View Full Version : Light Weight Pack or Comfort?

12-30-2013, 19:36
I have a light weight pack that I like, but is not very comfortable, and a heavier (by three pounds) pack that fits like a dream, and has never hurt me, even with a load of over 40 pounds. So do I opt to save three pounds and put up with the discomfort, hoping that I'll get used to it, or go with extra weight and comfort on my thru? Or start with heavier pack when I'm carrying winter gear and then switch to the lighter one? Don't have the money to get a third pack. I know this sounds silly, but I'm stumped on this one, after working so hard to bring my winter pack weight down to 27 pounds with food. Am I crazy to consider carrying 30 pounds instead? Sorry if this question has been asked and answered aleady.

12-30-2013, 19:47
What is the name of the light pack?

12-30-2013, 20:13
Weight is only part of what defines comfort and you shouldn't get so focused on it that you treat it like a goal unto itself. My setup is down in the teens now, but there isn't a single piece of gear that I use regularly that I feel I would go lighter on unless it was equally comfortable (including its lower carry weight into that evaluation). Clearest example for me is my boots. I haven't found trail runners that fit, so I continue to slog along in my Asolo 520s. Yes they weigh much more than I'd like, but my feet are happy at the end of the day and I've never had a blister.

So ask yourself, how will I feel at the end of a long day with each pack? If you are in less pain with a heavier setup, then that's the one I'd go with. Less pain means more pleasant miles which means more miles overall.

12-30-2013, 20:17
I have three packs myself that I switch between depending on the season. Although I rarely use the largest except during the coldest part of winter. I also use that one when I sherpa for the family. If it were me, I would take one and switch them out when I felt it would be suitable.

I've returned/sold a few lightweight packs myself trying to find the one I I like best. I even moved back up a little bit in weight of my lightest pack to get a better ride and organization.

12-30-2013, 20:23
go with the extra weight. comfort counts more.your total load always varies with the amt of food you carry. mondays 2 lb pack weighs more than tuesdays 3lb pack.
there were plenty of 3+ lb packs on the trail this year.i use an atmos50, just under 3lbs after trimming the straps.
you'll be fine.

12-31-2013, 08:32
Carrying 27-30 lbs is not the point that I would consider a UL pack, not even a passing thought. Cut that weight in half and I would start to consider it.

My thru hike pack weighted in a 3 lbs, the lightest total weight I know I carried was 13lbs, I could have cut that down to 11 with a UL pack, but for me even that would be too heavy for a UL pack.

Now take that 13lbs and put it on a 1-2 night backpacking trip instead of a thru, without all the thru hiking extras, I'm sure that weight could drop maybe 2 pounds under some circumstances, then add in a UL pack and get into single digits and it starts working me - or at least when I may consider it. And yes I am taking UL packs as frameless and about 1 lb.

12-31-2013, 16:31
I sent back a 2-3 pound ULA Catalyst and kept my 5+ pound Gregory Diva for the same reason. It's working for me, for now. I made a lot of other smart gear choices to lighten the load. I'd stick with comfort if it works for you.

12-31-2013, 18:24
I use a GoLite Jam and I will say that sub 30 is comfortable. Over 30 is definitely not. If I weren't packing food for 3 people it wouldn't be over 30 but on the first day of our section hikes it sometimes reaches 35 pounds and my shoulders are screaming by the end of the day. By the end of the hike it's back down to about 15 pounds (barely feels like it's there). As for your choices, I would start out with the most comfortable pack. As you get more comfortable with lower weights then you might have someone ship you your lighter pack to swap out, especially during the warmer months. Comfort is king! A UL pack is only comfortable when it's carrying UL contents/weight imho. After that, I'd rather have a pack with a frame.

01-16-2014, 09:53
Your body probably won't know the difference in 27 and 30 lbs at the end of the day, but it will definitely know the difference between a comfortable pack and an uncomfortable one. Don't make yourself miserable.

01-16-2014, 17:08
A lightweight pack by definition is not as strong on all the points that suffer wear and tear on a long hike ..My Golite bag had to be sent for repair after 800 miles ...but I was overpacking it

I upgraded to a Gregory because I couldn't keep my pack weight at the lower amount recommended for the Golite

01-18-2014, 03:22
Save yourself time, hastle, and some pain. Just buy a comfortable backpack. There are plenty of comfortable ones out there that are not too heavy. Sure they might be a pound or two more than ultralight packs, but what ever.

01-18-2014, 11:20
Thank you all for the advice. I had some extra money come in (always a good thing!), and bought a new Deuter pack. It has most of the best features of my light weight pack and "old reliable", and a more reasonable weight. Fully loaded, it seems to balance the load right on the sweet spot on my back and hips, without dragging on the shoulder straps. I'm going to take it out for a test cruise next week to make sure it'll work somewhere other than my living room!

01-18-2014, 11:31
I list my packs as to the weight at which they are comfortable:
ULA Ohm 1.0: < 20 lbs
ULA Catalyst: < 30 lbs
Gregory Savant 38: < 25 lbs
Mystery Ranch Trance: < 40 lbs.

Phoenix Firebird
01-18-2014, 11:59
I'm on the comfort side of this argument. Yes, light loads are awesome, but comfort will keep you happier longer; even if it is at the cost of three extra pounds.

01-23-2014, 14:03
GreatDane, how did you like your Deutr pack? I have been looking at them and wonder how comfortable they carry loads?

01-24-2014, 11:39
theGABE, I haven't been able to get out yet to really test it. Too much to do in the office to get ready to leave! Hopefully, I'll get out early next week for a long day hike, at least, if not an overnighter, and I'll let you know how it feels.

01-24-2014, 12:40
theGABE, I haven't been able to get out yet to really test it. Too much to do in the office to get ready to leave! Hopefully, I'll get out early next week for a long day hike, at least, if not an overnighter, and I'll let you know how it feels.

I have a Deuter, and I love it! I've used it for around 200 miles of the AT. Fits me well, no sore shoulders, or neck strain, and fits my organizational style.

01-24-2014, 13:10

Which Deuter pack did you get?

I struggled with pack choice for a long time. The Deuter I liked was by far the most comfortable I tried but, weighed in at 6 lbs. I am happy with the pack with which I ended up but, consider the Deuter my road not chosen.

01-24-2014, 16:23
Couldnt imagine a 6lb pack...

01-24-2014, 18:13
OCDave, it's the Act Lite 65 and weighs 4 pounds. A lot, I know, but I'm planning to switch over to my GoLite Jam when the weather gets warm(er) and I can send my extra cold weather gear home. Unless I love the Deuter enough to keep it. Again, this was a balance between weight and comfort, and I think comfort won out, at least for me. So, it's extra squats and stepping for me for the next six weeks!

01-24-2014, 18:41
Couldnt imagine a 6lb pack...

Let's just say I had some preconceptions,reinforced by an REI salesperson, that I now know were wrong. I eventually found the ULA Catalyst with which I am very satisfied.

01-24-2014, 18:47
[QUOTE=GreatDane;1838719]...the Act Lite 65 and weighs 4 pounds. A lot, I know, but I'm planning to switch over to my GoLite Jam when the weather gets warm(er) ... Unless I love the Deuter enough to keep ...QUOTE]

I look forward to hearing how it turns out.

Good Luck

01-28-2014, 19:43
theGABE, got out today with my Deuter pack and I love it! Very comfortable, no pinching or poking and hands down the best balancing of the load on my hips. Only problem I had was some arthritis-like pain in my left hip joint, but that's due to an older body that wasn't so sure about hauling an extra 30 pounds on a trail, and not the pack. More practice hikes and some ibuprofen will fix that.

01-28-2014, 20:03
Light Weight Pack or Comfort? The thread title confuses me because all my light wt packs make my hiking more comfortable. These two qualities are not separate for me. They are very much related.