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  1. #1
    Registered User TMathers's Avatar
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    Default seek outside gila packs

    You dont really hear to much from this company based out of colorado .
    I have one of there gila packs and for heavier loads I think it is one of the best packs I have ever used.
    I also have the silvertip shelter and it is a bombproof 30D shelter.
    I know there stuff isnt the lightest on the market just wondering why you dont here to much about them on the forums.

  2. #2

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    I pulled a 21 day trip with a Seek Outside Brooks 7400 pack and it was carrying around 90+lbs---but heck they advertise it to be able to haul more. Here's a pic of it in action on Slickrock Creek---



    With such weight I never could get the shoulder area comfortable because they sew on two adjustment buckles on the back of the yoke which press in on my shoulders. And the hipbelt with such weight tends to sag and cause my hip flesh to go numb. Oh and when I turn at an angle I can feel the bottom frame and pack/frame bolts digging in my flesh. An overall poor experience.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I pulled a 21 day trip with a Seek Outside Brooks 7400 pack and it was carrying around 90+lbs---but heck they advertise it to be able to haul more. Here's a pic of it in action on Slickrock Creek---

    With such weight I never could get the shoulder area comfortable because they sew on two adjustment buckles on the back of the yoke which press in on my shoulders. And the hipbelt with such weight tends to sag and cause my hip flesh to go numb. Oh and when I turn at an angle I can feel the bottom frame and pack/frame bolts digging in my flesh. An overall poor experience.
    I think it is a fair question to ask: Was your poor experience due to the fact that you carry 3x what most other people carry or because the pack is poorly designed? I have never heard of the company but your issues with the pack would probably not relate to 99.9% of those on the AT, PCT, etc.
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ..........
    Travel not for the destination, but for the joy of the journey.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    I think it is a fair question to ask: Was your poor experience due to the fact that you carry 3x what most other people carry or because the pack is poorly designed? I have never heard of the company but your issues with the pack would probably not relate to 99.9% of those on the AT, PCT, etc.
    They advertise this pack and their frame system to be able to haul in excess of 100 lbs "comfortably". It's not something I came up with.

    External frame packs in my experience tend to kill the hips over the long haul with substantial weight---based on my experience after decades of using frame packs. Why is this so? It has something to do with the rigidity of the frame no matter the hipbelt configuration, as with a "floating" belt used by SO.

    One problem with the Brooks is the bottom of the steel frame touches the top of my butt---and I don't want to feel anything hard around my butt and certainly no hard steel in the hipbelt system. (Mystery Ranch also has this problem by using hard plastic hipbelt stiffeners---it's the reason I explored SO to begin with).

    P1000035.JPG

    P1000036.JPG
    These two pics show the back of the shoulder yoke's hard buckles which over time with substantial weight press into the back.

    P1000001-L.jpg
    This pic shows how close the frame comes to the hips---as the frame is even bent towards the hips. With my usual long trip loads between 85 to 100 lbs the hipbelt sags and the frame becomes a problem.

    P1000005-L.jpg
    Finally, their use of Gatekeeper buckles (with web straps to replace quick release buckles). While convenient, these things tend to release about 30% of the time---on their own---and it can cause cursing. When I got my McHale Demo pack I used gatekeeper straps on the Demo to add extra items and found they released almost daily during pack up and sometimes after reststops. Quick release buckles never released.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    They advertise this pack and their frame system to be able to haul in excess of 100 lbs "comfortably". It's not something I came up with.

    External frame packs in my experience tend to kill the hips over the long haul with substantial weight---based on my experience after decades of using frame packs. Why is this so? It has something to do with the rigidity of the frame no matter the hipbelt configuration, as with a "floating" belt used by SO.
    Just curious....which packs have you had the best experience with hauling heavy loads (75+) ?
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ..........
    Travel not for the destination, but for the joy of the journey.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    Just curious....which packs have you had the best experience with hauling heavy loads (75+) ?
    My standard and usual load haulers in the last 12+ years have been Mystery Ranch G-series packs---especially the G6000 and G7000. These babies could haul some weight!!

    But in short order the padding on the hipbelt gets crushed and you're hiking with all the weight resting on their hard plastic belt wings---which wrap the outside of the padding and end up resting on my hip flesh---

    P1000018-XL.jpg

    P1000020-XL.jpg
    These are the plastic stiffeners MR uses on their big packs and they are rigid and uncomfortable. I cut them off finally and inserted a Kelty hipbelt behind the MR lumbar pad and pulled a long trip with this config. Below pic---

    P1000021-XL.jpg

    My last 80 days of backpacking (and my last four trips) were done using a Dan McHale custom Demo pack which solves all the problems with both the Seek Outside and the Mystery Ranch packs. Here it is in action!!!

    Trip 188 (55)-M.jpg

    Trip 189 (365)-L.jpg

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TMathers View Post
    You dont really hear to much from this company based out of colorado .
    I have one of there gila packs and for heavier loads I think it is one of the best packs I have ever used.
    I also have the silvertip shelter and it is a bombproof 30D shelter.
    I know there stuff isnt the lightest on the market just wondering why you dont here to much about them on the forums.
    I think for the very reason you point out--they aren't very light and many people are looking to lighten their loads; changing to a lightweight backpack is often a means for shaving a large amount of weight. S.O. also advertises the ability to carry a lot of weight. Again, if many backpackers are lightening their load, there isn't a need to use a pack that can carry a lot of weight. That being said, I have read that some fans of S.O. packs like them for situations where they are carrying extra weight for family members (e.g. hiking with kids who can't carry a great deal of weight), or in the desert where they need to carry large amounts of water, or special equipment such as heavy camera equipment.

    Out of curiosity, what sort of weights are you hauling in your Gila? I really like that pack and would be tempted to switch but I have a pack that carries that sort of volume pretty well. But, if it is something that is just amazingly comfortable, maybe I would go for it.

    -Michael

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCal Mike View Post
    Again, if many backpackers are lightening their load, there isn't a need to use a pack that can carry a lot of weight.
    I don't get that. It might be true for hikers that restrict themselves to the AT (I don't know, never walked it), but anyone going for more than a weekend, or into the dessert where they need to carry large amounts of water, will have much heavier loads no matter how gossamer their base weight. This is exactly why I like Seek Outside. For the extra pound (over, say, an Arc Haul which is only a little smaller), I get a pack that can take me anywhere. I've tried all sorts of packs -- from military packboards, to state-of-the-art internal frames, to packs with flexible stays, as well as frameless -- and for me there is just no substitute for a real, rigid frame. And no one I've found makes a lighter, more agile pack with such a frame than Seek Outside.

    I'll add that Seek Outside packs are absurdly rugged, and crafted with utterly meticulous workmanship.

  9. #9
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    Seek Outside is currently developing a line of packs they say will save about 8 oz over their current line. They will still be able to carry heavier weights. That should put their weights into the 2.5 pound class. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by grubbster View Post
    Seek Outside is currently developing a line of packs they say will save about 8 oz over their current line. They will still be able to carry heavier weights. That should put their weights into the 2.5 pound class. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
    Interesting. Good to hear. I love my Divide 4500. It feels/carries better than any Zpacks, ULA, GoLite, Osprey pack I have ever tried or had. The only downside is it weighs north of 3.5 pounds. I'm not ultralight, but am lightweight.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by grubbster View Post
    Seek Outside is currently developing a line of packs they say will save about 8 oz over their current line. They will still be able to carry heavier weights. That should put their weights into the 2.5 pound class. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
    A bit less, I think. Minimum weight for the Gila pack is already 2.63 pounds currently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder940 View Post
    Interesting. Good to hear. I love my Divide 4500. It feels/carries better than any Zpacks, ULA, GoLite, Osprey pack I have ever tried or had. The only downside is it weighs north of 3.5 pounds. I'm not ultralight, but am lightweight.
    And the Divide is listed at 2.75 lbs. currently.

  12. #12
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    From their website for the Divide 4500: 2 lbs 15 oz Expedition Olive (w/ small belt).

    I have an extra lumbar pad and a Large belt. Mine weighs over 3.5 pounds.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder940 View Post
    From their website for the Divide 4500: 2 lbs 15 oz Expedition Olive (w/ small belt).

    I have an extra lumbar pad and a Large belt. Mine weighs over 3.5 pounds.
    Makes sense ... and the olive is heavier than the gray as well. I just want to provide the minimum weight for comparison, since that's certainly what it's being measured against when comparing to other packs.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalman View Post
    I don't get that. It might be true for hikers that restrict themselves to the AT (I don't know, never walked it), but anyone going for more than a weekend, or into the dessert where they need to carry large amounts of water, will have much heavier loads no matter how gossamer their base weight. This is exactly why I like Seek Outside. For the extra pound (over, say, an Arc Haul which is only a little smaller), I get a pack that can take me anywhere. I've tried all sorts of packs -- from military packboards, to state-of-the-art internal frames, to packs with flexible stays, as well as frameless -- and for me there is just no substitute for a real, rigid frame. And no one I've found makes a lighter, more agile pack with such a frame than Seek Outside.

    I'll add that Seek Outside packs are absurdly rugged, and crafted with utterly meticulous workmanship.

    I was speaking as a general rule (I said, "many people are looking to lighten their loads"): If you are a backpacker who has lightened his load, you don't need a pack that can haul a lot of weight. As I pointed out, people who occasionally need to carry a heavier load, such as times when you need to carry a great deal of water, perhaps a SO pack makes good sense. If someone often needs to carry a heavy load, then a pack capable of carrying heavy loads makes sense. But if your base weight, etc. is lower, you wouldn't need a pack capable of big-time weight carrying capacity. I realize that not everyone is looking to go lighter, but many people on forums like WB fall into that category; therefore, there may be fewer people on this forum looking for a pack like a Seek Outside pack.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCal Mike View Post
    I was speaking as a general rule (I said, "many people are looking to lighten their loads"): If you are a backpacker who has lightened his load, you don't need a pack that can haul a lot of weight. As I pointed out, people who occasionally need to carry a heavier load, such as times when you need to carry a great deal of water, perhaps a SO pack makes good sense. If someone often needs to carry a heavy load, then a pack capable of carrying heavy loads makes sense. But if your base weight, etc. is lower, you wouldn't need a pack capable of big-time weight carrying capacity. I realize that not everyone is looking to go lighter, but many people on forums like WB fall into that category; therefore, there may be fewer people on this forum looking for a pack like a Seek Outside pack.
    Important words, "many" and "if"....

    "Many" people nowadays look only for the red flag, then charge.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  16. #16
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    The AMC in NH supplies fresh food and supplies to their huts with packs. The hut croos carry some significant weight. They have used the same pack design for years

    https://sectionhiker.com/amc-hut-crew-packboards/

    Many of the crew carry higher loads than 60 lbs. The crew at the huts get to manage their trips and many of the crew elect to make fewer trips with heavier loads. Its pretty depressing when they pass you heading down and then heading back up the trail on the same day. Of course there is trade off to carrying heavy loads, there are quite a few former trail crew who have nuked their knees and have had to cut back on hiking in their thirty's.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCal Mike View Post
    I was speaking as a general rule (I said, "many people are looking to lighten their loads"): If you are a backpacker who has lightened his load, you don't need a pack that can haul a lot of weight. As I pointed out, people who occasionally need to carry a heavier load, such as times when you need to carry a great deal of water, perhaps a SO pack makes good sense. If someone often needs to carry a heavy load, then a pack capable of carrying heavy loads makes sense. But if your base weight, etc. is lower, you wouldn't need a pack capable of big-time weight carrying capacity. I realize that not everyone is looking to go lighter, but many people on forums like WB fall into that category; therefore, there may be fewer people on this forum looking for a pack like a Seek Outside pack.
    Sure, I'm just noting that in my experience the base weight has very little to do with what pack is required for a trip. The etc part is 90% of the weight: how much food, water, and fuel will you be carrying? The base weight of the pack makes up such a small percentage of total carried weight that it's essentially a non-issue in pack determination. The trip has always defined the pack for me.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalman View Post
    Sure, I'm just noting that in my experience the base weight has very little to do with what pack is required for a trip. The etc part is 90% of the weight: how much food, water, and fuel will you be carrying? The base weight of the pack makes up such a small percentage of total carried weight that it's essentially a non-issue in pack determination. The trip has always defined the pack for me.
    How is this true? My base weight 3 season is 8lbs five days food is 10 lbs . Easily carried in a frameless pack. How can the ECT b 90% of the weight ? That would b 72 lbs of food and water with a 8 lb base weight equals 80 lbs.

    i dont know what you bring but I’m glad I ain’t carrying it. Are you sure you understand what base weight means?

    thom

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    How is this true? My base weight 3 season is 8lbs five days food is 10 lbs . Easily carried in a frameless pack. How can the ECT b 90% of the weight ? That would b 72 lbs of food and water with a 8 lb base weight equals 80 lbs.

    i dont know what you bring but I’m glad I ain’t carrying it. Are you sure you understand what base weight means?

    thom
    This is about right for me... 5 days food and a liter of water and I'm looking at a pack weight of right around 20 lbs. Hit this mark many times, so it's not a fluke. Warmest summer base is 6.5 lb, so for some 2-3 night trips I've had a trail head TPW of 13.5 lbs or so.

    So the only real issue for me would be water. But I'm rarely in a location where I must carry more than a liter. No doubt, if I lived in a drier climate I'd probably have to re-assess things.

    I concur that there might be a misunderstanding of base weight as defined in UL terms. Not that I believe anyone should hew slavishly to any particular number target, but if one is going to bring up the term, one should understand clearly what it means.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    How is this true? My base weight 3 season is 8lbs five days food is 10 lbs . Easily carried in a frameless pack. How can the ECT b 90% of the weight ? That would b 72 lbs of food and water with a 8 lb base weight equals 80 lbs.

    i dont know what you bring but Iím glad I ainít carrying it. Are you sure you understand what base weight means?

    thom
    I understand what base weight is, yes. When I said 90%, I mistakenly referred to total weight -- rather, I'm talking about total percentage of pack-size consideration. The base weight rarely changes, but the food/water required certainly does. Even at 50% for a 5-day trip, it makes little sense to me to base the pack choice on the base weight. What about a 10-day trip? Or a 5-day trip in the dessert where you have to carry 3-4 liters of water at a clip? The point is still the same: the trip is the vast majority of the consideration when it comes to pack size. You need a pack that can comfortably carry 20 pounds, not 8 pounds (your base weight). Note your food weight, even at 5 days and not including water or fuel, is already more than your base weight. If you went out for a 10-day trip, you'd need a pack that can comfortably carry 30lbs. Etc.

    So sure, for folks hitting lower base weights and going on only shorter trips, and only in places where water sources are plentiful, I get the reasoning for wanting a lighter pack. Those and's are the important part. If you only went on single-day overnights next to a river, you could carry a 20lb "base weight" in a lighter pack too.
    Last edited by Zalman; 01-29-2019 at 15:38.

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