Design: internal frame
Max. Load Carried: 90+
Height of Owner: 6foot
Price Paid: $375
I have owned a 5800 pack for more than seven years, have owned several now. I have a 2003 model sitting in front of me. I am not one to write a review about any gear. But a buddy pointed out these two crappy reviews and I felt compelled to speak up. John Conner and the Anonymous person who are complaining about their shoulder straps are full of BS.
Their shoulder straps are not sewn into their packs at all. They are strapped in. The shoulder straps are built as one unit, both straps are built together as one piece. They have superman strength straps that are looped thru the frame and then BUCKLED onto the body of the pack. Meaning, you would have to manually unbuckle the strap from both sides, open the waist belt panel, unloop the straps from the frame and then have the shoulder straps come out or be loose. No other way for it to happen.
The piece of plastic they are referring to is a polycarbonate frame, unbreakable. Especially since it has two polycarbonate stays inserted into the frame. So while they may think it looks flimsy, they need to think again. There is no frame better made.
As for John Conner's comments about calling and not getting a real person on the phone. Who did you call, dude? Cause the owner of Vortex answers the phone as often as every employee he has. They are a small group of folks who are dedicated to building the best gear on the market and they pride themselves on being able to speak first hand to everyone who calls during their business hours.
As far as the returned pack that John Conner says he never heard anything about, this really is a load of BS. These guys will fix anything broken on their gear FOREVER, FOR FREE! They don't care of you intentianally threw your pack off the side of a cliff. Send it back to them and they will repair every tear for free, forever! So I'd guess that this guy has never tried to work with them.
And there have't been slanted water bottle holders on this pack for at least three years. My first one had them, but I NEVER had ANY trouble getting my water bottle or putting it back.
This is an expedition pack. I have used this pack and only this pack for numerous multi week hikes skiing in the backcountry. I've taken this pack on Vermont's long trail (end to end), throughout the southern Appalachians, all through northern California, most of northern Canada, etc. It has NEVER failed me, not once. Over the years, it has been beaten up, but Vortex has ALWAYS repaired it for me no questiosn asked. The only reason I have the new 2003 model now is that I finally wanted to treat myself to their newest model. I still have my original pack from seven years ago. It now carried my rock climbing gear for my girlfriend and I, effortessly.
If you are taking any real trips for more than 7 days, this is the pack you need.
Design: vortex internal
Height of Owner: 5.10
Price Paid: $300
Yo, I bought this pack (vortex 5800) and took it out for a week in the snow. I was carrying round 50 pds and I had read all the reviews about it. I CANNOT BELIEVE that the reviewers missed some of the basic flaws of this pack. For 1 look beneath the fold and look at what the shoulder straps are fastened to--a piece of plastic! And its single stitched! I tore my shoulder strap turning my pack over with ONE HAND. Thats how I found out about the inadequate stitching. A pack you buy at walmart using cotter pins has better support. Plus if you look at the piece of plastic the shoulder straps are single stitched onto you will find that its not secure. Hiking I found it had a tendancy to teeter back and forth making me walk like a pirate on the high seas. Plus--examine the joint that piece of plastic is sawing against! I had to and after one hike found its sawing away at that 1 inch stitch. I had to hike 25 miles out in the snow and ice with a blown shoulder strap--but used the adjustment straps to carry the weight. This is a real basic design flaw--and I CANNOT believe none of the reviews mentioned it. Additionally the slanted water bottle thing is all hype. Yes with some contortion you can get it out by yourself--but your still going to need help putting it back in. Look for yourself when you examine the pack. Follow the shoulder straps into back of the bag and check it out. This is not an expedition grade pack.
Design: top-loader with sleeping back zipper
Number of Pockets: 2 tube, 2 small hip
Max. Load Carried: 120ilb, but 60 regularly
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $258
I work at a wilderness therapy program in Colorado where as staff we spend 16 days a month in the field backpacking. And we are incredibly tough on gear! I went out on a limb and purchased a Vortex on the recommendation of a coworker without ever actually touching the pack. It was a nerve wracking experience! However, the folks at Vortex made it an excellent experience. I talked to several different people at Vortex on the phone during the purchase proccess and they gave me great hints on fitting the pack once I had it. They have even emailed me to ask how things are going now that I have it! Amazing customer service!
As for the pack it self, it is awsome! The suspension holds the 60 pound loads I routinely find myself carrying with no problems, and it has carried 120 pounds over short distances far better than I did! After over 90 field days of use, the only sign of wear is a small hole in one of the back pockets where I fell on a sharp stick.
My only complaints about the pack are minor. I wish the lid was a little bit bigger, when a full 95oz bladder is in it it can be difficult to fit in much more, and the two hip pockets, while they fit a 1 liter bottle, are a bit tight.
Overall though, my Vortex is incredible. The fit is superb and it is the most comfortable pack I have carried, including Osprey and Dana.
Size: 5800 ci
This is the only backpack a serious backpacker should have! I have been trying to find a comfortable, large capacity, internal frame pack for two years. I have tried all of the leading products (Arc'Teryx, Dana Design, Gregory, North Face, REI, etc.). I even purchased two highly recommended packs (Mountain Smith Specter 5500 -- 'Backpacker's Editor's Choice' and the Lowe Alpamayo 90) and wound up returning them after using them with 50+ lbs. I have a 17-18" torso and long legs and had almost given up on a comfortable, closely fitting backpack. But then came Vortex. I was so desperate that I actually traveled to Salt Lake City to be fitted at the Vortex design center. They really know their stuff. My wife and I were both fitted with 5800s and were ready to put them to the test in the Capitol Reef National Park of southern Utah. After three days of very strenuous backpacking, boulder scrambling, and desert traversing the Vortex packs proved their worth. In fact, these packs performed so great they proved twice their worth. The fit was amazing. We had no painful bruising or discomfort and attribute the success of a very strenuous trip to the phenomenal Vortex product. If you are serious about purchasing the ultimate backpack then look no further than Vortex – there is no other product designed as well nor guaranteed as well (truly unlimited and unconditional). If you would like detail then e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Number of Pockets: vortex 5800
Max. Load Carried: 50 pds
Height of Owner: 5.10
Price Paid: $300
Basic design flaw that I found out after 20 miles into a 45 mile trip. The shoulder straps are only single stitched into a piece of plastic. I tore my strap out with ONE HAND--I wasn't even wearing it. Then I noticed it see saws when you walk. Follow the strap beneath the covering and look yourself. And that piece of plastic is saws at the 1 inch of fabric piece that is all that keeps it from blowing out. Additionally the water bottle holder is over-rated--you can't really put it back yourself unless your a contortionist. I can't believe NOT 1 review that I read said anything about the shoulder straps only being secured by a single stitch. Any pack you could buy from walmart with an old cotter pin set up would be stronger. Allot of these reviews must be written by manufactures. I paid $300 for my 5800 and it blew out my FIRST TRIP. Plus I sent it in weeks ago with no word. I called and couldnt get a real person. I am with Katuah Earth First! and am constantly out in the field checking out timber sales. I was very disappointed. The pack also tends to swing back and forth and you have to be very careful how you pack it. I don't recommend this pack. I wonder if this will even get posted. I wasnt even carrying 50 pds. I feel ripped off.
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 50
Height of Owner: 6'0
Price Paid: $240
This is one, incredible pack. The first thing that caught my attention about this pack, was all of the positive feedback that I had read about it. Never once, did I read a bad review of the Vortex 5800. Once I purchased the pack, I was extremly impressed with the adjustability and the well padded back and hip belt. As well as the wonderfull padding, the pack is also constucted like a tank.
All of the materials are of top quality and carry a unconditional lifetime warrenty. This warrenty was one of the biggest reasons for purchasing the pack. Instead of carrying a lifetime warrenty like most other manufacturers, that only covers manufacturers defects, the Vortex warrenty covers everything, even you abusing the pack.
Another area I think is important is the fact that all Vortex packs are made in the US, in their factory in Utah. This is notable considering that other top brands (Like Dana) have moved operations outside of the states.
Design: Internal frame
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 58 Including pack weight
Height of Owner: 5'8"
Price Paid: $240 US sale - Reg $400
I was so impressed when I first tried a Vortex pack that I bought 7 of them for other people over internet auctions when I had the opportunity. For years I used an Osprey Shilloute (super pack - with Vector system there just is no more versatile pack. The Vortex 5800 (in my opinion) is styled much like the super Dana Terraplane. The Vortex, however, out-carries both of them with heavier loads. With the special high tech foams and the poly-carbonate stays, the best designed hip-belt, Kevlar stiching, this pack just carries better than anything else out there. (Haven't tried Mchales but just about everything else). I was really surprised that this little company in Utah could make a product like this. I bet the early Dana purchasers felt this way. And of course as has been highly publisized, there is abolutely no better gaurantee or customer service out there.
Max. Load Carried: 50 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'1"
Price Paid: n/a
I was a participant in a wilderness program in Utah and spent about nine weeks with and older model of this pack. The bottom line is that it mostly held up, Eventually one of the plastic back supports snapped right above the hip belt, it was still usable, but definitely broken. The zippers all left something to be desired, and the hip belt buckle has now given out completely, luckily that is an easy fix. BUT, it held up well all things considered.
I have owned several Vortex day and touring packs and have been very happy with them. The new 5800 (2004), however, is a POS. The tendency toward utilizing lightweight material resulted in something that came back from a weeklong canyoneering trip in shreds (literally). The suspension is great, no complaints, but I'd carry a durable 10-pound pack over this thing any day. For perspective, the pack this was meant to replace was a 12 year old Camp Trails, I spent about $125 on it, and it has been to hell and back. I retired it only because the zippers went bad.
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 95 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'0'
Price Paid: $400
After one year, 3000 miles, and ungodly amounts of weight (100-ish pounds on a 30-day Yukon trip) all I can say about this pack is "Ahhhh." There isn't a pack on the market that has held up as well for me as this. It was custom built in Utah to fit my 24.5" torso, and I haven't had so much as a tinge of pain since I put this on. All materials are bombproof, making the pack a bit heavier, but it has held up admirably. This is the only company I would ever recommend to anyone.
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 45lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Ok, I would have to say the most impresive thing about the Vortex is the suspension. It is just plain great. Everything is so soft and fits like a glove especially the hip-belt. The bag itself is so simple that it can't go wrong, and it itself is light. If you have ever worn a pack that hurt your back or hips I definitley recommend this pack, you won't regret it.
Where to Buy
The Vortex 5800 is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Vortex website.
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