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snowsurfin951
2003-06-29, 04:26
I have very limited experience with hiking/backpacking (none). I have done numerous kayak camping trips and know what I want to take for extended trips. I have been looking into doing some hiking and have been shopping around for a pack. I am pretty much settled into the Coleman Exponent Ascent 4500cu in. pack. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this pack or could point me at a better pack. What I need is about 4000cu in, hydration compatible, internal frame, comfortable, under 200 bucks preferably around 100. I don't want to spend a lot due to kayak camping is still going to be my dominant means of travel and packing but would like to do the occasional weekend/week hike. Any suggestions?

chief
2003-06-29, 11:10
While I don't have any direct experience with Coleman packs, I have used several other brands. Everyone has their favorite, but it all comes down to fit and comfort and that's a personal thing that you'll find with experience. I don't know how else to advise you except to say, get the best you can afford and try it with a load. Any reputable outfitter should at least let you walk around a store with a loaded pack. Sometimes you can find a major brand pack (last year model, etc) at a steep discount. That's how I bought my Gregory and 2,500 miles later, it's not ready for retirement. Though I intend to switch to a smaller model this year and it will be a Gregory. Any of the major brands should be fine, as long as they fit YOU. Having said all this, you may find your new pack is all wrong after a week in the woods. That's how it is with packs, you don't really know until you actually use it. Get something that feels right (in the store) and adjust, adjust, adjust and hopefully you'll have made a good choice.

snowsurfin951
2003-06-29, 15:05
That's good advice Chief. I really like to "see" things before I buy them. I'm not much of an online shopper. I don't have a decent outfitter near me though. There is one called Harry's Army Navy that is so rediculously high priced, I usually never go there. The other would be Dicks sporting goods which doesn't have much selection here. I was looking on REI and Campmor's websites and saw some decent packs. Neither have retail outlets near me. I'm not too eager to buy a pack that I have never tried on, but unless I find a good outfitter around me that's going to be my only option.

I think I may have changed my mind to the Mountainsmith Pursuit 4k from Campmor for $109.

I have also looked at the Kelty Coyote but it seems to be for a smaller person. It says for small adults or children so I don't think that would be for me (5'9" - 200lbs (muscular mostly)). It would be nice to be able to see it though.

chief
2003-06-29, 15:34
FYI, I hiked with several people on the AT in 2000 who had Mountainsmith packs and I never heard a complaint (sorry, I don't remember which models they had). There was one couple who each carried a Mountainsmith, loaded to the hilt. I tried on one and though it was very heavily loaded (for its size), it seemed pretty comfortable to me and it looked to be good quality. They finished their thru-hike with those packs, so durability shouldn't be a problem.

Sgathak
2003-06-29, 15:57
Mountainsmith are fantastic packs.

If you can find one from them that you like, Id say go with it. Back in the Patrick Smith days of Mountainsmith, it was (and still is) common to hear of people putting those bags through hell, and the bag is still going strong... even years after. Plus, the suspension used by MS is some of the best in the biz. Thanks to the Omni strap, you support over 90% of the weight on your hips, not your shoulders. Infact, with a well fitting model, you dont even actually NEED the straps... the bag will self support on your hips.

Patrick Smith has since left MS and started Kifaru, a backpack line for Hunters and Military, using alot of the same technology from the MS bags he designed, and putting them into something even MORE rugged. His military packs are winning high praise in Iraq and Asscrackistan and are even in the running as being issue packs by the Marine Corps (hopefully to replace the whole MOLLE debacle)

considering the uses of the potential pack as idicated in the first post... Id recommend getting the Kifaru Pointman backpack and 2 side pockets.

The price is significantly higher than your looking for, but the durability, comfort, and function, will outweigh its costs in the long term.

The ruck itself is 3000ci, but is expandable via numerous (and I do mean NUMEROUS) external attachment points, for both kifaru manufactured, and ALL other MOLLE,PALS,SPEAR compaable products.

You could theoretically expand this thing to 8000ci, and the frame WILL Support it. Infact, the frame is strong enough that it has been designed to be able to CARRY out wounded personelle. You could probably tie your kayak down to the Pointman and just hike it all in!!!!!

Check it out at Kifaru.net

(If you dont like the color of OD Green, it also comes in brown, 2 versions of camo, and there is soon to be a black civilian version as well)



(I am not employed by MS, Kifaru, nor am I Patrick Smiths cousin, brother, nephew, or other relation... I just live close by and have seen his products go to work)

youngblood
2003-06-30, 21:03
There are many fine backpacks out there and it is important that the pack fits you properly. I did a quick web search and found this site for sizing information:

http://www.backcountrygear.com/manufacturers/gregory_fit.cfm

Since you aren't in a postion to try it out in the store, I would recommend that you use a retailer with a liberal return policy, so that if you have initial problems you can replace it and not be out the entire cost of the pack. Of course, the heavier your pack weight, the more critical the pack fit. Good luck.

Youngblood

snowsurfin951
2003-07-01, 00:33
I have decided to try out the Mountainsmith. I am going to make the trip up to north Jersey to the Campmor store and try it on (I didn't know that's where the were). That's good info on pack fitting Youngblood, Thanks.

I do need to get the pack soon though. I am planning on doing the Batona trail here in jersey in 2 weeks. It's 50 flat miles hopefully done in 2 and 1/2 days. That will be the longest hike I have done so far. I have done more in a kayak but, in a kayak all my gear isn't on my back.