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Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

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Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby brrrdog » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:17 pm

My hands are always either numb or they are sweating - rarely an in between. This is fine but it means that I'm constantly removing and donning mittens. Of course there is a lot of other things I'm accessing constantly thru ought the day as well - compass, gps, camera, maps, sunglasses, chapstick, food. Obviously I can't stop and take off a pack each time for one of these items. I also can't count on having coat pockets since that may have been stuffed in my pack because I was getting two warm. I pack has much as I can into the cargo pockets of my pants before they get annoying, but obviously I hit that limit pretty fast and it's hardly conducive to any sort of organization.

I've started researching chest packs that I could clip onto the d-rings of my shoulder straps. Other than for fly fisherman, I'm surprised that I'm coming up short. Aarn body packs have the right idea, but I'm not ready to commit to an entirely new pack setup although their chest packs can be purchased separately:
http://www.aarnusa.com/balancepockets.htm

Plus the aarn pockets are split so blind spots would be less of an issue.

Anybody else toyed with the idea of a chest pack for long hauls?
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby nartreb » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:42 pm

I take off my pack for upper-body layer changes, lunch breaks, and that's about it.

Here's my setup:

map: in thigh pocket (closed with velcro)
compass: in front pants pocket, lashed to belt
gloves (mulitple pairs of different warmth): on mini-biners clipped to belt or jacket or pack
Usually I keep available outside my pack: one pair fleece, one pair ice climbing, plus a pair of liners (stuffed in an outside pocket when not in use); I keep overmitts and at least one spare pare of fleece in the pack but rarely use them.

chapstick: put it on once or twice a day, forget about it. Keep in a closed pocket if you need it more frequently.

sunglasses: never wear, but would keep on a lanyard around my neck if for some reason I wanted the option to don/doff them frequently.

camera: on its own shoulder strap
GPS if I had one: ditto

snacks: in pockets built into pack waistband
water: in side pockets of pack, I can reach without stopping.

My biggest remaining problem is what to do with my hat if I'm taking it off for a little while. Usually I'll be wearing a fleece or jacket with a pocket, but not always, and it's a little bulky for my pants pockets. I may want to sew a little loop onto it so I can clip it alongside my gloves.

The big advantage of keeping your gloves on clips is that they dry off when not in use.
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brrrdog

Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby Woodswalker » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:41 pm

I use a fanny pack turned around to the front to have quick access to camera, compass, sunglasses, etc.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby brrrdog » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:47 am

nartreb wrote: compass: in front pants pocket, lashed to belt
gloves (mulitple pairs of different warmth): on mini-biners clipped to belt or jacket or pack
Usually I keep available outside my pack: one pair fleece, one pair ice climbing, plus a pair of liners (stuffed in an outside pocket when not in use); I keep overmitts and at least one spare pare of fleece in the pack but rarely use them.
camera: on its own shoulder strap
GPS if I had one: ditto


You're basically racking your soft gear - I feel dumb for not thinking of this. Although I'm trying to think of my gloves and how many of them have some sort of a loop that I could secure them with. I think my shells do, but my fleece ones I'm pretty sure do not. Did you have to modify your gloves in anyway? I suppose I could hot-knife a hole in the cuffs if I had to.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby brrrdog » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:49 am

Woodswalker wrote:I use a fanny pack turned around to the front to have quick access to camera, compass, sunglasses, etc.

That doesn't get in the way of your waistbelt?
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby mattyj » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:42 am

jdmorris's profile pic shows a great solution that he came up with and I've copied. Won't really hold gloves, but it will fit map, compass, food, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.

He found an REI fanny pack that had this silly passthrough pouch on the back, like the pocket on a sweatshirt - I assume it was there to allow you to tuck the waist strap out of the way. Pass the shoulder strap of your pack through that. Cut off the bottom waistbelt webbing. Shorten the top waistbelt. Use 5mm cord to attach the buckle from the discarded waistbelt to your pack near the top of the load lifter. This keeps the shoulder pouch in place vertically, and if you have a large pack, you can adjust its height the same way you would make the waist on the fanny pack larger or smaller.

Cheap and effective way to keep the essentials in reach. Not as bulky as a chest pack, and no extra connectors when taking your pack on/off.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby Woodswalker » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:57 pm

brrrdog wrote:
Woodswalker wrote:I use a fanny pack turned around to the front to have quick access to camera, compass, sunglasses, etc.

That doesn't get in the way of your waistbelt?


I put my pack on first, adjust it, then put the fanny pack on. I, like nartreb, am still looking for an efficient way to clip my hat somewhere out of the way as I am walking because I don and doff it frequently.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby nartreb » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:30 pm

My fleece gloves have those cheap plastic S-clips at the wrist, the kind that's guaranteed to open accidentally during a long descent in the dark. I toss the S-clips away and use a novelty mini-biner instead; usually the plastic grommet is just big enough.

If you do need to add your own clipping point to your gloves, copy this nifty feature from my ice gloves: sew a flat piece of string across the back of the longest finger, a little medial to the distal knuckle. This won't get in your way, is always easy to find and clip, and allows you to hang your gloves with the wrist opening downward, so you won't accidentally get snow inside the glove if you brush up against a tree.

Zoom in on the black stripe on the middle finger of this glove: glove with racking loop

PS I'm not a fan of fanny-pack type solutions. I want the map in its very own pocket, so I don't drop anything while getting out the map, and (more important) vice versa. Same goes for most of my gear.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby Victoriamatt » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:14 pm

If you know anyone who can sew, just have them sew a large button hole in you hat or gloves cuff. I had a friend sew button holes into my softshell pants for bungees and it works great. I've found some plastic mini biners that are almost like Petzl Caritool's only smaller that fit well on my harness or pack waist belt; I think they're made by nite eyez or someone like that. If you use an elastic band they stay in place really well.
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby radson » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:53 am

The aarn packs can be super comfy and the chest pockets really handy. I suspect as they are a NZ based company you will find they have more of a following in the southern hemisphere
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Re: Gear at the Ready = Chestpack?

Postby Grampahawk » Fri May 16, 2014 4:37 pm

Hats and gloves go into a small plastic bag and I undo my pack chest strap and shove it into the top of whatever I'm wearing (fleece, parka, or base layer. This also keeps it warm for when I put it back on. Misc items like compass, etc go into a cargo-type pocket on my pants. I also have a clip sewn in the pocket so that I can attach the misc items to a small cord so I don't have it all fall out and lose it when I reach in to get something.
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