Backpack replacement

Posted by: Jim M

Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 08:48 PM

I have several backpacks, but all seem too heavy or to small. I would like to purchase a backpack of roughly 50L that weighs considerably less than my REI flash 50 (45 ounces or 2 pound 13 ounces.) If I could keep it under a kilo (2 pounds 3 ounces) that would be wonderful.
Price is somewhat a factor. Thanks for any help. I got tired of looking at packs that didn't meet my needs on line...By the bye, I would use it for winter day trips and summer overnights, just like I do my flash 50.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 09:03 PM

Check the Granite Gear Crown VC 60 - bigger than you were looking for, but meets all the other criteria. Only catch is that you have to pack fairly lightweight (total load less than 30 pounds, and 25 is better.)
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 09:10 PM

I would not get too hung up on a weight savings of 10oz. Getting the best fitting pack that carries the weight you plan on is more important. Personally the REI flash series packs did not fit me well or carry all my stuff very well, whereas the GoLite packs fit me better. Unfortunately my Golite Quest hit the dust and GoLite is no longer in business.

I too am looking for a new pack and so far, have not found one. Getting a pack that fits the bear can is a problem in the smaller sizes I need. I am now limping along on a very unsatisfactory Mountain Hardware pack that is light and OK for weekend trips but does not work well for longer (9-10 day) trips where I need the bear can. I am back to using my 1968 Kelty frame and a homemade pack bag (made out of old stuff sacks!).

I have found that the only way I can buy a pack is to try it on, then bring it home and pack it with my stuff - and return it if it does not work. Very tedious process.
Posted by: Jim M

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 09:38 PM

Very interesting comment. I seem to be the opposite. I have probably used a dozen different packs and they all seemed comfortable (other than the sheer weight) on my back, shoulders and hips. I have a Golite Race, but it is about worn out after 5 or more years of use.
The REI Flash does fine. I seem to have to adjust the straps often or it sits a bit crooked on my back. But it too is getting old and the design and arrangement doesn't seem convenient to me. Thanks for your comments!
Posted by: Jim M

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 09:56 PM

Wow. I looked up the granite gear crown vc 60 and I have to say it meets my needs. I don't carry over 35 pounds ever, but in winter with bulky clothing and snowshoes I think the size of this pack might be helpful. Thanks so much. At about $200 the price isn't bad either.. Just what i was looking for and couldn't find. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!!!
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/08/15 10:56 PM

Glad I could help.

You might also be interested in the Air Beam suspension that replaces the standard framesheet. It knocks four ounces off the weight of the pack, and (since it's inflatable) lets you use the pack under your lower legs as a sleeping pad extender - letting you use a 48" pad instead of a 72, which could save another 3-6 ounces. Of course, it works best with 1" pads (no NeoAir or cushy pad here), and it has a very low r-value, but it works. Having said that, I got one and tried it, but doubt that I'll keep it. It works OK, but you do have to add air every couple of days to keep it stiff, and if it would ever puncture... in short, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

However, if you get the Crown VC in a size Long, and want to play around with an AirBeam, let me know and I'll send it to you. Might even toss in the 1" thick Prolite mattress I got to go with it...
Posted by: JPete

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/09/15 10:47 AM

Jim M,

Look at Mtn Laurel Designs. Harness fits me like a dream. For the first time, I had mine well over the rated weight last week, and it still carried very well. I think it's rated for about 25 lbs and I had 35. Mine is custom and I think Ron Bell (mtn laurel) can probably make whatever you need in the one to one and a half pound range at a very reasonable price. Mine weighs just less than a pound and is about 40 litres. It's a slightly reduced version of a pack that I think is about 50.

best, jcp
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/09/15 11:23 AM

Pack fit, like shoe fit, is so individual that I hate to recommend one that suits me to anyone else.

For what it's worth, the three packs that are at the top of my list to try should my present pack (10 years old) decide to bite the dust are the ULA-Equipment Ohm and (maybe) Circuit, and the Elemental Horizons Kalais. Both provide excellent customer service and offer some customization, and their packs appear to meet my special needs (short torso, excellent weight transfer to hip belt, load lifters that effectively take all the weight off my extremely pressure-sensitive shoulders.

For those who regularly carry bear canisters, the ULA Catalyst or Elemental Horizons Aquilo might be a better choice. Both of these are larger capacity. For me, they're larger and heavier than what I need, but both will allow carrying a bear canister sideways. I have never had any luck with standard brand packs sold in stores--too heavy or don't fit or (usually) both.

Be sure to have your gear (including the equivalent in bulk and weight of a week's food and a day's water) ready before ordering a pack. When it arrives, load it up (without removing tags) and take a couple hours' hike around the house (boring, but essential to determine if the pack fits you with your gear inside). You may have to pay return shipping on several packs before you find the one you want. Some time on the phone with the firms mentioned above, both before ordering and when adjusting and trying on, will definitely improve your chances of getting what you want.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/09/15 04:25 PM

Thanks, Mouse - I think we get so used to answering "what pack?" questions that we sometimes forget to mention that fit is everything and that you should take your gear to the store to try them on. (We carry gear on the trail, not sand bags and air pillows.) I know I certainly forgot this time.

So, whether it's ULA, Granite Gear, REI, Mountain Laurel or some other brand - get the one that fits!
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/09/15 04:39 PM

Have used the Crown 60+Klymit suspension combo and have to say, it carries like a dream. Just don't overload the weight, lest it sag. Note well the back length isn't adjustable, so picking the right bag size is critical. Belt size can be swapped.

Posted by: ajreynolds

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/11/15 10:17 PM

Six Moon Designs has their "previous version" packs on sale for a huge discount right now with free shipping, and their new version just came out as well. The Fusion 65 fits a bear canister, I can't say if the 50 does.
Posted by: MountainMinstrel

Re: Backpack replacement - 09/20/15 07:48 PM

I just got a Zpacsk Ark Haul. 24 oz and capable of carrying 40 lbs. Have tested it at about 27 lbs and I forgot I had a pack on. I see no problem with taking this to 35 lbs. and beyond. the weight transfer to the hip belt is awesome and the hipbelt has upper and lower adjustment straps so the pack stays in place without having to be overly tightened.

Of course YMMV but they do offer a 30 return. They certainly aren't cheap but you get what you pay for...
Posted by: sonicboom

Re: Backpack replacement - 07/24/16 06:51 AM

There's a good list here for anyone that is looking. I just bought the Osprey Farpoint 55 and I'm really happy with it.
Posted by: EMT Dave

Re: Backpack replacement - 11/24/16 03:09 PM

I have three main packs, A huge Lowe Alpine which is too big for much at 90 liters. I got it very cheaply new on eBay. I think the model was getting fazed out A Kelty IF (model unknown) around 50 liters, with the best suspension system I have ever seen. Got it cheaply on eBay when the model was discontinued. I also have a high end German pack (brand unknown, I have never seen another) around 60 liters. Got it for $3.50 at Goodwill. It has a great suspension system about as good as the Kelty. None have external pockets which I like. I mostly use the German pack for fitness; I fill it with water bottles and do walks around town to get fit.
The huge Lowe would get used more if it had a better way of compressing the bag for smaller loads, but I suppose Lowe figured at 90 liters you would want to fill it. Maybe I can add some more compression straps; I have altered the originals to make it easier to draw them tightly.