Pack Shopping for 7 Day Yosemite Trip

11:11 p.m. on April 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Everyone,

My old Camp Trails pack has started biting the dust (20 years old, neglect, patched-up).  My 13 year old and I will be traveling to Yosemite in late May so I've got a few challenges to overcome and would really appreciate your advice in buying a new pack:

  1. I'm fairly price conscious, and will probably not make it back out to Yosemite (or any similar conditions) for several years.  
  2. I'm 6' tall and 245lbs. 
  3. I'm assuming I will have to check my pack and carry on only my day pack.  Any advice on the  best way to protect my pack?
  4. We will be living out of the pack for a week.  I'm guessing I'll have at least 30 - 35lbs of gear.
  5. What am I not taking into consideration?

Thank you so much for reading my post.  I look forward to learning more from Trailspace.

Sincerely,

Rango

1:08 a.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I just replied to your New Orleans to Yosemite post. 

I'm pretty price conscious also and I would suggest looking on geartrade.com, steepandcheap.com and departmentofgoods.com. steepandcheap and departmentofgoods are run by backcountry.com, both have if-you-don't-like-it-for-any-reason return it for a full refund policy.  If it's defective they even pay the shipping back.  Check the seller on geartrade. If it's backcountry it's backcountry getting rid of returns they can't sell as new.

I've gotten a lot of gear from steepandcheap.  I use sacalerts.com to notify me when something I want appears on steepandcheap. The text alerts on sacalerts are NOT reliable.  The email alerts are.  My phone has a email to text message address that all my sacalert messages are forwarded to so I get a text message within seconds of something on steepandcheap coming up that I want. If you need help setting it up just send me a private message.

If your son is a Boy Scout then you should look at www.scoutdirect.com. It's Alps Mountaineering's direct to scouts discount site. 

I have an Alps Mountaineering Cascade 5200.  Nice big pack.  It's fairly comfortable and does the job.  I would look at a Deuter Fox 40 for your son. I have a smaller Deuter climber for my 9 year old.  EXCELLENT pack.

I would get a 2-liter camelbak type bladder for your son (3-liter if he's on the bigger side) and a 3-liter for yourself.  These are way more convenient than  water bottles and IMO help you stay hydrated. 

You mentioned that you did not get any back country permits and were staying in the campgrounds.  I would suggest getting a single burner propane stove. They're cheap and the fuel is a lot cheaper that canister gas.  You'll probably save the price of the stove in fuel. Save the JetBoil for hot meals on your day hikes.

As for sending a pack through the air line baggage destruction service I would put a pack into a laundry bag.  The bag will probably come in handy during your stay and it would prevent snagging.

Bill S lives in the San Francisco area and is EXTREMELY knowledgeable about Yosemite.  He would be the person to ask about anything specific.

1:27 a.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace Rango.

A good way to keep you pack from getting beat up while in transit is a large duffle or you can get a specialty item such as the one in the link below.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/addons/airporter_lz

Airport baggage handlers can be a bit on the rough side when it comes to handling luggage, packs, etc.

The biggest thing is make sure the packs fit properly as I am sure you are aware of.

2:26 p.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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a few thoughts:

-go get your torso length measured.  backpack fitting relies on that measurement.  REI has a nice summary of how to measure it:  http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/backpacks+torso+hip+size.html

-once you know what size you are, try to figure out how much stuff you plan to bring.  that will guide the size pack you need.

-consider an external frame pack.  they can carry a lot of weight, it's easy to attach extra stuff w/straps, they tend to fit a wider variety of body sizes and shapes well, they are uniformly less expensive, and they are substantially harder to damage in transit. 

-try some brands on, walk around in-store, stuffed with filling and sandbags that roughly approximate what you plan to carry.  comfort is king - if it doesn't feel good in the store, weighted down, it probably won't in Yosemite. 

-any duffel bag will do to protect your backpack from baggage handling.  i used one from llbean for years.  it's a good option if you have some things you want to ship but won't fit in your backpack.  you may not need one for a one-time trip if everything fits in your pack.  regardless, you should secure all straps, harnesses, hipbelts prior to travel; some hipbelts can wrap backwards around the pack and clip shut.  some airlines will, on request, put your backpack inside a light or heavy-gauge clear plastic bag & tie it shut.   you could probably figure that out by contacting your airline in advance.

 

 

2:41 p.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Real quick, if ya go the duffel route, snag up a few small locks designed for this purpose. Take the lock and route it thru the metal zipper toggles and lock them.

This is not a "guarantee" that others will not have sticky fingers but more of a "deterrent." The added security/peace of mind is well worth the few bucks it will cost ya for the locks.

The main reason I say this is there are going to be many other hands on your belongings other than just your own and as much as I wish this weren't the case not everyone out there is honest.

3:48 p.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Real quick, if ya go the duffel route, snag up a few small locks designed for this purpose. Take the lock and route it thru the metal zipper toggles and lock them.

Make sure you get the special TSA approved ones so they can snoop in your bag if necessary http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/locks.shtm otherwise they will cut them.

3:52 p.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I Said:

You mentioned that you did not get any back country permits and were staying in the campgrounds.  I would suggest getting a single burner propane stove. They're cheap and the fuel is a lot cheaper that canister gas.  You'll probably save the price of the stove in fuel. Save the JetBoil for hot meals on your day hikes.

The propane stoves also work far better in cold weather than the upright canister stoves, because the iso-butane won't boil off fast enough or not at all if it's cold enough.  

4:06 p.m. on April 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Real quick, if ya go the duffel route, snag up a few small locks designed for this purpose. Take the lock and route it thru the metal zipper toggles and lock them.

Make sure you get the special TSA approved ones so they can snoop in your bag if necessary http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/locks.shtm otherwise they will cut them.

 

Good mention Ocala.

10:46 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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What are your thoughts on a 4400 cu pack?  I've watched a few videos and it seems a little on the small side, but my goal is to travel as light as possible with as many essentials as possible. 

I appreciate all of the feedback and am feeling more confident with each post I read. 

Rango

10:58 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I look at it like this. If ya go a bit bigger, you can always compress your pack down for smaller loads.

But if your load is larger than what your pack can hold you can't make it any bigger than it is.

11:46 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with Rick.  If you are only going to get one pack then get the big one. The only thing I can add is to look for one that will compress well.

My pack doesn't compress well because the side pockets prevent side compression straps.  It doesn't matter because I usually carry extra stuff for my son.  


cascade-5200.pngmojave.png

Mine is the Blue one.  The orange one will compress better because of the side compression straps which will keep the load closer to your back.





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