View Full Version : Best cheap women's packs for thru-hike

10-13-2010, 12:18
Hey everyone!

I'm lookin' to purchase a pack for my thru-hike 2011. I'm on a budget so the cheaper the better without sacrificing too much (weight/comfort). I want anyone's thoughts/suggestions on the best women's pack for the job. Specific models would be nice but any advice is welcomed.

Also, what cu. in. should I look for?

10-13-2010, 12:32
If you are carrying more than 20-25lbs, the Osprey packs are really nice. If you are carrying less, the ULA packs are nice. I don't think you need a specific model for the ULA, just get the small or medium, whatever fits your height best. The ULA packs fit really nicely. I love mine. I've got a Relay but they don't make the Relay anymore.

Not sure what size in cu inches will meet your needs, but something between 2000 and 4000 ought to work. I carried a 4000 cu inch Gossamer Gear pack (it was on sale for only $80) and while it is really way too large, it worked for my thru-hike because I needed a lot of space for all my food. I didn't really like the fit of this pack, but it's a good pack.

If you think about it, packs are really quite underpriced for how complicated it is to make one. Look for there to be some sales over the next months. I think my $80 bargain was in the month of January.

10-13-2010, 12:45
Oh, and if you are looking to carry a light load, you will need to shop online at the cottage makers, not at REI or wherever. They don't carry light packs. ULA can be found online, as can Gossamer Gear or the other lighter brands. These companies make lightweight gear for thru-hikers who carry light loads.

If you aren't going lightweight, then REI or wherever is fine. I would go there and talk to the sales person, try on the pack. They can give you sandbags to put in the pack and you can wear it around in the store. That's how I ended up with an Osprey. It's a really good pack, but now that I pack so light, it's overkill anymore for me.

10-13-2010, 13:58
Summer - sbhiker gives good advice. One other thing I might add though. You need to know what your gear weighs BEFORE you buy a pack. If not, you could buy a pack that either will be overkill or won't handle the weight. I think most AT thrus use a 3000 - 4000 cu. in. pack. A second word of caution.......whatever size pack you have, you'll fill it up! :) So get a pack that will just handle your gear and food.

Have a great hike!

10-13-2010, 14:40
Travelcountry.com is having a pretty good sale on GoLites, allthough they aren't that light any more. I'll second everything Diane said about ULA and Gossamer Gear.

10-13-2010, 15:37
Steep and Cheap had the Osprey Aether 70 in Size Small for 55% off ($116.53) last week. Still on DoG for 40% off ($155.37) right now.


10-14-2010, 17:51
Great advice everyone, thanks for the help!

10-20-2010, 09:31
$99.99 on SAC for the next 28 minutes!!


10-20-2010, 20:01
Take a look at the $30 Outdoor Products Arrowhead 8.0 at Walmart. Great for ultralight hiking and fits my adult daughter fine. Weighs 2 kbs and carries 3100 cu in. There' s a review on my section hike blog:


I used one for a 2-week section hike and it performed well. I saw two others with the same pack in the AT section I did. At $30, its cheap to replace if necessary.

10-21-2010, 09:17
Deuter had some really well priced packs this year. hope you find what works for you! :)

10-21-2010, 18:53
Good advise about buying the pack for the weight you plan on carrying. I carried a 50L Gregory Jade pack (not sure how many c.u. that is) and it was more than enough room. I'll probably go for a ULA pack on my next thru-hike since my pack weight rarely goes above 30 pounds with food and water.

Also, look for second-hand packs. Alot of people buy packs and use them just a couple times before selling them. No need to go brand new. I'd advise against buying a past thru-hikers pack though. haha. ;)

Country Roads
10-23-2010, 19:48
when you have narrowed it down, go to an outfitter, find what fits you and your gear and the check out discount mail order places for the same pack, only cheaper (I apologize to all outfitters for this idea).
You can find packs on closeout at Campmor, Sierra trading post and practically new packs on E-bay. I snagged a Mountainsmith Muse pack in 2006 for $69 from Campmor. It had originally cost $160. This pack was a closeout discontinued model, but it still gets much use and I expect it to last a long time.
Gossamer Gear packs are very nice - I have 2 of them, which I got on sale for $80. Safe to say I almost never pay full price for anything that I can figure out how to get cheaper.