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View Poll Results: What brand backpack do you carry?
Gregory 51 12.41%
Lowe Alpine 33 8.03%
Dana Design 9 2.19%
Kelty 71 17.27%
North Face 24 5.84%
Other 223 54.26%
Voters: 411. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-22-2004, 02:10 AM   #1
Jeff
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Question Backpacks: What kind do you use?

I'm in the market for a new backpack and am wondering which is the most commonly used pack out there on the trails. If you could tell me the brand you use and "WHY" you chose that one it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 01-22-2004, 06:41 AM   #2
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I use a North Face Stamina backpack. I like the fact that it has a bulit in hydration pouch. I just take the reservoir out of my camelback and put it in. I also liked the price it retails for just under $300, but found a good deal on ebay for under $150. If you know what model and size you want look for deals there. Just check the feedback to make sure you don't get burnt on the deal .
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:11 PM   #3
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I just recently bought a Gregory Whitney at Campmor. I had used external frames for years, Kelty and then Camp Trails. I had been wanting to try an internal frame pack and saw this one on sale. It has access to the main compartment from both side pockets and the back (front?) compartment as well. Capacity is 5500cu.in but cinches down nicely for smaller loads. I've used it on a few overnighters so far Summer and Winter, no complaints.
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Old 01-23-2004, 03:43 PM   #4
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I've added North face (shame on you Jeff! ).

I have a Kelty 5400ic and a cheap walmart day pack.

Bought the Kelty because it was the best one Dick's had in that size and the price was right (about $150).
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Old 01-23-2004, 03:46 PM   #5
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Internal

I currently use an internal frame pack that I got from LL Bean. Their name is on it, I'm not sure who manufactured it. I've been starting to look for a second one as well and I now have some criteria that I didn't have before doing any extensive backpacking such as:

Separated sleeping bag compartment, currently my main compartmnent is all one deal.

I've noticed a few new packs now have ergonomically friendly side water pockets, they are angled toward the front of the pack. I think I will go that way when I buy.

A detachable fanny pack as a top compartment, my top section does not detach currently.

A bladder ready pack, I can use a bladder now but it is not built specifically for that.

An easy way to attch things vertically, such as sleeping pads. I've had trouble in tight spots when my pads are mounted horizontally.

Other than that, I've been happy with my Bean!
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Old 01-23-2004, 07:44 PM   #6
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I have an EMS Summit 5500 for my backpacking. I also purchased a set of side pockets for it.

For Dayhikes I have a "Quest" that I got at Dick's Sporting Goods. It's about 3500

I also have a Mad River Lumbar Pack that I use for dayhikes also if I am not concerened about carrying a lot of extra gear.

I prefer Internal to external, better center of gravity especially if climbing and also less noise.
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:08 AM   #7
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specialk,

What do you think of the shoulder straps and the waist belt of you Gregory?.

I definately want something comfortable for the heavy loads I endure every time I go out into the woods. I want the cadillac of backpacks. Roomy "AND" comfy!!!
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:49 AM   #8
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Jeff, I'm very happy with the waist belt, it sits comfortably is well padded,( also has that canted water bottle holder). The shoulder straps are also comfortable and easily adjustable. I tend to get some pain between the shoulders at the base of my neck but that used to happen with my external frame as well, posture and age I guess. This pack is a little heavy, 6.5 lbs or so but I gave up on going ultralight a long time ago. It lists somewhere around $325 but Campmor was selling them for $199 a while ago.
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:57 PM   #9
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I have 3 that I use for different purposes/ times of year. I just got a Eureka Pipe Dream 48 and it is great for winter stuff. It has about 3500 ci capacity and is designed to carry snowshoes, snowboards and skis. It also has a huge shove-it type pocket on the back where a shell or extra mittens can be easily reached. It has a built in pack cover to keep out snow and is hydration ready. I have a EMS 7000 that I use for winter overnights and multi-day summer trips. It tends to get a little heavy when you start filling the 7000 ci of space . Another one that gets a lot of use is my GT bicycles day pack. It has about 2100 ci capacity and I always use it when commuting on my bicycle. It is also great when I want to do a fast and light overnight. My son installed sleeping bag straps on the bottom of it and I lash a pad on the back and use a bivy sack for a shelter. It's surprising how far you can go on a multi-day trip when you only carry 25 lbs.
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Old 02-19-2004, 03:17 PM   #10
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I use a LL Bean White Mountain Expedition pack and love it. It's got everything that Charlie was hoping for in his Bean pack and then some.

For the price, you won't find many better.
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:35 PM   #11
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Granite Gear Vapor Trail:
http://www.granitegear.com/products/...ail/index.html

Reviews:
http://www.backpackgeartest.org/revi...Vapor%20Trail/

Pretty solid bag so far, wanted a new bag last year and after some research I bought this one from REI.

3600cu, 2lbs. Sizable enough for a small guy like me.(5'8" 165lbs)

At this point in life I have become completely anal about doing research before I buy gear(outdoors or electronic toys hehe)....this stuff comes with a hefty price tag, so it pays to do research.

Strangely enough as a new overnighter(been doing day hikes since a kid), I wanted to start out light...Most of my overnighters have been/will be 1-3 nighters at most. If it was any longer i'd probably need a bigger pack.
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Old 02-22-2004, 09:12 PM   #12
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Do any of you choose price over size and/or weight, vice/versa, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah,blah, blah, etc., etc...
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Old 02-23-2004, 12:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff
Do any of you choose price over size and/or weight, vice/versa, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah,blah, blah, etc., etc...
No, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Osprey I picked up was not only less than I expected to spend on a new pack but 2+ lbs lighter than the Gregory I was looking at.
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:07 PM   #14
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EMS

Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff
Do any of you choose price over size and/or weight, vice/versa, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah,blah, blah, etc., etc...
Hi Jeff!
I've seen a lot of good packs in my day. I've settled on EMS packs primarily because of the guarantee. "If your not satisfied, they will refund, repair, or replace" I've got 9 of them from 2000-7000 cubic inch.
I've had some problems over the years, and they always fixed it without a question. The only time they wanted to charge me for a repair was when I had a cut in the material that wasn't a failure of the pack, but damage from wear-and-tare.
I've had new shoulder straps, zippers, buckles, and seams repaired or replaced on different packs, at no charge. They have been very good with me. I've saved a lot of money by investing in their equipment. I highly recommend them.
-Gary-
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:16 PM   #15
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Ditto on the EMS backpacks. I have several also and have always been happy with the quality, durability, comfort, convenience.
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Old 03-04-2004, 02:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff
...I definately want something comfortable for the heavy loads I endure every time I go out into the woods. I want the cadillac of backpacks. Roomy "AND" comfy!!!
Jeff-
Check out Mountainsmith. It's the most comfortable pack I've had for heavy loads, with great padding and lots of room. It has about 10 different adjustments you can make, which is kind of a pain until you get it "dialed-in", after which it's a pleasure to wear.
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Old 03-29-2004, 10:37 AM   #17
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Jeff
I have a Rokk Flat iron 3360 cu in. I've used this pack for 3/4 of the NP trail and spent 10 days on the trail in New Mexico with said pack. The fit is great and with the compression straps I can tie my tent and bed roll to the sides of the pack. This still keeps a good balance. The top can be removed and used a fanny pack. Most of the time I carry a 50 to 60 lb. pack Now I'm lightening up the load to work on the 46ers.
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Old 04-01-2004, 03:44 PM   #18
ADK Music
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I have a Lowe Alpine that my son picked out at EMS. It is my first internal frame pack and I love it. Lot's of room , very adjustable for my 5" 5' frame, and comfortable. I spent 25 years with a red Kelty D4, and thought I would miss it. Uh-uh. I've never worn anything else so I don't know how the Lowe compares to others, but I like it.
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Old 04-01-2004, 04:54 PM   #19
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I have a couple of Mountainsmith Mountainlight series packs, and a GoLite pack. I chose these packs because they were the lightest ones I could find that still felt good when I tested them out in-store (Brought 25 pounds of gear in a stuff sack and walked around for a half hour). My loads rarely exceed 40 pounds, so I don't own any monster-sized packs.

The GoLite pack is interesting, because the material seems like it would tear easily, but after getting lost in George Washington National Forest, and bushwacking for about 4 miles through some thick s#!t, it didn't have a scratch on it.
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Old 04-02-2004, 01:18 AM   #20
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Having sold many backpacks in the past and having had the wonderful opportunity to work at EMS and another store in the past 15 years, I would like to make one very clear statement -

Never will You get more than what you pay for.

You might get more than what you thought you would pay for, but that goes into rational expectations and such, which I will avoid.

With that said, I have been happy with my 10 year old Lowe Alpine Contour IV and ecstsatic with my 4 year old Dana Astralplane - Moreso than I have ever been with my 12-30 year old eureka packs (they vary in age) or my 8-12 year old EMS packs (they all vary in age as well).

Things that you won't notice in your first 1 or 2 packs - especially cheaper stuff like Bean, Rokk or Eureka (Though Eureka has gotten better, as has Kelty)
Open cell foam paired to closed cell foam in the shoulder harness and waist belt systems. Cheaper padding breaks down quicker - within 3-4 years of fairly constant use.

Poorer polyurethane lamination to the cordura or nylon body of the pack. Fewer stitches per inch, looser harness to pack connections, Nylon straps that do not slide easily on the nylon buckles or tri-glides, fewer fit options. Zippers that don't glide well. The list goes on........


By the way, do you really think that a pack that will fit someone from 4'10" to 6'2" has anything even remotely close to a pack that is made specifically within inches of your torso length?

For those on their first 1 or 2 cheaper packs that have never had a $3-400 dollar pack on and had the pleasure of carrying 65-75 lbs and not feel worse for the wear, I caution, it is a wonderful thing. I am not trying to start a war here, but just point out what might not be obvious to all.

I went through it all as well. I bought what I could afford for many years - all cheaper packs and thought I was comfortable. I didn;' know comfort until I bought my Dana. I wish I had spent a few hundred on my first pro-deal and bought the highest quality possible, rather than buying a $125 pack for $65 and thinking I got the deal of a lifetime..

Think about it.
If you are buying something to wear on your back for miles and miles and miles per year for the next decade, isn't it worth perhaps, $40/year to have something comfortable - Do the amortization - 10 trips/year for 10 years = $10/trip.
Well worth it.

I agree EMS and Bean both stand behind their gear - I have had to send packs back to EMS and clothes back to Bean, but I have never had to return my Lowe or my Dana due to wear, breakage or problematic workmanship.

Cheers
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