View Full Version : Backpack advice

03-03-2013, 20:49
Ok...after six sections hikes that began in '05' at Springer and now up near Pearlsburg, VA... I've come to the conclusion that I haven't been hiking as much as I have been hauling. Alright I'm a slow learner but you can teach this old dog a new trick. As I prepare for another section this May I've made a commitment to go "lighter". Hauling an external (rather comfortable) at 5+lbs; one person tent at 5 lbs and a syn bag at 4 lbs... I'd generally start a hump with a total wet weight of 38lbs... That would be for a 5 to 7 day hump. There is a ton of commercial advice and I have done my "internet" homework on purchasing the new three biggies: pack, tent, and bag. I've also gone to a Swayer purifier and cut out lots of other stuff I've hauled and never used or wore. I've replaced my tent and cut the weight in half and cut two pounds off my bag by going quality down. NOW... this was all background as often there are many unanswered questions in thees posts. I also now just how subjective this can all be but I am a little stumped over the pack....not the make or style but the size.

After many months of internet hiking I have chosen to purchase one of the new Quest packs from Golite. I know there are many others and I have looked at them but for the money and for the style of hiking I do... i just feel these packs will best meet my needs. Many of the competitors packs don't seem to fit my torso, I'm 6'1, 220 lbs with a 22" torso... I also like the internal frame of these new packs and their ability to haul lots of weight... contradiction I know.

The Quest 65L (3,965) and the Quest 80L (4,880) are priced so close that for just 2oz more I'm considering the larger...I'd certainly would not have any issues about pack space.... but is this overkill? Also, both packs come in med and large and both packs claim to adjust to my torso... so do I chose a medium or a large? I guess this is a lot of info for a couple of basic but potentionally serious questions... and no I can not try them on... what to do?

03-03-2013, 21:10
Understood on "seeing the light." Took me a while too.

80 liters is way too large, and you might end up having carrying issues with it if it's not full. (And you'd better not fill it up! :) ) Maybe for a serious winter load with lots of bulky (but light) clothing and such. But the 65 liter pack is plenty large enough for your stated load.

If your measured torso really is 22 inches, then you would need the Large size pack.

03-03-2013, 21:16
I have a Quest 80. It's kind of overkill with as big as it is but I have two small children that like to hike. Therefore I have to carry their stuff. I'm somewhere in between 5'11" and 6' tall. When I ordered my pack, I was around 220 lbs with a 38" waist. The Golite rep told me they go according to waist size. He told me that I would need a size medium. I was a little worried about buying a pack without trying it on but I'm really glad I went with the Quest. The customer service was great. Their website said they were sold out of the 80L packs but when I called the rep told me he'd check their warehouse and call me back. He called me back a couple hours later telling me that they had one in stock. The pack was at my door a couple days later. I'm really glad I went with this pack. I'm even considering buying the 50L for smaller trips.

03-03-2013, 21:30
The more pack,(volume)you have the more reason to stuff unneccesary "stuff" . After trial and error,not to mention a sore back and tired muscles,you learn to tuckerize your pack and only carry whats needed.
Winter hiking calls for winter clothing and insulation needs which adds more lbs. to an overall weight so packing smart is important.

Like Cranky says, 65 liters is really all you need and many UL hikers are going to even smaller and lighter packs.

03-03-2013, 21:42
Go to a local store, buy a 60L pack, bring it home and pack all your stuff and full foodbag in it.
If it fits with room to spare, repeat with a smaller pack.
If it doesnt, consider going bigger, 65 or 70 . Even those are huge to me.
Return these packs, you are only trying for size.

80L is ginormous

If you made much effort to go lighter, you really wont need that.

What I take from your statements, is that you really havent committed much to being light.
You swapped out a few pieces of gear for lighter versions, and saved a couple pounds.
Light is as much (or more) about not bringing stuff you really dont need, as it is having light weight gear.

03-03-2013, 21:57
There is no way the 80 litre has the appropriate amount of structure to comfortably haul that much gear. For 80L to ride comfortably you need something serious like a Gregory or Mystery Ranch.

03-04-2013, 08:57
Absolutely wonderful reponses gentlemen... your combined wisdom quickly confirmed my thoughts. I'll go with the large 65L and with a new goal to begin any new hump about 10 pounds lighter. I'll never go ultra but am learning to pare things down.... peace and happy trails.

03-04-2013, 09:04
I bought an 85L pack from GoLite for my JMT hike last year so I could get the bear canister in it. At just under 4 pounds I know it's on the heavy side but at 6' 3" and 200 lbs I really don't care that much. For $99 it was a no brainer decision for me. Just because you have a larger pack doesn't mean you have to fill it.

03-04-2013, 09:43
Get a pack just large enough to hold all your gear and no larger, chances are you'll get lighter as your gear evolves. A pack that's not full doesn't pack well either and a large pack is motivation to fill it and carry stuff you dont need. It took me 5 packs to finally find one that feels like it's part of me and doesn't bother me as I hike. IMO, a 60L pack should work for just about everyone.

Just Jack
03-04-2013, 10:03
Standard advice is to make the pack the last piece of gear that you purchase. Load up all your "stuff" that you
intend to put in your pack and take it all to an outfitter. Only way to find out if all your "stuff" will fit into the pack that you have your eye on. Then comes the part where you determine if the "stuff" fits into the pack "comfortably".
How does the pack feel loaded? Wear it around the store for about a half hour. Then try on 2-3-4 more packs. It ain't easy. You just may discover a pack that you were unaware of. Good luck in the search.