View Full Version : Pack Size?

01-31-2011, 16:00
This is the only major piece of gear I have yet to purchase. My question is in regards to Pack Size. When I leave Springer my estimated pack wt. will probably be near 40lbs. I know......that's heavy. I'm sure there are lots of places that I can cut weight and I will but there are also certain items that I have no choice but to bring. My sleeping bag is a WM 10 degree down bag, base layers are merino wool, insulating layer is a down jacket with app. 7oz of fill and my tent is a Copper Spur UL 1. I plan on leaving re-supply points with 5-7 days of food and re-supplying every 5, 6 or 7 day. 1.5lbs/day of caloric dense food. I'm just trying to give you an idea of some the gear that I will be caring as far as its bulk.

? Do you think a pack with 4,576 cu in will be large enough or should I go for the larger pack at 5064 cu in. There are no external pockets. My frame size has already been determined but I can put which either of these two pack sizes on on the frame that I choose. I don't have the ability to pack the pack before purchasing it. I know that it is a tough question and there are lots of variables but I thought I might see what you guys had to say.

Thanks in advance for the help :)

01-31-2011, 16:03
Sorry, Carrying.

01-31-2011, 16:12
Yikes! Packs ranging between 3000-4000 cu in. are the norm with weights of 30 lbs or less. Think ounces, not pounds!

Here's a great 10 page article (http://www.backpacker.com/november_2008_american_classic_hiking_the_appalach ian_trail/destinations/12530) for you to scan. Lots of tips........
(ignore the pop-up)

Plus, as an added bonus, check out the Mountain Crossings gear list here (http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4). It'll give you a 19 lb. base weight cold weather pack. Trim for summer.


Feral Bill
01-31-2011, 19:05
Throw your gear in a duffle and head to an outfitter with a decent stock of packs. Spend plenty of time and find what suits you.

01-31-2011, 21:05
4500 cubic inches is a pretty substantial pack bag if that's the total with no outside pockets. Many of the currently popular internal frame packs are around 4000 cubic inches, but that includes large outside pockets.

Can't you take your gear to REI and try out some packs?

01-31-2011, 21:14
Definitely go try some packs. Even if you end up ordering online it will help you get some ideas.
What pack are you looking at now?

01-31-2011, 22:05
Thanks for the responses. I suppose I could head to REI with my gear and try a few packs out for size.

The pack I'm considering is the Aarn Natural Balance (pack size small with a large frame) 75L, 3661 cu in the main pack (2 compartments) and 915 cu in in the front pouches. I know Aarn packs aren't used much here in the US but thought I might give one a go.


02-01-2011, 00:51
One possibility is to start the trail with whatever pack will hold your gear (something you already own or can borrow). At Neel's Gap ask for one of their thru-hiker veteran staff to do the shakedown with you and buy a pack on the spot (mail home the starter pack along with likely other stuff). Of course you won't have infinite selection that way, but having them first (hopefully) talk you into making some other gear changes after your first few days on trail will then allow for a pack to be selected that's sized right for what you carry north from there.

Alternatively, consider just buying a ULA Catalyst and then working to reduce your gear volume until everything fits either inside or in the external mesh. IMO if you can't fit everything into or on a Catalyst for the AT then there's some gear changes you can make that will improve your odds of success and happiness on the trail.

Northern Lights
02-01-2011, 00:58
My pack generally weighs between 35-40 pounds depending on how long I am going out for. I have a Vaude 65+10 and I really like it. It balances the weight of what I deem necessary for a comfortable hike.

*disclaimer* :)
And yes I know the more experienced hikers will say I'm nuts for carrying that much weight, but you will never hear me complain that my pack is too heavy or that I'm hurting.

So as the saying goes, hike your own hike. Carry what you feel you need and as you learn cut back where you think you can.

02-01-2011, 02:46
I used a 50 liter pack to begin my hike. In the beginning, it was just enough to carry my 36 pound pack weight. As i got further along on the trail, I dropped so much dead weight that my pack was more than enough for what I needed to carry. Since you don't know what the trivial items in your bag may be yet, maybe carry a 65 liter pack to be comfortable with your hiking style.

Good luck and happy trails!

02-02-2011, 04:35
First off, more weight does not equate to more volume. That's a fairly typical misunderstanding. It's kinda like these idiots who buy 2lb ultralight packs and fill them to the brim, strap stuff all over the outside, and the pack weighs 45lbs!

Having a correct volume does help quite a bit though, because you need your pack to be full in order to maximize how it performs, and no pack works overly well with stuff strapped outside, atleast not heavy stuff - so volume is important. Saying that, there are creative, yet simple, ways to fill a big pack without making it heavier (fold a full length Ridge Rest into a oval and put that inside, 1/3 of your volume disappears, or blow air into your thermarest, etc), where as a pack that is too small means strapping things outside - never an overly intelligent thing to do.

But in any case...you should really try on atleast 4-5 packs, or more, before deciding on one, packs are like shoes...it's all about fit and feel, not so much volume, price, or features.