Winter backpack

2:02 a.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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So yeah, this may sound a bit OCD but I need a winter pack that:

1. has at least 4,000 cu. in.

2. weighs less than 5 lbs.

3. has a decent sized sleeping bag compartment (I need it)

My 3 season Osprey EXOS is not large enough by any means.

My Dana Designs Terraplane, at 7.5 lbs., is way too heavy but works well for a winter bag. I'm selling it, BTW, along with two extra Dana side pockets, a rarity.

So, The Osprey Volt 75 seems to have all the boxes checked and trying it on at REI with a load if can be adjusted to fit very well. Feels goo after 30 minutes of walking around the store with it loaded.

Any other packs I should look at like Granite Gear? (Trying to stay below $250.)

Eric B.

9:55 a.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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I’ve only carried mine on 1 hike just to see how it felt (great) but the Osprey Aether AG 70 seems like it‘s pretty close to your criteria. You’ll definitely want to spend a lot of time getting it fitted in the store, there are 5 different harness and hipbelt sizes that you’ll want to be dead on for comfort. The hipbelt is also heat moldable, I believe at least some REI stores have the oven but the sales associate I dealt with said it’s not really necessary since the belt will mold itself to you relatively quickly. 

10:33 a.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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300,

Consider pulling a small sled or pulk for some of your winter gear. 

You can buy one cheaply and add a proper hauling system. 

Then you will not be so top heavy in the snow, and you won't have to buy an expensive pack that only gets used a few times a year.  I made one for my dog to pull. 

11:10 a.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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I’ve been thinking of a sled, too, partly so I could bring my 9lb TNF Mountain Tent (and a proper hammer for pounding in stakes LOL) instead of my smaller, lighter, and probably not as warm single-wall Marmot Hammer. Mainly, though, not sinking as deeply on my snowshoes would be nice. 

3:16 p.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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ppine & Phil,

I used to use a pulk in Pennsylvania, complete with a nice DIY harness and long hitch.  But here in Nevada, especially in the SpringMountains northwest of 'Vegas, it's just too steep to make it worthwhile.

Phil,

I'll look at the Ather AG when I go to REI today. The VOLT series have an adjustable hip belt and torso length so there is no "small, medium or large" packs offered, just different pack capacities and a "one harness adjusts to all" setup. Totally different than their other more custom fits. I'm very curious about it.

But what I really like about the VOLT is that 4.55 lbs. of the Volt 75. A large pack for not a lot of weight. Now If I can just drop some weight - say 20 lbs.! :o)

Eric B.

8:58 p.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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The steeper it gets the more I want a sledge. 

Skiing or snowshoeing in steep  country with a heavy pack is no fun at all. 

8:59 p.m. on February 9, 2019 (EST)
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delete

10:42 a.m. on February 10, 2019 (EST)
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Gregory baltoro 65 or 75.  Not light weight but ok.  osprey aether packs don't fit me well, but the aether 70 might work for you.  

12:08 p.m. on February 10, 2019 (EST)
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What exactly are the requirements for the "sleeping bag compartment"? Bottom entry? Fabric separator inside the pack? Or is it just that if there is a separate compartment for the sleeping bag that it has to be large enough?

What I'm getting at here are all the packs that have no separate compartment at all, which makes the "sleeping bag compartment" as big as it needs to be. Or is there something else going on for that requirement?

7:06 p.m. on February 10, 2019 (EST)
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ppine said:

The steeper it gets the more I want a sledge. 

Skiing or snowshoeing in steep  country with a heavy pack is no fun at all. 

I ski trek.  If I remain in the fall line steepness only becomes an issue when the pulk is trying to tug me back downhill, on inclines exceeding 20%.  But if I have to ascend a steep couloir a pulk is useless.  Likewise much of my mountain travel entails traversing steep slopes, which I found difficult to negotiate with a pulk.

Is there some technique I am missing?

Ed

8:50 p.m. on February 10, 2019 (EST)
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Stay off the fall line and traverse more.  Donnage in a sledge needs to be secured so it stays put.  The harness needs to be secure from the sledge to your waist belt.  I like to use two crossed pieces of Pvc with rope through them.  Then the sled does not run over me and stays a comfortable distance from my skis.  With a dog pulling a similar outfit I was free to make regular type tracks in fresh snow. 

10:07 a.m. on February 11, 2019 (EST)
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ppine said:

Stay off the fall line and traverse more.  Donnage in a sledge needs to be secured so it stays put.  The harness needs to be secure from the sledge to your waist belt.  I like to use two crossed pieces of Pvc with rope through them.  Then the sled does not run over me and stays a comfortable distance from my skis.  With a dog pulling a similar outfit I was free to make regular type tracks in fresh snow. 

My comments were concerning uphill and side hill travel, not downhill.  Even with crossed, rigid "reins" firmly attached at both ends, and rudders under the rear of the pulk, I find it wants to drift into the fall line on steep side slope traverses, especially on firm/hard snow surfaces.  Maybe my pulk needs a kneel?

Ed

11:50 a.m. on February 11, 2019 (EST)
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You need better snow.  A keel is a good idea. I usually carry about 20 pounds or maybe a little more in the sled which is pretty easy to manage. 

Hard snow is the worst.  That means a lot of freezing and melting conditions and transitional snow. It used to mean Klister.  I have found that carrying a winter pack on skis makes me very top heavy.  Traveling on transitional snow can mean lots of ice and and slush and corn snow depending on whether you are in the sun or the shade.  I fell on my face a few times, and then went to the sled and solved the problem.  I would much rather deal with the issue of the sled ia little sideways than doing another face plant.  The rigid harness makes all the difference.  Most people have never tried one. 

11:56 a.m. on February 11, 2019 (EST)
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I could use a side entry IF it were large enough.

Side entry actually seems more secure in case of a zipper failure but I do not trust a full side entry zipper that runs the length of the pack.

Been looking at some of the packs you gents recommended. Thanks for giving me more choices. 

'worry,

There are three things a pulk needs to be more manageable on the hills:

1. streamlined fins on the bottom of the pulk. (8" long and bolted to the back 3rd of the bottom.

2. a large aluminum hinge bolted to the back the pulk so it the pulk slides backward the hinge engages the snow like a brake.

3.X'd trace poles (with an O ring or paracord tie at the crossing point) rather than parallel poles so turns are much easier and the pulk will follow better.

But like you said, mountain terrain is no place for a pulk. It's flat &/or rolling terrain for pulks.

Eric B.

1:49 p.m. on May 4, 2019 (EDT)
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Still looking.

Gregory Zulu 65 looks good except for the big zippered front panel. It's a potential failure spot.

Deuter's Aircontact pack looks good for my purpose.

TNF Banchee  65 liter pack under 4 lbs. is OK

Like I said, still looking. 

Eric B.

11:04 p.m. on June 22, 2019 (EDT)
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UPDATE:

OK, I first bought an Osprey Atmos 65. took it home and put my -20 F. LL Bean sleeping bag in its compression stuff sack. Wouldn't fit in the Atmos sleeping bag compartment so back it went to REI the last day of the 20% anniversary sale.

I then got the Dueter 65+10 and my sleeping bag fit nicely so the Deuter it is. AT LAST!

Eric B.

12:34 a.m. on November 13, 2019 (EST)
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I think you got pretty much everything . As you said you have a winter pack:

has at least 4,000 cu. in.

weighs less than 5 lbs.

has a decent sized sleeping bag compartment (I need it)

So that is even great . I would like to add that you should try finding a new emergency sleeping bag that is very lightweight but keep you warm in very cold weather 

thanks

November 16, 2019
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