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Noobie-First mountain backpack advice-Your help to choose

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Noobie-First mountain backpack advice-Your help to choose

Postby fagouma » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:28 am

Hello to the community. I want to buy my first backpack and i want your help to choose.Here are some facts that may help you to help me:

    Experience_"My profile": I joined my mountain club half a year ago but i m not entirely new to the mountains. I have stamina for many hiking hours/climbing mountains(~8 h). I am fairly active on the trail/mountain always going around trying to explore and see everything i can. I always carry some food cuz i am kind of a skinny guy and i get hungry. And i always carry more water than i need.

    Capacity of backpack: Smaller than 30L, bigger than 20-22L.

    Features and use i want(as many as possible): Included/integrated rain cover, place for a "water bag", comfortable for long walks in the greek rocky gorges, comfortable for mountaineering, "technology" for air escaping in my back in order to avoid some/all sweat, fairly durable fabric as in Greece and especially in Crete, we have rocky mountains, i don't like black colour but if it suits my needs, i don't mind. Light skiing/ski touring so the ability to attach skis. A price smaller that 140 euros/ 165 us dollars and if possible to be able to buy it from Europe or Greece.

As it will be my first backpack i want to do as many things as possible with it. I know it's difficult cuz there are so many brands with so many kinds of backpacks for different uses. I will use my backpack all the year,too. Summer and winter. Sea and mountains. Ski is one thing that i want to learn this winter. So attaching skis on the backpack are not a priority cuz i m not a skier, yet, but i want to be prepared cuz i am waiting for the snow. I don't know all the brands. There are so many. But i really like 2 backpacks of the Osprey line. The Kestrel 28 that fits my needs but not skiing and the Mutant 28 that can carry skis but will need extra rain cover and it doesn't seem so durable as the Kestrel. Is it possible to attach skis on the Kestrel in some way? It has many fasteners.

I am open to suggestions and advices. Thank you in advance.
fagouma

 
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Re: Noobie-First mountain backpack advice-Your help to choos

Postby rgg » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:56 pm

fagouma wrote:... As it will be my first backpack i want to do as many things as possible with it. I know it's difficult cuz there are so many brands with so many kinds of backpacks for different uses. I will use my backpack all the year,too. Summer and winter. Sea and mountains. Ski is one thing that i want to learn this winter. So attaching skis on the backpack are not a priority cuz i m not a skier, yet, but i want to be prepared cuz i am waiting for the snow. I don't know all the brands. There are so many. But i really like 2 backpacks of the Osprey line. The Kestrel 28 that fits my needs but not skiing and the Mutant 28 that can carry skis but will need extra rain cover and it doesn't seem so durable as the Kestrel. Is it possible to attach skis on the Kestrel in some way? It has many fasteners.

I am open to suggestions and advices. Thank you in advance.


It's hard to find a pack for as many things as possible: there are lots of backpacks out there, and many good ones, but any backpack claiming to be good for all purposes is a compromise and won't be particularly good when it comes to specific activities. I mean, if you go shopping for a car, you might want one that's the best for your daily commute to work (probably a small economical one), holidays with the family (big, with plenty of baggage space), driving races (fast), impress your neighbours (how about a Ferrari?) and who knows what else, but that just isn't going to fly. You'll have to compromise.

That said, your case isn't hopeless. When I'm shopping for a new backpack there are two key questions I consider: First, how big a pack do I need, and secondly what do I really need it for.
If I go one a short mountaineering trip without camping, I need a medium size pack, plus a way to attach my ice tools. For this purpose I've got a Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack 45:55 (45 liter, weighing about 1.25 kg). For a one day trip, a smaller version of the same pack would even be better, but this one is good enough even when planning one or two days of camping (with a bit of rope I can tie my tent to the outside). The longer the trip will be, the more stuff I need to bring, especially more food. With more weight to carry I also want a good hip belt and some padding, and in that case I go with a big Bach that weighs well over 2 kg.

For day hikes, ideally I go with a small, light pack, with very few functions to keep down the weight (I've got an old, light 25 liter thingie for that). If it's a long multi-day hike, including camping, I need a much bigger one to carry all my gear and lots of food, so I like to take the Bach again (I've got a lighter big pack from another brand, but since it's less comfortable to carry I don't use it often).

When I go traveling for an extended period, staying in towns between multi-day trips into the mountains as well as doing day hikes, I can't take everything, so I take only two packs: a big one and and either the small one or the Alpine Attack. The latter comes closest to a pack that performs well for many of the things that I do, therefore that's the one I usually take.


I don't have an Osprey pack, but had a look at the Osprey site. The Kestrel looks suitable for hiking, but not so much for mountaineering. For that you would have to choose between the Mutant and the Variant. The names Mutant 28, Mutant 38, Variant 37 and Variant 52 imply that these are 28, 38, 37 and 52 liters, respectively. If that's correct then the Variant 52 is bigger than the Alpine Attack 45:55 while the others are smaller. With a 37 or 38 l pack I don't think I can manage overnight camping and also pack a fair amount climbing gear. As long as it would be day trips, the Mutant 38 seems good enough, but as an alternative for my Alpine Attack the only one I would consider would be the Variant 52. However, it is much heavier (1.57 kg, according to the web site), and since I'm really happy with my Alpine Attack I don't see why I should carry around the extra weight.
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