View Full Version : Thru Hike: Is there a universal pack?

08-27-2015, 06:25
Good morning adventurers, as I sit here drinking my coffee this morning I was thinking about this: is there a universal pack for a thru hike? Like one that would be good for the AT, PCT,CDT, etc.? I was looking into the Osprey Atmos models, would you recommend these? Thanks!!

08-27-2015, 08:33
Most packs aren't trail specific and could be used on any and all of the above trails, providing they're looked after and taken care of they could last all 3. Especially for the AT and PCT, the CDT may require more winter/snow gear but you see alot of the same UL packs in peoples gear lists for them.

08-27-2015, 08:37
I think such a pack would be dependent upon the ability carry an appropriate sized bear canister as required for certain parts of the western trails.

Just Bill
08-27-2015, 11:49
Go to REI and buy this pack- http://www.rei.com/product/864669/osprey-exos-58-pack#tab-specs
When you need less space you can take off the lid and get under 2lbs.

You can try it and buy it in person. At $200 dollars, the 10% back would pay for your $20 membership.
With a membership you can return it anytime for any reason for one year.

Two pounds, two hundred bucks carries up to 50 lbs fits most folks and just about any gear mistakes you may or may not make.
It will get you out without having to agonize on it. Eventually you could shave a pound, but you're young and strong so who cares really?

Since you're learning and experimenting you don't know what gear you will take- you need a dumpster, not a specialized pack.

Seriously- I think it's one of the best "do all" packs around without being 4+ pounds like the Atomos monster that most pick.
Good price, decent weight, excellent suspension and padding. Holds alot but no so much you'll get lazy about choosing the rest of your gear and "filling" too much space.

An REI membership and generous return policy will also let you continue to buy and try as you go.

Cincinnati (http://www.rei.com/stores/149)
2643 Edmondson Road
(513) 924-1938

Columbus (http://www.rei.com/stores/154)
4150 Worth Avenue
(614) 475-1938

Columbus-Dublin (http://www.rei.com/stores/158)
6424 Sawmill Road
(614) 799-1938

08-27-2015, 11:54
Seeing that I have a collection of 10 different packs in my closet, for me I'd say no. They range from large frame packs to small day packs. Pick the right tool for job at hand.

08-27-2015, 12:35
I feel for a pack to be universal, the number one requirement (with regards to the big 3 trails), is it has to be able to accommodate a bear can along with your gear. Aside from that, the determining factors are endless.

08-27-2015, 13:44
Go to REI and buy this pack- http://www.rei.com/product/864669/osprey-exos-58-pack#tab-specs
When you need less space you can take off the lid and get under 2lbs....

Just got that one last month, it is a great pack, perhaps the best I have had. Very comfortable, versatile, very sturdy frame, one of the lightest ones out there that don't sacrifice comfort for weight. Removing the brain only got it down to 2lbs 6 oz, perhaps removing some optional straps and cutting out the water bladder would go below 2 IDK, but I do highly recommend it also.

08-27-2015, 14:00
Bear-can carrying is a biggie out west. For me, that would rule out my Vapor Trail. I'd want something with a solid framesheet. But I'm no ultralighter.

Another Kevin
08-27-2015, 16:48
Go to REI and buy this pack- http://www.rei.com/product/864669/osprey-exos-58-pack#tab-specs
When you need less space you can take off the lid and get under 2lbs.

http://www.rei.com/product/831620/granite-gear-crown-vc-60-pack#tab-specs is another possibility. 200 clams for a 60 litre BGS (Bloody Great Sack). It's a shade over 2 pounds and carries OK for my pack weight in three seasons. Sometimes it goes on sale. No lid to take off. (They sell a lid separately. I didn't buy it. Haven't missed it yet.) I have only a couple of hundred miles on mine, because I got it only recently. It's working well for me so far. There is almost certainly a bear can in my future, but I figure that if I have to, I can superglue some sort of widget on the can that I can run the top straps through. I've already had a cold-weather trip where I used them to lash a second sleeping pad on top. The big bear can question will be, do I lug a Garcia like most other people, or do I spring the big bucks for Bearikade? The BearVault is out of the question, because the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks doesn't allow them. There's a family of bears there that have learnt to open BearVaults.

My starter pack when I got back into backpacking a few years back was this one http://www.rei.com/product/798716/alps-mountaineering-orizaba-pack-64-liters-08-closeout#tab-description , which I got for $70 or so at the REI tent sale. Even it was slightly better than the 4+ pound monsters that most pick. I'll probably keep it around for winter trips - where the load gets HEAVY - or to lend out. I realize in retrospect that it doesn't actually fit me all that well. It has an adjustable torso, but the long end of the range is still a tad short for me.

There are a lot of people who go to http://www.rei.com/product/862882/rei-flash-62-pack#tab-specs as a starter pack. It's still sub-3-pounds, and $190 when it isn't on sale. Sometimes it's on sale really, really cheap. Keep watching 'Deal of the Day' and 'Deal of the Week' and I bet that it'll be there sometime between now and the end of the year. They usually clear a bunch of them in the fall.