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infinitempg

Backpack Decisions?

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infinitempg

New to the forums so if I sound like a newbie it's for good reason.  For the last several decades I have been an avid outdoors person.  My son got me to start training and running (5K's), I run +10 miles a week.  Bike around 25 miles every weekend hauling my camera gear on my back.  And hiking in the Florida mostly flatlands +15 mile isn't unusual but usually just in cooler weather, which isn't much down here.  A co-worker invited myself and my son to join he and his son hiking around the Bear Lake Trail area in the Rocky Mounts next year and my son wants us to do parts of the AT.  So I'm slowly starting to gear up.  One of the biggest things is my pack.  Looking are probably 2-3 day hikes, maybe more sometime but that's about it for now.  

Have been narrowing down the field and started focusing on the Gregory Zulu 55, Baltoro 65, Osprey Atmos AG 50 and 65 and the Osprey Aether Ag 60.  After reading enough reviews to make anyone's head spin I have pretty much settled on the Atmos because of the reviews of comfort.  Now I'm down to my bigger decision, the AG 50 or the AG 65.  I kind of feel like I'm asking myself if I want to stay light and pack the 50 tight, or add a little weight and size and pack the 65 loose.  Don't want to end up in that situation like not being able to repack your suitcase when returning home because stuff going back in isn't all nice and tightly packed as when it went in sitting on the couch in the living room.

I'm 5'-10", ~180lbs, torso around 19"-20" and hip circumference around 34".  From what I have read this falls on that fine line between medium and large but from what I have heard it's best to go medium.  Would try things out but no outdoors shops around that carry the Atmos AG's in stock.  

So I'm totally open for comments and suggestions and appreciate all,

Scott

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John B

Depends on whether you want to try to get just one pack to function for overnights and dayhikes?  I own an Osprey AG50 and love it.  I will use it for up to 2-3 days backpackpacking, but I have accumulated much smaller/lighter gear over the years.  If you are rebuilding your gear assortment, this could get expensive to use the AG50 for multiday trips.  It would do great with reasonable gear assortment for up to 2 night trips, and fine for day hikes.  Most reputable websites would let you return a pack that didn't fit properly, so maybe order a medium, see if that works, and if not return it.  I know REI is never a problem to do this (rei.com)

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Aaron

I think a lot will depend on the rest of your gear approach. If I’m in between pack sizes volume or torso wise for that matter I always size up. However, looking at the Osprey sizing chart looks like they suggest a small or medium on the low side and a medium or large on the high side in your case, so might start with medium if it were me.

My go-to pack is a ULA Circuit. With the lighter gear I tend to take I could definitely get away with a smaller pack on a summer overnight or short trip, but the capacity still works on week+ trips so it does it all. One can always allow their sleeping bag and other insulation to loft up inside the pack to take up extra space if desired.

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infinitempg

I bounced things around and after finding I can remove the top of the Osprey Atmos AG 65 and make is 56, it sounded like a no-brainer.  I know all too well from many different things from luggage to my kid's sports gear, after using gear it never packs back as tight and neat as when you packed it.  So I think erring on the side of caution is a good thing.  Sooooo, I broke down and bought a blue one, arrived today.  The mesh net in the back that actually keeps the pack completely off your back is incredible.  Going to try to fit it and get it broken in, the waist straps and pockets are pretty stiff.  

Thanks for the feedback and I'm sure I'll be bouncing back in quite a bit.  

Also, I bought some hiking poles.  Didn't go for anti-shock as I think the mushy feel when hiking wouldn't sit well with me.  I currently hike with a tall hiking stick I snagged in Cherokee, NC, about 25 years ago and I like the solid feel.  Went 7075 aluminum rather than carbon fiber as I'm tough on my toys and I don't think carbon fiber would take my abuse where aluminum can bend and ding and still hang in there (if not too bad).  EVA grips, too.  Have had cork grip things in the past and never seems to last.  The EVA looks like cork but to me is more comfortable.  Metal clip levers, too, not plastic.  Under $30, can't go wrong.   :O)  

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Aaron

Good to hear the capacity decision sounds like it worked itself out. What torso size did you end up with?

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infinitempg

Took my new Osprey Atmos AG 65 out for a test hike yesterday.  Loaded up some gear to bring the weight to 25lbs and headed to Myakka River State Park to tool around.  My planned 10 mile hike turned into 13 due to trails on my GPS (and on the park map) that didn't exist anymore.  Had to add about a mile of bushwhacking thru tall grass, thick palmettos in ankle deep swamp water but that's a tail for another time.  Once I got the straps set it was great support and comfortable even with the weight.  But about 45 minute my walk I heard something and then the torturous hell started.  Somewhere in the structure of the pack or framing, every step I took was this rather loud annoying SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, after a while it was like some cruel torture method.  Tried adjusting straps, adjusting the gear, and still SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK. Then poured some water in the framing and strap area and it stopped.... for about 5 minutes, then SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK again.  Wrapped scarfs around the metal wire frame sections I could access and seemed to stop for a few minutes, then SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK. It's very quiet out there and honestly that squeak totally destroyed any pleasure I would of had and had me pull my pack off a dozen times trying unsuccessfully to stop that friggin annoying SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK.  

So my question is, can I use silicone or something to spray around the frame areas or something to stop this?  Honestly, if I can't stop that squeak I would consider returning this pack as the last thing I want during a nice quiet hike in the wilderness is SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK.  Any and all help or suggestions would be greatly appreciate by myself and my sanity.  

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infinitempg

Contacted Osprey and decided best to send it back to them to fix.  Problem is this is a brand new pack and as far as I'm concerned it's defective.  They want me to pay shipping and this is a BIG package and will not be cheap.  Tempted to just return it to Amazon as defective, have them send me another and see if it's any better.  That would be free.  Not sure but don't feel right paying to send something back to be fixed that's brand new.  :wacko:

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Aaron

Hope you're able to get it sorted out! Would be interested to hear if they do have a fix for that. For shipping you might want to check out USPS Parcel Select which I've found to be pretty reasonable for larger and / or heavy items.

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infinitempg

I replied back to them telling them basically this was a new backpack and didn't feel I should have to cover shipping.  I got another "canned" reply with the same message again so once again I replied back asking them to "read" my email.  They then replied back with a very nice email and sent me a shipping label picking up the tab both ways.  Woo woo!  We had a box at work that fit perfectly (I had disposed of the big box it was shipped to us in).  So it should be arriving there today and sounds like we're going to be getting a brand new one back.... hopefully with the squeak resolved.  

I also asked about issues I was having closing the side pocket zippers on the belt section.  They open easy unzipping backwards but when trying to zip them back they just bunch up and I have to bend around and use two hands (while holding poles) to zip them back up.  They said they break in and get looser with use but they also recommended Gear Aid zipper lubricant which we ordered off Amazon this morning.  Really happy with Osprey, now to see if the squeak is gone.

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John B

I've always had good luck with Osprey packs.  Have used them for probably 20 years.  Only had one occasion to ship a pack back to them, and they took good care of me.  Glad to hear things worked out.

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