Tuesday, January 15, 2019

quick packs

I posted about my Klymit Dash packs and then quickly threw them in the trash before I had a chance to think twice. I would have donated them but then why? If they were not good enough for me then why the next person.

Anyway... Here is a brief review of most of my packs in the garage. Sadly it's quite an investment.

Naturehike 25L
 This Naturehike 25L is not 25L and not much of a pack. Based on the straps and construction it might be useful as a stuff sack that could double as an excursion or summit pack. Even if it were 25L it has no structure and with 15lbs of gear the straps are uncomfortable. Just getting it into position is a challenge.

Marmot
I cannot find the original receipt for this Marmot so I do not recall the model information. While it has deep elastic pockets they are not very functional. The shape of the main compartment and the pockets means there is some shifting. Also the pocket in the center is really small. Hiking with this model feels clumsy.

Gossamer Gear Minimalist
The minimalist has been my go to pack for a while. Even though it's in the 25L range and has a drawstring at the top it is fast to open and close. The back pocket is large although the side pockets are shallow. When I added compression straps things seem to fit better even though I rarely adjust them. The material is slightly stiff and I was able to use a sit pad as a frame. My only complaint is that it does not have shoulder pockets.

Gossamer Gear Kumo 36L
The Kumo(2018) is a nice pack. I've watched some reviews by AT hikers and they seem to like it. It's light and functional with not much to modify. The frame, sit pad, is replaceable so that you carry less. It also has shoulder pockets. The material is thinner than the minimalist but thicker than the murmur. I'm not sure why the back pocket is at an angle but it is. It has a hip belt with stretch pockets. These hip pockets are removable and while usable on the trail seem useless when traveling. The side pockets are deep with an elastic and drain hold, however, they are the same material as the body.

Gossamer Gear Murmur 36L
The Murmur was meant to be the start of my SUL kit, but the pack itself is thin and floppy. The material is quality but I just do not have the confidence that I have with the minimalist or kumo. Also because it's floppy I need to pack more in ziplocks or stuff sacks to keep it all organized. This is not a travel pack as I would not want to keep putting it under the seat in front or in the overhead.

G4Free 40L
I've had a number G4Free packs and most survived. This pack is large but does not have a frame. I was able to put a sit pad inside and still have plenty of room. The straps do not have much padding and there is no back pocket. The side pockets are stretchy and deep. The brain is large and can carry more gear than I like and so it's part of the overall volume. I have a tendency to put heavy things in the brain... so better planning is in order. The materials are robust and give me confidence.

Camelbak Arete 22L
I have sworn off hydration bags, however, this is a 22L pack with a functional stretch pocket on one side and a zippers pocket on the other. There is a ridged plastic frame. Normally I would carry 2L of water in the outside pockets or shoulder pockets but since this pack has neither I might use the hydration pack. This means 22L becomes 20L. Given my setup this might be enough and warrants some testing. The materials are robust and give me confidence.

Ultimate Direction 15
The UD15 is a runner's pack and meant for a skinny person. Unlike the other packs this one uses a vest. I like the vest because it makes the pack feel like a jacket. However, if it were a cold hike I would be wearing a jacket and the pack might not fit. UD seems biased to skinny people. The pack pocket is deep, however, the compression is relative to the amount of gear in the pack. 15L might be the limit for an overnight depending on what I'm willing to leave behind and water availability. The materials are robust and give me confidence. This pack is not really big enough for a foam pad.

As I'm getting ready to finish up this post and I find myself lusting after the UD33. I also thought about the larger CamelBak but changed my mind there. I should be able to condense myself into the UD15 and Kumo 36. The rest might be nice to have but I can probably get rid of them and focus on the hike ahead.

What size pack? That's a tough question because it's a combination of gear volume, weight, and the number of days out. I can do an overnight with 25L... small tarp, small blanket, torso mattress, 3 meals, etc...

Why Shoulder pockets? For me there is only one reason... to carry my water and balance the load a little. 'nuf said!

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