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View Full Version : Which packs do you like?



NukeOneKitty
2007-10-25, 15:55
I am new to world of hiking. My girlfriend and I have a trip planned for next spring and I need to start getting some gear together. I want to find a pack for under $200 bucks (a lot under if possible). I am not going to be doing much more than weekend trips maybe 3 day weekends and short things like that. I have been looking at The North Face Terra 60 and the Kelty Tornado 4900. Are these any good for what I am going to be doing? What would you recommend? Sorry if I am overly newbie...

SGT Rock
2007-10-25, 16:29
Naw, welcome to the HQ. I'm not familiar with either of those packs personally. I reccomend you get everything else first then find the right pack. Since you are just getting started I reccomend you check out this article before you go spend a bunch of money: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=206678#post206678
It should help you get started without buying the farm.

Sparrow
2007-10-25, 16:33
What would you recommend?

This might sound strange, but your pack is the last piece of gear you should buy. First concentrate on your other gear, especially the big 3 (shelter, bag/quilt, pad). Depending on the different options you choose for each of those, it can radically affect what your pack needs are. Once you know what you're going to pack, then you can make a wise decision on what to pack it in and how.

Turk
2007-10-25, 17:55
I am not disagreeing with Sparrow at all. I personally believe in the same.
However ... I have read that many very experienced people Do recommend
buying a pack first on the basis that if you buy a pack of moderate to high
volume, in a mid-weight range it will force you to pay close attention to
all the other gear you buy both in physical size and weight

This philosophy has saved several people I have heard of from making the
classic beginner mistakes.
ie:
- buying a complete set of heavy, well made, name brand gear
- buying gadgets, gizmos, and single function items
- ultimately realizing a few years down the road that they want to
replace almost all of it to save weight and volume, but spent a fortune
the first time around.

Unfortunately I was that guy too. Luckily gently used heavy gear
still sells well on Ebay :biggrin: I won't cry over any of it. And what
you don't sell, becomes 'loaner' gear for enthusiastic friends without
equipment.

Based on that reasonsing I am going to highly recommend 2 packs.
The Golite Gust, and the Golite Jam pack.
Here is why.
The Gust pack is very well constructed and extremely light for its volume.
It sells regularly on Ebay for about 60 USD. Pretty hard to go wrong.
Even with pack loads of 40lbs I still find it comfortable. The gust has been
discontinued in 2007, so it will soon become harder to find. The replacement
to this pack is the Pinnacle. I don't know anything about the Pinnacle so
I can't comment.

The Golite Jam is also an awesome pack. It is my personal fav. While
considerably smaller than the Gust, I find it incredibly comfortable and
still very very light. Also discontinued in 07. It has been replaced by the
Jam2.

If you can make a real commitment now to reducing your weight and
volume, then the Jam pack is an excellent choice. However if you need
to take gradual steps to reducing what you will carry, or plan to use
large and bulky items... the Gust pack is safer in that it is so much larger.


Just some thoughts. Welcome to the club.


Cheers.

oops56
2007-10-25, 18:41
Well when i was a small little kid a pollow case and some rope made a good knapsack.:albertein

SGT Rock
2007-10-25, 19:58
I can sort of agree with what Turk said but with a beware statement. I've seen a few people that have decided that they will get Pack X because they like the weight and price, then shoehorn all their gear into it and strapped to the outside - but completly going over the rating for the pack in what it can comfortably handle and what it can hold up to. So if you go that stratgy, don't say "It's only 5 pounds over"

Nightwalker
2007-10-25, 20:03
You can, actually, buy a pack early on in the process.

Decide what weight you want to carry, and then look from there. I really messed up by buying a pack back in the 90s because it was marked WAY down. It was a JanSport Rockies II, all 110 liters of it! I put everything in there, and it about killed me. Needless to say, my next pack was much, much smaller.

I went to an Osprey Aether 60 somewhere down the line, and carried it enough wear it out over the next few years. I'm gonna send it back to get it rebuilt, and will probably wear it out again. I also have an Aether 70 for Winter hiking with my dog, and am about to get a Osprey Mariposa 50 for 3-season with the dog. My other pack that gets a lot of use is a Gregory G pack that I use for Summer hikes with the dog. She won't carry her own pack, and I'd rather have her around than not.

So yeah, you can buy a pack first, just make sure that you know what you want it for. And you can't go wrong with an Osprey! There are other good brands out there, but you'll hear very few folks that have used an Osprey decide later that it's a sucky brand.

Just make sure that you find a good outfitter that doesn't try to sell you things; they should be more into customer service.

NukeOneKitty
2007-10-25, 22:54
Thanks a lot guys. I will most likely do some more research before I buy a pack. I want to try and be as light as possibly, but not spend an arm and a leg. I already have the tent so I need to find a nice bag first.

NukeOneKitty
2007-10-25, 23:01
Also, if anyone would want to take the time to help me get a foundation of gear to look at please feel free to PM me. I would really appreciate any help.

SGT Rock
2007-10-25, 23:35
Here you go...

Part 1: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=132311#post132311

Part 2: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=132370#post132370

Part 3: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=197423#post197423

Part 4: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=197845#post197845

Part 5: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=198663#post198663

NukeOneKitty
2007-10-26, 01:00
Thanks a lot!

MrSparex
2007-10-26, 18:18
If possible get an expert to measure your torso. Many shops can tell you what size torso you have.
very important to get it right. I personally like the Vapor Trail which is only 2 pounds. I'd suggest trying to buy a slightly used pack on Ebay. There is no perfect answer until you can balance price, personal fit and how seriously you are going to be involved in hiking. Obviously someone who is simply going a few times a year with a scout group for example will normally have a much simpler pack than someone preparing to hike the Pacific Coast trail! Finding where to draw the line on weight is also difficult. My pack tops out at 30 pounds but I have titanium "stuff". Good luck and don't be a stranger. Lots to learn here and good folks hang out here (mostly). MrSparex

kdholmwood
2007-10-28, 02:20
I know nothing about the North Face Terra 60. North Face customer service, in Britain at least, is atrocious. They took seven months to fix a damaged tent pole for me. After three months, it came back so amateurishly 'fixed' that it would not slot together. About two months later, they sent a new pole, but the wrong size. Persistent protest from my local dealer eventually produced the correct pole. No explanation, no apology from TNF.

Even with the extra tax and shipping costs, I would rather deal with small, but dedicated, American manufacturers - Henry Shires, Anti Gravity Gear, Gossamer Gear, ULA - because they take real pride in their workmanship and their survival depends on customer satisfaction. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus is a fine pack, my latest acquisition. I have a ULA P2, a few years old years but comfortable and very well made. The Moonbow Gearskin adapts to whatever volume of gear you are carrying.
Keith

Amigi
2007-10-28, 08:39
Chicken or the egg, pack early or late...
Both phils make sense, but the situation determines the timing. If you are only going to be doing 2-3 day hikes, get the pack first. I dont hike for much more than that myself so maybe I have a bit of experience here.

3 days = 9 meals = 13.5bs of food. ( For average size human, iceman-sized - add 15 lbs :aetsch: )
shelter = 4 lbs
bag = 2-3 lbs depending on weather
pad = 1 lb
Stove= 1.5 lbs
= 23 lbs. Food and big three.
I dont have enough info to comment about water ( is there resupply, the temp, humidity, etc ).
If you got a pack that could handle 40 lbs, was comfortable for you, and was flexible enough to handle different times of the year and different gear changes, buy it.
But please, dont buy online unless you have ACTUALLY worn the pack. I'm not gonna knock one of some folk's favorite gear-maker, but their packs are about as comfortable as carrying an alligator who ate a porcupine on your back, to me.

My picks balancing my needs vs price:
Ext pack for warmer weather - http://www.rei.com/product/734285
Int short tripper - http://www.rei.com/product/747515

I have not used the internal pack, but have tried it on. It was very comfortable. If I ever go internal, that's the pack I'd buy.

Honorable mention to this one:
http://www.rockymountaintrail.com/detail.aspx?ID=10409
If you dont need to carry a lot of crap, but the essentials, this pack is cheap, fairly comfortable ( depends how you pack it ), and sturdy.

NukeOneKitty
2007-10-29, 22:12
Sorry I have not posted in a while. I had a busy weekend. Thank you for all of your inputs. I am just doing a lot of reading before I go to the outfitter so I know what I want/need.

SGT Rock
2007-10-30, 08:27
Here is what you do - go to a surplus store and get you an old ALICE pack with frame and straps. It will probably cost you about $40. Then get the rest of your gear and experiment with what you eventually plan to carry. In the end, when you can get it all in the ALICE pack and wear it comfortably (put food and water in there too) walk into an outfitter with all that and tell them you want a new pack. Make sure you have an idea of what models you want to try before walking in there. Then you can make sure all your stuff fits in it before you buy - but you also have a servicable pack to use as you get to the point you are ready to buy.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Military-Army-surplus-alice-pack-Straps-Frame-Med_W0QQitemZ190167629054QQihZ009QQcategoryZ36077Q QcmdZViewItem

JAK
2007-10-30, 08:55
My most regretful gear purchase was a backpack that weighs too much. You can always use an overweight shelter or sleeping bag for car camping or backyard camping, but an overweight backpack is pretty much guaranteed a long shelf life. I have used it some, but its a burden, and cost too much also, even though it was on sale. I would recommend thinking twice before buying anything over 2 pounds, and thinking thrice before buying anything over 3 pounds. In my case I should have thought about it 6.5 times.

GuffAbbott
2007-10-30, 09:22
I purchased the Kelty Tornado 4900 pack for my son last Christmas, and he loves it. It is reasonably light with an excellent suspension system, and he can easily fit all of his gear for a 3-4 night backpacking trip inside -- without having to "Jerry-Rig" everything to the outside of his pack.

We purchased it on Campmor for about $150.

Good Luck.

GGS
2007-10-30, 11:43
The Gust pack is very well constructed and extremely light for its volume.
It sells regularly on Ebay for about 60 USD. Pretty hard to go wrong.
Even with pack loads of 40lbs I still find it comfortable. The gust has been
discontinued in 2007, so it will soon become harder to find. The replacement
to this pack is the Pinnacle. I don't know anything about the Pinnacle so
I can't comment.



I can't compare the Gust to the Pinnacle. But I own a Pinnacle and I love it. Weighs around 2lbs, 4400 cu in, simple and comfortable, and seems to have all the qualities that people like about the Gust.

My equipment purchasing experience is similar to Turk's. I first bought a lot of heavy name brand items sold at supermarkets like Meijer and Wal-Mart, only to end up replacing it all in the end to make the pack weight manageable. In some cases like the tent and backpack I went through 3-4 such purchases before finally getting it right.

I wish I would have found this site earlier, I would have saved a lot of money.

Rock! Where have you been all my life, man? :biggrin:

SGT Rock
2007-10-30, 11:57
I've been on the net since 1998.

Take-a-knee
2007-10-30, 14:37
Here is what you do - go to a surplus store and get you an old ALICE pack with frame and straps. It will probably cost you about $40. Then get the rest of your gear and experiment with what you eventually plan to carry. In the end, when you can get it all in the ALICE pack and wear it comfortably (put food and water in there too) walk into an outfitter with all that and tell them you want a new pack. Make sure you have an idea of what models you want to try before walking in there. Then you can make sure all your stuff fits in it before you buy - but you also have a servicable pack to use as you get to the point you are ready to buy.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Military-Army-surplus-alice-pack-Straps-Frame-Med_W0QQitemZ190167629054QQihZ009QQcategoryZ36077Q QcmdZViewItem

Good advice, unless you are way over six foot, an ALICE pack isn't so bad. It would be worth keeping for a "go-to-hell" pack. Something you could keep semi-packed to throw in the back of a truck. Sort of a duffel bag that can be carried semi comfortably. This is especially a consideration if all your packs are of the uber-light, non-durable variety.

It also makes a good ruck for fitness walks, don't bother with the waistbelt, just carry the weight on your traps to strengthen them.

SGT Rock
2007-10-30, 15:29
It also makes a really good and durable pack for trail maintenance.

BigJohn
2007-10-30, 15:41
I can't compare the Gust to the Pinnacle. But I own a Pinnacle and I love it. Weighs around 2lbs, 4400 cu in, simple and comfortable, and seems to have all the qualities that people like about the Gust.

GGS, I've never had a frameless pack before but might consider one given the weight. How do you pack yours? Do you use your sleeping pad to give the pack a frame?

GGS
2007-10-30, 17:11
GGS, I've never had a frameless pack before but might consider one given the weight. How do you pack yours? Do you use your sleeping pad to give the pack a frame?

I tried that. I use one of those blue Wal-Mart foam pads to put in my Hennessy and I tried rolling it into a tube and inserting it into my pack, then putting equipment inside the tube. Yes it stiffened the pack but it also wasted a lot of space as did the equipment inside of it. (Think stacking rigid items inside of a rigid tube, there would be a lot of wasted space)

What I've found, at least for me, is my equipment list fills the pack nicely. The top and side straps can be cinched down for smaller loads. When so stuffed the pack is pretty stiff. I just roll my sleeping pad and put it under the top cinch strap.

If your e-quip list wouldn't fill a 4400 cu in pack then buy one of GoLite's smaller ones.

Of course I could be doing it all wrong. But it carries my gear comfortably enough so I'm plenty happy.

SGT Rock
2007-10-30, 17:15
What I have wanted to try is taking one of those blue pads or an old Army polypad and making a zrest style framesheet for an ALICE pack. The top shoulder pad that goes over the frame is already in place, all it would take is a bottom pocket added.

pure_mahem
2007-10-30, 19:06
I use a medium frameless alice pack for all my hiking and would have difficulty in switching to any different pack. Just don't like the durability of any of those light weight packs. But then I seldom go out for more than 3-4 days unless I am car camping. so my pack stays pretty light any ways. Lately I've jsut been weekenering it so 2 nights and 3 days is the norm. pack usually stays under 30 lbs and I'm a really big guy so it's like carring a sock strapped to my back. JMO

Nightwalker
2007-10-30, 21:15
My most regretful gear purchase was a backpack that weighs too much. You can always use an overweight shelter or sleeping bag for car camping or backyard camping, but an overweight backpack is pretty much guaranteed a long shelf life. I have used it some, but its a burden, and cost too much also, even though it was on sale. I would recommend thinking twice before buying anything over 2 pounds, and thinking thrice before buying anything over 3 pounds. In my case I should have thought about it 6.5 times.

1 pound per 1,000 CI is considered efficient. Anything heavier is overweight, duh, and lighter is, well you get the idea. My next pack will probably be a 50 liter that weighs 3 pounds--3051.1872 cubic inches, or just about right. I'm getting it because it is SO comfortable. Since the Atmos 50 is 1 pound heavier than my modified G pack, it's a good thing that I've totally changed over to trail shoes instead of boots. They're one pound lighter by the pair than my Lowas were, and the Army says that's about 6 pounds off the back (Rock has the address on that study. I've forgotten it.)

Anyway, weight is important, but it's not everything!

:)