Sturdy small-capacity pack?

10:38 p.m. on November 26, 2013 (EST)
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Hey, guys and gals.

Joseph (jrenow) and I were talking the other day about summer packs and gear lists, and he's a braver soul than I: he's working on a summer system that only requires a lumbar pack (!!!).

However, it got me thinking. I pulled out my MS Scream 25 day pack, and - just for the hell of it - tried to see if I could fit all my gear into it. Turns out I could, save my pillow and spare clothing (if I decided to bring some). And yes, even managed to get the sleeping bag in with it all.

Trouble is, it's a frameless pack with thin straps, an unstructured hip belt, and no sternum strap. Not something you're going to log big miles with. At least not comfortably.

But I did learn I don't need as much room as I thought I did.

For context: I'm a "weekend warrior" who does three days out at a time, at the most, right now. I'm also a three-season guy who doesn't go out in the winter. 

Currently using a Mountainsmith Haze 50L, and while the weight (1 lb 15 oz) is hard to beat, it's more room than I've use for. 

I would rather carry a smaller, sturdier, and better-cushioned pack than a lighter and thinner one. If it means an increase in weight, that's okay, because I've brought my overall pack weight down considerably. 

I'm looking for a pack with:

1.) A 30L to 40L capacity

2.) Large main opening (need not be a top loader) 

3.) Frameless is OK

4.) Well-cushioned straps

5.) Side pockets for water bottles (ideally solid fabric and not mesh)

So far, the two main contenders are packs from GoLite and Boreas. 

Anyone out there use a pack in this range and could offer some advice?

Lookin' forward to hearing what y'all have to say.

-E

6:54 a.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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I'm in the same boat. But comfort means more than weight to me. In the winter I carry 65# with ease. But my 15# summer load hurts.

3:01 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Eric...I use a modular lumbar system that looks something like this (minus all the silly and redundant gear that this guy carries) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M6Ll_0iRZY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUa3ia1bE4EOt__vJ6lnpLeQ...though it is far from my dream of not needing to carry a pack at all (please let this happen one day!)...the system I discuss below is currently the nearest I have come to going pack-less while still managing to enjoy the outdoors in the relative safety and comfort that I require. The aim of the system is to improve weekend hiking in the warmer months of the year here in the Midwest...but with proper resupply and adequate water the system could be used for extended trips as well.

At the heart of my lumbar system is the Mountainsmith "Tour" TLS which I use with the strapettes for a better carry (2 liters of water bounces around quit a bit)...here's a good example of the strapettes in use: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61bHaA6GCtL.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B005LUTS8E?ie%3DUTF8%26action%3DnextImg%26currentImageID%3Dmo1I69ST0RQHSG4%26currentImagePage%3D0%26currentImagePageOffset%3D0%26isremote%3D0%26page%3D0%26pageSize%3D7%26sort%3Dnewest%26totalImages%3D7&h=281&w=500&sz=113&tbnid=capQKGSxrvDqwM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=160&zoom=1&usg=__0mNeIbrl6_bYbCedN_QWJ3lS_uM=&docid=sgh7hv3_pjqTSM&sa=X&ei=nz6WUvAlrJrJAcm6gYgB&ved=0CIcBEPUBMAU.

The Tour is an 8 liter bag that weighs 21 ounces "out of the box" (though by removing the neoprene inner wall...the zippered inside pocket...several feet of webbing...the ridiculously large zipper-pulls...etc...I have trimmed the weight of my bag to under a pound). However...my lumbar-system is not primarily about weight savings. The main advantage is increased ventilation and cooling through evaporation...which is made possible by the open back design. A secondary advantage (in addition to being really light)...is the freedom of movement that the system allows for. I suspect that these same advantages (ventilation and movement) are why wildland firefighters use similar systems since their job consist of mostly digging in intolerable heat.

In Use:

Inside the main-compartment of the Tour I keep my synthetic quilt + extra clothing + poncho-tarp + hammock and suspension + stakes. In the auxiliary pocket on the outside of the Tour I keep my hygiene and personal-care products and Aquamira for easy access (though I am thinking about adding the new Sawyer "Mini" since it is such a small and light package)...and though I have never needed to...I would store my fuel here as well (I use a menu that is mostly no-cook and relies heavily on cooking-fires for heating water). On the sides of the Tour there are two pouches capable of holding a liter of water each (my primary reason for choosing the Tour over other lumbar bags was the water carrying capacity)....and though I have never needed to...I could lash an additional 2-liter Platy to the back of the strapettes which would bring my total water-carrying capacity up to 4-Liters.

On top of the Mountainsmith Tour I lash a sil-nylon stuff sack that holds 2-3 days worth of food...a spoon...a 450ml titanium mug (coffee mostly)...and though I have never needed to...a small alcohol stove (no-cook menu mostly). I prefer to keep my food in a separate bag because it allows for a smaller "base" bag (as the food shrinks away my lower-back becomes open)...and since I would store my food in a separate bag anyways for stowing away from animals at night...it just seems more practical and efficient to do it this way.

The rest of my gear (pocket-knife + tiny 1st-aid-kit + tiny repair-kit + lip-balm + sunglasses + deet + headlamp + phone-camera + lighter + etc) is distributed among the two small pockets on the hip-belt of the Tour...the two DIY pouches I made for the strapettes...and the pockets of my pants.

Summer (lumbar) Gear List:

Stowed or Packed = hammock and suspension + poncho-tarp + stakes + synthetic quilt + polyester "track" pants (for use in camp) + LS nylon shirt (bugs + wind + insulation) + titanium mug and lid + water bottles (x2) + Aquamira + spoon + 2L Platy + antibacterial wipes + TP + sanitizer + Dr. Bonner's soap + Sportslick + ibuprofen + antihistamine + toothbrush + toothpaste + earplugs + deet + pocket-knife + sunblock + headlamp + phone-camera + repair-kit + 1st-aid-kit + food

Worn or Carried = trekking pants + SS zip-neck shirt + synthetic socks + boxer-briefs + bandana + OR sombrero + sunglasses + watch + trekking poles + trail-runners

3:21 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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All well and good, my friend...but I'm gonna need a little more than 8L. :)

Thinking 30L is going to be my magic number.

Like I said, save a pillow, spare socks, and rain gear, I could almost manage the 25L pack (and that's with a full sleeping bag - not a liner bag!). Though the capacity almost there, the straps are thin and minimalist, offering very little by way of support.

3:32 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Eric...IMHO...the ULA CDT would be exactly what you're looking for (great price too!)...it is frame-less pack...but my ULA pack (OHM 2.0) has been through hell (example: I ran it over with my car while it was fully packed...then hiked all weekend with it like nothing happened!). The 210 Robic fabric used is lifetime good...with the only mesh being the outside pocket...but the trade-off is that the mesh pocket will help dry wet items away from dry things and can stretch beyond your wildest imagination. The pack is listed at 24 ounces...but I bet you can get it down under a pound with enough trimming (your smaller waist will help as well). Most importantly...my ULA pack is the BEST carrying pack I have ever had (1/20). Seriously...you should look into it!

3:35 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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What...you can't do it in 8L?...:-) Remember I am "cheating" with this system...I have a lot of extra storage capacity with the auxiliary food bag...the additional pockets I attach to the strapettes...and the pockets on my pants. To be honest...if I didn't mind compressing the quilt...I could probably get by with a smaller lumbar bag:-)

3:49 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Actually was just looking at the ULA CDT - love the side pockets on those, and they're exactly what I want. 

What're your thoughts on the straps/hip belt/suspension?

4:00 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Well...the suspension is so much different than the OHM 2.0 so it is difficult to say...but the only potential problem is that there are no load-lifters (which you can work around through packing). What I do know is that the OHM 2.0 carries better than anything I have ever had...and I would suspect that ULA puts a lot of emphasis on carry...so as long as you stay under the 25lbs max weight limit you should be fine...I would certainly try to get my base-weight under the recommended 12lbs (WOW!)...but I believe you're already there right?

4:13 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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My current rig:

ENO DoubleNest Hammock - 1 lb 6 oz

ENO ProFly Rain Tarp - 1 lb 6 oz

ENO Guardian Bug Net - 1 lb

ENO Atlas Strap Suspension System - 11 oz

Kelty Cosmic Down 20F Sleeping Bag - 2 lbs 8 oz

Base Weight, Total - 6 lbs 15 oz

Including the ULA CDT (17 oz), which is part of the "Big Three?"

We're looking at 8 lbs, total.

Not too shabby!

4:19 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Not at all...now your talking my loads:-)

4:48 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Considering writing the folks at ULA and inquiring to see if they could substitute their ULA 210 Robic (the green material on your pack) for the CDT's side pockets and front mesh pocket.

While the breathability of mesh is nice (making it a perfect place to store wet items) it's way too easy to get ripped on the kind of brush we have here. Mesh pockets are one thing found on mainstream packs (and cottage industry, too) that I can't stand.

5:04 p.m. on November 27, 2013 (EST)
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Yep...mesh pockets are just another way that the heavy influence of backpackers and manufacturers in the West make gear and clothing less than optimal for us here in the Midwest and Eastern Woodlands:-(

Just so you know...the side-pockets are 210 rip-stop...which isn't bad at all...same denier (thickness) as the Robic...but it trades off abrasion for tear strength...probably not a bad choice given the tendency for those pockets to catch sharp objects more than abrading against the ground. If they will replace the mesh outside pocket with either the Robic or the rip-stop I would go for it...with my leanings towards the ripstop..since rips are what I have mostly encountered. I wonder if they would "upgrade" mine:-)

7:40 a.m. on November 28, 2013 (EST)
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One company that comes to mind in that lightweight range is granite gear.

I reviewed two larger backpacks on this site from Lowe Alpine and Boreas - in the 45-55 liter range. Liked both a lot. The boreas lost coast is available as a 30 liter, though it isn't as light - probably weighs more like three pounds. Likewise, lowe's suspension backpacks (the ones that leave a little space for air circulation around your back) are probably 2 1/2 to 3 pounds in the 30 liter size. Both have hard plastic frame sheets reinforced by an aluminum wire, in the larger sizes anyway, so they have no issues with the weight you carry.

1:00 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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Nice pack, Andrew (and review as well).

The Lost Coast 30L seems to be a closeout item, and it still weighs-in around 3 lbs.

The more I look into it, the harder it is to find a smaller capacity pack that's lighter than my current pack: 50L for 1 lb 15 oz is HARD to beat. Plus, my MS Haze only cost $98, shipped. 

Closest thing I can find in an affordable range is the sub-pound ULA CDT, but that would mean selling another piece of gear, likely at a loss, to afford it. It's been a long year of eBay sales and REI merchandise credits, and I think I'm to the point of finally working with what I have. As exciting as it is to get new gear, it's an exhausting process, and I'm actually looking forward to hitting the trail in 2014 with a set list of gear that doesn't change.

At the end of the day, having a spare 15 to 20L (without any weight penalty) is a pretty good deal I've got going, too.

2:41 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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Eric...generally speaking...the weight difference between a 30L and 50L bag that use the same suspension and frame-system is usually only a few ounces (since the only thing extra is a small amount of fabric)...so this explains the difficulty in finding a lighter bag with less capacity.

Given the weight and your current happiness with your new bag there is no reason to go looking for a new bag just yet...but given how much weight you have already shaved it would be difficult for you to find a single purchase that could drop your load by more than a pound like you could with the CDT (it only gets more difficult to shave weight from here)...so I suspect that the weight savings of getting a new bag will eventually lead you to getting a new pack:-)

3:14 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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I've got a really minimal suspension system on the MS Haze, and really, just wish MS made a 30L top-loader that was as simple (their 35L Mayhem's a little too busy for me).

Looks like I'm stickin' to my current pack. Like I said, you don't much hear me complaining about my pack weight or see me tugging at my straps these days, so things do sit pretty comfortably where they currently are.

4:02 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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You want an MLD Burn, Eric. 10oz stripped, and burly.

5:41 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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Damn, Vince! Talk about a lightweight pack!

Totally overlooked MLD. Not in my price range right now, but that's in the exact neighborhood I want to be in (as far as size and capacity go). 

I don't know about all that mesh, though. Hmm. You think they'd be willing to custom-make a Burn pack with ripstop side and front pockets? 

5:55 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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I'll do you one better Vince: http://gossamergear.com/murmur-hyperlight-backpack.html

New 140 denier Dyneema gives it real durability at the same weight but at 70.00 dollars less than the Burn. Capacity is nearly the same...the only significant difference being the "In-Name-Only" hip-belt that the Burn has...where the Mumur forgoes the charade:-)

10:40 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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I have a osprey talon 44.. Check out my review. The 33 version is currently half off on steepandcheap.

10:55 p.m. on November 29, 2013 (EST)
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Groan. Mesh pockets. WHY THE MESH POCKETS.

Didn't occur to me until now, but are there any cottage industry pack-makers who actually hail from the lands of thick brush and thorns and all that fun stuff that tears our western-minded packs up?

Seems the only two options for side pockets are A.) mesh, or B.) no pockets at all.

Love that MLD, Vince, but the mesh kills it for me. Would be like driving an armored vehicle with paper doors. Bummer, because the capacity is about spot-on.

Joseph: the GG is a REALLY minimalist design. I mean, I have to give it to them for using line lock adjusters in place of strap buckles, but man! That's off the deep end.

That 25L pack holds all my gear and a fleece liner just fine (great for summer), but that sleeping bag is really the only thing holding up the show. As much as I'd like to go UL (and make a day pack my overnight pack), I'd rather not do it at the expense of murdering my sleeping bag.

Come to think of it, it probably would extend the sleeping bag's life if I started packing it without a stuff sack and just used that to fill whatever leftover and empty space I have in my 50L pack.

Also would spare me the less-than-favorite morning chore of cramming the bag into its stuff sack. That one ranks right up there with huffing into a Therm-a-Rest. Yay.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my MS Haze, but I just got wondering if it'd be possible/practical to downsize to a smaller pack if I'm not using the full capacity of the one I have now.

12:14 a.m. on November 30, 2013 (EST)
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What!?!...those aren't line-locks...their small buckles. The design is heavily trail-tested (not off the deep-end at all...just shocking to traditional sensibilities)...as long as you are carrying a base-weight below 10 lbs (preferably 8 lbs) this bag will do everything you ask of it...here's a clip of Glen using an older model Murmur in some very challenging conditions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUcOK8TiIiE)...Yes!...that's snow and boulders. At just two ounces over a .5 lb you will not find a more durable and totally functional bag:-)

9:35 p.m. on November 30, 2013 (EST)
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Alright. Thought I'd give ya fellas an update.

Two things, more than anything, became the biggest factors in my decision: price, and capacity. I didn't want to spend any more than I had to (or had on me), and I didn't want any more capacity than I needed.

Moreover, I'm 6' tall with an 18.5" torso.

This became frustrating because manufacturers occasionally used height as a guideline for determining torso length and size. Oftentimes they conflicted against my own measurements.

For example, with MLD:

According to height, I'm a "Large," or 22.

According to torso length, I'm inbetween a "Small" 18 and a "Medium" 20.

Without a sturdy suspension system, I want to know full well the fit is going to be spot on, and with my sizes falling into the cracks of these size charts, I wasn't comfortable buying something that wouldn't fit my body well.

Only exception to this? ULA's CDT. The Medium size actually sat well with my 18.5" torso length, and if I didn't go with the pack I did, this was my second choice.

Ultimately, I decided on a GoLite Jam 35L.

The 1 lb 11 oz weight comes in at 4 oz lighter than the MS Haze I owned.

Capacity is spot-on, larger than 25L (too small for my rig) while still being big enough a downsize from the 50L MS Haze.

Very minimal use of mesh, and compatible with the regions I hike through in the Midwest USA. I tore up the mesh on my first pack, a Kelty Coyote 78L, and I don't much care to tear up another pack.

Their "Medium" fits a torso length between 17.5" and 19.5" and my own torso length fits comfortably in the middle of this range, making for a good fit.

$99.99 is a hard price to beat. My old MS Haze was purchased from BackcountryEdge, and they're good enough of eggs to take back items anytime within a year from purchase, no questions asked. Thanks to their policy, I can take the refund from that pack and practically break even buying this one.

And, thanks to Black Friday, I got a free GoLite baseball cap out of the deal. Nice bonus, considering the unstructured TS Trail Runner makes me look like I'm running late to catch the school bus. :) This works nicely, because a structured cap was on my Christmas list - happy early holiday to me!

10:58 a.m. on December 2, 2013 (EST)
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This thread has caused me to re-think my current pack set up.  I'm not sure if I can go to a lower capacity pack and still be able to carry all of my gear.  I currently use an Osprey Exos 58 that weighs 42 ozs.  For me, it's the perfect space-to-weight ratio. 

But now I'm intrigued at perhaps going to a smaller capacity, lighter pack.

Not sure whether to curse you, Eric, or thank you.  :)

4:09 p.m. on December 2, 2013 (EST)
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And so, the plot thickens...

Heard back from ULA today, and - since it seems they're in their slow season - they actually would be game for making me a custom CDT pack, replacing the front mesh pocket (with same ripstop used on the side pockets), and eliminating all the extra loops/bells/whistles I don't need.

Trouble is, again, I'm 6' tall with an 18.5" torso. 

They suggested the L size torso length/pack size.

Hmm.

Any ULA owners out there who can vouch for their sizing?

If I've a rare chance to get a custom-made ULA pack, I sure as heck don't want to pass on an opportunity that may never come my way again.

5:41 p.m. on December 2, 2013 (EST)
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Well you know I can vouch for their skill and matching pack to person...at least better than anyone prior:-)

11:18 p.m. on December 5, 2013 (EST)
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The [GoLite] Jam 35L came in today.

3.jpg

Since this backpack/daypack hybrid can be strapped-down and cinched-up, it didn't look like much straight from the package.

A little small, if anything.

Knowing I've too much gear for a 25L and too little gear for a 50L pack, I crossed my fingers, ordered this pack, and hoped it'd all fit.

First impressions?

Fits like a glove. Which is a BIG selling point. I'm a tall guy with a shorter-than-average torso and a small waist. The hip belt actually sits right on my iliac crest, and cinches snug to my waist. 

Both the Kelty and Mountainsmith packs I owned previously were too big and too loose in both the aforementioned departments, even when I bought the "size" suggested for me.

Speaking of hip belt, the two zippered pockets are pretty damn big, and each pocket has an additional inner mesh pocket with an elastic top band. Russian Nesting Doll style storage! Great place to slip a compass without scratching the living heck out of it, amongst other smaller items (my digital camera and Ladybug knife will easily fit into these).

The side and bottom elastic loops and plastic hooks I likely won't have much use for, since these "shrink" the pack size down to convert it into a daypack. They're minimal enough not to bug me. Meh.

The hip belt pockets and side pockets aren't solid material and aren't a true mesh, but a kind of reinforced mesh. There's not very much exposed mesh on this pack, and that was the second biggest selling point for me after the fit. I tore up the side pockets on my Kelty without bushwhacking so much as a foot off the trail. Too many damn thorns and the like in my neck of the woods for all that mesh nonsense.

Side pockets are on the shallow side. Definitely no more SmartWater bottles for me. Probably going to take a chapter from jrenow's book, and use some squatty Powerade bottle from now on. Or FIJI, if I'm feeling particularly classy.

However, the compression straps are smartly placed ABOVE the side pockets.

This is a mistake Mountainsmith made with the Haze 50L: the top compression straps were fine, but the bottoms ones were built outside of the mesh pockets. It put the wearer in a crappy place, forcing you to choose between using the pockets (for storing water bottles), or leaving them empty to keep the bottom of the pack tightly-packed.

2.jpg

A large back pocket easily fits my tarp and 4 stakes. The protective flap is a nice feature, but makes opening a little awkward. Size matters most, here, and it I'm able to use it exactly as I planned.

(Side note - the Easton Nano stakes weigh almost as much as the damn REI stake bag does - is there any advice y'all have for storing stakes without a stuff sack, or without them clanking like wind chimes?)

The foam back is comfy. Enough without being too much. The straps seem a little on the thin side, and while this isn't something I'll notice when I'm bundled-up for cold weather, it may become a bother in warmer weather, when it's only a t-shirt between my shoulders and the straps.

The GoLite logo is screen printed on the back side.

And on the sternum strap.

As well as two loops on the straps.

Two problems:

A.) I'm a two sided-billboard now, and

B.) It's screen printed, and will come off over time. Wish they embroidered it, and then I wouldn't have minded.

The front-side logos are all printed on reflective material, which I guess is nice when I decide to revisit my nighttime hitchhiking habit, or to prevent collisions with the midnight trail running club. 

Top closure is a cinch top, and that material is rolled down and secured with a buckle.

The Kelty had a pack lid, which was dead and useless weight.

The Mountainsmith had a cinch top, but it was exposed (aside from a dust flap), and the X-shaped straps securing it didn't seal it off, they only compressed it down. 

1.jpg

Last but not least, the capacity.

I took a note from Goose [and anyone else who does], and stuffed my down bag in the bottom, sans stuff sack. Well, #$%^. Who knew it works as well as it does. Since anything sitting on the bottom isn't easily accessed, it's nice to be able to fit the entire bottom of the pack without wasting space. 

Everything fit inside. I've taken to experimenting with using as few stuff sacks as possible when they only hold an item or two, and I have to say, it works. Even fit food and some clothing. Had enough room leftover up top, that I rolled the entire top down and was able to seal it up nicely.

While it does have some flaws to be spotted at first glance, it does hold a lot of promise.

And, hey - less than a pound for less than a hundred bucks?

That's a heck of a deal. 

They even threw in a free baseball cap because of the holiday. 

Full review to come once it's spent some time on the trail, but it's got a lot of promise.

Have to admit, it feel damn good knowing I'll be hitting the trail as an ultralighter the next time I'm out there. For a guy with a bad back, this is as good of news as one can get.

1:19 a.m. on December 25, 2013 (EST)
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For trips as the ones you're describing I use a Camelbak Linchpin. It's a 30L military bag designed for assault/communications, but it has worked great for me as a day/light weekend pack.

It uses Mystery Ranch's Futura harness. It is hands down the best pack suspension I have ever used. It adjust perfectly to your back. Being a smaller pack, it lacks a hip belt. I've never found this to be a problem considering the weight is generally low on overnights or short weekends. I did put a hip belt strap on, though that's just to help keep it in place when scrambling.

It's not the lightest, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a more durable pack. Lifetime warranty and comes with their military grade 100oz bladder.

6:20 a.m. on December 25, 2013 (EST)
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Yeah I'm a huge fan of the Linchpin as well, and its my small capacity pack of choice.

Hope the Jam works out well for you. Stuffing the bag in sans stuff sack does indeed work extremely well for not wasting any pack space. Just be 100% certain you have a intact pack liner. Since you are now relying on the pack and pack liner for waterproofness of your bag.

I found i was definitely not a fan of all of these ultralight styled packs with barebones or non functional suspensions. I may not always carry alot of weight, but of the several packs i tried none were what I would call comfortable. Food is usually my heaviest thing, and my trips are usually around a week- week and a half unsupported, so a 30lbs max weight pack just wasnt going to work for me.

The linchpin was the ticket for me. Smaller and lighter than my other packs but still with a full and robust suspension.

7:56 p.m. on December 25, 2013 (EST)
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Over a week unsupported using the linchpin? You must've nailed down quite the kit, Rambler. I've pressed it to four days, but only when it's cold. I'm usually forced to carry most or all of my water, so that might be the reason I can't get away with going longer. I'm pretty much in desert country.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

11:06 a.m. on December 26, 2013 (EST)
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Austin, yeah my summer kit is quite light and slimmed down to the bare essentials. I have done a 9 day unsupported trip with the Linchpin. I can fit about 3-4 days of food in each of the m4 ammo pouches on the side(by repackaging items). Sleeping quilts, hammock, clothes, and other gear goes in the main bag, rain gear and tarp goes in the outer stash pocket. And the small misc items in the other two organizer pockets.

I just use a small piece of webbing with a buckle as a hipbelt, more for stability when scrambling than for comfort/load bearing purposes. Without food or water the my load out in the linchpin comes in at about 13lbs. On that 9 day trip I was if memory serves me at about 31lbs with food and water.

I can only do this during the warmer months, any other time of year I dont have quite enough space.

2:18 p.m. on December 26, 2013 (EST)
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Pack liner's brand new, will be tested prior to first use, and probably every time thereafter. Figured it was more eco-friendly than tearing through a plastic compactor bag every time I wanted to take a trip. 

Ditched the stuff sacks except when they're needed for smaller items.

Anything I need ready access to I can keep in two pockets on the hip belt (or alongside the water bottles in the side pockets). I keep my tarp and stakes on the back side pocket as well. So, aside from toiletries, first aid, repair, and the cook kit - it sits loose in the pack.

Stuff sacks make sense for small items, but one stuff sack for one item is just math that doesn't add up for me anymore (or weight I don't want to carry).

Three days is the longest I can afford to be out at a time right now, so 35L is enough without being too much. Helps I'm not a picky eater and can get by on snack bars and freeze-dried meals. Although I will admit I've moved from MH onto MaryJanesFarm.

Will let y'all know how it works out for me!

December 22, 2014
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