View Full Version : newbie seeking backpack recommendation

03-02-2012, 21:13
Newbie here - both to these forums and the AT.

I will be hiking on the AT for the first time this year - doing the Shenandoah NP section in May. I have never AT hiked before and, while I have dayhiked and campground camped before, this will be my first backpacking camping trip. I am aware of my inexperience and will be hiking with some friends who have section hiked 3 other parts of the AT in past years.

I need to buy a backpack for the trip and am looking for recommendations. My hiking companions like Osprey brand and recommend something around 4500 in3 capacity. Assuming I enjoy the experience, I may use the pack on future AT hikes or hikes on the FT here in Florida. I am 6'3" if that matters.

Recommendations appreciated!

03-02-2012, 21:33
4500 cu. inches (73 liters) is pretty big for AT hikes. Especially in the Shenandoahs, if you plan on stopping at the waysides. More than 60 or 65 liters is overkill, especially in the warm weather you will be encountering. Go to an outfitter and check out Deuter, Osprey, and Gregory packs in the 40-60 liter range. Those are the three main brands. Also, packs will fit everyone differently. I have heard great things about Ospreys but they just don't fit me right. Happy hiking, the Shenandoahs are beautiful. :)

03-03-2012, 00:53
Osprey Atmos 65

03-03-2012, 01:00
ULA Catalyst

03-03-2012, 01:05
ULA. Help a company make a payroll in Utah.

03-03-2012, 11:31
ULA. Help a company make a payroll in Utah.

plus one...

turtle fast
03-03-2012, 11:42
plus too...perfect pack for you that is made in the USA, made by hikers for hikers and is a pack that will remain current and relevant for years to come. You can't go wrong with a ULA.....unless you are hauling a heavy ACME Anvil.

Del Q
03-03-2012, 17:26
I wish that I had paid more attention on WB years ago before I started buying gear. Like many hikers, I have a small closet full.

To me lightweight and less is a better way to go............current pack is a cuben fiber Hyperlite Mountain Gear, really excellent gear. Also have a ULA Catalyst, excellent pack, just much bigger than I need with current gear list.

grateful 2
03-03-2012, 17:48
osprey atmos 65, granite gear blaze 60, ula catalyst or circuit

03-03-2012, 18:43
Another vote for ULA, figure out what you will be carrying weight/volume wise, and then order accordingly.

Feral Bill
03-03-2012, 19:21
Unless you are near enough to a good outfitter to make sure the pack you chose fits you properly, you might consider buying from REI or another web dealer with a 100% return policy. I'm not sure how ULA handles returns, but it would pay to ask.

03-03-2012, 19:24
I'm an Osprey fan. Exos 46 for me.

03-14-2012, 23:05
Thanks everyone for the input.

Is there any notable difference between the ULA Catalyst and ULA Circuit other than the Catalyst being slightly larger?

03-15-2012, 00:25
get the circuit man. make your gear fit the pack (this will help you keep your weight down). actually, get the ohm :D

turtle fast
03-15-2012, 01:59
The ULA Catalyst is larger than the Circuit. Some folks believe that if you have a larger pack volume that you tend to fill it up with more stuff and thus increase your weight, thus the Circuit voters. A Catalyst would give you more room if you are hiking in Spring or Fall for a bulkier warmer sleeping bag and gear. It also has the benefit of the roll top so it 'shrinks' down in summer.

03-15-2012, 07:16
The Catalyst can also store a standard-length bear canister either horizontally or vertically, which is nice if you plan to do any hiking in places where a bear can is required as it gives you a bit more flexability in how you load your pack. The Circuit can only fit a bear canister vertically.

03-15-2012, 08:52
U.S Army A.L.I.C.E pack You cant beat it for the price and durability (uslally around $40.00)

03-15-2012, 10:55
It's most important that the pack fits your back. If it's the right pack for you, and it's adjusted properly, the pack and shoulder straps should evenly hug your back. The angle between the load lifters and shoulder straps should be 45 deg.

Some packs, such as the Deuter Act Lite allow you to change the origin of the shoulder straps.

03-15-2012, 17:18
U.S Army A.L.I.C.E pack You cant beat it for the price and durability (uslally around $40.00)

Or weight!