THE TERRAPLANE IS BACK

3:08 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
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I guess the old die-hards need to know about this one.  Mystery Ranch is bringing back the old Terraplane but it won't be the same Terraplane of old as it doesn't appear to have the same ArcFlex harness system and framing.


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See this here---

https://www.facebook.com/MysteryRanch

It seems they are discontinuing their G series packs although this is just a rumor.  The above Terraplane favors the G5000 although it is 23ozs lighter and bigger at 91.5 L vs the 81 L of the G5000.

The main question is---will Mystery Ranch have a "civilian" lighter weight load hauler in the 7000 cu in range?

3:20 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
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I have no idea about your question about the civilian pack, but do know these are great packs.

My x-wife has one of these that was originally made by Dana Designs in Bozeman MT.  We got that one and I got the arc-altitude flashpoint while we were in college in Bozeman.  Great packs!!

6:00 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
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i'm thinking my G6000 will last long enough that i don't need to run out and buy a spare.  i guess making the backpacks somewhat lighter is a concession to what most people want....

11:38 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
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I remember renting a terraplane for an overnighter to try it out. that was one heavy pack. its no wonder they are making it lighter... 

11:30 a.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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The pack is to way 5lbs, 15oz with medium belt and yoke.

Having said that, the MR Trance I had was overweight by 6 oz according to spec.  So was my Snap Dragon.

I suspect this is comfortably over 6 lbs in medium.

It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

2:01 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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If I needed an internal frame pack I'd look long and hard at the Terraplane.

2:27 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

The pack is to way 5lbs, 15oz with medium belt and yoke.

Having said that, the MR Trance I had was overweight by 6 oz according to spec.  So was my Snap Dragon.

I suspect this is comfortably over 6 lbs in medium.

It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Nothing has killed my G6000 MR and nothing has killed my old Dana Terraplane, and some of us aren't as concerned with empty pack weight within reason as some others.  To them it's all about weight and empty pack weight.  Danas and MR G's have been proven in 40 years of trips and testing---Paradox has not.  As for McHale, well, it's a much more involved process to get one than picking up the phone at MR to order and getting a pack in 5 days. 

I'm sure I'd be a die-hard fan of McHale had I went that route 10 years ago but he's not the only heavy hauler out there.  And remember, the dinosaurs flourished for 165 million years, the new fangled humans have been around for only 200,000 at most.  Which has the longest track record?

3:04 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi Walter said:

Family Guy said:

The pack is to way 5lbs, 15oz with medium belt and yoke.

Having said that, the MR Trance I had was overweight by 6 oz according to spec.  So was my Snap Dragon.

I suspect this is comfortably over 6 lbs in medium.

It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Nothing has killed my G6000 MR and nothing has killed my old Dana Terraplane, and some of us aren't as concerned with empty pack weight within reason as some others.  To them it's all about weight and empty pack weight.  Danas and MR G's have been proven in 40 years of trips and testing---Paradox has not.  As for McHale, well, it's a much more involved process to get one than picking up the phone at MR to order and getting a pack in 5 days. 

I'm sure I'd be a die-hard fan of McHale had I went that route 10 years ago but he's not the only heavy hauler out there.  And remember, the dinosaurs flourished for 165 million years, the new fangled humans have been around for only 200,000 at most.  Which has the longest track record?

 There is certainly room in the marketplace for another durable/heavy hauling pack.

But, just like dinosaurs evolved, so have packs.

It might be reasonable to say that there is room in the world for a dinosaur or two (Alligators & Crocodiles perhaps?) but there is not much room for them. 

I'm not saying this is a bad pack, in fact it looks like one sturdy pack that can last a lifetime. For those so inclined it looks like a good choice.  Maybe if I lived in rural Alaska and had to pack home my meat from the bush in my pack I'd choose something robust like that pack.  For recreational use, I'm just not inclined to purchase such a pack and I think many others probably feel the same way that Family Guy does when he looked at the specifications.

4:04 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi Walter said:

Family Guy said:

The pack is to way 5lbs, 15oz with medium belt and yoke.

Having said that, the MR Trance I had was overweight by 6 oz according to spec.  So was my Snap Dragon.

I suspect this is comfortably over 6 lbs in medium.

It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Nothing has killed my G6000 MR and nothing has killed my old Dana Terraplane, and some of us aren't as concerned with empty pack weight within reason as some others.  To them it's all about weight and empty pack weight.  Danas and MR G's have been proven in 40 years of trips and testing---Paradox has not.  As for McHale, well, it's a much more involved process to get one than picking up the phone at MR to order and getting a pack in 5 days. 

I'm sure I'd be a die-hard fan of McHale had I went that route 10 years ago but he's not the only heavy hauler out there.  And remember, the dinosaurs flourished for 165 million years, the new fangled humans have been around for only 200,000 at most.  Which has the longest track record?

 

Just because something has been around in design since the 1970's does not make it proven.  It makes it a 1970's design.  The newer fabrics that are available now, the superior suspension technologies, and better manufacturing processes means that we don't need a 6 plus pound pack to haul anything.  This isn't about carrying lightweight equipment either.  This is about doing better with less and it makes sense. 

I am also a little surprised that no one mentioned that this pack uses the same suspension as the G models.  I would suggest that there is an attempt to market based on the branded value that existed with the original Terraplane.  Where is the innovation?  Why does less innovation mean a higher retail cost? 

4:22 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy Quote---

"Just because something has been around in design since the 1970's does not make it proven."

This is a very strange quote.  "Just because something has been around in design AND USED since the 1970's does not make it proven."  What??  It most certainly does make it proven.

Like I said, this Terraplane favors the G5000 and apparently has the same harness system as the G series but is 23 oz lighter than the G5000---with a total weight of about 6 lbs.  Pretty good numbers for a pack hauling 80 lbs.  I won't upgrade since my G6000 won't let me as it's still kicking.

4:46 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi, even you don't USE your Terraplane any more. These packs aren't being used for 30 years consistently. They are sitting in closets collecting dust and hoping to find a home on Ebay.

Fossilized.

7:48 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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In case you hadn't noticed, that's a Terraplane on my back in my avatar. It has served me well everywhere from Alaska to Antarctica. I had an interesting conversation with Mr. G last week at the OR Show (conversations with him are always interesting).

Hmmmm..... I hadn't noticed until I just clicked on my avatar and enlarged it all the way that I had "snoticles" in that image. Oh, well. Happens a lot in Antarctica.

7:50 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S said:

In case you hadn't noticed, that's a Terraplane on my back in my avatar. I has served me well everywhere from Alaska to Antarctica. 

 

Which means what, exactly?  

7:54 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

Bill S said:

In case you hadn't noticed, that's a Terraplane on my back in my avatar. It has served me well everywhere from Alaska to Antarctica. 

 

Which means what, exactly? I have old gear too.  ; )

 Whatever you choose it to mean, exactly or approximately.

7:55 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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I am more impressed that you have been to Antarctica.

7:59 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

I am more impressed that you have been to Antarctica.

 Why? It's just a place on the planet. No big deal. I have been there more than once. But there are lots of places I have been more than once. So?

8:01 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy says old Dana's are sitting in closets?  Here are some Dana's in recent action---


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A guy's Dana Terraplane at Wildcat Falls in March 2011.


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Greg's Astralplane on the right, March 2006.


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Cranbrook School wilderness trip leader's Astralplane on the Nutbuster trail.


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Rob's Astralplane in November 2011.


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Here's an obsolete dino of a G6000 pack of Hoppin John's in March 2013.

These are just some of my random shots taken in an area which does not see many backpackers. 

9:01 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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a lot of theoretical discussion going on - what weighs more, what carries more, what's more comfortable, which has newer fabrics and "superior suspension technologies," whatever that means.  it will surprise few people on this forum that the notion of carrying stuff on your back more efficiently using stiff members to transmit weight to a hip belt is common in this industry and has been for a very, very long time.  

example: what do backpack makers today use to support the weight? they all use hip belts with some kind of foam - some have custom-formed hip belts you can heat up to match the contours of your hip bones. others prefer wider belts, others use articulated pieces of foam rather than one  piece.  but it's still, basically, all some kind of extruded polyethylene foam, covered with fabric so it won't rip or tear, strapped to your hips with a belt (or two) that clips shut.    

another example: what frames do backpack makers use to support a lot of weight?

mystery ranch: carbon fiber stays or frames (stays are the skinny rigid bars or tubes that run from the hipbelt up your back)

Gregory Denali Pro: twin 7075-T6 aluminium stays

McHale (the larger backpacks): twin 7075-T6 aluminium stays

Osprey Xenith: single 6061-T6 aluminum stay plus plastic frame sheet

Paradox: "extremely strong" 6061-T6 aluminium stays

Kifaru: "aircraft aluminium" stays

Arcteryx Altra: 6005-T6 aluminium bars

Answer - they all use pretty stiff, rigid materials for their frames.  arguing over different aluminium alloys is pointless.  7075-T6 has higher tensile and yield strength than 6061-T6....but 6061-T6 is a common material for high end aluminium bicycle frames that routinely transport human beings thousands of miles a year.  i'd say it is plenty strong.  Having carried large backpacks that use carbon and 7075-T6 frame stays, over long periods of time, i can tell you that they can both handle a lot of weight pretty well.  

setting aside the technology, the question of whether one backpack 'carries' better or is more comfortable is obviously subjective - some backpacks fit some people better than others.  

finally, we're not talking about massive differences in weight.  if you think that you're going to carry 80 pounds comfortably with a paradox or a mchale backpack that weighs less than 4.5 pounds, you're dreaming.  the standard McHale super critical mass II, the true load-carrying giant he makes, weighs 5 and a half or 6 pounds with standard fabrics.  You can save a mild amount of weight and increase the price substantially if you pay to have the entire shooting match made with spectra.   Mystery Ranch, you're looking at 6-8 pounds; the Gregory Denali Pro, around 8 pounds.  

if 6-8 pounds is a dinosaur and 4 1/2 - 6 pounds is a space shuttle, I'm afraid that I fail to see the point.  I say any one of these options is great, pick what you like, and enjoy being outside!

10:03 p.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
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Good job, Tipi. You found some people that carry Terraplanes.....wait, those aren't Terraplanes.

Andrew - some good points. But I like to think in percentages. If two packs will carry a specific load equally well but one pack is 33% lighter (a 4.5 lbs pack vs a 6 lbs pack), then the lighter one is the one to carry. Consider that if you apply that same logic to your entire load, it would mean carrying a 50 lb load vs an 80 lb load. Which scenario is more attractive to you?

Some other points. How does the frame align with the hip belt? How wide is the belt? How stiff is the padding for the belt, shoulder harness, and backpanel? How do the load lifters work? How tall is the frame?

This is one of the biggest issue with MR packs, with extends to their true load haulers like their Nice frame (and not the Guide frame) which actually can carry 80 lbs in comfort....their frames are too short. In fact, it was only this year that they will start to offer frame extensions for the Nice frame so the load lifters will actually work. Took them long enough!

Head over to 24 Hour Campfire to read a recent comparison test of packs that include the MR Nice frame for reference.

7:37 a.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Just feel the need to jump in for a second.

IMHO there is no best pack, as there is no best tent, stove, or any other equipment.

I carry an external frame pack. Why? It works best for me. In fact most my gear is heavier that it could be. I carry it because it works for me. Not because it is the newest, lightest, shiniest gear on the market today.

Reading reviews is good sport, but one has to remember. You can read 1000 cook books yet fail as a cook. 

10:18 a.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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As I see it the crux of the matter here is not about the Terraplane, or any specific piece of gear.

It is more about ideology, and that is fine if it stopped there - but it is easy for us to think that others who don't share our views do so out of ignorance or stubbornness.

That is certainly not always the case.

I give you a few examples of things I have heard / read over the years:

- Once you use a hammock you will never go back to a tent.

- Make the switch to UL gear and be enlightened.

- There is no need to carry a heavy pack.

- Alcohol stoves are the best stove option.

These things may be true for some people, but not for everyone.

I personally have a wide range of gear options, from traditional to UL.

I see a time and a place for all my gear to be utilized.

At times I really enjoy carrying a heavy pack! Am I insane? No.

I like the physical exertion, pushing myself, and proving I can still carry a heavy load. It is good for training and staying in good physical condition.

Some people simply enjoy it, they are not ignorant of lighter gear options, methods, or practices.

Sometimes I use a hammock, sometimes a tent, I have my own reasons for this - none are rooted in ignorance or a lack of trying new things.

Sometimes I wear light trail shoes and sometimes I wear heavy FGL boots, I also disagree with the notion that heavy boots always weigh you down or slow you down. For me it depends on the situation, there are times (terrain) when a sturdy boot with a good rocker actually speed me up.

Not everyone needs to be converted, they may have already been there and back.

Just my .02

 

10:46 a.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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I was hoping the title was referring to the Hudson Terraplane. :( Grandma has one rotting in her orchard I always wish I had the time, coin, knowledge, etc to restore it.

11:38 a.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy - in my opinion, it isn't realistic to say that carrying 25% less - 4.5 vs. 6, 60 vs. 80 - is equivalent in terms of how a hiker can handle it.   we are people, not machines.  I haven't carried 80 pounds in a long time and wouldn't enjoy it today.  The most I will usually carry is 55-60, and that would be for a few miles to an area suitable for base-camping in the winter.  

i can't speak to your experience with these backpacks or how they fit you, of course, or to the NICE frame that I have never used.  However, the frame on the large Mystery Ranch backpack I use, the G6000, is absolutely not too short for me (i'm 5 foot 9) or my brother in law, who is 6 foot 2.   the load lifters pull distinctly upward, at an angle that is at least 45 degrees but perhaps a little more. 

Likewise, I can't speak to the comfort level with a McHale backpack.  people who have them tend to love them.  i considered getting a middling sized McHale at one point, a Popcan or Chasm.  boiled down to dollars and convenience.  I ended up with a gregory baltoro 65 - deeply discounted and 'off the rack.'  a pound or two heavier, perhaps not exactly what I wanted in some ways, but very comfortable and durable - i like it a lot. 

all that said, there is absolutely no question that Mystery Ranch is not making every effort to minimize weight, and that if you're willing to pay, you can get a comparable McHale backpack that weighs a fair bit less, has a nice wide hip belt, and that can be customized in a number of ways that would be very appealing. 

12:01 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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For people who need an "expedition" pack for long unsupported trips in the 2-3 week range, Mystery Ranch is one of a small handful of companies you'd investigate.  The old Dana Designs were at the time used for long trips too and were popular and proven.

But it's hard for a person like me to try a lot of big packs---the Kifarus, the Gregory Denali Pros, the Paradox, the McHales and whatever else.  I find something that works and stick with it.  The old North Face BackMagic used to haul my big loads but it's a 1980 configuration and long dead in the dust bins of time.

The Kelty 50th Anniversary and the Kelty Ultra Tioga (look it up!) were tried with 80 lbs and balked quickly and ate up the hips.  The old Dana Terraplane worked well for me for many trips but then my trips started exceeding 15 days with more weight and the Dana starting sagging.  Ergo enter Mystery Ranch with a beefier harness and frame system.

I got the G6000 and VOILA the thing worked well with 80+ lbs and seemed like a dream at the end of a trip with 40 lbs.  Would I go the Paradox route?  Naw, if I need to lose a few lbs of pack weight with the MR I'll just leave off a couple books or a couple jars of peanut butter.  Why?  Because the G series packs have been proven by ME in "combat" conditions and tested and proven true---as if any piece of gear can be proven "true".  It's in my Circle of Trust.  Why dump a good thing?

What will I do if MR folds as a company?  Like I said, I'll probably be dead or will have quit hiking by the time my G pack falls apart.  Can this be said for the Paradox?  Has it been proven with 150 backpacking days a year at 75 lbs?  For 10 years?  The same pack?  We shall see, it's too early to tell.

And when I read some of the Paradox reviews, one guy said there is no frame sheet between your back and the stuff in your pack, requiring careful packing.  This is a non-starter for me as my food bags are directly behind me with plastic jars of peanut butter and honey and egg containers and all else.  I can't be bothered with things poking me in the back.  Heavy things.

End O' Sermon

6:34 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi,

I suspect a lot of the folks making derisive remarks about the Terraplane have never been in a situation where they had to carry a truly big load (e.g., several weeks worth of food in addition to your shelter, clothing, climbing gear, etc). They probably are not aware that Dana Designs, which made the Terraplane and Astralplane packs, was started and run for many years by Dana Gleason, who sold Dana Designs to K2 (a conglomerate that owns a bunch of outdoor companies, including Kelty). They kept producing a number of the Dana packs for several years, then dropped the "Dana" designations, and eventually all the Dana packs. Mr G was an adviser for a while, but did not like the direction they were going, hence started Mystery Ranch. As Tipi notes, if you are going on a long expedition where you have to carry really heavy loads, there are very few currently made packs that can handle such loads. Mystery Ranch is bringing back the Terraplane (with several significant modifications) because of demand from people like me. Although ... nowadays we have so much gear to haul (scientific research gear in particular) that we have had to resort to hiring local porters and pack animals (along with their arrieros). On the upper reaches of the mountains (above 4000 meters or so), we have to carry our own loads, often making multiple carries (the locals do not have the technical experience, though we are training them).

I do have a bit of experience with UL, though in the 1950s and 60s, we didn't call it that. I bought my first Kelty pack from Dick Kelty in his garage in Glendale, as I have recounted here many times. With your Kelty pack, Dick gave you a small booklet with the needed gear for a backpacking trip. Excluding food, fuel, and water, the total including the pack was 10 pounds. That was standard, though I see people here are calling that weight "ultralight" or "super ultralight". Suggested food weight was 2 pounds/person/day - and this was BEFORE freeze-dry was developed (one of my summer jobs in college was working for the sponsor of my scholarship on a project to develop and refine the freeze-dry process).

Although I never had the honor of meeting Colin Fletcher, like many of us climbing in Yosemite in the 1960s, I met Jardine in the 60s (most recent meeting was 2006 in Antarctica just after Ray and his wife completed the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole trek - UL in Antarctica is a bit heavier than doing the JMT, PCT, or AT). I also know and have had discussions with the 3 more modern authors mentioned in the Minnesota thread, one for many years. Their take on UL is a bit different than the way a lot of people represent their views (they all agree that "stupid-light" is just plain stupid)

There are some things I consider essential on any weekend backpack hike, snowshoe/ski backcountry trip, or expedition. One is a good quality camera. Sure, I do have a tiny camera (5 oz) that takes 12Mpixel images at high quality. But for some trips, I want the DSLR (full frame with at least the 24-120 zoom, weighs 4 pounds). I have carried it on month-long expeditions and produced wall-sized prints. Why would anyone set out on a Grand Adventure without a good-quality camera to record it?

On the month-long expeditions in the Alaska Range, Andes, or Antarctica, I want to be warm. I may not change clothes for the month (everyone smells the same after a few days, though you don't notice it in -40F/C conditions). But I have to carry that -40 sleeping bag, 8000meter parka, and overpants from the balmy 10°F valley up to the glaciers starting at 3500 meters, along with the climbing harness, plastic double boots, crampons, ice ax and ice tools, and my share of the 3-person expedition tent. Don't forget the food and fuel. One of the current Cuben packs is not going to carry that load comfortably, but a Terraplane or McHale pack will.

What it all comes down to is that you have to have gear that meets the requirements and demands of the outing you are embarking on. If I am heading out for a week or less in summer in the Sierra, Smokys, Rockies, or New England's Whites or Greens, my base pack (contained in one of my GoLite packs) is abt 10 pounds, plus food, fuel, water, and camera, usually totaling less than 20 pounds. In Antarctica or the Alaska Range, it is more like 100 pounds total (40 in the pack plus 60 in the sled).

I know that a couple of people here will say that I (and Tipi, Tom D, and others) are being condescending, elitist, talking down, etc etc etc. But all I am saying is that the idea of reducing your load to the essentials is not new. Sure, some of the modern materials are lighter and tougher. But if your outing has durability requirements, then a couple pounds added for high durability materials is negligible out of a 60-70 pound pack (3% or less)

7:19 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Personally I don't see Tipi, Bill, or Tom as elitist at all. I see them as realistic, with tons of knowledge and good advice.

For some speed is the reason for the hike. For others it is survival, and others like me it is comfort and peace of mind. I carry what I'm happy with. I've tried moving to UL with unpleasing results.

The right equipment for the right results. It is a balancing act of what is needed and what is wanted. I snack on apples and oranges while on the trail. Some say this is too weighty. I say its a perfect balance.  

Oh and BTW; - Alcohol stoves are the best stove option. LOL

8:08 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Bill, I think Dana started Mystery Ranch after his non-compete clause expired, not sure it had anything to do with direction or consulting frustration but I have no idea for sure.  Those "dana"/K2 packs were mostly branded with the Marmot name I think.  

 

I think Dana also had a pack company called Kletterworks (prob spelled wrong) that made handmade packs even before Dana Designs was founded.

 

Bottom line is the guy knows how to make some good packs.  I am guessing that there are a few people excited about the redesigned Terraplane.   

 

Bill S said:

They kept producing a number of the Dana packs for several years, then dropped the "Dana" designations, and eventually all the Dana packs. Mr G was an adviser for a while, but did not like the direction they were going, hence started Mystery Ranch.

8:15 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Bill

I wish you had posted part of the story About the kelty and how they gave you a book to keep your pack weight at 10 pounds..I actually remembered the story before from another thread 4 years ago..I just didn't want to rain on anybody's parade about Jardine. Like yourself I've had the oppertunity to talk to a few Writers and alot of Long Distance hikers to find whats Safe..I don't find you Or TOM or Tippi anywhere near Elitist..

9:30 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Jason,

I got the info about Mr. Gleason being frustrated with K2 with a bunch of details from Dana himself. Part of the story was that he was tired of making packs. You are right about there being a non-compete agreement (typical in takeovers, usually with time limits and other negotiated clauses - the non-compete was terminated in 2000). You are also right about the merger of the Dana line into the Marmot line (which was when K2 dropped the Dana names for the packs).

Dana founded Kletterwerks in 1975, then went through various arrangements and disarrangements to do Dana Designs in the mid-1980s (there was a company called Quest in there, too). 1995 was when K2 invested in Dana Designs (if "invested" is the right term). Kletterwerks has resurfaced under Dana's sons.

Oh, and I will be the first (probably followed quickly by Tipi, Tom, and a few others) to declare that I am far from knowing "everything." On the contrary, I learn something new every time I head into the woods and hills, or get reminded of something I had forgotten. I have learned a thing or two over the past 7+ decades wandering the hills, some through experience, and a lot through observing and listening to others - some young whippersnappers, some my elders (getting to be fewer and fewer of those, though). A piece of advice I was given years ago - "The day you do  not learn something new is the day you should go down to the neighborhood mortuary and turn yourself in." That's why I became a scientist - everytime you solve a puzzle, there are 10 more puzzles that present themselves to be solved. The challenge is always there.

9:42 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Indeed. Tipi has a lot of experience carrying heavy loads to camp, including tinned goods, hard cover books, and watermelon. But he has little experience in packing lighter - not once did I bring up UL backpacking yet it seems like an easy fallback for many of you. Given that, he would not be a good source of experience and information for that type of trekking.

What I am commenting on is the the new pack. It is a fall back to an existing design with little innovation. Dana, whom I have had the pleasure to meet twice, has not gone far enough with this pack and is relying on the brand value associated with nostalgia. It really is a shame.

9:44 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Just a comment about Kletterwerks....those are city or urban designed packs, horribly overpriced and targeting a much different market than hikers. Even the Rock Sack makes me sad.

10:35 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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THE TERRAPLANE looks to be a load hauler. Tippi  and Bill haul loads. No argument there. I would think that if they said that that 1 Lb doesn't matter on a pack made for this type of hauling you would think people would listen.

I for one, have no need, or desire to haul that big of a load. But if I did, I would ask them what was wise and unwise.

Likewise If I have questions on packing lighter I would ask a UL backpacker.

But like most here, I'm in the middle of the realm.

 

11:53 p.m. on January 30, 2014 (EST)
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Ever do any fishing? Yes this is about a backpack. A backpack that is a load hauler. That some people find interesting. I understand that you think it to heavy, not the right new lighter materials. Thats were the UL conversation started. They have pointed out that it has been time tested. You say Dinosaur. Are you catching a pattern here?

12:56 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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 Not once did I say the new Terraplane should be an UL pack. What I said is that it should not be, in essence, a rebadged G pack. MR had a big opportunity to make a lighter, better suspended pack and they didn't.

6:44 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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So Family Guy, What experiences have you had with the terraplane backpack? Really I want to know how it fit, hauled the loads for weeks, was it comfortable? How many years did you use it? Did you like the attention to details that MR put into it? Was it worth the price you paid? 

7:18 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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Shame this got off track.  Good discussion on something I'm looking for long range.  My current pack is good for a week or ten days tops.  Going on a longer trip but having to leave trail to resupply seems to defeat the purpose.  I'll never have to carry heavy equipment to the South Pole or an Alaskan mountain, but I'd like to be able to carry food for a month.  This seems like a pack that could handle that job.

7:35 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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I’m also looking for a big load hauler Lone Stranger. This was a timely topic for me. I’ll have a hard time justifying the expense since I so rarely get to do a long trip, but it would be nice to have the option. I unexpectedly have more vacation days in my new job and I plan on using them to the fullest so maybe I can rationalize the expense a little easier :). Also, Susan has agreed to try a long trip with me this year and if that comes to fruition I’ll need a little more space as I intend to carry everything for two.

Tipi,

I know you joked with me about adding a third food bag under my top lid when I did a week+ trip over Thanksgiving, but I actually did have some stuff I left behind because I couldn’t find a place to tie it on or stuff it in. I got aggravated and left it in the car after fussing with it all the way to the start of the trip. Those top lid straps were fully extended and banjo tight. Also, while I have a fair amount of space in that MR Trance, it starts sagging when you get over 50 pounds in it and that’s literally a drag.

Family Guy,

I appreciate the mention of Paradox as I had not heard of them before. They make some interesting looking products for sure.

8:26 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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I'm in a similar spot Patman in that I don't know when I'll be able to actually go for a month, but a big hauler will also come in handy on family trips.  The Tot turned 3 last month and we're looking forward to getting out on the trail this Summer with her.  Of course daddy will have to carry the lion's share of the load so I may be able to justify the expense sooner than expected.

Oh and if you find you have too much vacation time let me know and I'll start tempting you into heading north 8p

10:01 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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So Family Guy, What experiences have you had with the terraplane backpack? Really I want to know how it fit, hauled the loads for weeks, was it comfortable? How many years did you use it? Did you like the attention to details that MR put into it? Was it worth the price you paid? 

 

How obtuse. The Terraplane doesn't come out until the spring.

Recommendation: start at post #1 and work down. Every word, Mike. Not every third one.

10:27 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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@Bill.  That is pretty cool that you have spoken to Mr. Gleason personally. The Industrial and Management Engineering Dept. at MSU in Bozeman which I was part of used to do senior projects and facilities visits at the Dana Design manufacturing facility so I have always had a bit of an interest in DD.  It is also way cool that you had a pack made in Kelty's garage.  A little product/gear history there.  My DD pack has pretty much just been collecting dust in the closet last couple years but I think this thread has motivated me to pull it out and use it for my next trip and knock the dust off.  

10:52 a.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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"Family Guy,

I appreciate the mention of Paradox as I had not heard of them before. They make some interesting looking products for sure."

Indeed.  The interesting thing is the modularity.  You can add a varying bag volumes depending on trip.  You can also add a dry bag for pack rafting or really wet conditions.

 

"Also, while I have a fair amount of space in that MR Trance, it starts sagging when you get over 50 pounds in it and that’s literally a drag."

 

I found a similar issue with my Trance.  The harness is actually pretty solid but I think the issue is with the lumbar pad and where the belt attaches to the main bag.  At higher loads, I couldn't get it to 'stick' sufficiently and the belt sag was frustrating.  On the MR Dragon Slayer that I used there was an additional strap on each side of the belt that kept the belt stiffness right where it attached to the main bag - this helped tremendously with belt sag.  This appears to be a feature on their hunting packs.

11:11 p.m. on January 31, 2014 (EST)
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this topic has officially been beaten to death....by professor plum, in the conservatory, with a lead pipe. educational and mostly respectful, thankfully.  think about it, though - dana designs, McHale, Gregory - all backpack designs around since the late 80s or early 90s.  the only real innovation for these big boys is the use of lighter fabrics like spectra.  the real movement in this industry has easily been in the backpacks designed to carry 35 pounds or less, in my view. 

also, consider that AMC croo members tote 60 pounds and more up and down the white mountains - with wood and canvas packboards that don't even have hip belts.  a means one can replicate, with a good hip belt, with the relatively inexpensive kelty cache hauler or the more expensive mystery ranch NICE frame with a load sling (no need for load lifters) - each of which weighs a little more than five pounds.  hardly the most elegant solution, and rigid frames aren't great in the balance department, but they can carry a lot of weight.  and it's technology that has been around for a very long time.

 

 

 

8:30 a.m. on February 1, 2014 (EST)
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Andrew F's post reminds me of old guys with packboards---


6.jpg

Here's Norman Clyde with his packboard and around 90lbs.  Old School.

From---

http://the-great-silence.blogspot.com/2010/03/norman-clyde-exhibit-2-of-2.html


trains_hobos_008_med.jpg

Here's the old school Ultralight version.  Bindle stick.

From---

http://sinkorschwim.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/what-to-put-in-your-bindle/

2:19 p.m. on February 1, 2014 (EST)
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About half of Clyde's pack was books, most of them hardcover. I only met Clyde a couple times in the 1950s-60s. He was caretaker of Glacier Lodge at that time, in the Palisades region of the Sierra (my favorite part of the Sierra).

9:56 p.m. on February 1, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S said:

About half of Clyde's pack was books, most of them hardcover. I only met Clyde a couple times in the 1950s-60s. He was caretaker of Glacier Lodge at that time, in the Palisades region of the Sierra (my favorite part of the Sierra).

 That's cool.

When I carry a big load it is usually books and camera equipment, sometimes I'll carry multiple stoves / fuel to experiment with.

I have an old Kelty External frame and an ILBE Marine surplus pack designed by Arc'Teryx I use for big loads.

My other packs will not handle more than 50 - 60 lbs.

I would love to have an MR pack.

7:28 a.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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hmm, that old UL picture reminded me of that time a few years ago when a bear took my pack and I had to "bed roll" it off the mountain:

 

image.jpg

 

image.jpg

11:24 a.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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You are Hobo Approved and ready for Advanced Studies.

4:14 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi Walter said:

You are Hobo Approved and ready for Advanced Studies.

Haha, do the advanced studies include soup can cooking?

 

Pat - what kind of pack did the Ursa make off with? 

4:33 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S said:

About half of Clyde's pack was books, most of them hardcover. I only met Clyde a couple times in the 1950s-60s. He was caretaker of Glacier Lodge at that time, in the Palisades region of the Sierra (my favorite part of the Sierra).

 I still can't believe you had the good fortune to meet this guy.  He's an inspiration to me even though I don't have an ounce of climber's blood. 

I think he once said, to paraphrase, "When I get sick I put a little chair in a meadow next to a high mountain lake and stay put until I get well.  This is my hospital."  Or something like that.

4:38 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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trouthunter said:

Tipi Walter said:

You are Hobo Approved and ready for Advanced Studies.

Haha, do the advanced studies include soup can cooking?

 

Pat - what kind of pack did the Ursa make off with? 

 Soup Can Cooking can be attempted by some but for most it's a technique best left for those with more experience.  They teach it and other things at the Hallelujah I'm A Bum, Bum Again College of Advanced Dereliction (HIABBA-CAD) and I hold the Bindle Chair in Remarkable Soilage.

ANYWAY. . . . . .

9:22 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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leadbelly2550 said:

 think about it, though - dana designs, McHale, Gregory - all backpack designs around since the late 80s or early 90s.  the only real innovation for these big boys is the use of lighter fabrics like spectra.  the real movement in this industry has easily been in the backpacks designed to carry 35 pounds or less, in my view. 

 

 When you think about it, packs have evolved very little since about 1980.  By that time all the major suspension system pieces were in place, the only thing that really changed was a framesheet replacing internal stays.  All the other pieces of suspension systems were already in place; padded hipbelts, sternum straps, countoured shoulder straps, load lifters, hip stabilizers...  Anything since has been little more than subtle refinement.  Lighter fabrics exist now, soft packs are popular now, but they were also popular in the 1970's.  All of today's new features in packs is simply better marketing.

11:10 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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Right - but is your Rivendell Jensen a reproduction of the past or a modern interpretation of the past?  And...can the design be improved without straying too much from what it is: a large frameless pack?

11:27 p.m. on February 2, 2014 (EST)
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alan said:


 When you think about it, packs have evolved very little since about 1980.  By that time all the major suspension system pieces were in place, the only thing that really changed was a framesheet replacing internal stays.  All the other pieces of suspension systems were already in place; padded hipbelts, sternum straps, countoured shoulder straps, load lifters, hip stabilizers...  Anything since has been little more than subtle refinement.  Lighter fabrics exist now, soft packs are popular now, but they were also popular in the 1970's.  All of today's new features in packs is simply better marketing.

 I have the two volume book set HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL edited by James R. Hare, Rodale Press 1975.  In it there are some interesting pictures of people and their gear.  I hope I can include some of the scanned photos here as they show the light kits of almost 50 years ago and used by long trail thruhikers.


Allen-and-Gregory-1960.jpg

Here is Owen F Allen's kit from 1960, w/o food or water. (Photo by Owen F. Allen).


Andrew-Giger-1969.jpg

Here is Andrew Giger's pack from 1969. (Photo from Andrew J. Giger).


Jim-Shattuck-1966.jpg

Here is Jim Shattuck with his tent in 1966. (Photo by John Green).

What's the point?  These guys traveled light with functional gear.

12:02 p.m. on February 3, 2014 (EST)
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I own both a modern and a reproduction Jensen, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.  Can the design be improved upon?  Perhaps.  You can make it lighter by using a lighter fabric and webbing instead of leather for tie on patches.  Contoured shoulder straps might be a bit more comfortable.  In terms of the overall design there is little that can be done to make it carry better, those kinks were worked out a long time ago in the same way the kinks on internal frame packs were worked out a long time ago.

10:04 p.m. on February 12, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

Just a comment about Kletterwerks....those are city or urban designed packs, horribly overpriced and targeting a much different market than hikers. Even the Rock Sack makes me sad.

 Not exactly accurate.

For my comfort, durability, and use, I find the packs from the 90s to be the packs to use.  They'd fine-tuned the belts, stays, and sheets.  They were so close to perfection that in all truthfulness, the only direction they could go and offer "new" product was to peel away layers and head the direction of the UL.  The extra 2-3LBs is more than worth it, and the weight trade-off is of little consequence through performance.  I'm not carrying an additional, useless 3LB object plopped at the bottom of an UL pack.  Those extra pounds are at work and are of value.  I have several models from a few makers, and those are my everyday packs.  My favorite pack isn't a Dana Design, but it is clearly modeled after a Terraplane/Astralplane (no, I won't tell you what it is).  Not to be retro.  Not to be stubborn.  It's what I do and how I do it.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Give me a robust suspension system.  I don't care whether I'm carrying 30LBs or 80LBs.


I'm sorry to hear of the possibility of the G-line being discontinued, and while this Terraplane news is good news, I'm still left wondering, "Why?"  There is an endless supply of used Terraplanes on eBay on the various forums.  Will the Terraplane be more of a renamed G6000 than a Terraplane?  Seems like it.  Isn't the Terraplane a Terraplane because of the ArcFlex suspension system?  To me, it is.  This is more about marketing than about product.  It's understandable.  Eh.  If I refused to carry anything someone else already used and wanted full warranty etc, Mystery Ranch would be my first stop in shopping.  They make my kind of packs.

11:03 a.m. on February 13, 2014 (EST)
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One of my backpacking buddies just HAD to have a Terraplane when they were hot, years ago. He paid a fortune for it, and HATED it with every fiber of his being. The hipbelt rubbed him raw... it carried badly... and on top of it had a petroleum smell he couldn't get rid of. Finally sold it for half of what he paid for it. Bought a Osprey Crescent, and loves it.

12:28 p.m. on February 13, 2014 (EST)
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Zeno Marx said:

Family Guy said:

Just a comment about Kletterwerks....those are city or urban designed packs, horribly overpriced and targeting a much different market than hikers. Even the Rock Sack makes me sad.

 Not exactly accurate.

For my comfort, durability, and use, I find the packs from the 90s to be the packs to use.  They'd fine-tuned the belts, stays, and sheets.  They were so close to perfection that in all truthfulness, the only direction they could go and offer "new" product was to peel away layers and head the direction of the UL.  The extra 2-3LBs is more than worth it, and the weight trade-off is of little consequence through performance.  I'm not carrying an additional, useless 3LB object plopped at the bottom of an UL pack.  Those extra pounds are at work and are of value.  I have several models from a few makers, and those are my everyday packs.  My favorite pack isn't a Dana Design, but it is clearly modeled after a Terraplane/Astralplane (no, I won't tell you what it is).  Not to be retro.  Not to be stubborn.  It's what I do and how I do it.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Give me a robust suspension system.  I don't care whether I'm carrying 30LBs or 80LBs.


I'm sorry to hear of the possibility of the G-line being discontinued, and while this Terraplane news is good news, I'm still left wondering, "Why?"  There is an endless supply of used Terraplanes on eBay on the various forums.  Will the Terraplane be more of a renamed G6000 than a Terraplane?  Seems like it.  Isn't the Terraplane a Terraplane because of the ArcFlex suspension system?  To me, it is.  This is more about marketing than about product.  It's understandable.  Eh.  If I refused to carry anything someone else already used and wanted full warranty etc, Mystery Ranch would be my first stop in shopping.  They make my kind of packs.

 

Zeno - with respect to Kletterwerks, I was referring to the new iterations brought back by Dana Gleason's son (I believe).  The originals were great - the new versions are modern, uber expensive variations of them. 

http://www.kletterwerks.com/

 

4:32 p.m. on February 13, 2014 (EST)
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David Link said:

One of my backpacking buddies just HAD to have a Terraplane when they were hot, years ago. He paid a fortune for it, and HATED it with every fiber of his being. The hipbelt rubbed him raw... it carried badly... and on top of it had a petroleum smell he couldn't get rid of. Finally sold it for half of what he paid for it. Bought a Osprey Crescent, and loves it.

 Not that this was the case, but I think one of the lesser things about Dana Design was their retail education.  I've heard from more than a few people that because of incorrect sizing at the shop, the result was not liking how Dana Design packs carried (later finding out why).  The first time I carried a Terraplane I was given the wrong pack size.  Other than a custom job like McHale, Dana had more sizing options than anyone else.  That's only great if you are sized correctly for each element.  The ArcFlex series had 5 sizes of pack, 4 sizes of belt (and another 4 for women later on), and 3 sizes of shoulder harness.  Osprey was similar, but they were slightly more adjustable and could accommodate for minor poor fitting in the shop.

10:53 a.m. on February 14, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:


It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Who would it appeal to? Those of us dinosaurs that remember when things actually lasted more than a year or two because the manufacturer put quality first, over adhering to the latest & greatest fad.

1:24 p.m. on February 14, 2014 (EST)
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I wouldn't imagine the backpacking community is much of their market at this point, but if changing a name from G6000 to Terraplane to appeal to history and nostalgia of backpackers, why not?  The potential to gain a projection percentage point or two off a mere name change?  Easy enough.  MR is a military and hunter company.  Those guys aren't carrying 25LB packs and doing 30-mile days.  The average backpacker demands may have changed, but for those groups, the demands remain the same.  They still desire, and need, a tank of a pack.  They still need a pack with a full suspension system and a body of 500D cordura, and if they're going to pay $500-1000 for a pack, they want it to last a decade or more.  Does any of that make them a dinosaur?  I think not.

11:03 p.m. on February 14, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:


It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Who would it appeal to? Those of us dinosaurs that remember when things actually lasted more than a year or two because the manufacturer put quality first, over adhering to the latest & greatest fad.

 

Plenty of quality products exist that will out last you that are built well but that don't cling to outdated gear modalities. The reality is that the backpacking market has moved on, gear is lighter and more compact, and there are more people backpacking than ever before but doing short trips to meet demanding lives. There is a reason there are so many of these old designs and old packs for sale.

Whether you are a dinosaur, I cannot say. But the new Terraplane is.

12:30 a.m. on February 15, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

 and there are more people backpacking than ever before but doing short trips to meet demanding lives. There is a reason there are so many of these old designs and old packs for sale.

 They say this every few years...because it wouldn't serve their business and markets to say anything else.*  I've seen little evidence to back it up, but I'm the first to admit I'm more removed now than I have been in the past.  In the 90s, they claimed the same thing, but it appeared to me to be the truth.  Seemed like everyone I met had a $300 backpack, an MSR stove, and a water filter.  I knew very few people in the 80s with more than Boy Scout hand-me-downs, Colemans, and 12-person tents.  In the 90s, it seemed like everyone I met was either backpacking Europe or taking several trips a year to our national parks and monuments.  It was almost scary how much it seemed to become the everyday hobby of the people (it was only scary because the trails were taking a real beating, and the backcountry felt, and sometimes looked, like a parking lot).  Which is exactly why I think there is a steady flow of used gear from that period.  Some of the numbers Dana reported were staggering.  I almost couldn't believe them, but then I could.  And because the gear was overbuilt, a decade later, it looks like the day it was purchased.  The 90s was also the decade of excess.  People were buying stuff they might never use, but they needed to buy something with their fat wallets.  I'm more inclined to believe you see endless Terraplanes on eBay for these reasons more so than the gear is outdated.  It's certainly still useful and impressive in both design and build.

*The music industry says the same thing about the "explosive" sales in vinyl.  But there is a context to that.  They're selling more vinyl now than in 2000 because they weren't selling any vinyl in 2000.  The pressing plants are "busier than ever", but that is because there are only a handful of plants now, and in the 1980s-1990s, there were dozens of them.  They're selling all this vinyl, but I haven't walked into a house in several years that has a functioning turntable.  Whereas, in the 1970s-1990s, I was hardly in a home that didn't have a turntable.  The vinyl craze is contextualized industry propaganda. It's snakeoil.

10:38 p.m. on February 15, 2014 (EST)
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Family Guy said:

JerseyWreckDiver said:

Family Guy said:


It is from the age of the dinosaur and we know what happened to them.

Given there are load haulers that will carry more weight comfortably and weigh less (Mchale, Paradox, etc), who would this pack appeal to?

 Who would it appeal to? Those of us dinosaurs that remember when things actually lasted more than a year or two because the manufacturer put quality first, over adhering to the latest & greatest fad.

 

Plenty of quality products exist that will out last you that are built well but that don't cling to outdated gear modalities. The reality is that the backpacking market has moved on, gear is lighter and more compact, and there are more people backpacking than ever before but doing short trips to meet demanding lives. There is a reason there are so many of these old designs and old packs for sale.

Whether you are a dinosaur, I cannot say. But the new Terraplane is.

 Which of the gear modalities, exactly, has "moved on", in your opinion, of course? Is this anything like how wide ties had once "moved on" and only skinny ties were acceptable, to some people, at least until the skinny ties "moved on" and wide ties were the "only way to be"?

And, the backpacking market may or may not have "moved on", but I don't go into the backcountry with "the market" and as far as I'm concerned, the market-ers who wish we would all empty our wallets to replace our entire kits each and every year, can kiss my a$$. I don't fall in for fads. Never have & never will but I do find it interesting that a large percentage of the SAR retrievals are carrying out people with very little gear.

Why is there so much of that old gear on the used market now? Because it lasted through it's original owners and is still in great shape. Remember those early 2000's big rig style Dodge pickups that were all the rage? How many of them do you still see driving around out there? Even 6 or 7 years ago? Not many, if any at all, cause they were all stylish junk. Plenty of old Fords still cranking along...

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