Jump to content

Issue 53 has been released! Download your own high definition PDF copy with a TrailGroove Premium Subscription or read online in standard definition here.



Multi-day backpacks


Thatsme
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey all,

My wife and I are going to start backpacking. We are completely new and were hoping there would be some good tips to finding the perfect Backpack for multi-day trips.

We are looking for essentially the best bang for our buck. I know the saying "you get what you pay for" so I am not trying to go super low budget, but I also don't think we need the 300-400 dollar packs either. looking in the realm of 150-200 range.

Any help on decent brands? what to look for? what to stay away from?

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

tmountainnut

Hey all,

My wife and I are going to start backpacking. We are completely new and were hoping there would be some good tips to finding the perfect Backpack for multi-day trips.

We are looking for essentially the best bang for our buck. I know the saying "you get what you pay for" so I am not trying to go super low budget, but I also don't think we need the 300-400 dollar packs either. looking in the realm of 150-200 range.

Any help on decent brands? what to look for? what to stay away from?

Thanks.

You're best bet is to go to a reputable shop and check out multiple different packs. What works for one person won't work for another. Have someone at the store measure your torso length and size you. That'll give you a starting point.

I'm a big fan of my osprey exos pack. Its light, but still has a frame and can carry a decent amount. i like the 48L version, which i find is perfect for backpacking. The 58L is also a good option.

ULA packs, Gossemer Gear, and Mountain Laural Designs are three cottage industry manufactures that make some very nice packs.

Edited by tmountainnut
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It wont be pretty or lightweight its big, beastly but most importantly rugged. The surplus ILBE is everywhere from $70- $150. Its rated to an incredible 120lbs and 4,500 cubic inch top-loading design.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/916408/military-surplus-ilbe-rucksack-nylon-marpat

Its not pretty but i use one and its a really nice pack, although its heavy and has too many straps and clips it is really probably the best bang for your buck. the waist and shoulder straps are thick padded and adjustable and the back padding is really good. Plus if you do not end up hiking as much as you thought your only out $80.00. Then you can just put emergency disaster gear in it and throw it in a closet for that purpose as well.

My main complaints of the pack are its heavy compared to other packs empty about 8-10 lbs. The top cover compartment doesn't fit well unless the pack is full. Its so easy to add too much weight since its so big and holds so much.

Edited by Neil
forgot something
Link to comment
Share on other sites

tmountainnut

It wont be pretty or lightweight its big, beastly but most importantly rugged. The surplus ILBE is everywhere from $70- $150. Its rated to an incredible 120lbs and 4,500 cubic inch top-loading design.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/916408/military-surplus-ilbe-rucksack-nylon-marpat

Its not pretty but i use one and its a really nice pack, although its heavy and has too many straps and clips it is really probably the best bang for your buck. the waist and shoulder straps are thick padded and adjustable and the back padding is really good. Plus if you do not end up hiking as much as you thought your only out $80.00. Then you can just put emergency disaster gear in it and throw it in a closet for that purpose as well.

My main complaints of the pack are its heavy compared to other packs empty about 8-10 lbs. The top cover compartment doesn't fit well unless the pack is full. Its so easy to add too much weight since its so big and holds so much.

I just wanted to point out that unless you need to carry some serious weight (tactical weapons and survival gear like USMC), that kind of pack is seriously overkill.

There are plenty of packs that can carry weight without weighing 10lbs. I've carried 50+ lbs with my exos, which empty weighs around 2.5 lbs. It wasn't comfortable, but in my option, 50 lbs (or more) isn't comfortable to begin with.

My summer gear weight, with pack and food (no water) is around 15lbs. Maybe 20 if i'm carrying a lot of food at the start of the trip. Water will add 2-6 lbs, depending on how much i have to carry (the 50+ lb day i was carrying nearly 4 gallons of water for a long desert trip)

Unless you need the carrying capacity, get something lighter. For recreational use, it doesn't need to be military spec durable, and it doesn't need to be rated for 120lbs. I'm pretty sure i'd hurt myself if i carried 120 lbs on my back for a day, and i would be very slow. With a ~20 lb backpack, i can move quicker and enjoy my trip more.

Another reason why i advocate for 50L pack like the one i carry is it forces you to think about what you're packing and carrying, and doesn't allow you to overpack as easily. i use to use a 38L pack, but i would run into issues at the start of trips when my food bag was too big, so i upped myself to my exos pack, which i think is a good sweet spot for myself. When i climb Denali, i'll need something stronger and sturdier with a bigger volume (mountain hardware south col maybe), but for recreational trips with no mountaineering gear, its what works :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I have had excellent luck with the ULA Catalyst.

A sturdy "do everthing pack" for me. (I have not taken in full on mountaineering as a caveat)

http://www.pmags.com/ula-catalyst-review

As Ted said, unless you are hauling ammo, radio gear, NVG and other accouterments of our military forces, a burly pack is really not needed. :)

As an FYI, most of the armed forces sprint now. The long marches ala WW2 aren't really done anymore.

And when they do walk everywhere (like the mountainous Afghanistan), those super heavy loads are causing problems:

http://www.armytimes.com/article/20110214/NEWS/102140308/Report-Combat-soldiers-carry-too-much-weight

Go light as comfortably possible.

Edited by PaulMags
Link to comment
Share on other sites

AdventureMyk

REI has a fantastic reputation and I've ordered several items from them. (Come on October when ours will finally open!) I'm a fan of my Ospreys but also like Gregory and wouldn't shrug away a Deuter. Go get measured then tell them what you are looking to do and what kind of gear you carry. What you have in terms of sleeping bags, food prep, shelters, etc. you already have will dictate what kind of bag you use unless you are starting from scratch. Best of all, have fun with it! Be creative but be realistic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
Aaron Zagrodnick

I love my ULA Circuit and it works great for me from an overnight up to as long of a trip as I'll take before resupply. However, it's a little higher in price than you're looking for at $225. I've also had some experience with the ULA Catalyst that PaulMags mentioned and it's a great choice if you need the additional space and carrying capacity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I bought Osprey's Aether 70 and Arial 65's a few years back and we are really pleased with them. That said, those replaced Jan Sport D3 and D5 that had several decades on them so take this for what it is worth. I used a early Lowe internal frame pack for awhile in the early 80's and hated it. I took a long time to come back to that design.

If you are interested in those Osprey packs, REI has them on sale at the present time for around $200.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

REI has a fantastic reputation and I've ordered several items from them. (Come on October when ours will finally open!) I'm a fan of my Ospreys but also like Gregory and wouldn't shrug away a Deuter. Go get measured then tell them what you are looking to do and what kind of gear you carry. What you have in terms of sleeping bags, food prep, shelters, etc. you already have will dictate what kind of bag you use unless you are starting from scratch. Best of all, have fun with it! Be creative but be realistic.

As for REI, I'm in awe of what they have become and how well they have managed to stick with their roots through it all. I've been a member there for 45 years and have never had a problem that wasn't quickly resolved and very few problems of any kind overall. When I joined the entire catalog was the size of their current flyers and it was one small store on Pike Street. They are still my "go to" shop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...