[a] there are a number of manufacturers that I like, zpack, sea to summit, earth pak. [b] their configuration and key features and sizes vary widely [c] in general there have been some reasonable and many unreasonable complaints.
Here's the way I analyzed the desired features:
- one main compartment
- many colored stuff sacks
- side pocket on one side for water bottle
- side pocket on the other side for immediate access stuff
- cordage web on the back for a tarp or poncho carry or maybe some wood picked up along the way
- a belt type strap to carry a bowie or ax
- some other strapping system to compress the bag to prevent shifting
- shoulder, waist and chest straps and buckles
- optionally being able to fold into a small satchel.
While I want the bag to fold I'm not sure it's a reasonable request. In my case I'm going to change my configuration for my outing. Everything is going to go into ziplock bags and stuff sacks. All of that is going to be backed into plastic boxes unless I can really minimize my load, however, I do not thing that will happen too easily. We are not hiking and so we will have the car close by. The only challenge might be getting the boxes to pack properly into my car. In this convention having a couple of folding drypacks would be ideal since thy do not take much volume at rest.
PS: I think I just realized why Joe was dropped off at his camp site. To prevent vandalism or theft of his car and personal belongings.