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thoughts on a new backpack

I've had the same pack for about 8 years (9?) now and its been great. Just a basic REI Ridgeline model. Anyway, its still good shape and I don't really need a new pack, but I know equiptment evolves almost every year and I wonder what opinions are regarding weight - would it be worth getting a newer pack to shave some weight or do you think the difference vs price is negligible?


any suggestions for a new pack? in the 65+ size..

Hard to say. Just this past year I upgraded. But my old pack was 20yrs. So I did cut down on weight. I've seen very light backpacks out their but most of the super light weight ones seen a little flimsy. But high on price. I shipped around for 6 months. Good luck to you. And happy trails.

When your pack is among the heavier pieces of gear in your kit, it may offer the opportunity to cut significant weight.  But obviously this is circumstantial.  If I was just doing weekender trips, I would stash the cash for another day.  But if I were doing trips longer than a week I would jump to a new pack if I saved five pounds; even a two pound savings can be justified (money aside).

I still use gear from the 80s.  I do my share of weekend stuff, but also get two or three week-plus trips in annually.  A large Kelty external frame is my primary load hauler.   External frame packs are good for hauling heavy loads on trail.  I have no intentions of retiring this pack, as it is among the best of such packs.  My other big pack is a Wilderness Experience internal frame pack.  Internal frame packs are good for off-trail, mountaineering, ski trekking, and situations that require good balance and control.  My WE pack is heavy by today's standard, but it has been the most comfortable internal frame pack for me.  I must admit I am open to upgrading my WE heavy hauler, but the lighter weight packs I've touched didn't ride as well; and often the lightness came using fabrics that were not up to the task among rocks.


Only nine years old?  I have packs kicking around that are about twice as old.  Age doesn't count - it is all about suitability for the trips you take.  You might spend the money more effectively for a really good, lightweight sleeping bag, or a better pair of boots, maybe a really lightweight cook kit.

Gear offering change constantly,but change is not necessarily evolution.  Sometimes it is just a marketing fad.

I wouldn't change just to change, as others have said.  However, I did exactly what you are thinking of about a year ago as part of an overall strategy to reduce weight of the pack.  Over several years, I purchased everything else I wanted to replace first, then took the plunge on a pack (ULA Ohm).  I haven't regretted it since at just under 2 lbs. As to whether it is worth the price only you can decide "the value of the pound" as they say.

Just got back from a weekend trip with winterish weather, and some serious off-trail exploration.  This included scrambling through a thick mountain bog (don't ask - I don't know why I like to do stuff like that) with branches pounding and scraping on it for an hour and a half.  Not a mark on it...not the first time I have done that over the last year.  Is it its the best balance of weight and durability that I have found.

As far as recommendations, the larger cousin of the Ohm is the Catalyst which would be about the size you want.  Looks like one just got offered up for sale this morning on the forum...just be careful if you change out some other gear you may need something a bit smaller.  But then you can buy an Ohm as well!

of course, it depends.

if your current backpack serves your needs, is comfortable, and is in good shape, you certainly don't need to change it.  and saving weight would be a function of the kind of backpack you might consider instead, and how much weight you anticipate carrying.

 example: there are great 65 liter backpacks than can haul a load, 50 pounds or more, but they probably weigh the same or more as  your backpack (gregory baltoro, osprey atmos, arcteryx altra, mystery ranch sphinx are examples).  On the other hand, a larger backpack from ULA or Granite Gear might save you a few pounds in pack weight and still carry your gear comfortably.  You might also like some things that newer backpacks have in terms of pockets, hydration, suspension that weren't available or weren't as well-developed when you purchased your current backpack.  

my large backpack is ten years old.  in great shape, no need to replace it (note, i replaced the shoulder harness a few years ago).  it's heavy, but the comparable model today only weighs a half pound less than mine.  

MossBack said:

I've had the same pack for about 8 years (9?) now and its been great. Just a basic REI Ridgeline model. Anyway, its still good shape and I don't really need a new pack, but I know equiptment evolves almost every year and I wonder what opinions are regarding weight - would it be worth getting a newer pack to shave some weight or do you think the difference vs price is negligible?


any suggestions for a new pack? in the 65+ size..

 Packs and other backpacking/hiking/climbing gear are NOT electronics. While the basic rule for elecronics is:

"Go to the store. Compare widgets. Select widget after much perusing and demoing. Walk to the checkout counter. Pay exorbitant price (10x the price you paid for the one you already have and use). Walk to your car in the parking lot. Two new models have been announced at double the price you just paid."

Packs and other gear do NOT change (and definitely do not improve) by an order of magnitude every year, or even every decade.

As others have already posted - the question to ask is this:

1. inspect your old gear

2. Is it completely worn out OR is it still serviceable?

3. Does it do the job?

4. Sort your gear, put it in the pack, GET OUT THERE ON THE TRAIL!

Over the years, Barb and I have collected a dozen of almost every category of gear each - packs (some day packs, some weekend packs, packs in 3 categories (external frame Kelty heavy hauler, internal frame heavy hauler), backpacking stoves, tents (single person, 2 person, 3 person, summer with mesh, tarp, light winter, expedition used on Denali and Antarctica), skis (well, release bindings have indeed improved over the years, including the new designs of tele bindings), headlamps, ice tools, ropes (ropes do wear out fairly rapidly when using them on big walls and glaciers). Yes, boots and trail shoes do wear out (although footwear for hiking and backpacking has not really changed significantly over the years).

In short, unless your pack (and other gear) is REALLY worn out, keep using your same pack.

There have been some significant improvements in clothing to be used in severe weather conditions. But if it is 3-season, just wear your slightly worn business suit (seriously, a white business shirt and your business pants are just fine for thru-hiking the Muir, PCT, AT, etc).

Just for reference, we have been spending lots of time out there for well over a half century together and with our families 10+ years with our parents before we headed out alone.


No one can answer the value question for you; only you know if it's worth it.

That being said, I think highly of several major brands already mentioned. And if you want a new pack, heck, buy a new pack.




Your question is really vague and thus unanswerable without more info. Is it "worth it" to shave some amount of weight for some unknown cost? We can get that narrowed down if you tell us:

1) What are your typical and max loads (weight)?

2) What is the weight of your current pack?

3) What's your budget?

Knowing the kind of loads you want to carry will narrow down to certain pack choices and eliminate others. Knowing the current weight of your pack will determine how much weight you could save.

I've had an external frme Camp Trails backpack since 1990 which weighs about 6 1/2 lbs but now at my advancing age am thinking about upgrading plus my old pack was never very comfortable, just practical. I haven't gone backpacking in the last couple of years but in the past I 've typically have gone out for 3 or 4 days with a pack weight between 40 to 45 lbs. I hope now to get that weight down to around 30 lbs without too much sacrfice in comfort.

I've upgraded my sleeping bag and other gear but now want a lighter pack. I have an Osprey daypack and now considering a Osprey Exos 58 backpack which weighs under 3 lbs.  I'll be going to REI this spring to try it out along with some other packs.

Anyone have any experience with this pack or have other suggestions for a fairly light weight pack ?

I upgraded to an Osprey Atmos 65 last year and highly recommend it. It took me about a week on the trail to get all the adjustments right under weight. I found the pack to be extremely adjustable and damn comfortable. I guess i should get to writing some reviews as i worked out a lot of new gear last year and have plenty to say about a good amount of it.

I have an Atmos 50, used for 25 days on the JMT and 10 in the Wind Rivers as well as shorter jaunts. It's more comfortable than any other pack I have owned. On our trip in the Windies my wife and I were able to fit food for 10 days in bear cans and all needed camping gear in his and hers Atmos/Aura 5os, my starting weight at 46 lbs, hers 39. The held up under and carried those weights well. So I can join others in approving if not outright recommending an Atmos.

I think I am sticking with my old pack. it still works well for me, I don't do week-long treks, etc...I may still check some out but will stay with my tried and true. thanks for the input.

October 25, 2020
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