Noisy Dana Design Pack

12:54 p.m. on June 12, 2013 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

I bought an old Dana Design K2 pack and love it. But it squeaks SOOO loud. Any suggestions? And unless you have a way to make elk quaters ultralight, please don't highjack this thread why heavy load, external frame packs are out dated.

1:39 p.m. on June 12, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to have an old North Face external that squeaked and howled but I never did fix it.  Even my new Mystery Ranch G6000 moans on occasion---or is that me?  What can be done?  The usual lubricants.

Thing is, when I'm hauling the "silverback gorilla" up a 3,000 foot climb I could care less about the noise.  I'm much more concerned about the nonstop overhead Jet airline traffic noise and the upcoming 30,000 drones.

BTW, check the source of the squeaks and make sure no straps are frayed and about to snap and the frame is okay.  Otherwise . . . .

2:19 p.m. on June 12, 2013 (EDT)
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848 forum posts

my west coast squeaks too, I just keep going. by the way, external frames aren't outdated, there are a lot of vintage external frame users on here. +1 on tipi's suggestions. make sure the frame isn't cracked. 

6:03 p.m. on June 12, 2013 (EDT)
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2,975 forum posts

External frame packs are out dated?  That's pure nonsense!  They still are the best solution for carrying heavy loads on trail and often lighter than their internal frame counterparts with similar performance specifications.  While my avatar has me shouldering an external frame pack, I have no horse in this race and own and use both types of packs on a regular basis. 

The squeaks are normally created by straps and mounting hardware rubbing against the frame.  Paraffin wax rubbed on these components will eliminate the squeak, but it eventually will return, and require another treatment.


7:54 p.m. on June 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Mystery Ranch makes a heavy-hauling external frame pack called, I believe, the NICE system with an attached big bag of your choice and with the whole contraption able to carry up to 150 lbs---although the pack empty weighs around 9 to 10 lbs.  Otherwise MR internals are popular with hunters and meat haulers.

The old Dana K2's are gone except for Used Packs and so the problem for many backpackers is finding a top grade up-to-date external with the quality of an internal like the Arcteryx Bora's or the Mystery Ranch internal haulers---G7000, etc.  I would not count the current Kelty's as being good enough or comfy enough to carry 70-80lbs on a long term basis, though YMMV.

How so?  Well, I can only speak from experience as I used to own a Kelty Ultra-Tioga years back and it could not haul real world weight w/o pain and torment.  It was supposed to be their load hauler par excellence and the top of the Kelty heap but like the 50th Anniversary pack (revolutionary!) it didn't last long in their production line.  Sayonara bright ideas.

The craze now is for uber light frameless dyneema/cuben packs anyway.

Who can name all the external packs ever made?

Trapper Nelson wood frame with tump line?

Trailwise pack (Fletcher's)

North Face BackMagic

All the various Jansports


Peak One black plastic frame

Military models (ALICE, Molle, etc)

Canvas Yuccas with the frame

Camp Trails!

Outdoor Products . . .  uh . . . .



4:36 a.m. on June 13, 2013 (EDT)
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921 forum posts

Some photos borrowed from the web of the wooden packboards still used (as far as I know) to haul supplies into the AMC huts in the White Mountains (NH).


Back in the 80s I used one of these to haul tools, supplies, and the occasional 8 ft cedar sign post while doing trail work for the USFS in the WMNF.

My avatar is me with my old Trailwise, which went around the world with me. Looks like I never digitized the photo of me in NZ with a full-size wheelbarrow strapped to that frame -- I hauled it about 3 miles uphill from the hut I was working at to my work site on an alpine pass. I also carried a 100+ pound Cobra drill down the same trail. I'm smarter now.

8:55 a.m. on June 13, 2013 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

Thanks all. The creaking noise is definitely coming from the nylon webbing rubbing against the aluminum. I will try a variety of lubricants to see what works best. Wax, talc, graphite powder, etc. I also have some sprays that are made for bike chains that may work. One is a wax base, the other silicon. I really like this Dana pack, it is just a little too loud for hunting. The other packs I like are the Mystery Ranch NICE system (also a Dana Gleason design), and the discontinued Marine Corp ILBE (essentially an Arcteryx Bora internal frame pack). Those didn't last very long in military service because they came out just before the current body armour, and the two sytems were not compatible. So they are readily available on Ebay relatively inexpensive. You can also still find the Trapper Nelson pack boards. I have heard people on forest crews and firefighters swear by them for hauling tools.

2:37 p.m. on June 15, 2013 (EDT)
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848 forum posts

be careful what you spray on there - some petroleum based lubes can degrade the nylon webbing, particularly if it is old. wax is your best bet.

4:26 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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40 forum posts

Silicon Gun Grease will go a long way in not degrading the nylon. Plus adding material (sparingly) to the aluminum might go a long way. K-tape, Cutting small strips of ballistics cloth or heavy Cordura and applying them to the aluminum without accidentally glueing the straps to the frame might work or vinyl from an airbed patch kit.

8:42 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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848 forum posts

yeah, thermarest patches would probably work good.

10:20 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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1,369 forum posts

My aging pack needs a monthly "re-fix" to cover worn spots and I use old ripstop tape or McNetts repair tape to cover holes where parts of the frame are exposed. (The blue patches). This is something which has to be done on a regular basis.  Sometimes you can use cordura patches as Madmarmot mentions and sew them on for longevity.


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