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Thread: Hiking gear

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    I use a Large Alice Pack with external frame which has exactly the problems you described.

    In my experience, the sternum strap is a necessity. I was never really a fan of backpacks with a frame unless you are using significant weight because it's much more comfortable and moves around a lot less when they mold to your back.

    If you continue to use that pack, just put your heavier stuff at the top to balance out the load. I've put a pillow on the bottom before and stacked everything else on top just so the weight is distributed more towards the top. You're shoulders will eventually get used to the weight, though, if you do it regularly enough.
    Yea, I'd already packed the heaviest stuff towards my back and the top, but the internal weakly framed pack just isn't designed to transfer the load effectively and evenly. It hangs too far back to transfer the weight closer to my cog :/. It just wont work, lol. I'm going to (hopefully) buy a better one today, WITH the sternum strap and perhaps some more advanced weight distribution designs.

  2. #52
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    This article is good, just remember that it's by a retailer who wants you to buy the most gear possible. I didn't watch the video, but one comment indicates it may be wrong and contradict the article.

    More comfort and features on a pack also translates into more weight and possibly less comfort. There's a balance point somewhere in there between comfort features and pack weight.

    I like an internal frame (minimal frame) pack weighing less than 1.5 lbs. If I'm carrying a total load of less than 13 lbs or so, the frame and hip belt doesn't seem to be of much benefit. These two packs work well for carrying loads of up to around 25 lbs:

    ULA Ohm
    Gossamer Gear Gorilla

    I have the Gorilla.

    Somewhat light packs are also made by:
    Osprey
    Granite Gear
    REI (Flash model)
    Golite (although they appear to enjoy building their packs heavier every year)

    Getting the right torso size is important.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    This article is good, just remember that it's by a retailer who wants you to buy the most gear possible. I didn't watch the video, but one comment indicates it may be wrong and contradict the article.

    More comfort and features on a pack also translates into more weight and possibly less comfort. There's a balance point somewhere in there between comfort features and pack weight.

    I like an internal frame (minimal frame) pack weighing less than 1.5 lbs. If I'm carrying a total load of less than 13 lbs or so, the frame and hip belt doesn't seem to be of much benefit. These two packs work well for carrying loads of up to around 25 lbs:

    ULA Ohm
    Gossamer Gear Gorilla

    I have the Gorilla.

    Somewhat light packs are also made by:
    Osprey
    Granite Gear
    REI (Flash model)
    Golite (although they appear to enjoy building their packs heavier every year)

    Getting the right torso size is important.
    Thanks for the info on that. I saw that one article before, and it is indeed accurate on the size/weight capacity needed for the number of days. The pack i have right now is around 2600 cubic inches if the measurements it gives are accurate, and I'm sure I've got around 40 pounds (maybe 45) stuffed in there for 4 or more days. I think that weight is reasonable considering the length of time, and the fact that a good portion of it will be eliminated through eating and drinking. The pack wasn't balanced too bad until I had to add in the food and water (about 3L of water, plus a powerade). The next heaviest items I have are this damn flashlight,
    my kukri (which will be worn around my waist after I hike in a ways), the various hygenic stuff, and all of my clothing items (one cotton shirt, a nylon shirt, nylon shorts, and a few pairs of socks and underwear. It really doesn't look like a lot when it's laid out.

    Hopefully I'll be able to find a suitable pack for under 70~80 today, though i really hate to have to shell out MORE dough. Hopefully that'll help a lot, otherwise I might have to reduce the length of the trip.

  4. #54
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    It sounds like you could probably eliminate some gear, and hopefully some food and water by caching or getting water along the way. Extra clothing is only needed for cold temps, so don't take any unless it's a windbreaker or insulation for night temps. You'll be in your sleeping bag during the coldest part of the night.

    The hygiene stuff I take weighs around 3 oz total. I use a small 0.5 oz vial of baking soda for toothpaste and deodorant. Floss is precut pieces in a ziploc bag. Soap is a 0.5 oz dropper bottle (empty eye drops) of campsuds or Dr. Bronner's soap. Toilet paper is a luxury item.

    I think you could easily get down to 30 lbs, if not lower:

    water/powerade: 9 lbs
    food: 1.5 lbs/day = 6 lbs
    gear: max 15 lbs
    total: 30 lbs

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    It sounds like you could probably eliminate some gear, and hopefully some food and water by caching or getting water along the way. Extra clothing is only needed for cold temps, so don't take any unless it's a windbreaker or insulation for night temps. You'll be in your sleeping bag during the coldest part of the night.

    The hygiene stuff I take weighs around 3 oz total. I use a small 0.5 oz vial of baking soda for toothpaste and deodorant. Floss is precut pieces in a ziploc bag. Soap is a 0.5 oz dropper bottle (empty eye drops) of campsuds or Dr. Bronner's soap. Toilet paper is a luxury item.

    I think you could easily get down to 30 lbs, if not lower:

    water/powerade: 9 lbs
    food: 1.5 lbs/day = 6 lbs
    gear: max 15 lbs
    total: 30 lbs
    Ur probably right. For the hygiene stuff I have some pepto bismol (for heartburn and anti-diarrhea, something i try to carry whenever i travel, and particularly well placed for backpacking), rubbing alcohol for medical use and to help keep bacterial odors out of my clothes, and mouthwash. All of those are in very small little bottles I got from the dollar store and filled myself from the larger containers. There's also biodegradable camp soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste. I could carry a little less water, maybe. Maybe cut out the cotton shirt.

    Aside from that, I went back to my local outdoors store (Adventure 16) and Walmart. I ended up exchanging the crappy backpack i had (I don't think it even had an internal frame, just some shitty aluminum stays) for a really nice, but expensive one. It's a Coleman Max Elate 65L internal frame pack. It has a capacity of 3966 cubic inches, while the other had only about 2700 (roughly). It's a full $40 more at $70, but it seems a lot more useful and comfortable for my purposes. The frame seems sturdy enough to not bend from the weight of the load, it has a great deal of pockets and access points (just wish it had more places to snap stuff onto externally), a larger cap pocket, a lower chamber than can actually hold my hammock, and pockets that can hold water bottles within good reach.

    Most importantly, it looks to have the proper strap design with the sternum straps the other one was missing, a GOOD waist strap that seems to fit a lot better for me. The last one had the strap going around my lower stomach, this one actually seems to be placed properly, closer to my belt line and hips. Plus the whole thing seems to do much better at staying close to the back, it's taller, and includes a raincover. I just need to fill it up with all my gear to give a final verdict.

    Coleman Max Elate 65L Internal Frame Backpack NEW! - eBay (item 360286144192 end time Aug-03-10 19:00:00 PDT)

  6. #56
    Senior Member Phoenix_400's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    I use a Large Alice Pack with external frame which has exactly the problems you described.

    In my experience, the sternum strap is a necessity. I was never really a fan of backpacks with a frame unless you are using significant weight because it's much more comfortable and moves around a lot less when they mold to your back.
    Take a look at the link I posted earlier in the thread about my modified Alice (or just google 'hellcat alice mod'). Great little rig there. Personally, I prefer the medium alice. The way the large packs so far back really throws my center of gravity too far backwards. I did the hellcat mod on a medium and it lets me build the weight up and down instead of stacking so far out behind me. Only change I made was to use tactical tailor straps instead of the issue molle ones. The TT stuff rocks. I also have a molle hydration carrier with a 3L bladder over the top of my ruck flap and bungee corded down to the frame so it flips up when I open the flap. My sleeping pad goes on top of that and under the standard ruck straps.

    TT super straps:
    Super Straps

    TT super belt:
    Super Belt

    Hellcat mod tutorial:
    Share your cheap yet potentially valuable tricks.... - AR15.COM

    I've done a lot of twisting and jumping around with about a 45lbs pack weight. Sucker sticks to me like glue

    EDIT: Also, if you're usin' an Alice, FASTEX BUCKLES!!! It makes the darn thing so much easier to get into and closed back up. Here's a no-sew way of doin' it.
    alice pack mods
    Last edited by Phoenix_400; 08-03-2010 at 08:14 PM.
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  7. #57
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    I must report that this pack is WAY better in terms of weight distribution and size. It's very good with transferring the load I have and staying close to my back. Still trying to tweak the shoulders though. In some spots, the weight of the shoulder straps bears down on my shoulders in such a way that I start feeling tension up through my neck muscles. Not comfortable. Not sure if it's how I have the shoulder straps placed or if i just need to toughen up. I do have pretty high trapezius muscles (the ones that create that slant from your neck to your shoulders towards the back, and I think that's where I'm catching most of the tension.

  8. #58
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Glad the pack is working out better. General fit guidelines: Hip belt buckle should be roughly over navel. Point where shoulder straps attach should be no more than 2 inches below tops of shoulders.

    Loosen shoulder straps and load lifter straps, snug up hip belt as tight as comfortable, then gradually tighten shoulder straps until it feels right. Most of load should be on hips. Tight sternum strap or load lifter straps could be putting too much tension on your trapezius. Or, the pack might need to be lengthened to a longer torso length if adjustable.

  9. #59
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    Thanks Javo. The distance between the attachment of the shoulder straps and the hip belt is adjustable, and I'm playing with that now by moving them closer together (before they were at max distance). I think they were too far apart with the shoulder strap attachment sinking too far below my shoulders and the hip belt being too low, right around my waist.


    *EDIT*

    I think I've finally found a good balance that puts a lot less weight on my shoulders and onto my hips, as it should be. I can tell it's going to be a rather long process of trial and error though, lol. But it's good enough to get me going tomorrow. Thanks for the help!

  10. #60
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Essential backpacking gear: the backpack.

    Ooooh, the backpack. Foolish me for thinking I could go backpacking with a $30 walmart "backpacking pack". I have been enlightened on how vital a good pack design is. My $30 model epic failed at keeping the load closer to my center of gravity, thus blasting away at my shoulders upon my attempt to leave. This is largely due to a lack of upper shoulder straps to pull the pack inward towards the upper body. The pack also seem to be more stout than the more expensive packs I've seen, meaning the weight is distributed lower and further away from the back, which negatively effects balance. Hope i get my paycheck today...


    Not to mention the pack is rather heavy, mostly because of water and food.

    Do any of you backpackers have preferred backpacks, ways of packing them, or features you consider to be key?
    Yeah... I painfully tolerated a regular old backpack for a few years (one without a waistband/clasp - gasp), and it was bottom-heavy and shifted around all of the time, and I couldn't stand upright and it was really hard on my shoulders and upper back.

    A few weeks ago *finally* upgraded to a proper pack. It's not a large multi-day / backpacking pack, but is a suitable daypack which could probably also work for a 2 day trip/overnight trip, if I was careful in my packing.

    I got a Gregory Cirque 30 and I'm kicking myself for not getting it a few years ago. Would have saved me a lot of pain. My posture is as it should be, and it doesn't shift around. At all. So it's a godsend for climbing up mountains and steeper elevations/ boulder-hopping, due to it not shifting AND much of the weight being distributed higher up rather than lower. AND my no longer feeling the bulk of the stress on my shoulders and upper back. The properly-fitting waistband [combined with properly fitted shoulder straps/etc] is key.

    Glad you found a pack!
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