5 forum posts
Hi, I'm presently trying to make up my mind about which pack to go with for a long trip I will be leaving for soon. I am on the fence about which extra large (90L- 120L/ ~5500- 8100cu) pack to go with in the low- mid price/ quality range.
After researching packs for the last few months - I came to the conclusion that the Kelty 50th Anniversary external frame pack (7200 cu edition) would probably be my ideal choice if I were able to find a used one on ebay or elsewhere- but I haven't been able to find any so far.
My next top choices were:
-2009 Kelty Red Cloud 6650cu (internal frame), around $140-$200, new (depending on sale prices)
-2009 Kelty Tioga 5500cu (external frame), around $115 -$190, new
Besides the Kelty bags, just about all of the extra large/ expedition sized packs that I searched through from the other reputable brand names - seemed to be out of my price range for what I am looking to spend.
I came across dozens of extra large packs offered by less well known companies, and usually at much, much cheaper prices, and having received decent reviews, but I just don’t know if I can trust some of them yet?
Most recently - I've been considering the massive packs offered by a company called "Cuscus", specifically their 8100cu /120L internal frame pack which sells for a comparably miniscule $49.95 (before shipping) and some dealers offer a free rain cover for that price, as well.
Their 6200cu is only $39.99, and it seems to be getting fairly good reviews (on Amazon, at least- even if it is a case of a "Wow, it was so cheap I'm just happy that it didn't malfunction within the first 5 minutes of use" type of psychological reaction/ effect with many of those positive reviews.)
My question is; how much of a difference will there likely be between the quality of, say, the Kelty 6650cu vs. these Cuscus packs? To what extent will it actually matter, as far as the chance of break down/ part failure - when dealing with packs that are below $200 to begin with?
I mean, I'd have to assume that if the Cuscus packs have lasted people entire trips without failing (as some reviews have mentioned), and, at the same time, I've read quite a few reviews of the Kelty 6650 mentioning straps break/ tear off, etc (just as can happen with any other bag given the right circumstances)...there must be certain aspects of these kinds of packs that offer little to no major quality differences between them?
I’m curious if the overall difference in quality is legitimately worth the extra $100-$150 in situations like this? (Given that they both use 600D polyester bag material - can the stitching and zipper quality really be all that much better or worse? Is not having front panel access going to bother me so much that I should spend more money to have it? Are the dimensional differences going to prove to be a “bigger” issue for me than I thought? ... These are the kinds of questions I’ve been asking myself.)
Comfort wise – the pictures don’t reveal enough to me to know if there would be that much of a difference between the two, other than the probable awkwardness of the extra pack width with the Cuscus 8100cu (23" vs the Kelty 6650's 18") when walking in tight/ crowded spaces (of course, buying packs over the internet without trying them on first to see how they fit -is always a crap shoot in that regard, anyway, no matter the cost/ quality.)
So, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with testing and comparing packs that span the quality/ price range of the ones mentioned above - and if so, did it turn out that there were significant differences between them as far as you could tell? Was the higher cost really worth it for the more expensive one, or will just about all packs around that $50- $200 price range risk failing/ tearing within, essentially the same, maximum load bearing limit- making the extra expense unnecessary, in the end, anyway?