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Sizes of hiking packs!


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Hey everyone,

I'm new to this forum as well as to backpacking, in general. My boyfriend and I would like to start doing weekend/overnight trips.

Each of us purchased a 38 liter Gregory pack. (The Savant and the Jade) We also have a Marmot Limelight 3p, a Thermarest pad each, and will eventually get the most compressible sleeping bags we can.

How does everything feel about this gear? Will we be able to fit everything we need for overnights? Like I said, we're new at this and I would love ANY kinds of tips/advice!!



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What I learned..and of course didn't do..is to get the gear first..and the pack last so you are sure it will all fit.

But Gregory makes a nice pack.

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I use a 28 liter Deuter for day hikes, and bump that up to a 55/65 liter pack for weekends or hikes up to about 4-5 days. Your 38 liter is somewhere in the middle. The rule is that you will fill your pack to the top, whatever size it is, so if the pack is too big, you'll wind up carrying a lot of stuff you don't need!

If you're going a long way, you might find the 3p tent to be a bit heavy, but there's no question it's a decent tent. When you're lugging a 40 lb pack, you find yourself wanting to trim down every ounce you can, and 2p tents will weigh less. There are people who wind up cutting the tags out of their clothes just to reduce their pack weight!

Therm-A-Rest makes a number of different pads. I have the NeoAir, which is one of the lightest available, and quite comfortable. You'll want to pay attention to temperature ratings, but you've made a good start.

As for sleeping bags, a down bag is the warmest, ounce for ounce, and the most compressible, but they are worthless if they get wet. Synthetics still provide some insulation if they get wet, but they aren't as compressible, and they weigh more than a down bag. You might want to consider some of the new waterproof down bags, but they are more expensive.

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Thanks for the tips!

Yeah, I went with the 38 liter because I thought maybe it would be just enough for an overnight, but not big enough that we'd be tempted to bring more than we need?

Peter, I was going to go with a 2p, but 3p was about as small as we were willing to go between two full grown adults and 2 medium sized dogs!

Hoping we can squeeze it all in! :)

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As TollerMom stated the best approach is to get the pack to fit your gear and not the gear to fit your pack. Gregory makes a decent rig if it fits ya. The thing about the various pack manufacturers out there is that the designs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer in regards to geometry.

Ospreys fit me(I own 5.) Gregorys... not so much.

In regards to your initial inquiry as to "size" or volume well that is pretty much personal preference.

Take me for instance, I have packs that vary in size from 26L all the way up to 110L.

My typical "go-to" pack is around 85L for my multiple day slogs(week, sometimes multiple weeks.)

At the same time another individual may be able to do the same type of trip with a pack that is say around 55L.

It all depends on your approach, seasons, so on and so forth. There are many variables one takes into consideration when approaching any trip in the backcountry.

I am in no way an ULer. I opt for gear that I know can take a serious pounding because I am typically solo all the time and miles away from anyone or anything. I have nothing against UL gear. It just isn't for me(btdt.)

I am getting ready to head out on a 5 day solo here on the ridge tomorrow evening and I am looking @ single digit temps.

Pack of choice for this trip?

Big Blue(my Argon 85) which is the pack I have on in my avatar photo.

Edited by Rick-Pittsburgh
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Woah! awesome! have a great time! I ended up returning my Savant 38 for a Savant 48!

I am currently using a Osprey exos 46 pack, but i have used a golite peak for a lot of stuff, and its a sub-40L pack. i changed to the larger one for more food carrying capacity, but for weekend trips, my old golite peak worked great. the key is to eliminate more bulkier items and replace them with stuff that takes up less volume, which in most cases is lighter too. having a smaller pack also forces you to pack leaner. i have done a few winter trips with a sub 40 liter pack, which was interesting.

Edited by tmountainnut
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  • Premium Member
Aaron Zagrodnick

Hey Rachy,

Welcome to the forum and good luck on the upcoming trips! Would definitely agree on all the advice about getting a pack to match your gear - Not only the volume of your gear but a pack that will comfortably carry the weight of your gear including food, water, etc. With my current gear something in the low 30 liter range is just about perfect for a 3 season overnighter, but the 48 you just picked up should allow for more flexibility especially if you're still refining your gear list and plan on carrying a 3 person tent. Also, if you want to save a couple pounds on shelter and still have enough floor space for what you need, you might consider checking out some of the larger offerings from Tarptent like the Hogback, Cloudburst 3, or Rainshadow 2.

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