Family Hauler

5:04 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I want to undertake a bit of an ambitious project this summer.  Our kids will be 6, 4, and 2 and I want to take them backpacking.  Not car-camping.  Not hiking from a car-camping spot... :)  I want to march them 2-3 miles into the backcountry and camp.

Now, clearly there are some significant equipment needs for this project (5-6 person tent that weighs less that 15lbs, five sleeping bags, etc.).  Let's assume I have those handled (which I might). 

What I need is a pack that can HAUL all of this.  My two boys (4 and 6) will be able to tote their clothes and sleeping bags.  My wife will likely have our 2-year-old daughter on her back in our child hauler... maybe a sleeping bag or pads tucked into its frame.  So, I have the bulk of the gear. 

I am thinking that a 6000-ish cui pack should do the trick.  Being a bit of a snob, I have been looking at DD Terraplanes and am trying to find one that is in great condition and not going to kill my wallet (if anybody knows of one...).

Any other hauler recommendations for a pack-snob?


5:46 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Cleric,  I have a couple of McHales that are some where in that 6000 +/-cui. that I would most likely be willing to part with for a resonable sum if your interested.  As I hurt my hip their the size of pack I'm most likely not going to be able to use for a while.  If your interested I could get some pictures together.  You might want to go visit his website to see what there about.

7:36 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I'd take a gander at them.  Not super familiar with McHale... but I am diving into the depths of the internet right now to get more acquainted!

What else?

8:36 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Here are two good options, one less expensive and mid-quality, the other exceptional quality and more expensive. 

The Kelty Red Cloud 110:

Mystery Ranch (G6000 & G7000)

9:14 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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alphabetical order:

Arcteryx Bora 95

Dana Design Terraplane (a size large is 6050c), Astralplane (a size large is 7250c), or Terraframe (a size large is 6100c; probably your best model bet for the craziest of haulers).


Mystery Ranch G6000 or G7000  (if I was going to spend this kind of money, I'd really give McHale a serious look).

Osprey Xenith (a size large is 6700c) or Argon 110 (a size large is 6700c).

For something with such specific use, and with the potential to not get used very often, I would look to the used backpack market.  If you're patient, you could find any of the Dana Design listed for $200 or less.  You could find a Xenith for $100.

9:19 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Dang.  Good stuff folks.  Thanks a bunch!  

I have looked and looked at the G6000 (MR is only an hour from me).  Hard to justify that money at the moment, but I love their stuff.  

I have an eye on an Astralplane right now.  Hard to tell what those will do on that certain auction site.  It only takes one or two nuts to drive the prices through the roof. 

I looked at Bora's, but haven't had a chance to lay my hands on one.  Most of my experiences with Arcteryx has been positive and they seem to have a good build quality.  Does that continue with the Bora line?

9:37 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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My only personal experience with Arcteryx is the USMC ILBE.  It's modeled after the Bora 80.  I'm told the grunts hate the ILBE, and it might not be the best pack for extreme heat like they experience in the Middle East.  There's a lot of excess weight on the ILBE, so I cannot give it a fair review in comparison to a recreational Bora pack.  I can say I find the ILBE to be comfortable and to carry heavy weight comfortably.  I wouldn't go into buying a Bora 80 or 95 with much hesitation.

9:51 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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take a gander at, search for expedition-sized packs (5000 +).   i see an osprey argon 85, a golite terrono 90, arc'teryx bora 95, a dana design terraplane ltw.  any one of these has a lot of space, can haul 50 pounds or more.  they would probably suit your needs, provided the pack is your size and feels good to you. 

don't be deceived by the 'golite' name - that terrono is a hauler, just like these others. 

10:11 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I have been familiar with "Dead Bird" packs since they started making them here in Vancouver and have been in the factory they once had near my home and also in their current outlet here. I have carried, fitted and sold Arcteryx packs. I am a hardcore Canadian nationalist and willing to pay more to "Buy Canadian" ALWAYS.

I have bought several highend packs since 2000, due to wearouts and thefts and sold a few that did not quite suit me. I can afford any pack I want and I have NEVER bought an Arcteryx, but, have bought somewhere around a dozen Dana Design-Bozeman and MR packs, just got my last at the beginning of this month.

MR packs are so superior under REAL loads to ANY others I have used, that comparison is futile. I am an "old man" compared with most here and still can comfortably put 80-90 lbs on my MR-NICE packs and wander around in total bliss.

Sooooo, buckup, buy an MR or DD and be happeeee!

10:42 p.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I honestly for the six year old I would suggest the Dueter FOX40 or FOX30.

The pack is a kids built 40 liter pack at 120$ MSRP at only 2.2 pds. It is also fitted with the Deuter Vari Quick system which allows for adjustment of the harness. At 40 liters they could use the pack well into their teenage years. It also has all the core parts of a backpacking pack: beefy hipbelt, chest strap with emergency whistle, top loader, single main compartment and a divide-able sleeping bag compartment with its own zipper.

After playing with one and fitting a boyscout for one I noticed you can carry a therma rest under the compression straps  on the side of the pack. I noticed for someone that is rather skinny and has a shorter torso you could use this pack for adults also.

I don't really have any suggestions for the 4 year old you might consider the deuter junior or kids.


1:59 a.m. on March 18, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm with Dewey on this - Arcteryx packs are no longer as significant as they once were.  Specifically, they are lighter but less robust and more expensive.  Huh?

In any event, I too would suggest Mchale or Mystery Ranch as options.  Osprey has some load haulers that should be considered.  Granite Gear as well (stratus).

2:24 a.m. on March 18, 2012 (EDT)
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That's good to know about Arcteryx.  Only further affirms my belief that the 90s were the heyday of backpack manufacturing.  If I was in the market for a Bora, I would've started with a product from the 90s, but if I ever questioned that approach with Arcteryx, I wouldn't now.

9:58 a.m. on March 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter uses a Mystery Ranc G-6000 for his 2 week plus trips.  His pack weighs around 100lbs at the start.


I believe this is it.

10:25 a.m. on March 18, 2012 (EDT)
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If that isn't big enough here's the Flextrek Augmenteon 37,000,000,000,000.

2:26 p.m. on March 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Zeno Marx said:

That's good to know about Arcteryx.  Only further affirms my belief that the 90s were the heyday of backpack manufacturing.  If I was in the market for a Bora, I would've started with a product from the 90s, but if I ever questioned that approach with Arcteryx, I wouldn't now.

I have an original Bora 80 made in Canada and it appears to me to be far superior to the later ones made and sold today. I have not had a chance to test that theory but when placed side by side it is rather obvious. Not discounting the fact that you can buy “as new” or barely used Canada made Bora 80’s for $80-$120.

9:07 a.m. on March 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Ended up going with the heavyweight approach: a DD/K2 Longbed.  The reviews on them are great and I do relish a little external frame from time-to-time (takes me back to my Boy Scout days).  So, I snagged the one that has been sitting on the Classifieds here.

The only concern is that I'm on the tall end of its torso length.  So, I will get it in and see how it sets.

Thanks everyone for the education, both in this thread and through PM.  The knowledge shared here is phenomenal.

10:44 a.m. on March 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Cleric I have the Kelty Redcloud (the bigger one) and I haul for my kids when we go backpacking (ages 13, 11, 8, 6 and 3).  I approve of it.  I wrote a review a while back.


10:59 a.m. on March 24, 2012 (EDT)
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With much tweaking and fussing (took the bag off the frame and re-ran and adjusted everything), I think the LongBed is going to work:


May have taken the "family hauler" concept a little literally.  Ha!

3:47 p.m. on March 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Now that's kinda cute!

9:01 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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SHWEEET ! Start em off early,,,

12:58 a.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Now you need to get a golite Shangri La5 tent. More than 50%off directly from and 5lb 9oz including stakes, pole, tent, and stuff sacks. Also huge in size and full 4 season capabilities! $262.50 through Wednesday.

Great pack BTW. I've done the same thing with my daughter in my 95 liter Lowe Alpine pack. Have fun!

12:20 p.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Everybody needs to carry 

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