485 forum posts
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.