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  1. #1
    Registered User Cedar1974's Avatar
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    Default When buying gear, should the pack come first?

    I've always thought you were to buy your pack first them make sure your gear fits the pack, but should it be the other way around so you don't buy too big a pack?

  2. #2
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    The pack is generally purchased last.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  3. #3

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    Gear then pack. If you buy a pack that is too big, you'll just fill it with more gear
    Twitter: @mkehiker
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  4. #4

    Default

    The greatly overwhelming consensus will be NO! Your pack should be nearly the last - take your gear with you to your outfitter, test fitting with your gear, and get the pack that fits your need best. How the pack fits you with your gear is more important than the weight or appearance of the pack. A comfortable riding pack that weighs 3 lbs will feel lighter than a super light pack that weighs 1 lb that is uncomfortable.

  5. #5

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    the reason the pack is last is because you have to budget and see how small/heavy your core items are going to be. ie: tent, sleeping bag, mat

    If someone buys a big pack that could get away with fitting a 3.5 synthetic bag and an average size tent, then they go and buy a 1.2 lb quilt and a 1.5 lb tent, then they have the wrong bag!

    so get the other 3 and approximate what else you'll be bringing, and you can fill in other little pieces later.

    When my friend bought a pack at a retailer, we brought the pack/tent/mat he has and then just threw in a few other standard things at the store and also put 12 lb of weight in a 20 litre dry bag to approximate some food supply for up to 6 days

  6. #6
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    life is to short to only have one pack ;0)

  7. #7
    Registered User skinnbones's Avatar
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    I purchased my pack first. Some regrets (Weight). I have learned so much from this forum, unfortunately I didn't catch some tips in time. All my life I have done things a little bit unorthodox and this will include my 2017 thru hike. My pack will weigh 35-38 pounds, but this will be needed because my funds won't allow overnight town stops. I plan to just walk and to stay in the woods. Only major purchase will be food. I won't have the luxury to enjoy all the extra bells and whistles that most hikers enjoy. Listen to these experts when you ask a question(s). So much wise council on this page.

  8. #8

    Default

    I bought my pack at the same time as my other gear but that's only because I knew I was going as light and small as possible with everything else

  9. #9

    Default

    I have used two strategies:

    1. I tried on packs, with weight added by the store.

    2. I carried my gear, in a sack, to the store, to put in the likeliest pack I found.

    I gained experience by looking at gear in terms of weight, and volume.

    Finally, I purchased a flat digital kitchen weight scale to weigh gear.

    Nevertheless, I have divided gear into car camping, camping, and hiking, and I am selling off anything extra.

    I did not avoid purchasing too much gear. Nevertheless, the process has answers.

    If I had had a pocketful of cash, I still would have had to try things and learn by experience.

    I did choose low weight and low volume I could find and I could afford.

    There are so many choices: "read" weight and volume in the specifications.

    Use a converter online, or an app. I want to see everything in liters and pounds, before a decision. I use geargrams, to consider a purchase.

    As far as I am concerned, that is what gear lists are for. Only later on, they become the trip checklist before you leave for the hike.
    Last edited by Connie; 05-18-2016 at 10:48.

  10. #10
    Registered User CoolBobby's Avatar
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    I bought my pack first... My gear constantly changes, my pack stays the same. Not a gram wheenie, but do cut back on weight as the budget allows. I only carry one pack regardless of the the trip- Overnighters and multi week trips all get my Osprey Aether 70 liter. I love my bag in its infinite capacity..

  11. #11

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    Doesnt matter.....if you know what you want, and what gear will weigh, and how much space it takes up, and what it costs

    Most newbies have no clue of any of those things, so purchasing pack last is good idea for them.

  12. #12

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    Buying a pack first is probably not the best idea but buying it last is not best either.

    I had not been backpacking in about 10 years when I got the itch again.
    Had been touring by bicycle thus already had a bag, pad, tent, stove and a few other items.

    After reading far to many gear lists and pack reviews I made my decision on a pack.

    This allowed me to at least get out and enjoy the woods.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Doesnt matter.....if you know what you want, and what gear will weigh, and how much space it takes up, and what it costs

    Most newbies have no clue of any of those things, so purchasing pack last is good idea for them.
    What he said ^^^^. Many including myself went through a couple of rounds of gear. That's not the end of the world since you can general sell quality gear and get a preset good price. My last round followed MW first paragraph. I knew where I was going with each component and how they work together as a system. The system part is the hardest to know without having the experience beforehand.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolBobby View Post
    I bought my pack first... My gear constantly changes, my pack stays the same. Not a gram wheenie, but do cut back on weight as the budget allows. I only carry one pack regardless of the the trip- Overnighters and multi week trips all get my Osprey Aether 70 liter. I love my bag in its infinite capacity..
    THIS!

    I brought my gear to store, found packs that worked, then added about 10L and bought a single pack that'll work year-round for me, for any trip. (75L Osprey, FWIW.)

  15. #15

    Default

    Depends on that pack's purpose. You can do like the people above and get a 5 lb or so 70-75 litre pack if you want to use it for everything. But if you are doing an AT thru-hike, then why would you want to carry 2-3 extra pack pounds for 2200 miles when you know it's not at all needed. Same applies for any long summer hike

    my 69L winter or "carry all my slower friend's gear" pack feels pretty huge on a summer hike.

  16. #16
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    However, packs such as a ULA Circuit and the similar Elemental Horizons (which I got based on excellent reviews) are very popular but not generally available at outfitters who carry at most three brands to choose from, all of which are conventional. The strategy of taking all your gear to the outfitter may eliminate from consideration what may be your best option. I relied on the experience of others which says these 55ish liter packs are big enough and effective. I got that first and then planned the rest of my gear to fit, knowing that if it didnt, I could make better choices. In my case, I knew I was not able to carry heavy loads any more, so starting with a reasonable sized pack forced me to make reasonable choices about the rest of my gear.

  17. #17
    Registered User Cedar1974's Avatar
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    I am going with a Hammock (Which I already have) a Kelty Noah 12 (Good all season tarp) A top and underquilt (Need to buy those still) and I am still looking for a good cook system. I was considering getting the ULA Catalyst, because it is light but has the largest volume. I'd rather have the extra space in case I need to carry extra food and water later on. I know the hundred mile wilderness will need to be able to carry plenty of food through there. And I know it seems crazy to want to always have at least 3 liters of water at all times, maybe more. But I drink lots of water being Diabetic and a former heat casualty. But I will hold off on the pack until I get the rest of my gear. It sounds like solid advice.

  18. #18
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Gear is a process. Buy your gear in whatever order you like, use it for awhile. It would surprise me if, after a couple of years of hiking, you are still using all the same gear.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  19. #19

    Default

    ..heat casualty?

    I had heat stroke, once, powering up a steep hill on my 10-speed.

    Now, I need to avoid heat forever. I use a Kool-Tie around my neck, and, I even have a hat insert, if I need it, that uses Crystal Cool inside, that is available from Quest Outfitters and they have a free pattern to make the neckerchief.

    http://www.questoutfitters.com/misce...CRYSTAL%20COOL

  20. #20
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar1974 View Post
    I am going with a Hammock (Which I already have) a Kelty Noah 12 (Good all season tarp) A top and underquilt (Need to buy those still) and I am still looking for a good cook system. I was considering getting the ULA Catalyst, because it is light but has the largest volume. I'd rather have the extra space in case I need to carry extra food and water later on. I know the hundred mile wilderness will need to be able to carry plenty of food through there. And I know it seems crazy to want to always have at least 3 liters of water at all times, maybe more. But I drink lots of water being Diabetic and a former heat casualty. But I will hold off on the pack until I get the rest of my gear. It sounds like solid advice.

    Just be carefull. I had that same plan but when all was said and done I purchased the ULA Ohm 2.0. Carries close to the same liters but weighs about 10 oz less. Why use a pack that carries 30+ pounds of gear if you are only going to carry 20+ pounds. Another reason why purchasing the pack last is a good idea. I thought there was no way I can get winter weight under 30 and summer under 25lbs. But now that I have all my items for a thru, I know I carry 12 lbs Summer and 19 lbs winter and the Ohm is perfect.

    The he best purchase is always the one you don't regret.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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    We are here to help one another along life's journey. Keep the Faith!

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