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#185890 - 06/23/14 11:23 AM Potential Bags
thekeyboardk Offline

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 6
Hey new backpacker here

I've been looking at potential bags. I want something for overnight, multiday, and even extended trips

I think I will use lightweight, but not ultralight gear. I'm thinking a 12 lb base weight for summer, 15 for spring and fall, and 18 for winter.

I have narrowed the company down to Osprey, because they seem to have very comfy, but reasonably priced stuff. Here are the bags:

Osprey Talon 44: fully featured, breathable, carry capacity 25-30 lb, weighs 2 lb 6 ounces

Osprey Hornet 46: Barebones, not breathable, carry capacity 20 lb, weighs 1 lb 10 ounces

Osprey Exos 48: some features, breathable, carry capacity 20 lb, weighs 2 lb 8 ounces

Osprey Atmos 50: Fully featured, breathable, carry capacity 30-35 lb, weighs 3 lb 2 ounces

Osprey Exos 58: some features, breathable, carry capacity 20-25lb, weighs 2 lb 10 ounces

Osprey Atmos 65: Fully featured, breathable, carry capacity 40-50 lb, weighs 3 lb 9 ounces

Which bag do you think could handle 4 seasons, all trip lengths, bear canisters, and luxuries like books and camera gear the best? I don't really want to buy multiple bags for different uses, because bags are expensive!


#185899 - 06/23/14 03:21 PM Re: Potential Bags [Re: thekeyboardk]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
FYI, most of us use the term "bag" to refer to sleeping bags, not backpacks. Just so you know... smile

Do you have the rest of your gear? From the sounds ("I think I will use lightweight gear"), I suspect you haven't. If not, please wait until you have verything else (or at least the major portion in weight and bulk) before buying the backpack! There is no way you can accurately estimate the weight and bulk of things you don't yet have! Box up your gear, add the equivalent in weight and bulk of a week's food and a day's water, and take it to the store with you when you're ready to purchase a pack. If you don't have a bear canister, you hopefully can borrow one in the store. Make an apppointment for a pack fitting and go at a time when the store isn't crowded.

There is lots of information about gear selection, including packs, the home page of this site, particularly the articles listed in the left hand column.

The most important features of a pack are fit, fit and fit. The pack must fit your body (pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit), must fit your gear and fit you with your gear packed inside.

Not knowing anything about your gear, there is no way I could recommend a pack size. Do note that those "maximum recommended weights" are often fiction made up by the manufacturers' marketing departments. They also depend to a great extent on the individual. That's why you need to try the pack, with your gear loaded inside, to be sure the pack will do its job.

One of the most significant gear items that affects the pack size you need is your sleeping bag. I have a Western Mountaineering 20* F bag of high quality down that compresses to soccer ball size (it actually can get to softball size, but I prefer not to). If your budget doesn't run to a $450 sleeping bag, though, you'll either be getting a lower quality down (such as the Kelty Cosmic Down, a lot bulkier than mine because it requires more down to achieve its temp rating, or a synthetic fill bag which will be many times the volume of mine.

Whether a "one size fits all" pack will even work depends a lot on where you will be backpacking when. If you're going out in midwinter where it's -20*F,--any pack that will hold the gear needed for those conditions just won't work for summer--your gear will rattle around inside and will not be at all comfortable to carry. You will also need a separate set of gear for winter, so a separate pack will be the least of your problems. If you live in a milder climate, such as the Pacific NW, for winter you'll still need a tent that can withstand significant snow loads (a couple of feet falling in a night), which you won't need the rest of the year.

Edited by OregonMouse (06/23/14 03:22 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#185908 - 06/23/14 11:33 PM Re: Potential Bags [Re: OregonMouse]
thekeyboardk Offline

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 6
Thank you for the extensive and thorough comment. It was highly informative.

What about this: what bag would be the best for 3 seasons? Though I do not have my gear yet, hear is a list of what I am thinking about using:


Tarptent Contrail- 27 oz

total- 1 lb, 11 oz

Sleep System:

Marmot Meteor Down Sleeping Bag (15 degrees F, 22 oz 700 fill down)- 39 oz

Thermarest NeoAir Xlite- 12 oz

Thermarest Small Down Pillow- 3 oz

Total- 41 oz; 2 lb, 12 oz

Cook Kit

Snow Peak Giga Power Manual Stove- 3.25 oz
Toaks 800 ml titanium pot- 4 oz
Toaks titanium spoon- .6 oz
Mini bic lighter- .25 oz

Total- 8.5 oz


Sawyer Squeeze, bags and syringe- 3 oz
Smart water bottle (x2)- 1 oz
Evernew 2L hydration bladder- 1.5 oz
Evernew hydration bladder hose- 3.5 oz

Total- 9 oz


30 ft 750 lb paracord- 2 oz
Duct tape rolled around hotel card- 2 oz
Victorinox Hiker Knife- 2.5 oz
Suunto M3-G- 1.5 oz
Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp- 3 oz
Mini bic- .25 oz
Storm proof matches- 1.7 oz
Magnesium fire starter- .6 oz
Cotton balls- .5 oz

Total- 12 oz

Hygiene and First aid

Dr. Brauner's Soap- 2 oz
Hand Sanitizer- 1 oz
Sea to Summit Pocket Trowel- 3.5 oz
Small Pack Towel- .8 oz
Toilet Paper- 1.5 oz
Tooth brush and paste- 3 oz
First Aid Kit- 4 oz

Total- 1 lb

Spare Cloths

Marmot Mica Jacket- 7 oz
Marmot Essence Pant- 5 oz
Arctyrex Cerium Jacket- 8 oz
Arcyrex Delta LT Zipneck- 8 oz
Patagonia Capiline 2 T shirt- 4 oz
Patagonia Capiline 2 bottoms- 5 oz
Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion- (2 oz? I'm not sure of the weight)

Total- 31 oz; 1 lb, 15 oz

Compression and Stuff Sacks- 9 oz (estimate)

Kindle, Phone, Books, ect- 1 lb

Total Base Weight Without Pack- 8 lb

Now that I've crunched the numbers, the gear I am looking at is actually pretty light. Any way, which pack would be good for this gear?

#185920 - 06/24/14 01:54 PM Re: Potential Bags [Re: thekeyboardk]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Please reread the second paragraph of my post above. By trying to purchase the backpack first, you are putting the cart before the horse! Get the rest of your gear, at least the bulkier/heavier items, before even thinking about a backpack. You need the gear lthat goes inside before you can properly fit the backpack.

Your preliminary gear list looks good!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#185923 - 06/24/14 03:23 PM Re: Potential Bags [Re: OregonMouse]
AdventureMyk Offline

Registered: 06/16/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Knoxville, TN
As with Oregon, the size of the items (not just the weight) dictates the size of the bag. You can have very light yet still bulky items or you can have bulky but compact items. It varies. A simple weight chart is great (and normally not that realistic) but will only give you a guide.

Let's figure another angle: Each brand of bag AND type of bag within a given brand fit differently with similar weights. Say you put 30lbs in BigBag's Megabag and it felt like you had air, but that same 30lbs in BigBags Semi-MegaBag could feel like you just tried to carry a steam roller up the side of a mountain. The weight is the same, the volume is the same, but the bag will feel different.

If you can possibly do so, get the gear first.

#185928 - 06/25/14 08:01 AM Re: Potential Bags [Re: AdventureMyk]
thekeyboardk Offline

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 6
All right. I guess I will order all the stuff on my list, drag it to EMS, and see which bag fits it best! Thanks for the advice, and looking over my gear list

#185942 - 06/25/14 06:28 PM Re: Potential Bags [Re: AdventureMyk]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2017
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I'll be a small, and very timid, contradictory opinion here. Since it sounds like you've already committed to carrying a minimal amount of light, compact gear, you could buy a modest capacity pack (say, 40 - 50 liters) with a minimal suspension (I'd suggest the Osprey Talon 44 or Kestrel 48, depending on how light a suspension you're comfortable with.) This will help you visualize how much available space you have, and may drive certain other gear selections, such as down v. synthetic sleeping bags or jackets, and may be a deciding factor against buying those "oooh - shiny" things that are easy to justify in the store: you'll decide against that folding aluminum table and chair because, well, they won't fit.

Now, this isn't a recommendation I'd make to most beginners. I only suggest that it might be OK because you seem to already have made some fundamental decisions about what your gear load will look like.

And I'm only about 2/3 sure I really want to make it to you. But, it's out there, for whatever it's worth. Leave out the books and other luxuries, and I'm a bit more comfortable. But, if a big part of what you'll do is haul stuff in so you can entertain yourself in camp, then all bets are off, and I'd agree with everyone else that you need to get everything else first.


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