View Full Version : Backpacks

07-13-2003, 00:59
I'm considering a 2004 northbound hike, and I've been researching backpacks. I'm sorry if someone already posted something like this - I'm a newbie, please forgive me. :)

Making the decision much harder is the fact that in August I'm spending time in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. I really need a pack that can handle both BW and AT. Meaning I need light (for the AT) and waterproof (essential for Boundary Waters). I wonder if such a thing exists, or am I better off with two different packs? (Oh, if only money grew on trees.)

Any words of wisdom? Thanks for your time. :)


07-13-2003, 05:04
no such thing as a water proof pack, get a light one and use ziplocks/drybags.

07-13-2003, 13:26
I've been rather pleased with my Kelty 50th Anniversary pack - slightly under 5 lbs, with detachable side pockets on.

Great feeling and very tight and protected pack, load llift straps are nice as are the anatomically curved shoulder straps

I'm sure there are lighter packs out there but this pack is really comfortable for my personal taste.

Check out article at backpacker.com, was editors pick at one time.


in search type in Kelty 50th Anniverary Pack.

PS, I saved alot of money by using online services such as Campmor and REI.

good luck

07-13-2003, 16:02
Dirtyoldman is right. Backpacks aren't waterproof. Even if you find one that is, it won't stay that way forever, because the pack takes too much abuse even when handled with care. There are different approaches to keeping your gear dry, but bear in mind that most stuff sacks aren't waterproof, either. They are usually made from waterproof materials, but water can easily enter the opening even if it has a flap. Still, these bags can keep most water out of your gear and they only truly fail if immersed in water (this can happen during water crossings!). There are ways of making your own waterproof stuff sacks or drybags, but most people prefer to buy lightweight drybags for the purpose. Your sleeping bag/quilt is perhaps the most important thing to keep dry, so many people concentrate on their bag/quilt and clothes, but don't worry so much about other gear. Food should be stored in waterproof containers to start with, but most people still store it in a waterproof sack so that they can simply hang that as their bear bag. Hanging is becoming increasingly futile against bears, though, so you'll have to decide for yourself what to do about this. Just don't keep your food in your sleeping bag ;).

Focusing on the pack as a whole, most people use a raincover of some sort. There are a variety of external raincovers, but many of them don't work very well in persistent rain. The drawcord packcovers tend to collect water in the bottom when they are tight, but tend to fall off if loosened. Some people have parkas that cover both them and their packs and these can work well in protected environments (not in heavy winds). Other hikers abandon the idea of an external packcover altogether, using instead an internal liner. You can make a liner bag out of silnylon or you can use a garbage bag. The garbage bag won't hold up for long hikes, but is easily replaced and very lightweight. This approach ignores external pockets, but it is easy enough to store items in external pockets in their own ziploc bags or something similar. This year, I've been using this internal approach by putting a garbage bag inside my GoLite Gust pack and am very happy with it. I plan to eventually make a waterproof sack out of silnylon to create a more durable solution. Some people that use internal liners that they know to be watertight will actually abandon most or all of their stuff sacks and simply put all their gear into the pack liner. I personally like to have stuff/ditty bags for some of my gear so that I don't lose small items at the bottom of the pack. I also like to have a stuff sack for my sleeping bag, just for a fail-safe in case my liner gets ripped or punctured.

Definitely don't buy 2 packs unless your load will be vastly different for each trip. Waterproof sacks or pack liners are simple to make and I'm sure that someone sells lightweight drybags if you can't make your own. The keys are that the seams be sealed and the opening somehow twist together tightly enough to keep out water.

As far as commercial packs go, there are many lightweight options available now. Granite Gear has a line of nice light packs (Vapor Trail, Nimbus Ozone, Virga)and these all have some degree of load support. GoLite is another light option, though typically without load support (my Gust doesn't need any). There are numerous individually-operated businesses now selling customizable packs. GVP Gear comes immediately to mind, but there are others.

07-14-2003, 15:51
I am going on the Jacks River next week. It's been raining practically every day on the east coast so I expect the water to be high. There are 42 water crossings.

I use a Kelty Redcloud and for this trip I'm opening up the entire bag making one large sack instead of having an upper and lower compartment.

I am planning on using the garbage bag liner method plus esentials are bagged up in ziplocks. My trip is only a week so I think this will work. For 6 months however, making a durable liner bag is a great idea.

I've heard of "water proof" backpacks here is a link to www.cabelas.com, they have a pack that is lined in PVC and has weather sealed zippers and such.

Good luck and happy hiking.

07-14-2003, 16:45
A durable water proof inner bag - a body bag for a mid or large size dog - check with local vet. for availability.

07-14-2003, 20:01
Originally posted by Hog On Ice
A durable water proof inner bag - a body bag for a mid or large size dog - check with local vet. for availability.
How heavy? What type of closure?

07-14-2003, 21:39
Even if you can find a waterproof pack what's the chance of that pack meeting all your other needs...like Fit, Comfort, Price, Volume etc...I swam my first river with a pack on last summer here in NZ (they don't have many bridges here) and the pack liner is you're best bet. I just use a huge, heavy plastic bag and tie off the top when necessary. "Pack Floating" is common here and that's what most people do. Some companies make different sizes waterproof roll-down liners that work well.

07-16-2003, 08:45
wrt the cadaver bags for dogs - its just basically a 4 mil black plastic bag - closure would probably best be done with a roll/fold and rubber band/tie - as to weight - I am not real sure as to the weight

07-16-2003, 14:18
Thanks for your words of wisdom, everyone! I really appreciate it.