View Full Version : I think I need a smaller pack. Looking at these three..

Don Newcomb
10-24-2011, 15:00
I've been paring my gear down to go lighter. My current TNF pack is fairly large (I don't recall the exact volume) It will barely hold it's shape with my base load, nothing compressed and all the cinch straps pulled down tight. I was in REI the other day and tried on a Flash 50, which seemed very nice but the salesman suggested it would be too small and suggested a Flash 65, which they didn't have in stock. I like the cost and features of this pack. My hiking partner has suggested either a Mountain Laurel 3500ci (http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=103) or a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 (http://www.granitegearstore.com/Blaze-AC-60-P222C7.aspx), both being made in the US. The Mountain Laurel has only a minimal hip belt and no frame as far as I can tell. The AC 60 seems like a very nice pack but is also the most expensive.

I plan to use the new pack to carry a base weight of 25 lbs or less with a full up weight never over 40 lbs. I am a somewhat overweight, middle age, trail stroller, not into peak bagging or speed hiking. I'm trying to go lighter to allow me to stay on the trail as a age, not to beat everyone else to the top of the hill.

I'm sort of lost and can't afford to buy all three. Thoughts and observations?

Buffalo Skipper
10-24-2011, 15:09
My son just picked up a Flash 65, which he is very happy with (his first trek with this will be in 2.5 weeks); one of his friends just picked up a Flash 50; and I have a ULA Circuit. If you will be up to 40 lbs, the Flash 65 may be too little pack for you--not in space, but in weight. This pack is really designed to carry loads of 30-35 max.

I used to use a 70l Osprey Aether. Once I brought my weight (and bulk) down, I had no desire to carry that much pack. I picked up the Circuit, and have never been happier. Don't know what TNF you have, but check the model and volume, and try to figure out how much space you are now utilizing. Weight it too, to really figure out how much you are carrying.

Getting your weight down will really change your backpacking experience.

Don Newcomb
10-24-2011, 15:38
Don't know what TNF you have, but check the model and volume, and try to figure out how much space you are now utilizing. I don't know either. It's well over 10 years old. Other than the TNF logo, the only tag just says "L". Any paperwork or invoice was thrown out long ago. The only way I could find the volume is to procure a couple of bushels of rice hulls and stuff it full. When I quoted 40 lbs, that was the maximum conceivable load I'd carry. 35 lbs is more like a real maximum.

10-24-2011, 15:39
Look at the packs made by Gossamer Gear, Z-packs, SixMoon Designs, ULA, and others. You won't find them at REI and they're tried and tested on many long hikes. Good luck in your weight reduction. That's exactly what kept me on the long trails after age 40.

10-24-2011, 15:44
Gossamer Gear Mariposa or Gorilla, ULA Circuit or Ohm 2.0. I wasn't aware Granite Gear was made in the US, which has become a priority for me.

Don Newcomb
10-24-2011, 17:11
I wasn't aware Granite Gear was made in the US, which has become a priority for me. I can't actually make that statement. It was represented to me that they were but I have not seen that on their website.

Del Q
10-24-2011, 19:40
Check out Hyperlite Mountain Gear..new cuben fiber pack I got from them is really great, super comfortable, forced me not to pack too much BS, added plus........it is cuben fiber so the pack does not get wet or smelly like the mesh on almost all packs.

Great gear............super new company, cuben fiber stuff sacks were also killer, my 25 degree down bag stuffed down really, really small.

10-24-2011, 19:55
I have the REI 65 and it has been very comfortable and is well designed. I keep my total pack weight under 35 lbs and have almost all the weight on my hips without any problem.

Don Newcomb
10-25-2011, 08:29
Check out Hyperlite Mountain Gear.. Really interesting looking gear. Might be a tad on the minimalist side for me but it looks really cool.

10-25-2011, 09:59
If you are going with a base weight of 25 and a full load of 40, many of the lighter packs won't carry that. The Ohm comes to mind -- great pack, but not for 40 pounds. The ULA Circuit might handle that much, but I think 30 is probably better. (I own both of those packs.)

40 pounds requires a pretty solid suspension. The Osprey Aether 60 will carry that easily. Not sure about the Flash 65.

Don Newcomb
10-25-2011, 10:17
I called TNF and got what information they could find on my old pack. It's a Thin Air internal frame, vintage 1998 with a nominal capacity of 70 liters and a weight of 3lb 6oz. I assume that the 70 liter number is without extending the collar. With the collar extended this pack is huge.