3 forum posts
First time poster, long time lurker. This seems to be an excellent community, so I figured I should stop beating around the bush and just join already.
Cliffs-notes for my background; I'm a life-long camper and mountain biker, but only within the past 2 years have been doing any sort of backcountry travel. My outings usually consist of 1 to 3 night backpacking in all 4 seasons on the trails of southern Ontario.
My current pack is a Gregory Z-65, size large, which covers most of the bases I feel I need, except it just doesn't fit me properly. The torso length is too long and non-adjustable, so even when loaded sparingly (20-25 lbs) I end up with terrible aches and pains all up and down my back and shoulders. Therefore, I'm in the market for a new pack, and I'm hoping you guys can steer me in the right direction.
My thoughts for a new pack are:
-Around 70 litres capacity, with enough stability and padding to carry 40lbs. I am out with my g/f a lot and hike in all 4 seasons, so I need the capacity to get a big puffy winter bag in the bottom and well as the other paraphernalia that goes along with winter camping. My current pack sits around 72 litres, and everything fits with a bit of a squeeze, with a couple large things strapped to the outside.
-Adjustable torso length would be nice.
-Base weight for the summer is around 20 lbs, which goes up to 35 or so for the winter.
-Lots of pockets and compartments are ok, but I prefer a pack with no sleeping bag compartment. My strategy involves throwing all my sleeping gear (bag, pad, thermals, socks) into a dry bag and tossing it at the bottom of the pack. Most sleeping bag compartments I've seen aren't big enough to hold this package. Ideally, the main body will just be one big compartment.
-Weight of around 4 lbs for the pack, but if it carries the weight properly then heavier is acceptable.
-Good build quality. I'm a firm believer of the 'buy cheap, buy twice' philosophy.
Packs that have caught my eye so far:
-Mystery Ranch Trance XXX. Looks like it hits just about every bullet point but at 350$, on the expensive side. Reviews for MR tell me its worth it.
-Go Lite Quest (2011). Attractive capacity, weight, and price (hard to beat at 79$ right now), but dubious durability.
-ULA Circuit. Their website says max load is 35lbs, which I can see myself exceeding in the winter.
-Osprey Kestrel 68.
Any other manufacturers I'm missing? As always, I'd like to try it on before I buy, but as long as the retailer has a acceptable return policy I'm fine with ordering online. I have a few big box retailers near me (MEC, Bass Pro, SAIL) as well as an indie store that stocks Osprey, TNF and Vaude equipment.
Thanks for your help!