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  1. #1
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Default Today's modern backpacks--not liking the trend I see

    I've been going thru old and current BPer Gear Guides and have noticed that not only have externals pretty much disappeared from the catalogs and shelves, but almost all internals have no pockets, and instead are designed to be a duffel bag on your back. I like to be organized when it comes to the myriad amount of things that are in my pack, so pockets are an advantage for me. One big sack on my back and all I can picture is that I have to go inside the main compartment just to find anything. A pack with at least a pocket on each side would make it so much easier to find things, especially when it ids dark outside.
    Are here any good 4-5 day internals with pockets still for sale these days? Or am I gonna have to settle for an older model?

  2. #2
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
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    I did my AT thru-hike with a Granite Gear pack and was a little annoyed about the lack of pockets. I bought a ULA Catalyst for my PCT hike next year and so far really like it. It has side pockets, hip pockets, and a mesh pocket on the back.

  3. #3

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    Kelty and Jansport still have side pockets. The Kelty is a huge 80 liter pack. The Jansport is a 55 liter pack. Outside pockets are disappearing from packs real fast. Cabelas still has external frame packs. Campmor also has external frame packs.

    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___89792

    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___90323

  4. #4

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    If I remember right,Colin Fletcher use to call this type of pack "A Bloody Great Sack" ,and preferred this type over others,and used a couple smaller sacks tied to the sides.I to have a cavernous kelty bloody great sack,works for me,but is not my dream pack,or the lightest you'll find,at 4lb. 4oz./4300 ci,it's a little on the what I'd call the heavy side,and when you stand just right you can speak into the opening and say hello,hello hello hello

  5. #5
    Registered User Double Wide's Avatar
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    I have a Jansport Carson external frame pack that I've been using for about a year and I really like it a lot. Yeah, it's heavier than most--just four ounces shy of 5 lbs, but it is *extremely* comfortable at 36 lbs total as long as you don't try to put a *full* water bladder up against your back (there is a little compartment on the backside, between the pack and the frame, and if the bladder is too full, you get no air circulation and your back sweats more than usual). It's got two huge side pockets and two 'water bottle' pockets also on the sides, plus the top compartment that's easy to get to. I know I could get a lighter pack, and just may do so eventually, but so far I have absolutely no complaints with this one. Sometimes a heavier pack (either internal OR external framed) that distributes the load better can be a better option than carrying a 'duffelbag on your back' that's doesn't work for your style of hiking.

    I'm probably the only person on WB that prefers an external-frame pack, but it works for me! Also, it's only about $110.
    Double Wide is now BLUEBERRY
    Northbound (2nd Attempt) March 2017

  6. #6
    Registered User moytoy's Avatar
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    The external frame will make a comeback, along with my wingtip dress shoes. I'm holding out!
    KK4VKZ -SOTA-SUMMITS ON THE AIR-
    SUPPORT LNT

  7. #7
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    You're looking in the wrong places.

    Luxurylite has had an external frame pack for a while
    Zpacks has two external frame packs
    KIUI has an awesome heavy loader hunting external frame pack
    Mystery Ranch has their NICE packs

    All the cottage industry pack makers typically make their packs with two side pockets and a big kangaroo pocket. Gossamer Gear, Zpacks and ULA are the big ones.

    Granite Gear, REI, Golite and Osprey have light packs with several pockets.

    Mchale will make whatever you want. ZimmerBuilt will do custom as well, but he might not be able to go as heavy duty as Mchale.






    I have two ultralight packs, and the external pockets are big enough for me to keep almost everything I need for the day in the outside pockets. The only thing I dig into the main compartment for is my filter, and also rain gear if the weather suddenly shifts.

  8. #8

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    I've taken to making my own external frames. I've made one out of aluminum tubing and one out of titanium. Ti is a bear to work with. Right now they are being sized to use alice pack accessories (hip belt, shoulder pads, etc). An alice pack frame weighs in at about 2 pounds. My equivalent sized but adjustable frame so far weighs in at about a pound. It's strong enough for regular backpacking, but I wouldn't recommend paratrooping with it like we did with the alice packs when I was in the army. It's still a work in progress and I have some design ideas bouncing around my head that I'm trying to decide how to best make work (water bottle carrier, umbrella bracket, etc.). I recently purchased a plunge router so I can make a jig to make the tube bending more precise.

    Incidentally, I suspect it wouldn't be too much trouble to attach some of the lightweight packs to one of my frames. I believe the ULA and Six Moon Designs packs are all about 12 inches wide. Sew on a few loops to tie (or pin or otherwise attach) to the frame and it's done. I was hoping to try this and even bid on a SMD pack on eBay but lost. If I get one of the ultralight packs cheap enough I'll give it a try. If not I may have to learn to sew.
    Last edited by perrymk; 06-20-2012 at 07:47.

  9. #9
    Ickybod jburgasser's Avatar
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    Kelty Trekker is on my back. It is a 65 liter external pack. Perfect for the A.T. 4 side pockets, a top flap pocket, a pocket on the front of the pack, and the main compartment is separated and each has its own access. It goes for maybe $120-$150. Just google it.

    Icky
    I gotta get my head out of the clouds, but that is where my heart is.

  10. #10
    International Man of Mystery BobTheBuilder's Avatar
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    I might be dead wrong about this, but instead of using pack pockets to organize your stuff, it seems that it makes more sense to have the big single chamber and fill it with stuff organized into individual stuff sacks. The rationale being that the stuff sacks, being inside the pack and not subject to abuse, can be made of much lighter material. Pockets in the pack were usually made of the same heavy material as the pack. It also gives you flexibility in how many stuff sacks and what size fit you best, istead of having to work around pockets that have a fixed size.

    It also allows pack manufacturers to advertise lower pack weights, which is the only number some people will use to evaluate them.

    I think too much about stuff like this. I think I need to hike more and type less.
    "Ain't nothing like the smell of tofu and high-dollar wine"

  11. #11

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    my exos 58 has 2 pockets in the lid, 2 "side/front" pockets in the front of the main pack, hydration sleeve (i use it for storing flat things), 2 bottle pockets, 2 hip belt pockets, 1 shoulder strap mini pocket

    2lb internal frame light comfortable and plenty of space

  12. #12
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Ok I know it has been said before but you get the best of both worlds with a ULA Catalyst.....close to perfect a pack as you can get...better yet if it came with a porter to haul it for you.

  13. #13
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jburgasser View Post
    Kelty Trekker is on my back. It is a 65 liter external pack. Perfect for the A.T. 4 side pockets, a top flap pocket, a pocket on the front of the pack, and the main compartment is separated and each has its own access. It goes for maybe $120-$150. Just google it.

    Icky
    I have to agree. Did my thru with a kelty and since have looked at a lot of internals and can't find one that I'd trade to.
    Grampie-N->2001

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    I've taken to making my own external frames. I've made one out of aluminum tubing and one out of titanium. Ti is a bear to work with. Right now they are being sized to use alice pack accessories (hip belt, shoulder pads, etc). An alice pack frame weighs in at about 2 pounds. My equivalent sized but adjustable frame so far weighs in at about a pound....Incidentally, I suspect it wouldn't be too much trouble to attach some of the lightweight packs to one of my frames. I believe the ULA and Six Moon Designs packs are all about 12 inches wide. Sew on a few loops to tie (or pin or otherwise attach) to the frame and it's done. I was hoping to try this and even bid on a SMD pack on eBay but lost. If I get one of the ultralight packs cheap enough I'll give it a try. If not I may have to learn to sew.
    Did anyone read Ron Moak's essay (from SMD) on trends in UL Backpacking and the cottage backpacking industries. I found it very interesting.

    http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/blog/129-ulsor-p1.html

    It centers around the current state of the industry and innovation (or lack thereof) that is going on. There is also a nice section on the history of the industry. Anyway, I could see a person like you being one of those innovators. If you can make a lightweight external frame pack that carries well, you could slap on any of several different bags on it. A cuben fiber sack for a light weight minimalist or a heavier bag with lots of pockets for the traditionalists.

    It is said that all great ideas go through three phases. It is dismissed as stupid, then hailed as brilliant, then dismissed as obvious. Once it becomes obvious, all other ideas are stupid and we start over. Don't let "conventional wisdom" inhibit a good idea.

  15. #15
    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobTheBuilder View Post
    I might be dead wrong about this, but instead of using pack pockets to organize your stuff, it seems that it makes more sense to have the big single chamber and fill it with stuff organized into individual stuff sacks. The rationale being that the stuff sacks, being inside the pack and not subject to abuse, can be made of much lighter material. Pockets in the pack were usually made of the same heavy material as the pack. It also gives you flexibility in how many stuff sacks and what size fit you best, istead of having to work around pockets that have a fixed size.

    It also allows pack manufacturers to advertise lower pack weights, which is the only number some people will use to evaluate them.

    I think too much about stuff like this. I think I need to hike more and type less.
    Yep, pockets=more weight. Get some stuff sacks.
    I have Granite gear Nimbus Ozone & it only has 2 water bottle pockets and a main compartment.

    I oraganize as follows:
    stuff sack: sleeping bag
    stuff sack: clothes
    The above 2 items go in a trash compactor bag
    stuff sack: sleeping pad
    Jet boil cook system
    tent
    food bag (also contains other cooking inplements that wouldn't fit inside jetboil (coffee cup) and smelly toiletries (toothpaste, campsuds))
    mesh sack contains (compass, first aid kit, lighter, emergency firestarter, twine, knife, body glide, chap stick, etc)
    Gallon ziplock containing: map, guide/companion pages, wallet, keys, cell phone (if not in pants pocket)
    WP stuffsack containing: steripen, headlamp, chargers (if needed)
    Gallon zip in one side pocket containing TP and hand sanitizer
    a 2liter hydration bladder, 32oz gatorade bottle, and a small piece of house wrap ground cloth (good for a clean place to sit, a clean place to crawl into tent (no muddy knees or feet), or protect sleep pad in shelter) go in the outer bottel pockets as well.

  16. #16

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    Someone does make a very light external frame pack.. it has like carbon or AL arrows shafts for stays and sounded pretty light. there are a few examples on BPL but i can't find them right now

  17. #17
    Registered User chelko's Avatar
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    Hi my name is Kevin and I too was a pocket junkie at one time. I tend to over organize my stuff so pockets were a need not just a desire. Then I saw the light. I have a gregory palisades 80 liter pack and love it. It has a pocket in the hood for rain gear and a large front pocket to hold most of my daily needs. The bonus is that you can access the main pack bag through the back of the front pocket. I organize everything in stuff sacks and if ineed to get to is I just unzip two zippers and there it is. I also love the fact that the water bottle pocket on one side is tilted forward for quick draw on the water bottle.

  18. #18

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    I have to have at least a top pocket. I put stuff I want to get at often in there and it collects odds and ends which have no other good home.

    I bought a ULA CDT pack thinking I'd use it as my UL overnight bag. But with no top pocket, I just can't get used to it. I'm back to using a North Face climbers day pack, simplely because it has a top pocket.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I bought a ULA CDT pack thinking I'd use it as my UL overnight bag. But with no top pocket, I just can't get used to it.
    Would it be possible for you to attach a top pocket yourelf? Or perhaps have someone do it for you?

    I guess I'm suggesting the obvious and there may be other reasons why you haven't pursued this. But to continue my thought, purchase whatever size pocket you need and rivet or tack-sewn it to the top. If what you need is a flat pocket for a map or something some fabric adhesive and a piece of fabric might do the trick. Velcro for the opening should glue in easy enough. Sure it will weight a couple ounces but if it makes the pack what you want, it might be worth it for you.

  20. #20

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    I've had Keltys my whole hiking life including my newest Redcloud 90 purchased a few weeks ago. I like pockets and like its predecessors, the new pack has them. I particularly like having deeper mesh pouches on the side for water bottles. The only bummer with this new pack is that the top pouch doesn't come off. Otherwise the pack is better overall including lighter even though the capacity is the same as my 2004 version.

    Re external frame packs, I've seen them in Campmor and REI's catalogs, in my local outfitter, on Kelty's website. They're still around.

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