I am a college student with a growing interest in the outdoors - mostly bushcraft and hyperlight travel - but no experience. I am going abroad to do a homestay in a village and some light trail work this month and my parents got me a beautiful backpack, an Osprey Talon 44, which I will have no use for - a school pack would do just as well (and not mark me as a target in the city, but oh well).
I've got to bring it anyway, of course, but after this trip, I want to start giving this great pack the use it deserves. I go to school in Northeast Ohio and there are some beautiful places to take a weekend or week-long trip. But I don't know the first thing about hiking. How many days of travel is my pack suited for, and is it possible to take a trip that long without buying anything else? (I can borrow a tent, sleeping bag and other beginner essentials from my school's outing club.) Or is this backpack such a silly thing to own that I should just return it and risk hurting my parents' feelings?
Relatedly, about the aforementioned essentials - I am more interested in tarp-camping than tent-camping, and have slept out happily sans sleeping bag in piles of brush. I think it would be more prudent to start more conventionally, however. Did any of you dive into lighter travel without initially lugging along tents and such? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it?
It's a good pack - especially if you're into lightweight hiking. Do you have previous backpacking experience? Knowing that will help us give you relevant advice. (I'm from southwest Ohio, and work frequently in northeast Ohio.)
I had been using the almost-4-pound Osprey Kestrel 48 for my 19 - 20 pound weekend loads. I've flushed out all the weight I want to from my other gear; the last piece of gear I'll be experimenting with is the pack. My first choice is to try a Talon 44, which will put my load in the 18 - 19 pound range, depending on the specific trip. I've taken it, loaded, around the block a few times, and so far, so good. I'm hoping to give it a weekend trial later this month.
I'd definitely keep the pack. It will definitely force you along the ultralight curve as you pick the rest of your gear, but it sounds like you're headed that way anyhow. Usually, the recommendation is other gear first, pack last - but it sounds like the pack will fit into your plans pretty well. (If you're truly into "hyperlight" backpacking, it will make a good starter pack, though you'll eventually go with something frameless and probably smaller.)
Since you haven't used it yet, no idea if it as great as you think it is by my definition. I thought Osprey packs would be great for me, I can't wear the lighter packs of that brand at all because even a light load in an Osprey makes my back hurt.
I'd pack it and go for dayhikes for a while. See how it works out. If you weren't measured for size it may be inaccurately sized, that shows up fairly quickly in discomfort or just not being able to get the weight where you want it (on the hips, mostly).
I use a 40 liter pack for many of my 3 season trips, and depending on what I need to take for food storage could probably do a week with it. What will change for longer trips is the amount of food you take and if you need a bear canister, the size of the canister. If your gear is minimal you'll easily find there's space in the pack for all but the largest bear canister.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
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