Packing the pack

3:14 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Okay. I have 2 backpacks and am deciding which one i like best at this time, an older camp trails external frame and a new swissgear internal frame. I have a Kelty grand mesa 2 tent, a kelty -20 minstrel sleeping bag, folding shovel, 2 swissgear hiking poles, 70oz camelback, 2 cans of bear spray, small water purifier, underarmor base gear 2 pants and shirt, extra set of clothes and a couple extra pair of marino wool socks. I am having problems with making the internal pack fit comfortably when it is fully loaded. I maybe doing it wrong. The tent ways 3lbs. 10oz the sleeping bag is rather large weighing 4lbs but is 24" long and a diameter of 12". I have been putting sleeping bag on bottom and tent under backpack flap and everything else inside. The internal frame is brand new but with no instructions on adjustment and i am more use to my older external camp trails pack but for some reason the internal just doesnt feel comfortable. Any suggestions on packing locations and how to operate the internal frame pack. I keep hearing these internal frames are so much more comfortable but im just not seeing it. Ive been training with my external pack loaded with 40#s of golf balls and walking 4 miles a day but when i tried this with the internal pack i felt as if someone was standing in the small of my back at the same time they were pulling on my shoulders with all there weight. I am new to all of this so any help would be awesome.

5:47 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I have had this problem with smaller objects hitting me wrong in the inside of the pack so I try to keep some squishier things against my back...extra shirt or or some lightweight running shorts etc. I put my sleeping bag at the very bottom of my pack and then put some heaver items toward the high middle of my back and then some odds and ends on the top. It works for me and my pack but yours may be different. Try experimenting with your packing (use your actual gear). It is possible the way the golfballs are weighing down your pack that it gets uncomfortable. See if using your actual gear works better for you. (try not to get too much weight too low in the pack (i compress my tent and stick it on top of my sleeping bag or next to my sleeping bag inside my internal frame.

hope i didnt ramble there 8P

7:57 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I suggest going to www.rei.com and going to the expert advice section and finding the article on packing a backpack. It is a great article with a few diagrams of where to pack everying in both internal and external frame packs for maximum comfort as well as for on trail and off trail use.

And a side note, how many bears do you plan to encounter to need 2 bear sprays? If the first one doesn't work your probally already being eaten =P.

8:00 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
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And a side note, how many bears do you plan to encounter to need 2 bear sprays? If the first one doesn't work your probally already being eaten =P.

haha i thought something similar to that :P

8:35 p.m. on July 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Some internal frame packs are rated at pretty low weights. It might be worth checking to see if that 40# is within the recommended load range for your particular pack...

9:17 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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welcome dwoods8581

First off, my impression of the Swiss Gear brand in not a favorable one, their equipment seems to be sub standard, poorly designed, and intended for the occasional user. The Swiss Gear packs I have seen are not designed for serious, heavy, or prolonged use. They are cheap.

The fact that your pack didn't come with instructions for adjustment (as you state) is just another indicator of the lack of quality. As bheiser1 says you may be exceeding the packs capabilities with 40 lbs. especially if the pack is poorly designed to begin with.

Given those two pack choices, and based on your comments about both, I would opt for the Camp Trail External frame pack.

There are several good backpacking books that cover how to pack a backpack properly, and how to adjust them as well.

The Complete Walker - by Collin Fletcher

The Backpackers Handbook - by Chris Townsend ( see chapter 4)


One last note, maybe you already know this, but do not pack the bear spray inside your backpack!

It will do you absolutely no good there, if you've gone to the trouble to buy some, wear it on your belt, or pack strap where you can deploy it quickly.

Best of luck to you!

9:46 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Bear spray inside your pack....now that sounds like a order that was given to us once by a General that left his brain back in the states. "No loaded ammo clips were to be carried while you were within the confines of the base". So I loaded my pockets with granades. Go figure!!! And by the way, the order was resended one night when those people came to visit.

11:49 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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dwoods8581 welcome to trailspace

As trouthunter pointed out about your swissgear pack, I agree 100%. Also you may be able to drop of a bit of gear weigh and volume depending on how long and where you are going.

You will also find that if you get properly fit for a pack you that most of your problems will probably be solved.

There are a lot of books and guides that will give you tips and a basic guide on how to pack your gear but I have found that the best way to figure out how is trial and error. When you are on your trip you can always move your gear around to better suite your needs.

9:05 a.m. on July 10, 2010 (EDT)
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This is the article from REI I was refering to. Without having to buy a book on backpacking, this gives you some good advice and general guidelines on how to pack.

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/loading+backpack.html

2:14 p.m. on July 10, 2010 (EDT)
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dwoods,

Welcome! I don't know if you have a Blue Ridge Mountain Sports store nearby [or some outdoors store that is similar] but they usually have classes during the week where you can go and "learn" how to pack your pack. They typically have a variety of classes related to hiking/camping.

10:00 a.m. on July 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the help guys. I wouldnt pack the bear spray in the pack and i think 2 cans just in case you lose one or damge one or have accidental discharge. IDK maybe im over thinking the whole bear thing.

10:39 p.m. on July 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the help guys. I wouldnt pack the bear spray in the pack and i think 2 cans just in case you lose one or damge one or have accidental discharge. IDK maybe im over thinking the whole bear thing.

Where will you be hiking?

4:55 a.m. on July 13, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the help guys. I wouldnt pack the bear spray in the pack and i think 2 cans just in case you lose one or damge one or have accidental discharge. IDK maybe im over thinking the whole bear thing.

In that case bring an extra pair of undershorts too. You'll need it regardless if the first can fails to operate or not.
Ed

8:38 a.m. on July 13, 2010 (EDT)
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Im camping in the Canyon area of Yellowstone between Ice Lake and Cascade lake. It is a Bear Management area during late winter early spring

4:11 a.m. on July 14, 2010 (EDT)
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I've almost walked right into a bear, and they live in my back yard. Typically they're just as scared of you as you are of them. If you see one, just get the #$*@ out of its way. I've found air horns to be a much better deterrent than bear mace/spray (unless its walking around your tent).

But back to the info, Swiss Gear doesn't make very good or comfortable packs. One of my friends has one for his laptop and tried on one of my jansport day packs and said its night & day (and Jansport really isn't even top of the line either, just experienced).

If I were you, I'd definitely look at other packs, even buying them off e-bay (you can typically resell them for the same amount you bought it) until you find one that fits you perfect - once you've mastered packing it.

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