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Thread: ultralight packs--need advice!

  1. #1
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    ultralight packs--need advice!

    have been looking into getting a new 3000-4000 cubic cm pack and would prefer a "lightweight" model, to be used for winter 4k dayhikes and 2-3 day backpacks. the waistbelts on many of the ultralight models seem flimsy or the packs don't seem to handle the same weight loads as "regular" packs. does anyone have suggestions on particular models? i have eliminated the golites.... any other suggestions? is it worthwhile to save 2-3 pounds?
    thanks in advance!
    R.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lumberzac's Avatar
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    In order for an ultralight pack to work comfortably, you need to reduce your pack weight below 30lbs, below 25lbs is ideal. Ultralight parks are not designed to carry higher loads than this. Doing so can result in damaging your park or even worse your back.

    I just purchased a Granite Gear Vapor Trail (to replace my Golite Race) this fall for just what you described. The pack weighs 2lbs empty, has a 3600ci capacity, and has a padded back and hipbelt. The back compression straps were big enough that I could strap my MSR snowshoes to it. So far Iíve only gotten to use it once since I bought it. It worked pretty well for me, but did find I missed having a floating top pocket (I plan on making one to hold extra gloves, hat, and goggles).
    http://www.granitegear.com/products/...il/index.shtml

    The best thing I can tell you is to try on as many different models (with a load) as possible and go with the on that fits best and has the features you want.

  3. #3
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    lightweight pack

    Three sites to check out:
    www.backpacking.net aka The Lightweight Backpacker-check the forums (Community). This site is all about lightweight and ultralight hiking and plenty of knowledgeable people post there. Post this question there and you'll get a lot of good suggestions.

    www.backpackgeartest.org - a good site with in depth tests of gear

    www.backpackinglight.com - this site is a subscription site, but a fair amount of the content is free-check out the gear guide and you'll see a big list of packs with pics, prices, etc.

    You are right. The ultralight packs won't carry more than about 25-30 lbs. comfortably from what I read from various reviews and posts. Granite Gear makes several light, but not ultralight packs that might be more what you want-the Nimbus Latitude has a pretty substantial belt on it. They also have a couple of packs that are fairly light and have lots of straps, etc. for carrying climbing gear.
    Last edited by TomD; 01-21-2006 at 01:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ecc's Avatar
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    EMS Spire

    My husband has an EMS Spire which he really likes. He has a bad back so comfort is essential for him. He keeps the weight down to under 20 lbs or so.
    The key is to go in the store and try a bunch of different packs. Keep them on for at least a half hour while you browse. Only then will you know if the pack is comfy.
    ecc

  5. #5
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    I plan to buy a pack from ULA ULA-Equipment. The reviews for the ULA packs are typically outstanding.

    I am currently leading toward the slightly heavier and larger Catalyst at 2 pounds, 11 ounces. It seems better suited for lashing on snowshoes for winter hikes and carrying heavier loads, which I occasionally require. The Circuit also seems to be a great pack at 2 pounds even. Still haven't made a final decision yet...

    I also agree on the Granite Gear packs. Have met so many people who like the Vapor Trail and Ozone Nimbus. Don't think you can go wrong with either one of those packs.

    Gregory also makes the lightweight G-Pack and Z-Pack that have a very good reputation.

    Personally, I think it is worthwhile to look for weight savings in backpacks. I'd rather carry less weight than have more features you might find in the heavier packs. I can live without them. I also think that lightweight packs can be pretty durable, too.

    If you decide to go with a smaller sized pack, you might run into space problems with a synthetic sleeping bag. If so, you might need to switch to a down one, which compresses very small (and typically weighs less).

    Good luck with your decision!
    Marty
    Last edited by marty; 01-21-2006 at 05:08 PM.
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  6. #6
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Runnynose, there is a sale for a used ULA P-2 pack on eBay. I would bid on it, but it is too short for my torso. You might want to check it out...
    ULA-P2 eBAY

    Regards,
    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  7. #7
    Senior Member ghassert's Avatar
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    Kelty Shadow

    While it doesn't qualify as an ultra light at 3lbs 10oz I really like this pack. I used a Golite for a couple of years, but for 5/6 days trips in the Whites in autumn I didn't like the way it carried 30lbs+.

    I carried about 35lbs in the Kelty last fall and it was very comfortable, excellent padding on the shoulder straps and belt for being light weight.

  8. #8
    Senior Member WildPeaks's Avatar
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    Seems like your getting good advice already.
    One thing you may want to do is get 2 different packs.

    I use a Talus 35 from REI for dayhikes year round. It's 2950 cu. in. and it has plenty of room for all my stuff. And I carry more than the avg. dayhiker. But even that weighs 3 lbs. - 14 oz. but it was the most comfortable & fit me too.

    Then I went to go backpacking again a couple of years ago and took out the old Gregory Snow Creek pack that held over 6000 cu. in. (great for winter 3 day trips as well) & said I've got to get a lighter pack. It weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz. So I searched high & low & guess what: I ended up with a Lowe Contour three - around 4500 cu. in. & 6 lbs. 10 oz. I was so dissapointed that I didn't shave off some lbs. But it came down to this: Every pack that was light weight, was not comfortable with 40 lbs. in it,........period!

    You have to go and try them on til you find the one/s that are comfortable on you with weight in them. Spend the time, even if it takes many trips. I tried on plenty that were on sale, etc. & had to just get the ones that fit my long torso & don't have a huge lumbar pad that irritate an old back surgery spot. It cost me a little more but the comfort is well worth it.

    Like ecc said: load it up and keep it on while you go browsing in the store for a while. Put it on & take it off multiple times as well. Also get someone in the store that knows how to adjust them. But you be the final judge!
    It's the one piece of gear that I'll go for comfort over weight.
    -Tom

    "Don't worry, we'll make it."
    "I don't think so, but we shall continue with style!"

  9. #9
    Senior Member HighHorse's Avatar
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    I've had very good luck with my Mountainsmith Ghost. I've used it on numerous overnights and I use it for most dayhikes as well. On a few of the overnighters I've carried 40-ish pounds, and it was adequate. It's straight-up comfy in the 20-25lb range. Not a lot of bells & whistles, one compartment. The pack was popular with thru-hikers a few years back. It's worth at least taking a look at.
    Things outside you are projections of what's inside you, and what's inside you is a projection of what's outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you're stepping into the labyrinth inside. Most definitely a risky business. -Murakami

  10. #10
    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lumberzac
    I just purchased a Granite Gear Vapor Trail (to replace my Golite Race) this fall for just what you described. The pack weighs 2lbs empty, has a 3600ci capacity, and has a padded back and hipbelt. The back compression straps were big enough that I could strap my MSR snowshoes to it. So far Iíve only gotten to use it once since I bought it. It worked pretty well for me, but did find I missed having a floating top pocket (I plan on making one to hold extra gloves, hat, and goggles).
    http://www.granitegear.com/products/...il/index.shtml.
    A strong second for this pack, which I've been using since this summer as an oversized daypack. It has served well this winter, too. You do have to think about weight very carefully when you pack it, and it might not be sufficient for multi-night overnights (depends upon how well you can distribute gear among other companions' packs). As with lumberzac, I also miss the top pocket, for the reasons he described.
    Dick

  11. #11
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    Actually, if you are trying to go ultralight the pack may not be the first place to start, as the gear must already be pretty light and small to fit an ultralight pack without overloading. I sewed Rodney Liwanag's LAB pack, see www.thru-hiker.com , the result weighing about 1 lb empty and accomodating gear and supplies for a 6 d January AT hike at 26 lb. Another option would be to search Ebay and hiker forums for a used Kelty Flight. This climbing pack is substantially larger, robust, and strips down to a 2 lb minimal mode intended for summit pushes, as well as a padded waistbelt internal frame mode which will carry 50 lb. That way you could learn ultralight bit by bit, starting with your present equipment.
    Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by runnynose
    have been looking into getting a new 3000-4000 cubic cm pack and would prefer a "lightweight" model, to be used for winter 4k dayhikes and 2-3 day backpacks. the waistbelts on many of the ultralight models seem flimsy or the packs don't seem to handle the same weight loads as "regular" packs. does anyone have suggestions on particular models? i have eliminated the golites.... any other suggestions? is it worthwhile to save 2-3 pounds?
    thanks in advance!
    R.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    I like my Go-Lite

    I tossed the dice on a Go-Lite day pack and came out a winner. It's the Jam I believe and it weighs a pound. The straps are flimsy because, as mentioned above, you carry a light load in it. Anyway, if need be I can carry all my winter gear, including crampons in the pack and my MSR's on the pack, lunch, winter jacket etc. etc. It has nice mesh pockets on the side too. The only thing I don't like is that it has no top flap pocket. You just pull the drawstring as tight as possible. I paid $60.00 I'm very satisfied.

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