View Full Version : Larger, lighter backpacks ?

05-15-2006, 09:48 AM
I've been looking at larger, lighter backpacks. (http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/LightPack.cfm)
I'm not an ultralighter, just making cuts where it makes sense. 3 season I think I can get down to around 25 pounds (including the pack) with a pack size of around 70-75 l., 4200 - 4600 cu. (full tent/fly, bag, pad, food, cooking, emergency gear, etc. require enough space)
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with any of these; GoLite Trek, Kelty Shadow, Osprey Ariel 75 or Osprey Aether 70 ?
Or any in the 3 to 4 lb, 70l range ? thanks.

05-15-2006, 10:18 AM
I love my new ems summit TL rucksack. with the foot high extendor flap, I could easily backpack. At beans outlet in concord, they have a similar osprey for about half price..looks even nicer. I think its around 80 bucks instead of 160.

05-15-2006, 11:22 AM
Osprey Aether 60. Go, buy one now. End of thread.

(Although I can't vouch for the new version, mine is a season or two old. Stop reading...go buy!)

05-15-2006, 11:41 AM
Chip - if you want a no frills, bombproof, lightweight pack in this range, try the Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone. It is extremely comfortable and lightweight (3 lbs). You can certainly load the extension collar up past 4,000 cu., but you need to be very organized, as it can be a challenge to fish things out of it. I use three or four silnylon stuff sacks, of different colors to work around this issue.

If you do get one, I strongly suggest getting a lid, which makes it more weatherproof and gives you an external pocket for small items: The Lid (http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/accessdetail.cfm/GG350)

I have a friend who has the Osprey Aether 60 and loves it, so here's another endorsement for that one, but it might be just a tad smaller than what you specified.


05-15-2006, 11:43 AM
Golite Trek is a nice option. I even use it in winter because it is easy to tie on snowshoes, crampons or a tent. The outside middle pocket is spacious, but netting and, therefore, not water resistant. It has a daisey chain down the middle, but be careful in lashing things to it if you need to get access to the mesh pocket during the day as you hike. The mesh has a large opening (zipper) and is a good place to stuff a wet tent fly or tent. The side compression straps are useful if you need to add a pocket to the outside or lash something, like a tent pole bag, to them. The top pocket can be removed if you do not need the space. The top pocket, however, also doubles as a cover for the top opening. If your pack is full, the collar cannot be rolled, so the opening might not be totally closed at the top with just the drawstring. The pack has plenty of volume for your needs. (I recently finished a 5 day hike using the Golite Jam Pack which is a smaller version or clone of the Gust. It was jammed packed when I started out, so the Trek would make packing easier with more room to spare) Also, I do not carry a tent in 3 seasons, using either tarp or hammock. The hip belt fits nicely, is slightly padded and adjusts easily with a buckle arrangement to keep the long loose ends from dangling.
The bottom material is a lightweight cordua which makes it tougher than the rest of the pack material and less worrisome about tears when you set it on the ground.
The sternum strap on the Jam Pack is elastic, the one on the Trek is just webbing. I rarely use either. They have the adjustment straps over the shoulder. It has an inner pocket for a water bottle and hose opening. In short, I am a fan of Golite packs. BTW I try not to add things to the outside of the pack including the sleeping pad, either a thremarest or z-rest. I do add a small pocket pouch attached to the hip belt for carrying gorp, and a camera case attached to a shoulder strap.

Tim Horn
05-15-2006, 12:00 PM
I'm an Ospery fan. With the new moldable hip-belt you really won't find a lighter, more comfortably fitting pack that will survive actual use. You only need the Aether 60 but if you like a little extra space by all means go up-size. The Aerial is the female type version of the same pack. My wife loves hers. A bit pricey but my original pack has 6 years on it and when I broke up the hip belt (last year)they made me a special one(Original style no longer made) overnight and shipped it 2day mail for free. I had it for my next weekend trip. They have me for life.

05-15-2006, 03:15 PM
The Ozone is my 4 season pack. By and far one of the most comfortable packs I own. The compression system is also one of the best I have used making it very easy to compress down for smaller loads. As mentioned above it is also 3 lbs which def puts it in the lightweight class.

05-15-2006, 03:59 PM
I know it's not on your list, but ULA is worth a look.
They just re-vamped their packs for 2006, I have the "older catalyst"
and absolutely love it!
Great customer service too!


05-15-2006, 04:16 PM
Trailbiscuit said it all. My Aether 60 is also several years old now and has been the best pack I've ever carried. I struggled with a slightly larger Gregory for a long time and was never comfortable with it. We tryed different hipbelts and adjusted it every way possible all to no avail. After a couple of seasons I'd pretty much resigned myself to thinking that this is how a pack fits and I shouldn't expect anything more.
In my never ending quest for lightness I started reading reviews , and after hearing good things on this board, I bought the Osprey. At just under 4000 cu. in. it may be a little small for some people, but I can get 4 days from it with no problem. My summer weight is between 25 and 30 lbs and this rides entirely on my hips, where it belongs. The Gregory would start out fine, but after a short distance would end up carrying down on my shoulders.
Again, very satisfied with this pack and wouldn't change a thing. At just over 3 lbs and with a true suspension, it works for me.


05-15-2006, 04:48 PM
Thanks Dave, Trailbiscuit and all. This is all good info. I bought an Osprey Switch 40 for winter day hikes, which I really like. I could cram a summer solo in there, but I often carry gear, food, whatever, for my boys too.
As I'm not an ultralighter and am pretty hard on my gear, I need something that's sturdy. I'd carry an extra 1/2 lb or lb if it was sturdier, which I think the Ospreys are. The Kelty Shadow looks like a good pack too, but nobody seems to be on that ship, so maybe it don't sail. :cool: thanks again everyone. Still open for suggestions.

05-15-2006, 05:55 PM
I went with the Kelty Shadow last year after a couple of years with the GoLite. I liked the GoLite but missed the extra support of a frame and a thicker hip belt.

I used it for a five day trip and loved it. I've gone through quite a few packs and this is the mos comfortable one I've used.

05-15-2006, 07:03 PM
Check out the Mountainsmith Specter. Light weight, strong material (spectra nylon), life time warranty, hold big loads (weight and volume), and as waterproof as they get. You can find them for around 1/2 the price that they were before they discontinued the mountain light line of packs.