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  1. #1
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    Default Backpack selection

    I'm having a tough time figuring out exactly what size to get. All my gear fits in a 45L with 3 days of food, (just what I used on my last adventure). I'd considering taking up to a 60L for extra food, since 3 days obviously isn't enough, and basically convenience. I figure having a tightly packed bag when loaded is going to be vary annoying day after day. Any suggestions?

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    Forgot to mention that the obvious answer is just try it at a store, but I live in the middle of nowheres and plan to buy online sometime this winter.

  3. #3
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    With that need for a little extra space you have a lot of variables like what is your current packs weight.....with just off the cuff advice I would look at he ULA Catalyst. It is in your range to carry a little extra food. It as a roll top can be shrunk down some so you have less room in summer and more in the cooler months when you need to carry a little more bulky gear. As well the pack is a trail tested item...I do not think you could go wrong with one.

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    I was at 27 pounds I think, with a heavy cheap pack I got at Walmart. I think with the extra days of food, little more gear and a better pack I can stay <35 wouldn't you think?

  5. #5
    NOBO toBennington, VT plus 187 mi in MH & ME
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    I have found that weight control is easiest with a "straight jacket" like your pack. Three more days of food should weigh 6 pounds or less.. How about adding a small front pack or similar. Unless you're as slow as me, the only place you'll need more than 3 days food between store access is the 100 mile wilderness.

    You are right about having to pack just so being a pain in the posterior.

    Anyways, three days of food doesn't take much room at all.
    Grinder
    AT hiker : It's the journey, not the destination

  6. #6
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Ok a little more clear now your needs. Is this pack for a week or two long hike or a AT thru hike? The price of a pack too may be considered as a ULA , like the before mentioned Catalyst is $250 USD , versus your maybe $50 USD Walmart pack ("Outdoor" brand I assume). Though not comparing similar items (like comparing a Ferrari to a Fiat) you could possibly make your Outdoor pack work...its just you may have to choose different gear that goes into your pack and/or eliminate some unnecessary things to make room for extra food. I btw have used a smaller Outdoor pack for international travel and lived two weeks easily out of it in Turkey and the UK though not carrying a tent, heavy sleeping bag nor cookware. You may want to post a list of what is in your backpack and get some more ideas on the gear that you carry with suggestions for lighter, smaller, or unneeded items.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    Ok a little more clear now your needs. Is this pack for a week or two long hike or a AT thru hike? The price of a pack too may be considered as a ULA , like the before mentioned Catalyst is $250 USD , versus your maybe $50 USD Walmart pack ("Outdoor" brand I assume). Though not comparing similar items (like comparing a Ferrari to a Fiat) you could possibly make your Outdoor pack work...its just you may have to choose different gear that goes into your pack and/or eliminate some unnecessary things to make room for extra food. I btw have used a smaller Outdoor pack for international travel and lived two weeks easily out of it in Turkey and the UK though not carrying a tent, heavy sleeping bag nor cookware. You may want to post a list of what is in your backpack and get some more ideas on the gear that you carry with suggestions for lighter, smaller, or unneeded items.
    I bought my daughter an "Outdoor products" pack. The weak point was the zipper which tore after about 30 miles. Not sure if the larger OP packs have zippers or not?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    Ok a little more clear now your needs. Is this pack for a week or two long hike or a AT thru hike? The price of a pack too may be considered as a ULA , like the before mentioned Catalyst is $250 USD , versus your maybe $50 USD Walmart pack ("Outdoor" brand I assume). Though not comparing similar items (like comparing a Ferrari to a Fiat) you could possibly make your Outdoor pack work...its just you may have to choose different gear that goes into your pack and/or eliminate some unnecessary things to make room for extra food. I btw have used a smaller Outdoor pack for international travel and lived two weeks easily out of it in Turkey and the UK though not carrying a tent, heavy sleeping bag nor cookware. You may want to post a list of what is in your backpack and get some more ideas on the gear that you carry with suggestions for lighter, smaller, or unneeded items.
    The pack is to thru hike the AT.

    My $50 pack is dreadful to carry for even 3 days so it's not even an option. I'm willing to spend $200ish because I now understand the importance of having a comfortable pack even though it'll weigh more than an Ultralight pack. I think to 2 or 3 extra pounds of pack weight for extra comfort will be worth it over the whole trail.

    This is an example of a pack I'm considering. It's from the Canadian equivalent of REI:
    http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/...0-backpack.jsp

    It weighs 5 pounds but from what I understand is very comfortable., dynamic suspension, trail motion hipbelt and vented. I think 60L might be a little big though and I don't want to end up packing more and therefore taking more than I need.


    Thanks for your help!

  9. #9
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    ULA Circuit. Designed by thru-hikers, built in Utah. My Catalyst is so big, I rarely use it. And ULA isn't really considered UL anymore.

    You'll only be tightly packed for a day, as you use food, you have more room. And I think most will agree, if you have extra pack space, you'll find something to put in it.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    ULA Circuit. Designed by thru-hikers, built in Utah. My Catalyst is so big, I rarely use it. And ULA isn't really considered UL anymore.

    You'll only be tightly packed for a day, as you use food, you have more room. And I think most will agree, if you have extra pack space, you'll find something to put in it.
    I am also a fan of the ULA Circuit, and I believe it is a good discipline to at least think through what it would take to get the gear list down to fit in that pack. Even with the larger Catalyst, you are likely far better off than going with a 5 lb. pack. And either of the two rides pretty comfortably for most if you keep the weight under the recommended maximum.

  11. #11
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    +1 on ULA packs. Their packs and their customer service are outstanding in my opinion. I carry a catalyst. It easily holds all my gear and it rides very comfortably. I typically carry around 25 - 30 pounds with food and water. The catalyst has a roll top design so when I carry less I just tighten up the pack as needed. I may one day get to the point that the smaller circuit is all I need but I'm not there yet. Still working to lighten my load with each trip I take.

  12. #12
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    You just have to examine the stitching and the zippers were YKK on the Outdoor I got from Walmart. Some are junk, but I suspect it just comes down to whom they contract the packs to manufacture if they are competent and/or making packs for a known pack company.
    For the MEC pack it looks a tad heavy at 2.2 kg (4lbs 13oz)....for that if I were to choose a pack from that site I would go with a Gregory Z65 or Z55 as they are both lighter than the MEC by far.

  13. #13
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    I would recommend using a pack that you think is slightly on the small side vs having extra space. With a 27 lb base weight of 20+ I suspect you will end up shedding some gear that will give you ample space. And as others indicated there are a plethora of resupply options on most areas of the AT.

    And IMHO, a five lb pack would have to carry itself to justify the extra weight. There are too many lower weight, comparable or even lower priced alternatives out there to consider that weight penalty. A couple lbs here, a couple there and soon you have aching feet.

  14. #14
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    I used that one for my thru-hike this year: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/...8-backpack.jsp
    Worked out pretty good, and i even got a new one after the trail, as they give you a Life-Time guarantee.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mini View Post
    I figure having a tightly packed bag when loaded is going to be vary annoying day after day. Any suggestions?
    I like having a slightly over sized pack because it allows me to quickly and sloppily pack while breaking camp.

  16. #16
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    Thanks a lot everyone you've all been really helpful.

    For being completely new to the forum I'm glad to see so many nice eople offering advice! Must be because we're all hikers

  17. #17

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    You definitely can't go wrong with ULA. But I did find a nice lighweight pack that would easily hold the gear required for an AT hike. It's a cottage maker named "Elemental Horizons"-they have some nice packs in the 200 ish range, are well made and can even be customized. Just another option.

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