97949 - 06/14/08 10:45 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: sarbar]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Sarbar is correct--support structure is needed. Even with a 4-5 pound pack, the straps are going to cut into the kid's shoulders and hurt if there isn't something to transfer the weight to the hip belt. I found this out with my 5 and 7-year old grandkids. Load lifters are also excellent to prevent the straps from cutting into the shoulders. I just wish the manufacturers wouldn't make the rest of the pack so darned heavy. The REI Comet and Deuter Fox both consist of about 1 lb. of suspension; the rest is really heavy-weight nylon plus lots of unnecessary gewgaws. As I mentioned earlier, if you could put the MLD Kid's Prophet onto the suspension of an REI Comet or Deuter Fox, you'd have a great kid's pack weighing about 1.5 lbs.

I looked seriously at the MLD Kids' Prophet--even posted some queries about it--and decided against it. It's completely frameless--just a rucksack with no suspension and all the weight will be on the kid's shoulders. Even with 4-5 lbs, that's too much for my grandkids. It might be fine for older kids but probably not for kids under about 10-12 (varying widely with size and strength of child, obviously!).

I'm investigating the Gossamer Gear Mariposa in small (which will also fit kids--12" to 16" torso--and is on sale) and the packs are due to arrive Wednesday. I will try them on the grandkids (now 6 and 8) the following weekend, and if they don't work I'll send them back. If they do work, they will be put away for next Christmas. This pack is unfortunately a bit larger capacity than the Miniposa mentioned above. The Miniposa is being re-designed and the Mariposa is being discontinued.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97950 - 06/16/08 07:20 AM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: OregonMouse]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“looked seriously at the MLD Kids' Prophet …all the weight will be on the kid's shoulders.”

Hmm? Not what I see. It appears to be all on the hips with the shoulder straps used as balance. I’ve used these type of backpacks before (using sleeping pad as frame and no padding in hipbelt) and I was surprised how the hips didn’t hurt. That’s the style my youngest daughter used for 3 years (with 8 lbs total load weight).

The small Mariposa also looks like a good idea. I have more comfortable results taking the carbon stays out and just using the sit pad as a frame.
http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/2007_Mariposa-Plus.html

-Barry

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#97951 - 06/17/08 10:41 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: BarryP]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
What I posted about the MLD Kids' Prophet was the general consensus of responses to my queries on this and other forums, which confirmed what I thought. I got two responses saying there was little or no weight transference to the hipbelt. That's why I ordered the GG Mariposas. The problems my grandkids have had with pain from shoulder strap pressure have been with total pack weight of only 4.5 lbs., which is why I was so dubious about the Prophet.

The Mariposas will arrive tomorrow but I won't be able to try them on the grandkids until early next week. I will report here late next week whether or not they work.

If the Mariposas don't work out, I'll definitely take another look at the Kids' Prophet (I will order and see how they work) and report back (probably not until closer to Christmas, though). Thank you, BarryP, for your input--it's the first positive response I've had about this pack! You appear to be the first respondent who has actually used a frameless pack on your kids!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97952 - 06/18/08 06:56 AM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: OregonMouse]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Ford used a frame less pack when he was 5-6 for a tiny bit. Just didn't like how it rode on him <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#97953 - 06/19/08 03:48 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: sarbar]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Followup on the Gossamer Gear Mariposa--the packs have arrived and they look just like what I've been wanting--a lightweight pack (18 oz.) with plenty of support structure. Thanks to the laced compression cords (not just straps), they can be snugged down to fit a smaller load quite easily. They appear to be just the right size for my two older grandkids (the 6-year-old is as big as her 8-year old brother and actually a stronger athlete, so everything is basically interchangeable). However, I need to take them up to Seattle and try them on the kids with a load, which will happen next week. I'll report back!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/19/08 03:50 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97954 - 07/12/08 08:09 AM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: OregonMouse]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Update: The Gossamer Gear Mariposa packs are just slightly too large for my 6 and 8-year-old grandkids who are the same size. The main problem is the hipbelt. I will be looking for some cushioning to fit inside the hipbelt to make the inside circumference about 1/4 " shorter (it's that close to being OK). Otherwise the packs work just fine! The "small" size Mariposa needs to have the removable foam pads for the hip and shoulder belt trimmed to fit (there's the option of using spare socks, but I'd rather not). I also plan to use extra lacing so there will be compression on both the sides and the back. The new packs will be put together and presented to the kids at Christmas. I haven't checked to see if this pack is still on special or if the small size has sold out. GG is phasing out the Mariposa and will be using only a remodeled Miniposa come fall. The Miniposa is a smaller capacity pack so the "small" might be more suitable for youngsters. The sitpad/carbon fiber stay suspension provides plenty of weight transfer to the hipbelt. This appears to be more important than load lifters in keeping the pressure off the kids' shoulders. I had each of the kids carry 8 lbs. for 30 minutes and they were comfortable--even without the foam pads in hipbelt and shoulder straps!

I tried on one of the Mariposa packs and it felt great, although the "small" is just a little too small for me, even though my torso length is 15".

"JP," age 8, carried total pack weight of 10 lbs. in his "butchered" (to remove about 1/2 lb. of gewgaws) REI Comet on a 4-mile (one way) backpack earlier this week. He had no complaints and was really proud of carrying more weight than his "little" sister!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97955 - 07/16/08 02:04 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: OregonMouse]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“about 1/4 " shorter (it's that close to being OK).”

So close! Can you use 3/8” cut foam pad instead of the ¼” in the hip sleeves? However, I don’t know if this will shrink the inner circumference.

-Barry

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#97956 - 07/16/08 10:26 PM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: BarryP]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
That's just what I was going to try! It may be that just having the regular pads in is enough, because I was trying the pack on with no pads in the hipbelt. For the "small" size the pads provided have to be cut down considerably to fit, and I didn't want to cut anything until the kids had tried the packs with a load and I was sure the packs were keepers. Anyway, I'm keeping the packs for Christmas presents, and the kids will have them for next year.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97957 - 09/09/08 07:27 AM Re: Sizing question [Re: OregonMouse]
tress29 Offline
member

Registered: 01/09/02
Posts: 110
Loc: Indiana
How tall is your 8-yo grandson? My twins are 9.5, but are 4'2" and 4'4" tall. BJ has a longer torso than Terry for sure. Guess I should measure them, huh?

Another suggestion was a women's Go-Lite Jam, but the torso length is for 15-17.5"...
_________________________
Theresa in Indy

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#118318 - 07/14/09 11:12 AM Re: Sizing question [Re: tress29]
Milkyway Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/20/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Illinois, USA
We took our twin sons backpacking in Yellowstone when they were 5 years old. They carried Kelty junior tioga framepacks with just a sleeping bag and a change of undies. They weren't very comfortable and it took considerable cajoling, bribery, and competition to get them through it. This year we're taking our 9 year old daughter to Glacier. We tried the REI pack at the store but it just didn't seem to fit well. I finally ended up going with the Osprey Jib, which she loves. It's just a lot more comfortable for her body, due to the excellent suspension system. Again, she'll just carry her synthetic bag, her rain gear, and a few clothes. The weight is not important to me at this point. If she has a comfortable pack and actually enjoys the experience of hiking with it through some beautiful wilderness, I will be very happy, and the groundwork for future trips will be laid. Her twin 16-year old brothers can carry a little extra for her in their Kelty Yukon external framepacks. Meanwhile, old dad here has traded in his Kelty Super Tioga for a Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian and is soooo glad about it.

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#118497 - 07/19/09 11:52 PM Re: Sizing question [Re: Milkyway]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
My 11 year old son has the comet as it was the only available internal frame pack that would fit him 6 years ago. My 9 year old daughter now has the Jib and loves it. Although it is heavier, it is a much more comfortable pack and fits a wider range of kids.
_________________________
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#118680 - 07/23/09 10:50 PM ! [Re: thecook]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
OK, forget the GG Mariposa idea. My grandson (9) carried the Mariposa and his sister (7) carried the butchered (by me) REI Comet (no relation whatsoever to the Six Moon Designs Comet) into Shi-Shi Beach at the extreme NW corner of WA. Thanks partly to the heavier pack, Sissy carried almost 2 lbs. more than JP, but was far, far more comfortable. Their dad and I are going to look for an Osprey or Deuter pack for JP. We might butcher that pack too, or at least remove the lid, to cut the weight a little. But it's very obvious that a well-fitted frame and, above all, load lifters to keep the shoulder straps from pressing down on the shoulders make all the difference in comfort for a young child!!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#118964 - 08/02/09 11:48 AM Re: ! [Re: OregonMouse]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
I finally decided to go ahead and buy a Comet, and am in the process of butchering it as well to reduce the weight. Of all the packs my son tried, it seems to fit the best. We'll try it out over the Labor Day weekend; I'll post a report on how well it works when we get back.
_________________________
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

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#118976 - 08/02/09 06:35 PM Re: ! [Re: Haiwee]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Re "butchering" a pack to make it lighter. Here's a response I got from "Tonto" over on Practical Backpacking (the site I keep saying I'm going to quit, and then some good stuff finally comes along):

Quote:
Don't look at trimming what should have been left off at the factory as butchery. Consider it selective alteration--an art form like fine tailoring. After all, butchers a.k.a meat cutters are no longer considered degraded prolls but are now professional tech workers who do their art in meat (no doubt there is a less offensive PC term).

Maybe pack trimming could be defined as: backpacks upscaled through creative high end remodeling. We could refer to these techies by the acronym butcher.

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#139589 - 09/30/10 09:53 AM Re: Any Opinions On the REI Comet Pack? [Re: Haiwee]
sbonder Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/25/10
Posts: 13
my 7 year old carries this pack. kind of heavy and over done for him, i think. overall, not bad, just too much. also, for some reason the hydration pocket (which he insists on using) is on the side. this weighs his back down on the right side rather than in the center. strange.

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