User Review: Dana Design Astralplane
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 80 pounds
Height of Owner: 6'3"
Price Paid: $260
I am in love with this pack. It is the best thing since shelled peanuts. I have been backpacking for 39 years (one two week + trip and several extended weekend trips a year). This is by far the most comfortable pack I have ever used. It is huge! My 10-year old fits into it. My previous pack was a Lowe Alpine @ 17-years-old. I thought that was relatively comfortable until now.
The Astralplane's weaknesses for me are it does not have enough small pockets. I could not get it to compress well with the small load at the end of our last trip and the pack looks a little funny, but then so do I. The pack is a little heavy. Lots of scary straps (more on this later). These are extremely minor compared to the benefits.
On the positive side. The pack is HUGE. You can carry everything including the kitchen sink. And all this in total comfort. The scary straps...are amazing. I didn't have quite as many on my Lowe but close. The difference is every single one on the Astralplane WORKS. If you follow the directions in the owners manual you will have no problems. Basically loosen all straps before you load the pack and tighten when finished. You can actually see all 9 (I think) straps do what they are supposed to do (unlike the Lowe). I love the internal strap which also gives you a little head room. They all work very well with a full load. The adjustment straps for all the belts work even better than the compression straps. I think there are 8. Every little tightening or loosening is felt immediately. I have never experienced such control or such comfort. I have a long torso and the hip belt adjusts easily and has a lot of possible mobility for different sized people. I can not say enough about the comfort of this pack.
Take your time and read the owners manual. Take your time adjusting all the straps. If it doesn't feel good make adjustments. It usually took me about 5 minutes hiking to adjust the pack so I barely felt it with 70 pounds.
I have carried 80 with it on some practice hikes before our latest 13 day trip. I can't wait 'till the next one.
I was happy to get it at a discount but would gladly pay full price for all that comfort I thought was impossible.