OregonMouse: Advice, like packs and shoes, is not one-size-fits-all… it can and should be rejected if it doesn’t work for you. I’ve happily accepted your advice regarding the Ohm/Circuit (I’ve got my eye on both) and a 2-pack solution (which I’d rather avoid). I’ve also taken Bluefish’s comments about the Atmos to heart.
WanderingDaisy’s post is perfectly spot-on for choosing a pack under typical circumstances (and amusingly written, to boot) but her recommendations just don’t work for my particular situation. It’s nothing personal. You make it sound as if I reject advice recklessly; that’s far from the case. Let me explain why a specific weight/volume measurement is not particularly useful for me:
Our shelter for two is 8 lbs but only ~3 lbs when I go solo w/ tarptent and/or hammock. The bigger shelter can be split in many ways so the weight and volume can fluctuate dramatically (2-6 lbs per person). Some trips may involve an even bigger group tent for multiple people.
Our cook system varies between a DIY wood stove, fuel experiments with a pot stand + windscreen, or just a campfire (LNT). Food varies between dry+dense and ambitious+large. I may not take anything when rolling solo… but I might.
Some trips are centered around hiking, others focus more on camping, others are extended music festivals and the like, sometimes we take our packs on a ‘civilized’ vacations and wind up in the wilderness anyway
I may travel solo, with my GF, or with a group of 4 or so. These trips all call for wildly different gear. I plan to do winter backpacking in the future but I don’t have the gear for that yet. When I do, I’d like to stuff it all in the same pack. And maybe I’ll take up rock climbing or peak-bagging next year, who knows? Guess what pack I'll be using then?
And so on.
For pure backpacking purposes, my base weight is 13 lbs without the pack (and consumables) and the gear fits easily fits into smaller packs but that’s not the point:
the pack should be versatile, able to handle a variety of circumstances, pre-planned or unexpected. That’s why this thread is titled One Pack to Rule Them All. WanderingDaisy’s advice, while excellent in its own right, goes against the type of discussion that I’m trying to have. Your reply (about what you’d buy under fictitious circumstances) was perfect and greatly appreciated.
I’m starting to see what Glenn Roberts was talking about