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illininagel
07-29-2003, 19:40
I currently own a Jansport external backpack. It seems to me like the external pack has its advantages---more air circulation, plenty of places to tie things on, etc.

I am interested to hear from thru-hikers about their opinion of using an external pack on a thru-hike.

B Thrash
07-29-2003, 20:52
I use a Kelty external in summer and a Gregory Gravity X interinal in spring and fall. External is great for air circulation and the interinal is great for back support











____________________

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

Friedrich Nietzsche

squirrel bait
07-29-2003, 21:49
I saw a nice Kelty Trekker (I think) 4300 for 129.00. Is this an average price for this pack. I liked it alot and was intrigued by it's design. The welded frame caught my attention. Is this a pack that would make a thru hike. Thank you.

Lone Wolf
07-29-2003, 21:58
I did 3 thru hikes and a total of 8000 AT miles with a Jansport D-2 frame pack. Nothing wrong with frame packs. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Virginian
07-29-2003, 22:12
I did the AT last year with an external frame Kelty West Coast and loved it. Of coarse I carried it on my back and not in a car. Unless carrying the pack on your back is not the way to BACK PACK anymore.

Lone Wolf
07-29-2003, 22:18
"Slackpacking" is for weenies. Virginian is a good example of a BACKPACKER. Anybody can slack out of a hostel for a week.

squirrel bait
07-29-2003, 22:32
So a Kelty is a fine enough pack to make the trip.? How about the Eureka Bivy tent? I am on a real tight budget cause I earmarked like 3k for food and trail treats. Do the Texsport Bivy tents hold up to the wear? I understand about taking care of any gear but would rather spend some extra on gear that would last. Thank you.

illininagel
07-29-2003, 22:33
How much weight should I expect my external pack to be? How much capacity is necessary for a thru-hike? I guess I'm a little surprised that many of these packs weigh in excess of 7 pounds with nothing in them!

Virginian
07-29-2003, 22:51
Yeah, My Kelty was about 7 lbs empty. But the comfort in the suspension made the difference for me. Go to www.campmor.com and see if you can find something for a deal. My pack cost $65.00 at campmor. Also go to an outfitter and try some packs on, if you have your gear,bring it to the store,load the pack of choice and walk around with it on for sometime. And lone wolf 1, thanks for positive comment about BACKPACKING. It makes all the difference.

Lilred
07-30-2003, 10:10
I bought a Kelty trekker 3900 for 119.00 at Outdoor World. Weighs in at 5lbs, 7oz. Since my section hikes will be in the summer, it was recommended I get an external pack.

B Thrash
07-30-2003, 11:33
I will be making a 125 mile trip on the AT next month and will use a Kelty External Backpack that I got at a real good deal off Ebay. Have used a External Kelty Toga and a External Rimington to do most of the AT with, no problems with any of these packs.









__________________________

Be careful about reading Health Books, you may die of a misprint.

Mark Twain

illininagel
07-30-2003, 11:46
I'm considering the Kelty 50th Anniversary external pack, but the nearly 7 pounds kind of scares me...

Lilred
07-30-2003, 12:11
Illininagel,
There's a 50th anniversary external kelty pack on ebay right now. Don't know how much they sell for in stores but this one is priced at 189.00. 4 days left to bid
Hope that helps

squirrel bait
07-30-2003, 12:45
I checked out the campmor site. Yea they had better deals than a camping superstore in Norfolk. Thank you. That's a cute tent the Sierra, odd design, does it work well? Anybody know?

Penscal
07-30-2003, 14:11
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack

I own a kelty 50th anniversary pack and it doesn't weigh 7 lbs, more like 4lbs with side pockets off.

Get it cheap(er) at campmor.

Its a great pack and very comfortable.

Scorpion
07-30-2003, 14:35
squirrel bait
You asked about the texport bivy. I have used it a couple of times and it is fine in good weather. Roomy enough and fairly light weight. I used it once in a heavy downpour and got lots of water in the tent. The body of the tent is covered with a rain cover, but the door isn't. That is where the rain came in.
scorpion

B Thrash
07-30-2003, 19:04
Never used a bivy sack before so I cannot give you my openion. Have used a North Face Canyonlands three season tent many times and love it (Pack wt 3 lbs 14 oz) pleanty of room for one person, in a tight two could get in it, if they are not to big. The North Face Canyonlands 2002 model is on sale now @ Campmor for $159.96.








_______________________________

Walking is mans best medicine.

Hippocrates

kank
07-30-2003, 20:23
There's absolutely nothing wrong with an external frame backpack (great ventilation!) and I hear good things about Kelty's 50th Anniversary, BUT I don't think you really need that kind of pack. I don't like slackpacking at all, but if you focus on lightweight gear and select your pack items wisely, you don't need 7lbs. of load support, whether internal or external. Get your basic pack weight (all gear minus food, water, and what you're wearing) below 15-20lbs and the back support becomes unnecessary, imho. On the AT, you're going to quickly hate packing all that weight up and down a hundred hills per day anyway. Cut the weight, hike farther each day, and do the trek in 4 months instead of 6. Just a thought and I hope you enjoy your hike tremendously, however you choose to hike it!

illininagel
07-30-2003, 21:00
Lilredmg,

Thanks for the eBay info! The same pack sells for $240 at REI, plus sales tax. So, $189 on eBay for a new Kelty 50th Anniversary backpack is not a bad price.

I doubt if I'll make a final call on the pack before this auction ends, though. I'll have to get to an outfitter and try the different pack on. But, I'm leaning towards the Kelty right now.

Virginian
07-30-2003, 22:10
Lots of people last year had lighter packs than my seven pound Kelty. But at the end of the day,we all felt it the same(Glad to drop the pack) My base weight was around 20 lbs. But after you load food and water. You need to make sure that you waist belt is comfortable for you. And then dont forget that sometimes you must pack in beer and whiskey and rum and moonshine and twinkies and ................ !!!!!!!!!!!

Penscal
07-30-2003, 23:31
Lowest was for $202.00, broaden your seach engine, use Teoma, there is alot of bargins out there, checked price today, seems campmor is not carrying 50th for men using my link to campmor. Type in Kelty 50 Anniverisary Pack, check out site 3rd from header/ I have the 5900 grms, wt on my scales without side pockets, 4.7 oz, empty

go for it, great pack,

Penscal
07-31-2003, 00:36
Ever in my neck of the woods give me a e-mail, will hike lite with expectation you bring the goodies.

Mr. Clean
07-31-2003, 12:43
So no one has answered the question of what size pack most folk use to do the A.T. I was also curious about this. Is 5000 a good size or should I go higher? Would like to do the trail one of these years if I can ever get time off.

Lone Wolf
07-31-2003, 12:47
5000 is just fine. That's what I used for 4 thru-hikes.

Virginian
07-31-2003, 21:34
Yeah, my Kelty was 4800. Didnt use it all but had it if I needed it

moonnsun
10-03-2003, 11:04
I love my external pack. I have used mostly external and only one internal and for those who like the internal more power to them but the external i feel is better for me and for most people who i have talked with. So use the external if you feel comfy with it. Remember this trip is about you, so try things out and do what is most comfy for you.

A-Train
10-03-2003, 12:28
5000 is BIG. Most start with a bag around this size or bigger. but when you realize what you can do without youll soon see you dont need more than 4000 cu inches. I used a MoUNTain smith Ghost which is 3100 cu inches. Im not a super ultra oz counter, just a light weight backpacker.
You can go with one, but chances are you won't be lugging that thing by the time your in Maine. A lot of people switch gear-its not a bad thing-its all a learning experience
a-train

MedicineMan
10-15-2003, 00:36
When Lonewolf mentioned his Jansport D-2 I got nostalgic feelings...I carried a D-2 for almost 20 years, still have it and it is in perfect shape....makes me suddenly wonder why I'm not still carrying it, then just as suddenly I remember and I ask my self again why carry something that weighs 5 pounds when I can carry something that is less than 2 pounds....

stranger
10-19-2003, 04:26
There are still plenty of reasons to use a external frame pack along a trail like the AT. The AT isn't technical, doesn't require any route finding skills, has very very limited river fords, is well marked, is relatively moderate terrain from Shenandoah-Hanover, etc...If you find one you like then try do some miles in one and see what you think.

I will warn you about the constant noise some external packs can make, it can get out of hand sometimes. I had a pack that squeaked every step I took, that's alot of noise in a 20 mile day!!!

Lumberjack
10-19-2003, 08:20
Amazing how that tiny little squeak behind your head gets to be deafening after a few miles :(

WalkinHome
10-19-2003, 16:52
Thru hiked in 2000 with a Kelty K2 Longbed. One big motha - 6000-6600 cu in. Enjoyed being able to put everything in my pack. Helped keep gear from damage from the environment. Yeah, they are heavy but the military got me used to externals and I am a sweat hog so wanted the ventilation. Would do the same thing over again if needed. Camel-bak fits nicely in upper side pocket. One drawback, when climbing around rocks, rock faces etc, it can take on a life of it's own-an internal hugs you well so it doesn't build momentum like an external can. Sometimes the external says you are going there whether you like it or not. Be safe.

cabalot
10-28-2003, 23:06
i am buying my first and am split between the comfort of internal and breathability and the pockets of external.check out these threads i posted for more feedback and post your feedback here.
i think i am going with the kelty ext.

[url]http://forums.backpacker.com/thread.jsp?forum=4&thread=29589

[url]http://forums.backpacker.com/thread.jsp?forum=4&thread=29402

Lilred
10-29-2003, 00:49
Check out Campmor.com for sales on Backpacks. Right now they have a Kelty Trekker 3900 on sale for $89. I paid 119 for mine :(

bunbun
10-29-2003, 15:23
Y'know - some days it don't pay to check this forum.

I did the AT and a lot of other miles with a Camp Trails external. Still have it - it's been hangin' in the gear room since 1997. Now I got about 500 miles on a ULA P2. 40 ounces and it does exactly the same job as a 7 or 8# pack - except for the weight. Even has pockets. It'll go with me for the next thruhike.

If you really like an external - or if you like carrying the extra weight - have fun. I don't anymore. If you don't, then check out this kind of gear ---

http://www.ula-equipment.com/

http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/

My philosophy is that you're welcome to anything you're willing to carry. It ain't my back.

Streamweaver
10-29-2003, 16:14
I did the AT and a lot of other miles with a Camp Trails external. Still have it - it's been hangin' in the gear room since 1997. Now I got about 500 miles on a ULA P2. 40 ounces and it does exactly the same job as a 7 or 8# pack - except for the weight. Even has pockets. It'll go with me for the next thruhike.

BULL !!!!! You are spewing some major Garbage on this one!!
Do you really expect anybody to beleive that a ULA P2 can carry as much weight ,as comfortably as an external???!!! I dont think soooo!!! The ULA packs are good packs but they will never match the carrying cababilities of an external!! You really should refrain from giving out bogus info!!! Streamweaver

bunbun
10-29-2003, 18:14
Originally posted by Streamweaver
I did the AT and a lot of other miles with a Camp Trails external. Still have it - it's been hangin' in the gear room since 1997. Now I got about 500 miles on a ULA P2. 40 ounces and it does exactly the same job as a 7 or 8# pack - except for the weight. Even has pockets. It'll go with me for the next thruhike.

BULL !!!!! You are spewing some major Garbage on this one!!
Do you really expect anybody to beleive that a ULA P2 can carry as much weight ,as comfortably as an external???!!! I dont think soooo!!! The ULA packs are good packs but they will never match the carrying cababilities of an external!! You really should refrain from giving out bogus info!!! Streamweaver

Really? Maybe we better define some terms here.

"Doing the same job" refers to carrying what I need to do a thruhike. And the P2 will do exactly that. And yes - I know what it takes to do a thruhike. Been there, done that more than once and have the scars to prove it. And while we're at it - Sly carried a P2 for his CDT thru. Ask him about it. :D

You DO NOT need a 8# armchair of a pack to do a thruhike. What you need is something to carry what you NEED - not what you WANT. As a friend of mine once said:
The More You Carry, the More You Will Enjoy Your Camping
The Less You Carry, the More You Will Enjoy your HIKING

And no - I'm NOT an ultraliter either. Base weight for a thruhike at this point is about 20#. That puts me in the "mid-weight" class. God - Wolf would disown me!!! Mea culpa.............

Hmmm - your implication is that you need - let me guess - 30-35# (or more?) base weight to do a thruhike? That weight range, with today's equipment, would make you a heavy weight hiker. If so, I'm glad that 's your problem and not mine. I carried that much on the AT, less on other trails. Don't need to do that again.

I'd suggest you try this link:
http://trailwise.circumtech.com/thruhikingpapers/part2

It's old but the information is still applicable today.

Sorry, babe - but I don't do bogus information - I do reality. What you or anyone else does is your own business. I didn't - and won't - tell you what to carry. But I'll tell you what I carry - and why. HYOH

bunbun
10-29-2003, 18:26
Originally posted by greg pargellis
So no one has answered the question of what size pack most folk use to do the A.T. I was also curious about this. Is 5000 a good size or should I go higher? Would like to do the trail one of these years if I can ever get time off.


5000 is overkill. I've used a 4000 for years and I generally have extra room in my pack - unless we're doing 8 days of food or 2 gallons of water.

But then - I know some who use 80-90 liter packs, too. It's always your choice.

Sly
10-29-2003, 20:51
After carrying the "Cadillac" aka 5200 ci, 8lb Dana Design Terraplane for two trails and a 50lb average, I switched to the P-2 for the CDT. My base weight was at about 18lbs. Several times I carried 8-9 days of food and many times 5 liters of water or more, although not usually at the same time.

The P-2 held up well, was comfortable and is the pack I recommend for backpacking and thru-hiking.

That said, if your set on an external and like all the pockets, etc go for it. Afterall it's your hike.

rickb
10-29-2003, 20:55
What I don't get when I hear that a 40 OZ P2 pack does exactly the same job as a 6# pack, is why the same can't be said of a 30 OZ pack, or a 24 OZ pack.

Seems to me that everything is a compromise. If the P2 has found the ideal mix for an individual's hiking style and body great.

Sly, did you find any down side to the P2 on your CDT hike? Would it be a good pack for a 3+ season weekender? Do you think any of the so-called ultra light packs have worked just as well, or was there someting particular about the P2 that you liked?

Rick B

Edit: I see you read my mind as I was typing! Thanks Sly.

Lone Wolf
10-29-2003, 21:06
*** is base weight? I'm a backpacker, don't understand this lingo.

bunbun
10-29-2003, 21:52
Originally posted by rickboudrie
What I don't get when I hear that a 40 OZ P2 pack does exactly the same job as a 6# pack, is why the same can't be said of a 30 OZ pack, or a 24 OZ pack.

How about an 8 oz pack, Rick? Yes - there is one. And for some people it does exactly the same job as the 40 oz - or 8# packs. It gets you from one end of the trail to the other. The questions remain - will it hold your gear? is it comfortable? will it hang together long enough to do the job? For me, the 8 oz pack isn't comfortable. For others, it is. As you said - "the ideal mix for an individual's hiking style and body."

Of course, having a comfortable pack isn't a "requirement" for completing a thruhike either, is it? Do you know anyone whose pack was too big, too heavy, too uncomfortable - too everything negative - who still finished their thruhike? Sure you do. Same message - over and over and over ---- the only gear that matters is what you're carrying between your ears.


Originally posted by rickboudrie
Sly, did you find any down side to the P2 on your CDT hike? Would it be a good pack for a 3+ season weekender? Do you think any of the so-called ultra light packs have worked just as well, or was there someting particular about the P2 that you liked?

I won't answer for Sly, but from my perspective, it's worked well for two-week trips and for weekends. I also know some who don't like it at all.

Finally - for LW - base weight is what your pack weighs after you ate the last of your food last night, used up the last of your fuel for breakfast coffee and drink the last of your water as you walk into town. :D

stranger
10-30-2003, 01:09
Let's get off this rah rah crap about how light we can get, and what other people should do or not do.

Find a pack you like, put some weight in it, get fitted properly, learn to adjust the pack properly...and if you're happy buy the damn thing. Internal, external, frameless, military...who cares.

Sly
10-30-2003, 03:34
I mainly bought the P-2 because it has it's own suspension system and knew I'd have to carry fairly heavy loads with extra food and water on the CDT. I didn't believe a lighter pack such as a Golite or G4 would work as well for me. I knew I didn't want to carry my Dana again, 2700 miles is a long way and saving 5 pounds was a no-brainer. I never even considered an external.

The semi-rigid foam internal "frame" with aluminum stay is removable and would work for lighter loads. It's also custom fit and has several options, but mine is fairly basic.

My longest stretch was 9 days and 145 miles and at the start of that section I was probably carrying 40lbs. or so. My feeling is it's an excellent all around pack and I'd use it any season.

I still have the Terraplane for if and when I want for carry over 45 pounds, but I don't see that happening anytime soon except for maybe an extended winter trip.

BTW, I don't receive any compensation for endorsing ULA, just a happy cutomer!

bunbun
10-30-2003, 11:59
Originally posted by stranger
Let's get off this rah rah crap about how light we can get, and what other people should do or not do.

Find a pack you like, put some weight in it, get fitted properly, learn to adjust the pack properly...and if you're happy buy the damn thing. Internal, external, frameless, military...who cares.

What? You don't care about "lighter"? Cool - that's your problem - deal with it.

But every pound a thruhiker drops from their pack weight increases their personal probability of avoiding injury and finishing their thruhike. Especially for their first hike. Or maybe you don't give a damn whether they finish or not? Why not? I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't be spending "my" time writing this stuff.

So, stranger ----- What kind of pack would you recommend to those who don't have a clue? And why?

Blue Jay
10-30-2003, 13:40
Much as I hate to disagree with a fan of the great philosopher Emo Phillips (do you also believe in Judyism?). I do not think pack weight is any indication AT ALL on the odds of a completed thru. It's not gear (or lack of it) that gets you to the Big K.

rickb
10-30-2003, 13:48
I think these kinds of threads are very worthwhile, especially when those suggesting a particular pack explain how they arrived at a particular choice.

Bun Bun and Sly have very unique perspectives, given that they have hiked so many miles with different packs, I listen to what they say. And appreciate the info. I hiked the AT with a Camptrails (the BSA version) like BB, and have Terraplain like Sly used to walk with. As such, I am particularly interested in thier opinions, and expect that I may soon act on that info. Not that it really matters for me. I no longer push myself to the edge of exhaustion, and only hike for relatively short distances anymore.

For a thru hike, I think that BB's message about the importance of dropping weight is spot on, but it gets a bit tricky when applied to a backpack. Having comfortable straps and a hilp belt do provide real utility. So does a decent suspension system. As for what kind of price (in terms of weight) one should pay for those things that is the tough part. Thats why it is so cool to hear people with real experience with a couple different packs over many miles.

The one group I would really like to hear from are those backpackers who have carried a LIGHT LOAD with both traditional Osprey, Dana, Gregory type pack, who have then moved on to carry that same load with thier ultralight rig. It seems to me that most of the observations and comparisons are from people who don't just change one variable (ie. thier pack), but a whole host of variables.

bunbun
10-30-2003, 15:48
Originally posted by Blue Jay
Much as I hate to disagree with a fan of the great philosopher Emo Phillips (do you also believe in Judyism?). I do not think pack weight is any indication AT ALL on the odds of a completed thru. It's not gear (or lack of it) that gets you to the Big K.

And you're not wrong. What gets you (or anyone else) to "the big K" is what's in your head and heart. Or sometimes sheer luck - but that's not the general rule. OTOH having the "right stuff" in your head is no guarantee that you'll actually get to "the big K" either. :)

Think about it - for any particular individual, the odds are against their finishing. 85-90% of those who start the AT DON'T finish. Ever wonder why? There's a whole gaggle of reasons but one of them is physical injury.

So - why do people get injured - particularly in ways that preclude finishing the Trail? What kind of injuries are we talking about? After all - a broken wrist shouldn't stop you - unless you're one of the few people who walk on their hands - or unless you do the "losers limp" thing. But shin splints, stress fractures, hip/knee problems, broken toes or ankles - just might. And generally do (Baltimore Jack excepted).

There's a whole book that could be written about this subject - and has been. But much of it boils down to too much weight too fast for too many miles putting too much stress on hips, knees, ankles and feet (and sometimes shoulders/backs). I've had people bitch at me because they think thruhiking is "just walking" and that it shouldn't be any big deal. Not sure who fed them that BS. Walking is one thing - but when you pick up a pack it stresses your joints (ALL of them) in entirely different ways. The heavier the pack is, the more stress it puts on those joints. And I haven't even gotten to what it does to your feet. Does the word "neuroma" mean anything to you?

Now- when those things happen to you - you stop hiking. And you become one of the 85-90% that don't finish instead of one of the 10-15% that do finish. Don't know your preference, but I know which group I want to be in - and I design my hikes and do everything else that I can to stack the odds in my favor so I can be part of that group. And that means not carrying the monster pack - or the extra gear that I really don't need - or the 8# tent - or --- a lot of other things. It means reducing my pack weight - but not to the point that makes the hike unsafe. Gotta watch that.

So what pack weight does is to increase your probability of injury - and the higher the weight the higher the probability of injury. It's not the only factor - speed and sometimes "luck" also play a part. But it's definitely a factor in reducing the probability of finishing the Trail.

Now - some bright strong testosterone-filled youngster is gonna say "I don't have those physical problems - I can carry the 8# pack and the heavy load." Yep - I agree - sorta. But my answer is - "Not yet, but you'll get there." More than that - how many of those athletes have you seen start up the trail with their heavy packs and 20 mile days and drop out at Damascus or before with stress fractures or other problems?

Now - is everyone on this thread 21 years old and built like a draft horse? I'm not. I know at least a couple others here aren't. And putting an 8# pack on a 50 year old isn't gonna do them any favors. At least I don't consider it "good advice." Not when there are other, lighter packs that will do what I need done.

Of course, you're welcome to believe what you want, but I've been around this block a few times and my experience is that the heavier the pack - the more likely it is that owner of that pack will be in the wrong (85-90%) group come Sept or Oct. of some year.

And that is the one and only reason I bothered to get involved in this thread. I'm not telling anyone what to do (as stranger implied) because once someone makes their decision, it's none of my damn business what they carry. It's their decision and they get to live with the consequences - not me. But I figure they should have as much information as possible before they make that decision. So you'll likely find me giving "the other side of the story" at other times and other places on this forum. And those who don't like what I have to say - can ignore me. As I've said before - it ain't my back - or my hike.

bunbun
10-30-2003, 15:55
Originally posted by Blue Jay
Much as I hate to disagree with a fan of the great philosopher Emo Phillips (do you also believe in Judyism?). I do not think pack weight is any indication AT ALL on the odds of a completed thru. It's not gear (or lack of it) that gets you to the Big K.

And you're not wrong. What gets you (or anyone else) to "the big K" is what's in your head and heart. Or sometimes sheer luck - but that's not the general rule. OTOH having the "right stuff" in your head is no guarantee that you'll actually get to "the big K" either. :)

Think about it - for any particular individual, the odds are against their finishing. 85-90% of those who start the AT DON'T finish. Ever wonder why? There's a whole gaggle of reasons but one of them is physical injury.

So - why do people get injured - particularly in ways that preclude finishing the Trail? What kind of injuries are we talking about? After all - a broken wrist shouldn't stop you - unless you're one of the few people who walk on their hands - or unless you do the "losers limp" thing. But shin splints, stress fractures, hip/knee problems, broken toes or ankles - just might. And generally do (Baltimore Jack excepted).

There's a whole book that could be written about this subject - and has been. But much of it boils down to too much weight too fast for too many miles putting too much stress on hips, knees, ankles and feet (and sometimes shoulders/backs). I've had people bitch at me because they think thruhiking is "just walking" and that it shouldn't be any big deal. Not sure who fed them that BS. Walking is one thing - but when you pick up a pack it stresses your joints (ALL of them) in entirely different ways. The heavier the pack is, the more stress it puts on those joints. And I haven't even gotten to what it does to your feet. Does the word "neuroma" mean anything to you?

Now- when those things happen to you - you stop hiking. And you become one of the 85-90% that don't finish instead of one of the 10-15% that do finish. Don't know your preference, but I know which group I want to be in - and I design my hikes and do everything else that I can to stack the odds in my favor so I can be part of that group. And that means not carrying the monster pack - or the extra gear that I really don't need - or the 8# tent - or --- a lot of other things. It means reducing my pack weight - but not to the point that makes the hike unsafe. Gotta watch that.

So what pack weight does is to increase your probability of injury - and the higher the weight the higher the probability of injury. It's not the only factor - speed and sometimes "luck" also play a part. But it's definitely a factor in reducing the probability of finishing the Trail.

Now - some bright strong testosterone-filled youngster is gonna say "I don't have those physical problems - I can carry the 8# pack and the heavy load." Yep - I agree - sorta. But my answer is - "Not yet, but you'll get there." More than that - how many of those athletes have you seen start up the trail with their heavy packs and 20 mile days and drop out at Damascus or before with stress fractures or other problems?

Now - is everyone on this thread 21 years old and built like a draft horse? I'm not. I know at least a couple others here aren't. And putting an 8# pack on a 50 year old isn't gonna do them any favors. At least I don't consider it "good advice." Not when there are other, lighter packs that will do what I need done.

Of course, you're welcome to believe what you want, but I've been around this block a few times and my experience is that the heavier the pack - the more likely it is that owner of that pack will be in the wrong (85-90%) group come Sept or Oct. of some year.

And that is the one and only reason I bothered to get involved in this thread. I'm not telling anyone what to do (as stranger implied) because once someone makes their decision, it's none of my damn business what they carry. It's their decision and they get to live with the consequences - not me. But I figure they should have as much information as possible before they make that decision. So you'll likely find me giving "the other side of the story" at other times and other places on this forum. And those who don't like what I have to say - can ignore me. As I've said before - it ain't my back - or my hike.

rickb
10-30-2003, 16:21
Well said, Bun Bun.

Of course if neuroma and shin splints and all those other maladies are the thing to worry about, then we should be hearing from the experts about the need to diet before a thru hike. 20 Lbs of fat still weighs more than an extra 3 lbs of backpack. And out feet and shins could care less where the weight comes from.

But we don't, do we? Just the oposite, we hear the experts suggesting that one not worry about being heavy, that your hike will take care of that. Provided you get very far.

Why is that?

Rick B

bunbun
10-30-2003, 17:57
LOL - and somewhere on this forum I'll swear there's someone who just asked if he should bulk up before starting his thruhike.

My answer to that question seems to be the same as yours - why would you want to start out carrying an extra 20(?) pounds?

Unfortunately, most (but not all) of us are Americans and overweight to start with - and too lazy to fix that. And I'm not pointing fingers at anyone else - all I have to do is look in the mirror.

Anyway, I'm glad I'm not an expert - I wouldn't want to be caught saying something like that.

As you said - "And out feet and shins could care less where the weight comes from."

Next question - if you're starting the Trail 20# overweight (or if you're not overweight), why would you want to carry a pack that's 3# (or more) heavier than you need? The "overweight" stuff will get lighter after a few (hundred) miles if you get that far. The pack will still be 3# (or more) heavier than you need after 2000 miles. :)

Streamweaver
10-30-2003, 18:23
But if you are pretty sure you will lose a good bit of weight during a thru- hike ,would it really be all that good an idea to lose 20 lbs before you even start?? Isnt it possible that losing that 20 lbs ahead of time you could end up losing too much weight and a whole lot of endurance during the hike?? Maybe it is better to drop the weight from your pack before the hike and the body weight during the hike??!! Though one mistake Ive noticed alot of potential thru-hikers make is jumping right into the thru-hike without first having put in some miles on the trail so at least it wont be a total shock to their system .I know no amount of training will fully prepare you for a thru-hike but something is better than nothing. Streamweaver

stranger
10-30-2003, 19:36
As someone who has some decent trail experience and over a decade in the outdoor industry, specifically working with packs, I can speak from experience. Not just on the trail, but design and consulting experience.

I could care less about trying to prove my legitimacy on here, I have better things to do. You may not know who I am, but Dana Gleason and Wayne Gregory know who I am, and if there is one thing I have learned in my time with packs is that someone's opinion does not help another person.

Packs are like the food we eat, our personal views and our taste in the opposite sex...Completely Personal. Every view is correct for that person, and lighter isn't necessarily better, yet sometimes it is.

No one should do this, or do that, because another person thinks it's a good idea. What pack would I recommend? There are so many good designs out there it's hard to say. Of course I have my favorites, but they are MY favorites...and probably won't be the best for someone else, so I won't push them on others.

Weight isn't everything, I have done 30 mile days with 35 pounds on my back, and I have done 10 mile days with 20 pounds on my back...it doesn't matter much to me. Everyone has a opinion and that is great...but it's just YOUR opinion, not the masses. And the masses opinion may not be the best one either. Do what you want...plain and simple.

bunbun
10-30-2003, 22:26
Streamweaver -
Personally, I prefer to drop the weight from the pack - regardless of what my body weight is. I also think that losing body fat is nearly always a good thing - at least up to a point. I have some theories about this subject - but that's all they are and I won't belabor them here.

As for pre-hike prep - several years ago a friend of mine did a month-long survey at Springer. And what he found was that 40% of those who were starting a thruhike had never carried a pack until the day they started their thru. I won't make the obvious comment here.

I wont.

I won't.

The hell I won't. Dum-de-dum-dum.

In other words - I agree with you.

bunbun
10-30-2003, 22:49
stranger -
I didn't ask you to prove your legitimacy. I woudn't think that would be necessary on this forum. What each of us says or asks here is sufficient to label us as either knowledgable or not.

But when a question is asked, I expect that it will be answered as fully as possible, with as many different facts and viewpoints as possible. I don't really care much about gear discussions, but what I was seeing here was NOT a full discussion. It was a one-sided paean to heavy weight packs. I've been there and done that - in the military and out. So I expressed an opinion. If you have another opinion, I'll listen.

You said: "No one should do this, or do that, because another person thinks it's a good idea."

I agree.

But those who are making this kind of decision for the first time need to know that there are different opinions, different philosophies - and different equipment out there. And they need to know what it is, why people like or dislike it , what's the cost - and what's the ultimate price (cost and price are different - ask me about that someday). And if this forum doesn't give them that information, then what good is it?

Personally, I think it's a pretty good forum.

Hmmm - weight - you're right - it's not everything. But it's a really BIG component of "everything" for most long distance hikers. Did you know there are people who do the PCT with day packs? :D

And a few who do the CDT with day packs? :D

I don't recommend that. But then - what do I know?

Streamweaver
10-30-2003, 23:26
Thanks Bunbun! Sorry bout the nasty reply earlier in this thread!!! Streamweaver

MedicineMan
10-30-2003, 23:37
to me base weight is everything but food and water....so that leaves:
shelter
sleeping bag
clothes
kitchen
first aid
the backpack of course
and the etc. stuff
Its hard for me to go ultralight, in the middle is where i find myself with a base of 15-18 pounds (its the tomahawk and the ham radio that put me over the top)....and with a kidney stone history I try to carry extra water even if I know there is some just around the bend.....

stranger
10-31-2003, 00:50
Obviously I understand that there are many different aspects of pack design and people starting out may not have a clue what to look for. But I think it's in the best interest of a inexperienced hiker to pack a little more conservatively, as they don't have the experience to slash their pack weight to say 15-20lbs.

People have been hiking long-distances with daypacks for a long time. In 1995 I hiked with a guy who carried a Lowe Alpine Contour Mountain 40, which is 2400 cubic inches. This is nothing new, the ultra-light game is nothing new, but when people become over consumed with pack weight it gets a bit much. I have heard of too many so-called ultralight hikers dying in their sleeping bags cause they didn't have enough gear to survive when the weather set in.

There are people out there who are truly amazing with what they can get away with, and I respect that. But the vast majority of hikers out there are not carrying 20 lbs, that's a fact. To suggest to a inexperienced hiker to slash everything down and go ultralight is not smart or responsible advice. I myself carry about 25-28 lbs on a long-distance hike, that includes everything, food, water etc...But I would never persuade another hiker to shoot for that...or anything lighter cause it's not ME.

Lumberjack
10-31-2003, 02:48
Ultra light requires experiance. period. No one should try it with out knowing exactly what they can handle and do on the trail. Granted a lighter pack helps a lot and makes the hike a lot easier and so on but most responsible UL'ers will tell you up front that it requires you to forego a lot of your safety margin. It is not for beginners even in Ray's book!

Packs must be chosen to be: comfortable , sized to the load and as light as possible. An uncomfortable or wrong sized pack is useless so its weight is meaningless. I myself have tried the beltless types and spent the day in agony because my shoulders cant handle the load. Without any trail experiance to guide someone in selecting a pack a beginner is far better off with a loadhauling cadillac. (my point of view) Externals have long been recognised as capable packs and can be made much lighter then they currently are (hello kelty? anyone?) and in the long run I personally think a hybrid of internal/external packs will win out over either. The Kelty 50th is a hybrid but still too heavy in my opinion. If someone came out with a 3500 cu hybrid that weighed about 3 lbs and had a decent hip belt then Id be happy to try it but so far it doesnt seem to exist. (and doesnt squeek)

BTW this isnt a UL thread, it was a request for externals........

rickb
10-31-2003, 09:19
You are right, this is a thread about externals.

That's why I find it so interesting that two hikers who each have a FEW thru hikes under their hip belt are suggesting that thier pack works as well externals which weigh 3+ pound more.

The thing that I have noted is that these guys seem to be suggesting that would be the case even when the load carried is not exactly ultralight. Thats the part that interests me.

As a weekender now, I am not about to give up my binoculars and birdbook, green beans from the garden and beer. I will never be ultralight, and cant see myself with a very small pack. But if I can shed 3+ lbs of weight that I don't need to be comfortable carying MY load, I am inclined to investigate.

When I made my gear choices on my thru hike, I found it helped to think of each pound saved being equal to 4 candy bars. With that focus, my decisions were made MUCH easier. If someone had told me how to make 12+ candy bars "weigh nothing", I would have wanted to nominate them for the Nobel Prize.

Rick B

Lone Wolf
10-31-2003, 09:24
After 16,000 miles I still carry 35-45 pounds. Works for me.

stranger
11-02-2003, 20:16
People tend to forget about external packs these days, and there are still plenty of external designs out there that work very well. Kelty has tried time and time again to build a decent internal pack and they have yet to succeed, they have always built a solid external yet have continued to spend all their R&D money on internal designs.

This is a trend that many pack companies have followed, and as a result external packs are on the decline. In many parts of the world you simply cannot buy a external frame pack, they don't exist anymore. NZ is one example of this, there is not an external sold in the country, period!

Another big thing to remember is that internal frame packs really haven't changed much since the mid-nineties, the packs appear different each year, weights change, material evolve but the concept and design is practically the same. The biggest design changes in the pack industry in the past 5-8 years was probably when Dana came out with their external packs...one of the best external frame packs ever made, and even they are on their way out.

The bottom line is that fashion and popularity has always dictated the flow of the market, and now it's fashionable to be ultra-light, hike in low cut shoes and trekking poles...so as a result the market will steer away from external packs. I don't think they will disappear though...they always make a comeback at the end of the day, and for good reason...they are still the most efficient way to carry weight.

bunbun
11-02-2003, 22:15
Originally posted by L. Wolf
After 16,000 miles I still carry 35-45 pounds. Works for me.

Lone Wolf - Do you know Monte Dodge? Six years ago he was singing that same song. He insisted that the only way to hike was with the 70# pack weight that he'd carried on the PCT in 1977. Then at a PCTA Annual Meeting, he discovered lightweight stoves. Which then led to lightweight tents/tarps - and then to lightweight packs to carry them. Then .........

He don't sing dat song no mo'. :D

Recently Baltimore Jack said - the gear has changed. And so it has. I wouldn't ask you to change your gear - I wouldn't insist that anyone else carry what I carry - or what Monte carries now - or what he carried in 1977. But I'd sure suggest that before anyone starts a long distance hike they take a long look at what's actually available to the long distance hiking community. And you won't find much of it at Campmor or Galyans or REI or any other large chain. You'll find most of it by word-of-mouth by way of those who have hiked the trails and used that gear. Six Moon Designs, ULA, Henry Shires, LWGear, Jardine's stuff - you won't find their gear in REI. But what's surprised me is that I'm not finding it on Whiteblaze either. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough - maybe I haven't been here long enough?

And no, I don't work for any of those outfits.

bunbun
11-02-2003, 22:35
Originally posted by stranger
People tend to forget about external packs these days, and there are still plenty of external designs out there that work very well.

stranger - Just so we're straight about this - I have no beef with external frame packs. What I have a beef with is any pack of ANY variety that weighs in at 6 or 7# or more. Two reasons - first because it's too heavy for the kind of gear that long distance hiker should be carrying given what's available today. If the total load (including the pack) you're carrying is 21#, then a 7# pack is one third of the total load. Even if you're carring 28# - it would be 25% of the total load. Anyone who thinks that's rasonable is certainly welcome to carry that 7# pack, but I stopped thinking that way a long time ago. I much prefer a 20# load with a pack that weighs 2.5# (12.5%)

Second reason - because a 7# is generally too damn big. General rule for pack weight is 1# per 10 liters capacity. Which would "generally" put a 7# pack in the 70 liter capacity range. So what is "anyone" gonna do with all that space? FILL IT - of course. To quote what was once said about this - If you get a big pack, you'll fill it. If you get a small pack, you'll fill it - but you'll take what you need rather than what you want.

Incidentally - if I were gonna take an external - it would probably be the Camp Trails Adjustable II. It's big enough to hold what's needed for a thruhike, small enough to not allow a lot of extras, and weighs in at about 4#. but most first-time thruhikers probably wouldn't believe that.

Of course - YMMV. And that's exactly as it should be. :)

bunbun
11-02-2003, 23:22
Originally posted by Lumberjack
Ultra light requires experiance. period. No one should try it with out knowing exactly what they can handle and do on the trail. Granted a lighter pack helps a lot and makes the hike a lot easier and so on but most responsible UL'ers will tell you up front that it requires you to forego a lot of your safety margin. It is not for beginners even in Ray's book!


Hmmm - let's start with this - the original question was - "I am interested to hear from thru-hikers about their opinion of using an external pack on a thru-hike." The thread wasn't "about" externals - it was "about" opinions. I gave an opinion - YMMV

Second - nothing I said related to "ultralight". In fact - I agree entirely with your first paragraph. In point of fact, many of those ultraliters will tell you about the loss of safety margin because years ago I rapped some of 'em upside the head with a 2x4 about their responsibility to do so.

But I don't do ultralight - and likely never will. Your misunderstanding comes because of a lack of understanding about what "ultralight" is. So let's define some terms here. An ultralight pack will weigh in at about 10# base weight - give or take a couple of pounds. Six years ago a friend hiked the PCT with a 9# pack. Got stopped by a ranger who wouldn't believe he was thruhiking because "his pack was too small." That's ultralight. On the PCT it's not only common - it's endemic. And except for Washington it's entirely doable by even the inexperienced. On the other long trails, it can be and very often is, simply dangerous. In the "real" backcountry, it's simply stupid. That's "my" opinion - YMMV.

I don't do ultralight - I do mid-weight. Which means my pack runs between 16 and 24 # depending on where I'm going, what season it is, the weather, etc. I also don't do beltless packs. I did those long ago in the military - the hip belts serve a purpose.

Now where I'll disagree with you is about beginners and loadbearing cadillacs. There's no reason whatever for any beginner on this forum to use one of those except by "personal choice." If they use one out of ignorance then it's either because they're not liistening to what "should" be being said here - or it's not being said here. The first would be their problem - the second would be the problem of the forum members who aren't saying what needs to be said. For those who aren't on this - or some other forum - well, there's not a lot that anyone here can do for them, is there?

So - finally - and this is personal opinion - if your base weight is over 30#, then YOU either haven't been paying attention to the kinds of gear that's available - or you've CHOSEN to not use it. No foul either way. It took me 3 years to switch to an alcohol stove. We were actually given one while on the PCT - and sent it home. Now I have 3 Whisperlite Internationales that'll probably never get used again - and one of them is brand new, never been lit. We didn't use a lightweight tent until the PCT - previously we were using a Clip Flashlite (~5# on-trail weight) now we use a Nomad (~2.5# on--trail weight). I didn't change to a ULA pack until two years ago. I changed when "I" was ready - and LW will change when "HE" is ready.

But I consider it an egregious error to NOT tell those who are just starting long distance hiking about this kind of gear on the theory that they're "not ready for it". If someone did that to me, I'd be REALLY pissed.

Sly
11-03-2003, 02:18
AT '97- Dana Terraplane, Clipflashlight, synthetic sleeping bag, full lenght Thermarest, 2 qt. stainless steel pot, Whisperlite, 4 liter Dromadary water bag, Gor-tex jacket, lots of clothes, leather hiking boots, etc., etc.

Presently- ULA P-2, Nomadlite or tarp, down sleeping bag, Z-rest, 1.4 liter titanium pot, alcohol stove, platapus type water bag or soda bottles, Frogg Toggs, less clothes, trail shoes, etc., etc.

No safety issues that I can think of between the two. No special requirements or skills needed to use the lighter gear, but about a 15lb savings or more. And in most cases the lighter gear was cheaper, sometimes much cheaper.

Is the lighter gear going to last as long? Probably not, but will easily do a thru-hike or two, maybe three.

rickb
11-03-2003, 10:20
Bun Bun says that if you get a big pack you will fill it. He probably has a good point. I do know that I can get two bear canisters and a thermarest inside my Terapain. And have room left over.

I wonder about the flip side of that, however. Is it possible that one who has a small pack will limit his or her hiking options?

I think its safe to say that hikers doing the AT will resupply much more frequently these days than they did in years gone by. Since I am far removed from the LD hiking scene, I can't say this for sure, but I believe it to be true. At the same time, it does not seem like AT hikers are hiking any further with thier light weight packs each day. Just the oposite.

There are probably all sorts of reasons for this-- better trail information and more services in town included. Brains. But I also wonder how much the collective wisdom of a "small pack is better" and the "only chumps carry any thing more than needed" mentality plays into this.

All other things being equal (or near equal), lighter is better. Who could argue differently? Sometimes, there IS a price to be paid, however. Don't 2.5# packs effectively require more frequent hitches into town? That might not be a bad thing, but is it always?

When Ray Jardin wrote about light-weight backpacking, I think that the part that was "new" was not so much that "lighter GEAR was better"; most experienced backpackers already knew that. The thing that was most important (to my way of thinking) was how going lighter related to the ability to put in longer miles, which in turn related to ones need to not carry as much food, clothing and shelter. And ultimately, on the entire character of a long-distance hike. That everything was intereralted. With respect to LD hikes, I don't think he envisioned the trend towards lighter packs AND slower hikes. Or that droping weight was a goal unto itself.

Perhaps going to a 2.5# pack won't impact such basic decisions as which towns one needs to hich hike into, or how many miles one NEEDs tyo make each day. I don't know. Seems like it might, however.

With an external frame pack, one does have a realistic option of lugging enough food to bypass a few more resuply points than a person with a 2.5# pack, I think. Such a strategy may not be something that one wants to do, or will end up doing. Hell, most people do exactly what trhier peers are. And that's not neccesarrily a bad thing. But it might be something to think about if you are a contrarian. There is a price to be paid for every decision. Just something to think about.

bunbun
11-03-2003, 10:52
Rick is right to some degree. A "small" pack - like the day packs that are sometimes used on the PCT might well limit options. I certainly wouldn't want to take them on the CDT even though I know someone who did a thruhike with one. But he was also doing pretty consistent 30's. OTOH, he also did some alternate routes because the weather made the mountain routes that we took too dangerous for him. Yeah - the "small" pack can limit options.

But at 4000 cubes, the 2.5# ULA P2 doesn't necessarily qualify as "small" except in weight or by comparison with Sly's Terraplane. I did both the CDT and the PCT with a 5#, 4000 cube Gregory Reality - and most times had space left over. I've got about 500 miles on the P2 now in places like the Jasper/Mt Robson and the Abaroka-Beartooths - and haven't noticed any contraints. But I'll tell you for sure after next years trip to Alaska.

What I have noticed (in a positive way) is the lack of 2.5# of ugly pack weight.

Fallingwater
11-03-2003, 15:22
The relationship of weight of the backpack vs. days out, is by no means a linear one (ie. Heavier weight backpack = more days out). And here weíre referring specifically to the weight of the pack itself, as in a 1# (ultralight), 2.5# (lightweight) or 6# (traditional) pack. Food weight varies significantly from individual to individual and depending upon what stage of the thru-hike they are hiking. Typically averages of 1.5# to 3#ís of food per day, with less food being consumed in the early weeks of the hike.

A lightweight gear selection could easily come in at 15#ís base weight with little if any change in hiking style. Assuming a 30# max weight and 2# of water, that would leave 13#ís of food weight available. Depending upon your food daily food ration, your days out could range from 4 up to 8 days before needing to re-supply. If youíre traveling fewer miles per day, you can cut your rations and extend your backcountry stays.

On the CDT and PCT the longest distances between re-supply are no more than 150 miles and only then on a couple of occasions. At an average of 25 miles per day, thatís a maximum of 6 days between re-supply, or between 9 and 18 pounds of food. Fortunately on both trails, those 150 sections can be broken into smaller segments if you donít mind working a little harder on getting re-supplied. Also those segments are generally in areas where the fit thru-hiker can easily do the 25 daily averages.

While in the past going ultralight, ie sub 12# base pack weight, meant more advanced knowledge or sacrifice in comfort, thatís no longer true today. New packs, tents and other gear on the market today easily allow base pack weights to drop with little or no change in hiking style.

Fallingwater

RagingHampster
11-03-2003, 16:51
I haven't completed a thru-hike of any trail, but I have a couple thousand miles in day/weekend hikes under my feet.

I have a Kelty Trekker 4300, LL Bean Mt. Washington, and a GoLite Breeze.

To be honest, I am a ounce pincher, and a zealot to the fact that lighter tends to be better. Having said that, it still needs to play up to par, or it's useless.

Personally I think Internal Frames suck. Thats just my opinion. All the hype about stability and what not is a little exaggerated. Everytime I use my Mt. Washington, I end up bringing it home in disgust, and yes... it is fitted properly. The sweaty back issue is what ultimately deters me.

I love my Kelty external, and use it while overnighting in the winter to handle my winter tent, gasoline stove, and burly sleeping bag. I've also used it a bunch of times in the summer as well. Having back ventilation is a huge plus. And all the crap about see-sawing loads must come from people who don't know how to strap loads, and fit the pack. The Kelty has an excellent frame, and terrible pack. Mine is currently stripped to the frame, and I'm making a new bag from silnylon to attatch to it. Too many flaps and pockets made of lead-weight materials.

The golite breeze is my current pack of choice. While I can easily fit all my gear for a few days (including food/fuel/water), You quickly become overburdoned when you have to carry more than a couple days food and gallon+ of water. It also can't handle my winter load when traveling solo. It's just such an incredible feeling to carry a 15oz pack and drop 6lbs. But if you try and overload it past 20lbs or so you'll find-out quick that you'll need ducktape on your shoulders and a splint for your lower back.

Personally I love the Kelty Trekker external frame, the design of the golite breeze, and the function of SilNylon and reinforced mesh. I want to merge the three into a 2-3lb external frame waterproof lightweight pack. We'll see how that goes...

And remember, plenty of people have traveled the distance with much less. A friend of a friend just came back from Kilimanjaro, and said the porters refused to borrow his pack to carry 50lb loads. They rolled them in bedsheets and balanced them on their heads, hiking in cotton t-shirts and sandals. Hahahahaha :D ...

...Think their is a market for GoLite BedSheet Packs? I bet the logo would seell it if I could get a picture of Ed Viesturs with one on top of one of those 8,000m Peaks :D :p

bunbun
11-03-2003, 22:27
Originally posted by RagingHampster
You quickly become overburdoned when you have to carry more than a couple days food and gallon+ of water. It also can't handle my winter load when traveling solo.

Personally I love the Kelty Trekker external frame, the design of the golite breeze, and the function of SilNylon and reinforced mesh. I want to merge the three into a 2-3lb external frame waterproof lightweight pack. We'll see how that goes...


RH - just a comment - and a question. I like your merge idea - hope it works for you.

But I'm curious - where do you go that you need to carry a gallon of water? :-?

RagingHampster
11-03-2003, 23:25
But I'm curious - where do you go that you need to carry a gallon of water?While ridge hiking on the ranges of Central Mass on the M&M trail I often carry close to a Gallon of water due to little/no water. When it's in the 80's during the summer, I often consume a quart of water every few miles.

While carrying the GoLite Breeze, my base packweight is a hair over 13lbs. During most overnighters I add 3-4 lbs of food and carry about 4lbs of water. This works out great. But more than a couple days, or when hiking in really hot weather you can exceed 20lbs quite quickly.

The external frame/breeze idea is progressing.... but slowly.

Lumberjack
11-04-2003, 03:13
I have no misunderstanding of UL issues, My pack weight for solo winter (0 degrees) is 30 lbs for 3 days including food and 3l of water all carried in a rather hefty 8 lb 5000 cui. pack. I could save several pounds of weight by carrying a lighter pack but so far I havent seen any that work for my needs at a reasonable price. In fact I have a 2lb pack sitting in my closet which I got for summer use but I discovered it puts too much load on my shoulders so I still use the heavier pack.(I keep it as a reminder that weight isnt everything)

Oddly enough many thru-hikers usually slow down toward the end of their hike because they realise that it isnt how many miles a day that matters but rather what you get out of each mile. I eased up on my UL kick because I wanted to enjoy the time when I wasnt hiking as much as anything else. Obsessing over 6 oz of weight became contrary to the reasons I hike. Lighter is good but not if I have to sacrifice all my comforts.

Most of the externals do seem to suffer from excess weight but a lot of this is from them being expected to haul 70 lb loads. The last one I had was only 3 pounds but didnt have a decent hipbelt. Over 30 lbs it would slide off my hips putting the whole load on my shoulders.

Pack I would consider?
kelty 50th
osprey aether 60
moonbow gearskin

So far the kelty is winning inspite of its weight with the moonbow a close second. I also have been sneaking peeks over at the mchales but the price tags are a bit more then I want for a bag that might become lunch for the local porkies and meeses. The gearskin I like but since I dont use a pad and the pack cant be adjusted for size I doubt it would keep me happy in the long term.

A slightly larger bag can haul a few more days of food and maybe keep you away from all those expensive gravity wells in town. My own observation is that 4000 works well in most situations and a four pound pack isnt that unreasonable for weight. Keep in mind some UL'ers also carry a waist bag and tend to forget to mention it or its weight and contents.

Note to Ray - If you dont understand the safety issuses involved in your pack please add a body bag to its contents. (kidding)

cabalot
11-09-2003, 17:22
i was shopping at campmor this weekend and the advice the salemen gave me was internals for bushwacking and climbing because the weight is more on your back so you tend to lean foward like when your are climbimg.
externals are better for hiking such as the AT because the weight rests on your hips and you walk upright.
for me ventalation is a major pro for the external. most all pic's i've seen of people hiking the AT are using externals.

Kerosene
11-09-2003, 19:39
Cabalot, I think most of those AT pics are from the 80's! I'm looking at my central Virginia maps and one of the hikers has the same Kelty Tioga I bought in the late 70's.

I try to time my fall hikes so I cross paths with thru-hikers. The vast majority of them have moved to internal or frameless packs. Weekend hikers are more likely to have external packs. I switched from my Kelty to a Dana Designs Terraplane four years ago on the advice of the pack fitter who had recently completed a thru-hike. I just purchased a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone, cutting my base weight by 20% without sacrificing any comfort. Many internals try to create an channel to let air flow on your back, and externals use mesh bands against your back, but I've been hot with both of them. I have not worn an internal in temperatures above 75*, but hey, you end up getting soaked regardless of the frame style. In warm temperatures I have more concern about the shoulder pads than I do the pack against my back.

cabalot
11-09-2003, 19:57
why would a weekend hiker use something different than a thru hiker? my hikes will generally be 3 - 5 days. i want the best. :-?

MedicineMan
11-09-2003, 23:35
It would seem like some manuf. would offer an ultralightweight external frame pack....you would think with sil-nyl and carbon fiber an external could exist at no more than 2.5 pounds.......

Streamweaver
11-10-2003, 02:40
Actually there is an ultralight external that weighs in at 32 ozs and is rated up to 45lbs. It doesnt have a regular pack bag but instead uses 4 stuff sacks attached to an ultralight frame.It looks like a decent system but the price is way to rich for my blood!!!! Luxurylite (http://www.luxurylite.com/)

grant-cuz
11-10-2003, 09:01
I currently own a Jansport external backpack. It seems to me like the external pack has its advantages---more air circulation, plenty of places to tie things on, etc.

I am interested to hear from thru-hikers about their opinion of using an external pack on a thru-hike.


I own a Kelty Super Tioga. Yes, unfortunately, it is about #7, but I'm going to give it a shot on the AT in 2004. I love the ventilation and extra pockets on the externals. Internals never seem to fit my back properly.

It scares me to think that I could cut the weight in half, but I'm not opposed to ditching it and buying something better along the way.

c.coyle
11-10-2003, 09:18
why would a weekend hiker use something different than a thru hiker? my hikes will generally be 3 - 5 days. i want the best. :-?

As a weekender myself, I can confirm that external frames are more common with weekenders than thru hikers. Some possible reasons are (1) weekenders are less conscious of weight, because they're not cranking out 20 miles day after day; (2) weekenders don't use equipment as hard as thru hikers, so what they have lasts longer.

I stayed at a shelter in Pa. about a month ago with 5 other weekenders, and I was the only person with an internal frame pack.

It seems to me that a lot of the debate, and sometimes heated disagreement, on this site about cutting weight overlooks the significant difference between long distance hikers and folks who do 1,2, or 3 nighters. I think they are very different activities.

Blue Jay
11-10-2003, 10:45
I will agree that more and more thrus are using internals due to weight considerations. I do not think it is because of durability. Externals last just as long as internals. I have carried a modified K2 for over 6,000 miles. I know of a Kelty with over 10,000.