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Thread: Pack Problem

  1. #1
    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Default Pack Problem

    I have an Osprey Exos 58 that is a bit too big, and I'm barely able to pack my current gear in it for a short multiday trip (much less a thru hike). A large reason for this is my tent and poles (a 2-man setup currently), and I have a solution for this issue that will reduce size/weight requirements.

    The Exos leaves the top of my bum sore because I am quite thin and it slides too low down my waist.

    That said, I have an Atmos 65 AG that I love. I can hike in it, fast and far, with no pain carrying the same gear as the Exos. The issue is that the Atmos weighs over 4 pounds. I have heard that packs below 2 pounds are available and perhaps recommended. I am not sure of the real need to cut 2 pounds off my overall weight IF the Atmos fits comfortably and serves my purposes (it does).

    I have some extra capacity with the 65 AG (mine is a small, which I think is 62 liters of capacity). My question is if it is OK to carry a pack this size on a thru-hike...and how much weight can I really shave if I buy a pack with similar capacity? Is 62L too big for a thru-hike? (My hunch is NO, I would rather have the capacity if I needed it--i.e., the 100 mile wilderness, than not have it.)

    Appreciate folks' thoughts. My current thinking is to use what is comfortable, paid for, and has sufficient space...i.e., stick with my 65 AG. The Exos 58 is going up for sale. :-)


    Thanks in advance,

    Michael
    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

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    I think your reasoning is very sound . . . with exception of wanting to carry more than 50L or so on a thru-hike. I carry an Exos 48 at times, and find it palatial even when carrying a two person tent and a synthetic sleeping bag. It sounds like you'll do fine with your choices, and also might want to explore some smaller volume/weight gear.

    In the end, carry what makes you happy. It sounds to me like the Atmos 65 AG is a good pack choice for you at this time. If you change your kit up, as we all do over time, your pack choice may also change, or not. Embrace what you love now. Know that your gear preferences are not, and will never be, set in stone.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3

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    If the pack fits, wear it. 62L is okay and it's best to have a little extra room then not enough. Of course, if you have too much extra room that can be a problem with load distribution.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Agree. But: if you want to enjoy your hike more, consider reducing your pack weight a bit. No necessarily the pack itself, if it's comfortable, but you say you have a hard time fitting your gear in your Exos 58, sounds like a lot of extra stuff to me.

    Just a suggestion: Throw up a gear list and have it critiqued. Some folks might whine about "yet another gear list". Let 'em whine.

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    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Just noticed REI has a 50L (47L for my size) version of the Atmos available... might be an option.
    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

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    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Agree. But: if you want to enjoy your hike more, consider reducing your pack weight a bit. No necessarily the pack itself, if it's comfortable, but you say you have a hard time fitting your gear in your Exos 58, sounds like a lot of extra stuff to me.

    Just a suggestion: Throw up a gear list and have it critiqued. Some folks might whine about "yet another gear list". Let 'em whine.
    Rob,

    Thank you. This is one nut I am trying to crack as I learn/prepare for my hike. I'm not fitting in a whole lot of stuff into the liters I have available...as I sometimes wonder how some through hikers with smaller packs "are fitting all that stuff in there".

    My tent and sleeping bag are stuffed into stuff sacks. I wonder if other people are simply stuffing tent/bag into their packs without use of a stuff sack. I do think this would be a more efficient way to pack, although would then be concerned about my sleeping bag getting wet since it wouldn't be in a waterproof stuff sack. Of course, the pack would be covered with a raincover during inclement weather...

    I have much to learn...

    Appreciate the suggestion to post a gear list. Sounds like a good idea for my purposes (learning to become a more efficient backpacker so that I can increase my odds of a successful through hike).
    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

  7. #7

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    It seems like you have a lot of stuff in your pack...
    What is the weight of your pack when it's fully packed ?
    I'd start with posting a list of your gear and asking for advice.

    But to answer your original question : if the Exos is uncomfortable for you --- don't even consider taking it on a looooong hike. 2 extra pound for comfort is definitely worthwhile - if none of the lighter options fit you well.

    A pack that weighs 2 pounds total - with comfort - is even better . But it depends on not carrying more than 25 pounds and finding a pack that fits you well. Take a look at ULA, Granite Gear, and SMD packs.

  8. #8

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    I am sort of going through the same thing. I have a 65 kelty that I find really comfortable but a hair over 5lbs. I tried the AG and it was comfortable but, to save less than .5lbs, I just couldn't pull the trigger. Then I ran across a zpacks arc haul. It is basically an internal frame pack on an external frame and weighs less than 2lbs. Sort of expensive but cut my pack weight by over half and it seems very comfortable though I have yet to put any real miles on it. I absolutely agree with the comments above about using what is comfortable, and if you can carve a little weight that is good too. With the new pack I also don't have to take a pack cover, it is very water resistance. Not trying to sell anything, just explaining how I have solved my similar desires.

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    Its a good pack and on par with what 75% of hikers will be carrying.
    No shame in using it, especially if it is comfortable. It will make a 30 lb load feel lighter than a 2 lb pack will, guaranteed, so dont worry about the weight.

    But, if you want to be lighter, and your other gear is conducive to it, there are lighter packs that work for small percentage of lighter thru hikers.

    Light hikers are over-represented on the internet. Maybe its because they enjoy it more.

  10. #10

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    That's correct, light hikers are actually scarce on the trail.

  11. #11
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    That's correct, light hikers are actually scarce on the trail.
    No, actually, they are not. They are definitely in the minority down south. They are the majority up north. I wonder why this is????

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    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    No, actually, they are not. They are definitely in the minority down south. They are the majority up north. I wonder why this is????
    Heh. I'm a buck thirty two, runner type, soaking wet. But as a reservist I can out ruck my active duty friends, who carry all the time, every time. The challenge for the A.T. Is making the Atmos work, or finding a lighter pack that'll fit my diminutive waist.

    Thanks for ask the great advice. I'm going to look into other packs, but it sounds like the Atmos 65 will suffice and I'm aware of folks carrying that size and larger to thru hike.

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    I'm no seasoned hiker, but the advice on making a gear list makes sense. Lots of folks will tell you to buy your pack last.

  14. #14
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    If you find a pack is comfortable for you, use it. Just because there are lighter ones doesn't mean it is right for you. Don't get so hung up about the weight - you can actually cut weight in other areas. I hated the Exos. It hurts like crazy. Tents (and sleeping bags) can be tucked into compression sacks to lessen their volume







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    I know some will disagree but the Exos 58 was the most uncomfortable pack that I've ever used. It hurt my lower back and butt too.

    Since you already own the Atmos and find it comfortable, I agree that you should continue to use it and look into other ways of lightening your load.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mml373 View Post
    My tent and sleeping bag are stuffed into stuff sacks. I wonder if other people are simply stuffing tent/bag into their packs without use of a stuff sack. I do think this would be a more efficient way to pack, although would then be concerned about my sleeping bag getting wet since it wouldn't be in a waterproof stuff sack. Of course, the pack would be covered with a raincover during inclement weather...

    I have much to learn...
    Get a white, unscented trash compactor bag from your local hardware or big box store. They'll come in a box of 5 or 10, which will last you for several years. What I do is line my pack with the bag, then stuff my sleeping bag and sleeping clothes into the bottom of the bag. My pad goes in there too, but if you use a z-rest or similar that won't work for you. When all my gear that must stay dry is in there, I squeeze the air out, twist the top closed, fold the "neck" over on itself, and fasten with a rubber hair scrunchie (tougher than a rubber band). My extra clothes go into an oversized ziplock (you can get 5 gallon sized ones at the store), and then I have a "kitchen" stuff sack and a "misc" stuff sack full of first aid, repair kit, emergency stuff and various other goodies.

    I still use a pack cover, but I don't count on it to keep my gear dry, especially in really bad weather. The compactor bag ensures that my critical gear stays dry.

  17. #17
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    You gotta wear what is going to be comfortable. I understand the desire and want to shave weight, I do it myself.

    That being said I have seen all kinds of packs on the trail. Meet through hikers with Gregory Baltoros, Osprey Atmos, ULA's North Face, Gossemer gear etc.

    In the end you got to wear what works for you, and what is comfortable for you. I would rather carry one more pound and be comfortable over a long distance as opposed to being one less and miserable.

  18. #18
    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Stop here is my gear (see picture). Not shown is my Osprey 65 AT EX pack. List:

    Stuff sack 1: 2-man tent with ground cloth and rain fly
    Stuff sack 2: 21 degree sleeping bag and extra clothes and gloves and head cover
    Sweat shirt
    Military issue gortex rain pants and top with liner
    Pillow
    Large green camp towel and two smaller orange hand towels
    Pack rain cover
    Mess kit containing stove
    Fuel can
    Powdered Gatorade in old vitamin bottle
    3L Platypus reservoir
    GORP

    Tent poles
    Mirror and water treatment stuff
    Sawyer water filter
    Knife
    Flashlight
    Insect spray
    Dish soap

    Sweat shirt
    Stuff sack 1: tent, 2 man
    Stuff sack 2: 21 degree sleeping bag, synthetic down, and extra clothes
    Some Clif Bars
    Shovel
    Spork
    First Aid kit
    TP
    6 oatmeal packets. 3 day supply
    Wet wipes
    Salmon packs to cover 3 dinners. Goes with 3 rice packets at end
    Dried fruit

    Crocs containing more Clif Bars
    Ear plugs
    Instant breakfast packets

    Missing: peanut butter

    This is my typical 2-3 day pack for backpacking trips close to home. I carry full water during late spring and summer...absolutely will not skimp due to the high heat and humidity coupled with rugged terrain here in the Ozarks (some climbs where I hike are rocky and sheer, and require pulling oneself up by small tree trunks). Total weight comes to about 38 pounds.

    Weight savings planned: downsizing to an Altaplex tent late 2016. Possible pack replacement. Will save about 5 to 6 pounds.


    There ya have it. Critique welcome. I can provide more info on tent and bag brand later if needed, but probably not necessary.


    Michael
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    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

  19. #19
    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Add the AT guide to my list...it'll be joining me for my thru hike.
    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

  20. #20
    Registered User mml373's Avatar
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    Also add sleeping bag liner (10 degree) and replace the 21 degree bag with a 41 degree one during warmer months. Also carrying a therma rest pad, not shown. I will sometimes also bring a small inflatable sleeping bag pad.
    Planning for a North-South thru-hike to begin...one of these days...

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