Torn between 60 and 70L pack...

Posted by: Greg C.

Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/05/12 10:20 AM

Hey guys... through REI dividend and sale, I got a screaming deal on the Aether 70. As I packed it for a prospective 4 day trip, where I won't be carrying a tent, I am barely packing 2/3rds.

Compression straps work great, and longer trips may warrant more space (tent, extra clothes, etc), I am wondering if exchanging for the 60L might be a better play.

I don't see myself ever doing a backpacking trip alone (gear split for lighter packs). The weight is negligible. I realize its always easier to cinch compression straps than add more space, but I am wondering if it would be more comfortable pack if I am only running with 40L of gear.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/05/12 11:52 PM

my wife and I hike together, and we go our for 8 days at a time with our 55L packs. Not sure what we would do with a 70L pack...
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/06/12 03:49 PM

This is why most of us recommend buying the rest of your gear, boxing it up and taking it to the store when shopping for a pack. If you're ordering a pack online, you can take a box, pack in your gear plus the equivalent in bulk of a week's food, level off the top as much as you can and multiply length x width x height to get the approximate cubic inches. (For liters, divide cubic inches by 60 which is close enough. Most listed pack capacity is not 100% accurate.)

Since you bought the pack at REI, you can easily return it. Do, however, follow the recommendations listed above when shopping for a replacement.

You might want to allow for the possibilities of going solo and/or going out in colder weather with more insulation, when calculating needed pack volume.

My pack for solo trips is 40 liters plus the outside pockets (which contain tent, snacks and water). Even for a 10-day trip I don't fill it up all the way.
Posted by: JPete

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/06/12 05:53 PM


I mentioned the other day that I thru-hiked the AT with a 35 liter pack. Obviously I wasn't carrying a big tent, and usually carried only about five or six days of food, but I never ran out of space, even at the ends when I was carrying a bit of extra clothing. I have even had extra gear for a two person trip with no problem.

best, jcp
Posted by: Greg C.

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/06/12 08:53 PM

Thanks guys...

Oregon, I am fortunate enough to live around the corner from an REI. I asked them if it was okay if I brought my 70L in and pack the 60L, and decide on a return and they were cool with it... so that is exactly what I'll do!

A quick follow-up if any of you read this... how do you pack your food? Just put it in a dry/stuff sack?

Posted by: lori

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/06/12 11:22 PM

That's a huge pack! I could take an ice chest and inflatable raft!

Food storage depends on where you go. I often go where there are bear canister requirements. Sometimes I can hang the food to keep the smaller creatures out of it. In locations like the Grand Canyon, you might need a stainless steel mesh bag. It pays to research what kinds of animals there are where you plan to go, and find out if there are rules on how to store food.
Posted by: Greg C.

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/07/12 05:40 PM

Well I went to REI today and packed the 60L with everything I have minus a couple items. I'd never imagine hiking backcountry alone, so splitting a few items with a friend here and there, I think the 60L was a much better call.

Thanks for the input!
Posted by: Gershon

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/08/12 07:48 AM

Did you weigh the pack with everything in it?

You can get a pretty good fish scale at WalMart for $20. A bathroom scale can be very inaccurate.
Posted by: Lee Burns

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/08/12 11:19 AM

Get the 70!!! Nothing wrong with a few more packable spaces.
Posted by: Greg C.

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/08/12 11:20 AM

No I haven't, but with lightweight and split gear with my buddy, I am guessing my pack is going to come in at 25-27lbs.

I was actually thinking of going that fishing scale route for the pack. I fish too, casually, but it would be worth purchasing I think...

Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/08/12 10:24 PM

what are the differences between the two packs? Is the smaller one significantly lighter? Will you use the pack for winter camping or ever carry someone elses gear?

Don't buy a smaller pack just because its smaller. You need the one that fits the best and can carry your gear. A good pack has straps to compress it. My pack is 6500 cubic inches.
Jim cool
Posted by: Greg C.

Re: Torn between 60 and 70L pack... - 05/10/12 03:18 PM

Thanks Jim.

I swapped the pack out. It's actually a 63L pack. It kept all my gear (cooking + tent, which I'm not likely to ever carry both) while still allowing for compression. Despite an almost equal weight characteristic, it did feel more comfortable and less bulky than the insanely cinched 70L