Recommend a new pack for me

9:43 p.m. on December 1, 2009 (EST)
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I am thinking about getting a new pack, and I would appreciate your input, since I don't have the opportunity to check many packs here in town. I am currently using a Jansport Carson (external frame) that I like, but I want to see what else is out there. This is also partially motivated by the fact that I will be doing some serious off trail routes next summer and external frame packs may not offer the best balance for that.

Here are my requirements:

1. It MUST have outstanding back ventilation. I don't hike well when I'm hot, and this is an absolute requirement.

2. It should be sub-4 lb.

3. It needs to have pockets (plural) with zippers.

4. It needs to be able to carry 35-40 lb comfortably (4000-4500 cu in works for me for weeklong trips).

5. It MUST be able to fit a bear canister, since I spend a lot of time in areas where they are required. For example, tonight I looked at an Osprey Atmos, which seems to fulfill all my requirements, except the only way to get a bear canister into it is to open the bottom of the pack and stuff it in that way.

A plus would be a detachable lid that doubles as a fanny pack for summits along the way.

So, what is out there? If REI carries it that would be a plus because I could use my dividend next spring to buy it.

10:14 p.m. on December 1, 2009 (EST)
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Lafuma, Osprey, Gregory and Low Alpine have packs with back ventilation. Because of this they carry poorly compared to comparative packs without the back ventilation. You always want the weight as close to your back as possible, not to mention the benefit of torso insulation when hiking in cool conditions. 40lbs in comfort with back ventilation? Good luck.

10:36 p.m. on December 1, 2009 (EST)
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I would suggest adjusting your hikes to match your physical requirements, as I suspect there really aren't any internal-frame packs with "outstanding" ventilation. They all hug your back, which guarantees heat, friction and sweat.

Heck, if you like your external, just dial back the severity of your off-trail trips and you save the cost of a whole new pack.

10:49 p.m. on December 1, 2009 (EST)
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Lafuma, Osprey, Gregory and Low Alpine have packs with back ventilation. Because of this they carry poorly compared to comparative packs without the back ventilation. You always want the weight as close to your back as possible, not to mention the benefit of torso insulation when hiking in cool conditions. 40lbs in comfort with back ventilation? Good luck.

Sorry CWF but saying the Ospreys carry poorly is only an opinion,and one that does not match my own experiance.I have climbed for nearly 40 years and yes my climbing packs are right against my back but when doing long distance,over 4 day trips,i always use my Aether 70 or my Kestral 38 and love them both.I find them very comfortable.So it is always unwise to think everyones experiance is the same as our own.Also not all of us find "comfortable"to mean the same thing nor reached by the same means.

11:15 p.m. on December 1, 2009 (EST)
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Lafuma, Osprey, Gregory and Low Alpine have packs with back ventilation. Because of this they carry poorly compared to comparative packs without the back ventilation. You always want the weight as close to your back as possible, not to mention the benefit of torso insulation when hiking in cool conditions. 40lbs in comfort with back ventilation? Good luck.

Sorry CWF but saying the Ospreys carry poorly is only an opinion,and one that does not match my own experiance.I have climbed for nearly 40 years and yes my climbing packs are right against my back but when doing long distance,over 4 day trips,i always use my Aether 70 or my Kestral 38 and love them both.I find them very comfortable.So it is always unwise to think everyones experiance is the same as our own.Also not all of us find "comfortable"to mean the same thing nor reached by the same means.

I thought this may cause issue - I should have named the lines. I was specifically referring to the Osprey Atmos / Exos and to some degree the Stratos. The Aether is an excellent pack but of course, no bowed or curved suspension. The Kestral also has minimal 'bowing.' Gregory Zpacks are of a similar nature to the Atmos, although they try to get around it with an aggressive lumbar pad.

I never said that packs (including the Osprey) with bowed or curved (away from the back) suspensions weren't comfortable. But they will not carry a 40lb load as well as a similar pack with a suspension that sucks the load against the back, thereby improving load stability and in most cases, load transfer.

12:17 a.m. on December 2, 2009 (EST)
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I came up with external frame packs back when they ruled. Lately of course I've tried a couple of internal frame packs. I like them fine, but seem to keep going back to the external frame. Habit? Preference? Something else? I don't know.

One thing I do know is, don't let anyone tell you that external frame backs are no good for bushwhacking. Do internal frame packs have advantages in this area? Yes. Does that mean it can't be done with external frames, or that it will be so hard you will wish you hadn't? No.

People actually bushwacked before internal frame packs became dominant. It is just a matter of adapting. If you like your Carson -- I like mine -- and if it meets the requirements that you set out in your post, then go with it. Especially as heat dispersal seems to be high priority.

But hey, if you just want to try something new, go for it. Me, I think the Gregory's with their "chimney" design do about as good a job of ventilating the back area as any. But I can't pretend to have tried a whole wide range of internal frames. I'm a hot hiker, though, and the Gregory works OK for me. Just putting it out there. REI carries Gregory, that's where I got mine.

10:33 p.m. on December 2, 2009 (EST)
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No problem CWF i did not see it as an issue but thought some one elses input would be good.Remember when the Lowes first came out?They were the pack to have for climbing,skiing etc.Metal buckles,sliders and all they opened up a whole new area for pack design.They are still popular in Europe and else were and i have heard they are trying to make new inroads into the USA but i no longer care for their gear.I also feel when we lump a whole brand name into a negative opinion,even though some of their gear is good,we are misleading the poster asking for complete info.ymmv

10:52 p.m. on December 2, 2009 (EST)
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CWF,

As I noted on another thread, my Osprey Aether fits me just fine. And I have carried 60 pound loads comfortably (carrying the full load of climbing gear several miles and a thousand feet of ascent or so to set up for climbing instruction classes). As the old acronym goes YMMV. You fit Gregory's fine, I find them uncomfortable no matter how much fiddling with the adjustments. I would not say this is an "issue". It is just that different people are shaped differently, and different packs are built differently. Same as with boots - ya gotta try different ones, preferably with the help of an experienced pack fitter who knows the particular pack, and take the one that fits. Yes, there are some basic principles of pack construction that work for everyone and some things that everyone should avoid. But the "devil is in the details", as they say. Pretty much all packs have shoulder straps and a bag , and for backpacking loads, most will find a hip belt more comfortable. And most will find loading the bag with the c.g. close to the back more comfortable. But details like the shape and spacing of the shoulder straps, shape of the waist belt, design of the bag (compartments, pockets, and such) weigh in on the ultimate choice, far more than what anyone else recommends.

12:00 a.m. on December 3, 2009 (EST)
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We are all on the same page here....I think. My comments tried to convey comparing 'like' packs but one has a curved suspension away from the back while the other doesn't. So again - all things being equal (which they never are).

Personally I am a hard fit and have to have a pack with an adjustable torso and preferably, interchangeable shoulder straps/harness. In any event, did anyone answer the OP's original question? I don't think I did!

Cheers guys.

10:53 p.m. on December 3, 2009 (EST)
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Yes they did.There is no one answer he needs to go and try many to see what works for him not me.All we can do is share what has worked for us and with that info just start his search.As bill stated every humans body is different shaped.ymmv

11:01 p.m. on December 3, 2009 (EST)
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Get yourself to a reputable backpacking shop that has a mutlitude of choices. In my area we have an REI and Campmor among several smaller specialty shops. I swear by my Osprey Atmos 65, but you might not feel comfortable with it. Like anything else in life, it's going to come down to what you feel comfortable with. Just be sure that it's the right size for your torso, that it is of good quality, and will do reasonably well what you expect it to do. It's amazing how much today's packs will carry and carry it comfortably. And last but not least, don't skimp and go for a cheaper made (although not neccessarily a lower-priced) pack. You don't want it popping rivets or tearing belts when you're in the middle of a 2000 ' ascent. Happy trails!

12:14 a.m. on December 4, 2009 (EST)
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Yes they did.There is no one answer he needs to go and try many to see what works for him not me.All we can do is share what has worked for us and with that info just start his search.As bill stated every humans body is different shaped.ymmv

No, actually 'they' didn't. He asked about specific requirements and all he got from you was a misinterpretation of my post.

9:15 a.m. on December 5, 2009 (EST)
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5:35 p.m. on December 5, 2009 (EST)
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Skimanjohn said:

Yes they did.There is no one answer he needs to go and try many to see what works for him not me.All we can do is share what has worked for us and with that info just start his search.As bill stated every humans body is different shaped.ymmv

No, actually 'they' didn't. He asked about specific requirements and all he got from you was a misinterpretation of my post.

Let it go grasshopper........

8:39 p.m. on December 5, 2009 (EST)
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Misinterpretation was not a part of my post CWF.Your post was very generalized all including Osprey,Lafuma,Gregory and Lowe.You did not select any specific styles or names.With the lack of detail you presented how would i know what your own interpretation of your post would be?This forum is not about rocket science or who is "right" or "wrong" but just a place for folks all over to share their own experiances with others pertaining to the great outdoors.I just had to add this post because i felt there were some lose ends that needed tied up.

12:10 a.m. on December 6, 2009 (EST)
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Well, to put this one to rest...today I was in Fresno for other reasons, and I took the opportunity to drop by REI to see what they had on hand. I had the personal attention of a pack fitter for a good half hour, and I tried packs from Deuter, Gregory, and Osprey. They had other brands available, but those packs all had zero back ventilation and I did not even try them.

The Deuter and Gregory Packs felt OK, but nothing to write home about. I liked the feel of the Osprey Atmos 65 much better (I put 30 lb in it and walked around and up and down the stairs). But the star of the show was the Osprey Exos 58; I had no idea that a loaded pack could carry so comfortably, especially one that has been optimized for low weight (2 lb 9 oz for the medium). I was very impressed. So for now I will have to check into durability reports of the two Osprey packs. Both would work well for me, and if the Exos 58 has decent durability (tough to tell since it hasn't been out that long) I will probably buy one.

12:12 a.m. on December 6, 2009 (EST)
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Skimanjohn said:

Yes they did.There is no one answer he needs to go and try many to see what works for him not me.All we can do is share what has worked for us and with that info just start his search.As bill stated every humans body is different shaped.ymmv

No, actually 'they' didn't. He asked about specific requirements and all he got from you was a misinterpretation of my post.

Let it go grasshopper........


Thanks for this.

1:54 a.m. on December 8, 2009 (EST)
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The skinny hip belt on the Exos 46 and 58 felt like they were going to cut me in two with 25#. The seem to work well for my skinny friends though. I'll never understand why those packs weren't built with swappable hip belts.

9:59 p.m. on December 20, 2009 (EST)
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I believe that Osprey, like any other reputable outdoor company, warranties their backpacks for life. That should be a pretty good indication of durability!

6:15 p.m. on December 21, 2009 (EST)
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I believe that Osprey, like any other reputable outdoor company, warranties their backpacks for life. That should be a pretty good indication of durability!

How so?

2:47 p.m. on December 22, 2009 (EST)
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Just to throw in my 2 cents here so take it for what its worth (my opinion) I have owned, tried, used etc and whatever a lot of packs internal, external frame etc over the years. So on that note there are many packs quality packs to chose from that will do what you want. It comes down to personal preference, comfort, fit and a few other things but those are the main ones. Out of all the packs I have used IMO the Kelty Beam 82 is by far the most versatile, comfortable, best fitting, breathable pack I have ever owned. It is a internal frame pack 5500ci pack http://www.trailspace.com/gear/kelty/beam-82/ I will say this it is listed as a internal frame pack but I feel it is more of a hybrid it has a full frame that is incorporated into the pack bag that makes it very sturdy and also reinforcements like Osprey packs do that give it the bet breathability I have ever seen. I normally carry 30 – 45 lbs and I have a old back injury so a good comfortable fit iv very important to me also I to use a bear canister quite a bit and am a heavy sweater year round so we will start there.

1) It is the most breathable I have ever owned or seen it has wicking shoulder straps that only come into contact with a small portion of you shoulder blade area, the waist belt is also wicking and very comfortable to ware. The rest of the backing is mesh that has excellent air flow.

2) It is a bit heaver at 6lbs but it is a worth while sacrifice.

3) I has 2 side pockets, 2 rear pocket and depending on what hood you use (it comes with 2 hoods) 1 or 2 pockets

4) As I said before I usually carry 30 – 45 lbs bit I have used this pack with a 45lb load once so far on a 15 mile hike and I had no issues. It is a 5500c pack but has compression straps the work very good I have used this pack as a daypack with no issues of gear moving around or rattling etc.

5) I carry a bear canister too sometimes and it fits just fine under the adjustable hood or inside the pack.

6) It has 2 hoods 1 detachable and 1 small one that stay connected and tucks away neatly. I have used mine as a fanny pack a couple of times but I think it works better as a sholder pack or as a tiny backpack.

Well there my 2 cents in my opinion I hope it helps you.

3:32 a.m. on January 14, 2010 (EST)
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I would suggest the Osprey Aether 60. I have one and I love the thing to death. It is by far the most comfortable pack I have ever worn. It carries 20 pounds like there's nothing on your back. When you put 40 pounds in it it's simply amazing how comfortable it is. It also has the ability to strap a bear canister on the back. I could keep saying good things about it but I guess I'll just say that for the past two years I have always come home from every trip thanking myself that I purchased it. Next to my Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 sleeping bag it is the best gear purchase that I have ever made. For the past two years it has done nothing but amaze me.


As far as Osprey's guarantee they call it the "Any pack. Any era" guarantee meaning that no matter what pack it is from whatever era if it's an Osprey they'll repair any fault or replace it with no questions asked. It might sound crazy and maybe it is but they honor it, not try to get out of it like a lot of companies I've dealt with. That being said, I've never had a single problem with my Aether so far.

10:21 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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I use a 2008 REI Cruise UL 60 and like it better than the new REI UL packs. If I were getting a new pack I'd go for an Osprey of some sort. Tried 'em and liked the comfort after 45 min of walking around REI's store W/30- 40 lbs. in different packs.

Eric

October 21, 2014
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