How many packs do you have and use?

6:18 p.m. on September 6, 2015 (EDT)
3,827 reviewer rep
1,444 forum posts

As I sit in the office/gear room on a Sunday afternoon I was interested in everyone's approach to pack selection for a trip (not buying but once you have them). With my chosen gear for an upcoming 4 day, 3 night trip selected, I have spent the last hour packing it into each of three (out of five various sized) packs to determine which will suit me best for this trip. Going with my old reliable but heavier 55L that I have used for years on weekends to weeks, dropping a couple of extra comfort items and squeezing into my 29L I use for overnights and family day trips, or using a 40L lighter but less comfortable than old reliable. Do you all do the same, or typically go with one pack for most uses (except extremely different trips) and compress it down when you don't need the space? Just wondering if I am in the minority on this and just love packs too much...

Note I left off pack brands and names to focus on technique rather than the pros and cons of different packs, which is a great topic but not my intention. Really wondering if I should sell off another pack to limit my was worse when I had more than five of them hanging in the closet. (I am not considering using my expedition or day packs for this trip).

7:06 p.m. on September 6, 2015 (EDT)
8,710 reviewer rep
1,467 forum posts

I have two primary packs I use, but they both are of similar capacity. For me the choice is between a modern internal frame and an old school external frame. They each carry loads very differently so terrain and duration are main considerations as to which I choose. If I have extra space I can always fill it with apples or cookies so I don't bother with a quiver full of various sized packs.

8:19 p.m. on September 6, 2015 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,377 forum posts

Two, a external frame 40 year old Jansport D3 and a internal frame Kelty Redwing. But I have not used either this summer. I used my Delta bicycle panniers for a trip to Grand Teton Nat Park this summer.

3:37 a.m. on September 7, 2015 (EDT)
1,994 reviewer rep
475 forum posts

I have a few packs, the ones that dont get used anymore I will give away to friends and coworkers when I move in a months time.

The ones I do use are:

20 L TNF Angstrom 20: day hikes, scrambling

35 L Mountain Hardwear Fluid 32: winter day hikes, summer/early fall overnighters

40 L Montane Torque 40: climbing and winter alpinism, overnight including scrambling/climbing, or 2-3 day trips

60 L Lightwave Wildtrek 60: winter backpacking, or spring/fall when taking lots of camera equipment

This combo works well for me. If anything I can argue that I dont really need the 35 L pack, but I like its layout, and I have owned it the longest, so perhaps there is a special attachment as I have taken it all over.

8:00 a.m. on September 7, 2015 (EDT)
2,017 reviewer rep
387 forum posts

This is another area where I really appreciate the benefits of ultralight backpacking. I basically have one backpack, a 52L Zpacks Arc Blast. Since my overall gear kit is ultra "light" it is also ultra "packable", so I've been fine using this pack for 10 days with a bear canister, yet it's also small and light enough to use for an overnighter. So it's the only pack I need for backpacking (3 season). It's an expensive pack but actually saves money in the long run compared to buying multiple packs in different sizes.

I also have an REI Flash 18 for dayhikes.

9:19 a.m. on September 7, 2015 (EDT)
6,906 reviewer rep
2,256 forum posts

without getting into brands.  note, these have been accumulated over several years.  choosing wisely, getting something durable, and taking care of them means they will be around for quite a while. 

-large backpack, 100 liters or so.  weights about 8 pounds.  will carry up to about 80 pounds comfortably. the winter trip backpack.  i used to use it for summer trips of a week or more, but i haven't been able to get that much free time in the summer in years.  built like a tank; it might outlast me. 

-pretty large backpack, about 65 liters.  weighs about 5 pounds. will carry 50 comfortably.  trips up to a week, cold weather day hikes if i have the kids with me, though they have gotten big enough to carry their own gear for the most part.

-4 in the 40-50 liter range.  two are similar - 45/50 liters, weigh about 3 pounds, steel wire/hdpe frame.  most comfortable with 35 pounds or less.  Weekends or longer day hikes where you need to carry stuff.  (one of those was a trailspace test pack).  one is a smaller version of the large backpack, weighs 4 1/2 pounds, HDPE frame.  my big daypack of choice, worn so often i had to replace the shoulder harness a few years ago.  better off with less than 30 pounds.  extremely comfortable to carry, bombproof, by far the oldest of these.  The last one is a minimalist rock sack, weighs about 2 pounds.  the only frame is a double-folded piece of closed cell foam.  some features that are designed for rock-climbing.  the choice for high-abuse situations like extended scrambling, hauling rope/rack/shoes, winter summits, and due to its narrow profile and simplicity, the bag of choice for cycling/commuting.

-a 36 liter pack i tested for trailspace, a hair over 2 pounds.  nylon hoop frame, which means not much of a frame at all.  very well ventilated.  can carry 20+ pounds in a pinch.  specialized features for winter, straps made for skis and snowshoes.  a day hiker with some space, or winter ski/snowshoe/summit pack.

-13 liter bladder carrier, frameless, weighs about 10 ounces.  foam with cut-throughs to enhance ventilation, separate compartment for a 3 liter water bladder.  good for day hikes where all you want is an extra t shirt and a way to carry water, snacks and a very few extras.  great for long bike rides in hot weather.  inexpensive, particularly because it came with a nice 3 liter bladder. 

4:48 p.m. on September 7, 2015 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,156 forum posts

How many do I have?  Lost count at 60.  I use various packs on trips, just depends on what I feel like at the time.  In three years, which will pass in the blink of an eye, I'll be an empty nest'r.  At that time I'll be able to get away on more weekend trips than now and widen out the pack rotation.

The collection is here.

1:38 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
3,173 reviewer rep
2,258 forum posts

alan, wow. just wow

4:56 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
3,827 reviewer rep
1,444 forum posts

My sentiments exactly...I am floored by your dedication/obsession. Makes me feel really good about not owning too many packs. I even use one for work instead of a briefcase...nothing works better.

I see others vary between similar range of selection and one or two packs.  If I reduced my selection, I am not sure I wouldn't miss the tinkering around I do before a trip to select the right one for the conditions and length. Part of the hobby to me.

5:00 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
100 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Modest, Gregory Massif, Gregory Baltoro 65, Serratus 60L. 

5:15 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
3,944 forum posts

I have two Kelty frame packs, a TNF day pack and a camo Kelty day pack for hunting. I just came in this morning from the hills. I have no idea how many liters they hold.

8:33 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
515 forum posts

Flip- I'll pack and repack just like you do especially when i'm stressed out but also cause you want everything to fit just right or you forgot one item and it will not make it in the one you just packed. I think sometimes I just pile up the stress and that make the trip all that much more rewarding. So yes I and I suspect a lot of us do the same things you talked about. Now as to your question I currently have 6 packs (just gave one to a buddy who is getting into packing to help him out.) I mostly use 2 an 80L or a 45L depending on if I'm going to be in a hammock or tent and if It is winter which it is just about a given that Im gonna use the 80 as It better allows for xtra clothing and food. I do have 2 0thers that I use when I'm with more than one other person since I wont have to carry all the weight one is a 60 that is very comfortable and well padded the other is a cheap price wise pack that is i'd guess 55L that has a lot of pockets on the outside and a built in rain cove( I call it my emergency hiking bag as it is always packed and ready to go at a moments notice plus its a great way to store your seconds) The other 2 are 40L( a never used value buy of a very high quality manufacturer which I've had for 3 year) and a 35L (which was an I can't get a permit to Mt. Lecounte  emergency purchase to day hike it with.  and I love it Just haven't been able to get my gear and provisions down to that level yet.  

8:38 p.m. on September 8, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
515 forum posts

oh by the way I plan on getting at least 2 more as I love them also and I generally have to outfit whom ever I take with me Plus 2 of every size makes perfect sense to me

11:11 a.m. on September 9, 2015 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,156 forum posts

In my case a little dose of OCD goes a long way.

12:56 p.m. on September 9, 2015 (EDT)
5,540 reviewer rep
610 forum posts

22L for dayhikes, 65L for multi-day hikes. That's it. 

For now, I'm just not filling the 65L when it doesn't need to be filled (e.g. small weekend trip). I hope to one day get something in the 45-50L range. 

6:14 p.m. on September 9, 2015 (EDT)
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

I have 6 packs but only use 3 for the most part.

I like to keep loaner gear, so I don't plan on getting rid of extra gear I don't currently use.

The packs I use:

I have two 75 liter packs that are the same brand & model, but different years with some noticeable changes by the manufacturer. A newer one and one that is 22 years old.

I also have a newer frameless ultralight pack that is 60 liters capacity but weight limited to around 30 lbs.

The two 75 liter packs are very compartmentalized which I like because it fits my personality, I use these for longer hikes, carrying bigger loads plus cameras, books etc. I like to use the newer one in the mountains, and the older one in wetlands because I don't mind it getting muddy as much as the newer one.

The frameless UL pack I like to use on weekend or three day trips, especially if I am hammock camping & just carrying a small camera.

10:36 a.m. on September 10, 2015 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
3,944 forum posts

I just had two friends visit from Florida, and put together enough equipment for 3 backpackers. Heading to Bend, Sun for a 4 day trip thru the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Spending time on  the stair climber is paying off.

1:40 a.m. on September 11, 2015 (EDT)
743 reviewer rep
1,432 forum posts

I'll have to think a moment about this...OK. I have two Kelty B4s, one a medium, one a large with a frame extension. Both vintage 1963 and purchased new. I have one Bergans external frame pack. Purchased new circa 1970. Two pockets and large enough for overnights and longer. A Millet Goliath circa 1976, internal frame climbing sack with detachable extra pockets and ski loops. A Millet Yosemite, circa 1984, also purchased new. Two Millet day sacks, one I bought new, the other I was given used. One nylon, one canvas. A MEC nylon day pack purchased several years ago, retro style(big top loader and a couple of pockets. Two Duluth No. 3s, one Duluth No. 4 and one Duluth Rambler. One Duluth No. 3 Cruiser Pack.  One Anishinabi pack basket with harness. One 60 liter blue barrel with a Beluga Harness with tump. Two 30 liter blue barrels with Beluga Harnesses. The musette bag my father carried in WW2. Does a wannigan count? I've carried mine many miles over the years, with a tump. I still use the large Kelty on occasion, but since most of my long trips are with a canoe, the No. 3 envelope packs and the No. 3 Cruiser get used a lot. As do the blue barrels and the wannigan. The Millet Yosemite gets used on ski trips and day hikes, as do the smaller Millets. The MEC also gets used sometimes for ski trips. The Duluth Rambler gets used on most canoe trips. The Duluth No. 4 box pack only got used is so big that once it is full, it doesn't stow well and is a beast to carry. The Goliath I keep for sentimental reasons and rarely use it anymore. Nice to see someone mention Rivendell and Eric Hardee. Don Jensen designed packs are a NW classic.

10:51 a.m. on September 11, 2015 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
673 forum posts

We have three packs each....but that's a little misleading.  We hike with our Go-Lite 50s.  WE have two smaller packs picked up at Walmart for our foreign adventures in Peru where we are hiking with guides and burros or porters.  Those also serve as loaner packs when we take other people along on a trip.


And we have a couple of our original Eureka 5500 packs that we used for years until we got the Go-Lites.  They hang around and get used from time to time be people who need a pack.



10:08 p.m. on December 6, 2015 (EST)
1,259 reviewer rep
31 forum posts

Packs are my weakness.  I'm embarrassed to say how many I have, but I can think of nine that are suitable for multi-day backpacking,....and then there are another half dozen that I would call 'day packs'.

I'm not even counting my old Boy Scout Yucca pack that I've had since I was 10.
That's the thing.  I take care of my gear so the old ones are still in good shape even as I think I've found the next new magic.  I have two original Dana Design packs from the early 90's that I no longer use.  Both are still as good as ever.  I just can't bring myself to get rid of them.

There are really only 5 backpacking packs that I still use. 
Two for winter, and the choice between those is determined by how cold I expect the weather to be or how wet I expect it to be.  One gets the nod when below freezing and carrying bulky clothes.  The other wins out when it's 34* and raining.
There are two I use in mild weather depending on type of trip.

Then there's the waxed canvas retro old school pack when I'm feeling traditional.  What I should do is rob a good hip belt off another pack and use it on the canvas pack.  Traditional doesn't mean I have to be a purist!   ;)

11:07 p.m. on December 6, 2015 (EST)
173 reviewer rep
391 forum posts

2 A London Bridge patrol pack (I may have the wrong model ) and a Blackhawk pack I forget what it's called? I'll be getting a Emblerstock once I get a long range rifle setup. 

9:54 a.m. on December 7, 2015 (EST)
447 reviewer rep
275 forum posts

I have ten. One is on long term loan and I'll likely never see it again unless it is on the trail in front of me, two I use frequently, the remainder I use lightly/occasionally.

3 of those are pack baskets.

11:38 a.m. on December 7, 2015 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
673 forum posts

We have a few.  We use a Go-lite 50 for our backpacking trips in the Sierra.  We have a couple of older Eureka 55L packs that we used for years.  Now they are loaners for the guests on our trips.

And we also have a couple of cheapie 35L packs that we've used in Peru, where we had trek support...


These days, if we're taking a serious dayhike, we'll take one of the latter, or the Go-Lite. 



12:43 p.m. on December 7, 2015 (EST)
447 reviewer rep
275 forum posts


10:43 p.m. on December 7, 2015 (EST)
3,377 reviewer rep
32 forum posts

I always have this idea that I should get a 65L pack so as to be able to go light but I always seem to fill my 85 even if I'm just going on a day trip! Luckily, I have 5 kids and they all have packs that I can "borrow" whenever the need arises.

9:45 a.m. on December 8, 2015 (EST)
100 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

I have a Serratus 30L? 'Guides' pack as well.

9:12 p.m. on December 9, 2015 (EST)
248 reviewer rep
36 forum posts

I have a small den area in my house that my friends and I refer to as my batcave. All my packs are hanging on hooks, and gear is either in totes or on hangers for organization. I can't seem to part with older gear, and it actually has come in useful when outfitting friends who want to try and get into the backcountry.

If I have to carry a bear canister (due to regulations) I end up using my Osprey Aether 70. It's a great pack and I can carry everything I need, plus the canister in the pack. When doing a weekend trip it ends up being too much space. At times I have taken the top part off to reduce space and weight. Overall it's a great pack and has served me well. The fact it was a gift, thus FREE!, makes it even better. 

If I don't need a bear canister, I tend to stick with my Osprey Statos 34. i have to really think about what to pack if it ends up being more than a 2 night trip when I use this pack. But the comfort level of the pack is great.Previously I used an older model North Face Terra 40. I switched to the Stratos because of the airspeed back panel. 

9:11 p.m. on December 17, 2015 (EST)
301 reviewer rep
142 forum posts

I pretty much live in a pack. Have 4 on the go. 1 - 45 Lt. TNF terra for work. 1 - 45 Lt. TNF 2003 patrol 45 for the backcountry, fishing , snowshoeing ext. 1 TNF 2003 patrol 45 for lending out. ( now you know what I think of this pack ) 1 MEC 20 LT. for leaving lunch in at the ski hill. 1 Deteur 45 Lt guide tour + for hanging on the wall. 

1:01 p.m. on January 25, 2016 (EST)
3,377 reviewer rep
32 forum posts

I use a big pack (85L) and use just the dome on day hikes. I've also thought about getting a smaller 40-60L pack but figure, my figure could use burning some extra calories hauling around a bigger pack... so I heft it. 

Also, I find that the older I get, the more outdoor stuff I accumulate in my gear room. I think it's not such a bad idea to get rid of a bunch of gear so you can live without clutter- even if it means sacrificing some specialized comforts like hauling around 2 extra pounds.

It's always nice to have the extra gear to lend out too but my aunt and grandmother were hoarders so I have this irrational fear that it could be in my genes. I try not to tempt fate.

1:23 p.m. on January 25, 2016 (EST)
77 reviewer rep
24 forum posts

I have 8 packs in total. I like to use them until I feel failure is approaching. However I only use 5, 1 for cycling, 1 for travel and 3 for hiking. I love backpacks, my wife says I am worse than a women with purses. I always look at them in the stores, but I get attached to my gear and have a hard time upgrading.

Hiking bags are

1- Mountain Hardware Fluid 18

I use this pack for short, close to home day hikes. It is small, well built and very comfortable

2- North Face Terra 40

This is my main day pack  if I am going on a hike for more than a few hours this is the one I use. It is an older pack, but made of thick material that seems to last forever. I can carry everything I need for a long day trip, and still have room for my bivi etc if I need it  

3- Arcteryx Bora 80

This pack is the most comfortable pack I have ever worn. I use it for any multi day trip regardless of duration. I have hiked for 14 days unsupplied out of this pack so there is plenty of room. I love it. I am not a light weight hiker, I carry whatever I want. My pack has weighed from 80 pounds with food and water to 40for a short trip. The Bora 80 handles it all. Carrying heavy has never bothered me, I like the luxury and safety it provides over ultra light hikers. However, I am also never in a hurry either. Most of my weight is food and water.

11:48 a.m. on January 26, 2016 (EST)
77 reviewer rep
24 forum posts

Garage sale said:

I have 8 packs in total.

 Change that to 10, I forgot about my North face Big shot, and my old Asolo day pack. 

6:06 p.m. on January 27, 2016 (EST)
447 reviewer rep
275 forum posts

I have one less, I gave an ALICE pack to my grandson

6:17 p.m. on February 22, 2016 (EST)
16 reviewer rep
4 forum posts


35L daypack

50L summer pack

70L Spring/Fall pack

I am in the northeast, so cold weather must be prepared for.

8:14 p.m. on February 22, 2016 (EST)
73 reviewer rep
50 forum posts

2) 35L day packs  internal

1) 65L pack internal my usual go to no matter what  Baught used

1) 65L internal loaner pack

1) 76L internal used couple of times now loaner

1) external fram 68L used from childhood till I was 22

thinking about turn one pack into bugout disaster bag to stay in back of my SUV

October 21, 2019
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Henry Worsley dies from dehydration and exhaustion.... Newer: San Diego County Seeking Remote Location
All forums: Older: Fry pan Newer: Hike pack help