Good JanSport pack for starting out

12:31 a.m. on June 9, 2007 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

I've been thinking about backpacking overnight for a while and I would like to buy a sturdy pack that will hold all of my gear, but won't look extremely bulky on my back (5'7 and 1/2; 16 torso; 32 inch waist). I have been using JanSport backpacks for a while for school and I trust the brand because it is so sturdy. I've looked at several different packs on this site and others and these are the ones that I've been thinking about:

Klamath II Pack ($69.93; closeout on REI-Outlet).

Odyssey 38. This is my regular backpack for school. It has the water bottle pockets, point clips on the front, and ice axe loop including hydration pocket. Problem with the hydration pocket is that it makes the frame bulge against my back.

Big Bear ($99 at Sports Authority).

Rockies (used on ebay; prices vary).

Have any of you used these packs? If so, which do think is the best for a beginner?

Thank you in advance.

4:04 p.m. on June 9, 2007 (EDT)
14 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

Just sent you an email... JS are OK for starters... you really don't need to spend $300 for your first pack. I still have my Olympic external and it looks brand new (and wears like it!). I've found Kelty to be heavier but more comfortable than I expected...

Keep hunting around E-bay you'll see some fantastic deals.

2:19 p.m. on June 10, 2007 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
2 forum posts

I have the Klamath II. In fact, I just did my first pack review on it. I can tell you that your torso size is probably a little too short for this bag. The size range is rated from 17 1/2". I recently tried a Kelty pack from Gander Mountain, but the torso was too short. The model was the Kelty Comanche 4600. It retails for about $90. I really like the pack from what I saw of it and would recommend checking it out. Have fun.

5:46 p.m. on June 10, 2007 (EDT)
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I've tried on Kelty bags before. The back is too stiff for me. Last I checked, the Klamath had an adjustable torso size and came in regular. I may be wrong.

10:29 p.m. on June 11, 2007 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

I have the regular, but I could swear that the smallest torso size started at 17". I'm an 18.5" and it fits me in the middle of its adjustment ladder. I'm no expert though, and you could very well be correct.

1:01 a.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
102 forum posts

About a year ago my friend got a JanSport ultralight alpine pack very cheaply on sale at Campmor on Rt 17 in New Jersey. I think it was in the $50 range -- a very good price for a nice light piece of gear.

But to be picky, I found it a little cheezey compared with Mountain Equipment Co-op stuff in only slightly higher standard price range (Brio line). Neither company, of course, makes the best alpine packs. Jan Sport might be among best brands for external frames these days, but I don't actually know or even actually care. I became fossilized in about 1999 and sold my Kelty in about 1980...I never owned, nor even wanted much, an Adirondack Pack Basket.


June 21, 2018
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