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Help for the clueless - backpacks for groups


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Hi guys,

I know nothing about backpacking. I’ve been tasked with finding packs for a retreat/camp organization in New England. The packs would be used year round by different people on short trips (3 days or so). Here’s their criteria:

- 55-65 L

- adjustable

- durable (including withstanding rain, ice, and snow)

- lightweight

- the person that leads the trips prefers the Osprey Renn and Rook…

…But here’s the hard part: they only want to spend around $100 a pack. Maybe a bit more for guaranteed durability so they’d last a few years. 

Any ideas on what brands/models to look for within those confines? It’s a bit hard to shop for a pack that could be used by many different types of bodies. 


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Yeah, well, for $100 you don't get Osprey packs.  Packs are always a compromise between space, weight, and price. Given your requirements, and knowing how camps budget their funds, I'd sacrifice weight. After all, it's unlikely that you'll be using these for extended (five days or more) trips where weight really becomes more critical. 

If it were me, I would take this question to the nearest REI store and ask them to make you their best deal.  You'll get decent quality, a reputable store that will take returns, and the advice of someone who is used to fitting packs to a lot of different people and bodies.  

There's no easy answer to this one, so plan on making a few compromises, and getting some packs that at least a bunch of people can use for a few basic trips. 

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Just an added note;  REI is having a sale over Labor Day, and some of their packs are as much as 30% off.  They would come close to meeting your budget.  The Ospreys are about $180-200. 

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First off you will need to determine what will be the average size of the hikers torso. Not everyone will be a medium torso length. Secondly, Osprey's warranty would get my first consideration for a heavily used pack. Your going to be hard pressed to find any decent pack at $100 each unless you buy used and a $100 used Osprey is a rare bird indeed. Gregory makes a decent pack also and may be in the price range.  

Lightweight and durable come at a price. It depends on what you consider to be "lightweight" and just how durable your willing to accept. The conundrum of the hiking world is that everyone wants a light pack that will last forever at absolutely the lowest price. There is no such pack or gear. 

Alas, you must also consider how many packs are for women and how many are for men. S-Straps and certain hip belts make a world of difference for women. You get the idea I'm sure.  

So lets set some real life parameters. Lets day lightweight is from 2.5-4.5lbs, average torso of medium height, easily replaceable/adjustable hip belt for people of different girths, is comfortable by the average persons opinion, can carry loads of 20-35lbs comfortably, and is made of durable enough materials. That sounds like an osprey all day.  


Osprey Rook/Renn 65L (#1 choice) retails at $180  https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/rook-65-ROOK65.html?packfinder=true

Gregory Amber 55L retails at $200  https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-bags/backpacking-packs/amber-55-126869XXXX.html?dwvar_126869XXXX_color=Arctic Grey&cgidmaster=packs-activities-backpacking  

Gregory Stout 60L retails at $200  https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-bags/backpacking-packs/stout-60-126873XXXX.html?dwvar_126873XXXX_color=Fennel Green&cgidmaster=packs-activities-backpacking

REI Flash 55L retails at $200  https://www.rei.com/product/148589/rei-co-op-flash-55-pack-mens

REI Trailbreak 60L retails at $150  https://www.rei.com/product/168251/rei-co-op-trailbreak-60-pack-mens  

Gregory Octal 55L retails at $165  https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/213864/gregory-octal-55-pack-womens

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  • 10 months later...

If you want to meet that price point, you aren't going to get a top of the line pack. 
You can get packs that are rated pretty decent if you go with something from Teton Sports.
When Teton Sports first started selling packs online, they looked a lot like the cheap Chinese packs that were flooding ebay and Amazon, but they appear to have come a long way since then.
They have a 20% off sale right now, and one of their nicer packs (Hiker 3700) had an even better discount for Memorial Day.
Teton Sports has a "Limited Lifetime Warranty"
I've never owned anything from Teton myself.

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