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Like many others I’ve noticed on this forum, I’ve been backpacking for quite a while with an external frame pack (Kelty Trekker 3900). I bought my Kelty pack for a spur of the moment trip; my primary criteria at the time was that the store was open after I got off work and the guy said it was a good pack. I knew nothing about packing / trekking when I bought it (not that I’m particularly knowledgeable now….)
So now after many years, miles and enjoyment I’ve decided to try an internal frame pack for various reasons. The primary reason is that I’ve begun to really enjoy off-trail exploits and the Trekker will go out of it’s way to snag a branch and make me look more comical than I do normally.
I’m not really a gear head and have found myself overwhelmed with all the choices.
I thought I wanted to get a lighter pack (existing pack is 5.8 lbs empty), but all the lighter packs I’ve tried just don’t seem to have good support in regards to transferring the load to the hip region. I’ve tried the Osprey Atmos 50 (was able to take it for a 15 mile day hike, total weight about 32 lbs) and had a miserable/painful experience with it. I heavily considered a Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 which I liked very much but found just too hard to pack (despite a supposed volume of 60 liters, it did not easily hold the same stuff that the Atmos did).
So at this point I’m looking at the Gregory Baltoro 70, Osprey Aether 70, and the Kelty Lakota 65. Sorry for the long intro…
The Lakoata seems to fit pretty well but when I lean forward past a certain point the single stay presses into my back. Can this stay be bent to prevent that? If so, by who? I’m not very mechanically inclined but can follow instructions.
On the Aether, I like the features of the pack, but the back panel seems pretty uncomfortable. How long does the materiel take to conform to your back?
I kinda liked the ULA Catalyst (at least it’s light weight) but again the back panel seemed so very rigid that it’s hard to imagine how that could ever be comfortable.
I would welcome any thoughts on these topics.