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Pack Indecision

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Pack Indecision

Postby Apex » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:50 pm

Hey guys,

So lately I've been thinking about the packs that I own and the intended uses of them, and I think that there is a way to be doing this better, with only one or two packs rather than 3 for my purposes, thus, saving money. First I guess I should describe what I use my packs for, and what I plan to use a new pack for.

Currently I own a Bora 65, Osprey Variant 52, and a MEC 28L daypack thats near the end of its life. My big conflict is that the Variant 52 and Bora 65 are fairly similar, and overlap quite a bit that I feel like I don't need one or the other. Let me explain more.

I need a daypack for hiking, cragging, backcountry skiing, and just general other stuff. Preferably around 30-40L, but compressible down if I have less gear than that. The MEC daypack that I have is too small for cragging and will be soon for backcountry skiing, but the Variant 52 is too large.

I also need an expedition/alpine pack that will be used for ski touring, alpine climbing, and backpacking. Somewhere between the range of 65L, again, compressibility and expandability are quite important to me. The Bora 65 I use for my backpacking and longer ski touring, whereas the Variant 52 is my extremely large day cragging pack and overnight ski touring pack.

So, pretty much, I'm thinking of selling all of these packs and starting from scratch with a new system. I haven't had any thoughts on the daypack, but as for a new expedition/ski touring/backpacking/alpine climbing pack, I have been looking at the North Face Variant 45, which claims to expand to 65L, but compress down smaller if need be.

Open to any suggestions however, I definitely don't know what I'm doing here completely.

Cheers,
-Apex
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby wargowsky » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:25 pm

check out cilogear packs. you'll probably see some mixed reviews on them, but i've been betting the hell out of mine for several years now and it still looks almost new. they're very adaptable. i've used mine for everything from a week on rainier in the the winter to carrying nothing but a down jacket in a bottle of water. they're very adaptable/compressable. cilo makes great packs. just my opintion....it's worth what you paid for it. :D
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby Apex » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:20 am

Thanks! Any particular models I should look at in particular? Don't think I could afford the NWD or Dyneema stuff haha.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby ZenoMarx » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:33 am

I was going to recommend McHale (I can't afford one, either). Very versatile and built like tanks.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby 4corners » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:54 am

I would recommend Cold Cold World. Chaos for a large pack and Valdez for the day pack.
http://www.coldcoldworldpacks.com/intro.htm
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby jmh5331 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:32 am

I was in the same boat about a year ago, and I solved my problem by getting a Black Diamond Predator 50. It expands quite a bit, and it's tapered design allows it to load more efficiently than most packs I've seen. A fair amount of people here seem to be against the new BD products, but this one is great. The suspension, lid, and hipbelt are all removable and it can compress down to a small summit pack. I got rid of all my other packs and use this one for just about everything, from 4 season backpacking to cragging. It excels at alpine overnights, where you need to hump alot of gear in to camp, and then want a small summit pack for the technical route. I ditched my Osprey Aether 75 and my Mammut Ice 45 and kept only the BD Predator and a Mammut Lightspeed 35 for summertime daytrips. Great pack.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby Apex » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:38 am

Thanks jmh5331, I had been looking into that pack but didn't know it expanded over 55L, and I thought that was too small. How many nights do you think you could be able to do with it on a Spring backpacking trip (no technical gear). I reckon with my Bora 65 I could go 5 days backpacking trip, 3 days technical ski-touring/climbing. I probably need to learn to pack better aswell and invest in some other better gear...
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby kellendv » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:26 am

You can definitely get away with two packs, but for the activities you've described, I have three.

For my day/cragging pack I use a 30 liter pack. It is also appropriate for a single night out depending on the weather and equipment. It's a Black Diamond Speed 30. It's not the most durable pack (I put a hole in it hauling it up a chimney that I was having a hard time soloing with it on. This is admittedly not what it is designed for.). Also, the way that the lid attaches to the pack next to the shoulder strap is a little funky. They make something with a heavier material in the same size range (the Sphynx I believe).

For Alpine climbing I wouldn't use anything larger than a 45 liter pack. They all have at least ten liters of expandability with the baffle anyways. Mine again, is a Black Diamond Pack - the Shadow 45 liter. They don't make it anymore. It's a great pack, but my next pack will probably be a Cold Cold World pack or something similar. This is what I use for Alpine climbs with an overnight or two, or to hike into a base camp and then strip it down for a climbing pack. It would also be a good pack for overnight ski tours. If I can get away with my 30L pack (looooong day instead of an overnight), I take it instead.

For backpacking I have a Bora also. It has a lot of features and it's indestructible, but it's also quite heavy (6 pounds is way to heavy for alpine climbing). I would never use it for alpine climbing or skiing. I don't like to use my alpine pack for backpacking either. It gets enough abuse climbing, and the features don't really translate to backpacking. For me those two activities require specific packs.

-Kellen
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby Apex » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:29 am

Thanks for the input Kellen,

Obviously it would be best to have a specific pack for each purpose like you described, but as a poor student that also needs to afford other gear, I need to sell some stuff and seriously rethink my gear situation.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby etai101 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:43 am

the best system i can think of is a simple one:
20-30l day pack currently using the petzl bug for craging and such.
mulitday hikes and alpine climbing my 45l+ tnf spire.
and for expedition and high end use a 70l+ lowe alpine cerro torre.
very simple considerably modest price for all three and very durable, used them for three years now and plan on using them for the next 5.
cheers.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby ZenoMarx » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:45 am

Some swear by the Cold Cold World Ozone, and it is only $95+shipping. I've heard more than a few times that he doesn't normally charge for small customizations. You'd obviously pay for Dyneema, but you can go as far as to add daisy chains, the hip belt from the bigger models, different lid modifications, and the list goes on. You can read about a few of them in these blog posts:

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/search/ ... ng%20packs

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthr ... Cold_World

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/cold-col ... iew/20955/
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby kellendv » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:59 am

I do understand, I am a student as well. The only reason I have the gear I do is because I worked in a shop for so long. If you are going to go with a two pack system, I would do as JMH suggested. Get a 50L alpine pack that that is expandable and also stripable, and then get a 30 - 35L pack.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:48 pm

If I had to have one pack it would be a 50 liter alpine type pack. Not too big for a crag pack, just right for multiday, technical alpine trips, and I have friends that use this size pack for huge routes in Alaska and the Andes.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby dan2see » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:22 pm

Always choose the pack with the coolest color.
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Re: Pack Indecision

Postby radson » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:29 pm

I like the look (I have only window-shopped) of the new BD Mission 50. At the moment, it seems only available at altrec and backcountrygear.com

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/climbing-packs/mission-50-pack
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