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  1. #1
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    Default can't decide on a pack. help!

    i'm an average build with a tight budget for gear. i have most of the gear picked out but having a difficult time with a pack. looking to spend no more than $200 on a pack. planning to thru-hike in 2012 and was hoping to get some suggestions based on experience from other thru-hikers.

  2. #2
    AT NOBO2010 / SOBO2011 Maddog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risu View Post
    i'm an average build with a tight budget for gear. i have most of the gear picked out but having a difficult time with a pack. looking to spend no more than $200 on a pack. planning to thru-hike in 2012 and was hoping to get some suggestions based on experience from other thru-hikers.
    That's an easy one...ULA Circuit! http://www.ula-equipment.com/packoverview.asp
    "You do more hiking with your head than your feet!" Emma "Grandma" Gatewood...HYOY!!!
    http://www.hammockforums.net/?

  3. #3
    Registered User Enic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droptopbenz View Post
    That's an easy one...ULA Circuit! http://www.ula-equipment.com/packoverview.asp
    A great pack but doesn't fit the order at $250. Really, a lot of packs can be found for under $200 used, but can't pin down the perfect pack for you.
    Make sure it's big enough, without being too big. It's all up to personal hiking style, and budget. Check here is FS forum, craigslist and ebay. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Check out REI. Their Flash 65 fits your budget, and if it doesn't work out for you, REI will gladly take the return.

    Really though, your best course is to go to the outfitters and try a bunch on. Load 'em up and walk around the store with them a while.

  5. #5
    Registered User Enic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enic View Post
    A great pack but doesn't fit the order at $250.
    Sorry, the Curcuit is $200 Catalyst ($250) is at top of the link and I confused the two. I still doubt that many new to backpacking could handle the size and wt limits of a ULA pack.

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    The Circuit is exactly $200 at the ULA web site. (The Catalyst is $250, but that's a different pack. You can tell by the fact that it has a different name and all.)

    The Circuit is an excellent thru-hiker's pack: a good compromise between size, weight, and carrying comfort. It's just large enough that you can bring what you need and some food, but not so large that you're tempted to over fill it. I have one and would happily take it on a thru.

    That said, you have all your other gear. If you've chosen mostly traditional hiking gear (20-F synthetic bag, 5-pound 2-man double wall tent, etc.) then it won't fit in a Circuit, which is designed for light (but not Ultralight) loads. If all your other gear weighs less than 15 pounds, you should be good to go.

    Good luck.
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  7. #7
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    I vote ULA Circuit. Full suspension and can carry a bunch. I gotta agree with bigcranky that you need to know what you are putting in it. I have one and would/will use it for a long distance hike. A whole lot of thru hikers use this model, so that should tell you something. That and you never see bad reports from those that get them.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Risu View Post
    i'm an average build with a tight budget for gear. i have most of the gear picked out but having a difficult time with a pack. looking to spend no more than $200 on a pack. planning to thru-hike in 2012 and was hoping to get some suggestions based on experience from other thru-hikers.
    Head out to REI or any other outfitter and let them know your plans and budget. Try on everything they suggest and ones the don't. Find something that works for you. Around here everyone will tend to tell you get the fad pack of the day because they like it. It's your back and your pack so find one that you enjoy, not one that people here suggest you get.

  9. #9
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    I think that if your gear won't fit in a Circuit................you've chosen the wrong gear.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  10. #10
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    Risu, post the rest of your gear, at least your major items (sleeping bag and pad, tent or tarp, cooking setup, etc), so people will get an idea of what you'll be carrying. It will at least narrow the choices a bit as heavier and bulkier gear generally requires a pack with a more robust suspension. But I'd tend to agree with skinewmexico - if the circuit wont do it, you've likely chosen gear that is on the heavy and bulky side and isn't well suited to the purpose of thru-hiking.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  11. #11
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    if the circuit wont do it, you've likely chosen gear that is on the heavy and bulky side and isn't well suited to the purpose of thru-hiking.
    I think this is a very subjective comment.

    I have seen many hikers hike with lots of gear and make it (some of those in 2010 had alot b/c of snow). My son took an Osprey, loaded and made it. Just because someone takes bulkier gear doesn't mean it isn't suited or HIS or HER thru hike (which after all is their hike and not one that has to fit in some ultralight mode of hiking).

    No way can my gear fit in a little circuit for the start of an early spring hike or the weather of the Whites, but it fits pretty good in the catalyst.

    Gear has nothing to do with a successful thru hike in most instances. Gear issue work themselves out. Its the mental issue that needs to be more suited to a thru hike.







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  12. #12

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    Contact the local hiking club. I googled this one for you, http://www.oc-hiking.com/. I'm sure they can get you in contact with a local reputable outfitter. They might even have a few people willing to let you try and/or borrow a few of their packs to get an idea of what you may want. Personally, I never liked the super ultralight models because they lack in features, like a lid (top pocket), or side access into the main pocket, everyone's different. It's hard to find an outfitter without a fitting fee for trying on packs, but it really is the best way to go.

  13. #13
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    I think this is a very subjective comment.
    It's a public forum, aren't they all? And I'll stand by my comment. I've never heard anyone wish for a heavier pack.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  14. #14
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    I think you should get a pack that fits you best and most especially, one that fits all of you gear. Since you're planning on a thru-hike, you would want a pack that is comfortable and fits you just right.

    Take your gear to an outdoor retailer, get measured, and test out packs. Ask lots of questions, make sure that the pack you choose can also carry the weight of all your gear - the last thing you want is to be in the middle of nowhere and your pack fails on you

    Good luck.

  15. #15
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    Risu,
    I have a circuit and love it! YMMV

    Check out these outfitters: http://www.nomadventures.com/. They carry ULA equipment, and have several locations which may be near you. Look at the ULA-Equipment website for more details. Try it on. Determine if it will hold your gear. If not then begin looking for another pack. Start at REI; there are several in Orange County and around the LA basin. They do not carry ULA, but can steer you toward a variety of options. On the whole, their salespeople are good at sizing and fitting.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." Isaac Asimov

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro. I came, I saw, I stuck around.

  16. #16
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    I'll be using the Deuter ACT-Lite 65+10 for my thru-hike in June. I have the 2008 or 2009 model right now, and this pack is amazing. I'm 6'3" 180 lbs. I probably have around 500 miles in it, it's been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and all over the Rocky Mountains, in short it's taken plenty of abuse. No problems major or minor. It's regularly $189 but REI puts it on sale relatively often. That and I'm sure Deuter will release a 2012 model sometime soon, and the current model will go on clearance. Great pack weight at 3 lbs 15 oz.

  17. #17
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    I think this is a very subjective comment...
    With the exception of news feeds, verifiable facts, etc, pretty much everything is subjective (and opinionated) isn't it? I don't think synthetic bags, 5 lbs tents, and 5 lb 70 liter packs are well-suited to thru-hiking. Why? The more weight you carry, the more fuel / food you uses, the more tired you get, the more you strain under the increased load, and you increase your chance of injury. I see very few thru-hikers carrying large volume or heavy packs anymore - at least the ones that make it as far as New England. That doesn't mean someone can't hike that way, but given what is available, why anyone would want to carry 5 or 10 pounds of extra weight from GA to ME is beyond me.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  18. #18

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    Default pack

    I Second the idea that no one can tell you what pack you will like without knowing you and your gear.

    Many packs at conventional outfitters are really weekend packs. Huge, full of compartments, heavy zippers, and "gadgety features" to attract newbies.

    What you really want is simplicity , durability, and light weight.

    You do need to try packs, with your gear, to decide. You can order and return, but that gets pricey after a few so best to narrow down first.

    Companies like ULA, Granite Gear, make "lightweight" but durable packs with good load carrying capacity.

  19. #19
    Bloomer Bloomer's Avatar
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    You should feel comfortable with you pack on. If that means having a pack that weighs a couple pounds more than a Ultra light model so be it. As a Army Infantry Veteran, I was forced uncomfortable gear and had to make the best of it. Now a days I use a Gregory Baltaro 5lbs 14oz for its comfort and stability. Cutting weight with tent, sleep system and stove, helps keep my base weight down. When your into a 6-7 day hike between mail drops or shopping, you'll be glad to have the extra room in your pack.

  20. #20
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    I've checked out a great many things but don't have too many picked out yet, this is what i have though:
    Kelty Grand Mesa 2 tent
    Kelty Mistral 20 bag
    Pocket Rocket
    Minimalist cookset

    Trying to keep thing light. Thanks for all the advice, i suppose i will just keep looking.

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