Most Important Pack Features

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shakeylegs
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Most Important Pack Features

Postby shakeylegs » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:47 am

Hi all,
I'm in the planning stages of constructing a new backpack. This one will be a compromise between super ultralight and rugged, hopefully offering both light weight and the strength to withstand some cross country bushwhacking. It should be large enough for multi-day trekking and be able to accommodate a bear canister. I'd be interested to hear what you all think are the most important features in a serviceable backpack and why. What features would you absolutely incorporate in a backpack of your design (helium bladders and anti-gravity generators aside)?
shakeylegs

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zelph
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby zelph » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:56 am

1st thing on the list is narrow and well padded shoulder straps.
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Ridgerunner
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby Ridgerunner » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:29 pm

Secondly, would be a good padded belt support and I like the idea of a couple pockets incorporated into the belt.
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Pnw.hiker
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby Pnw.hiker » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:48 pm

shakeylegs wrote: ... I'd be interested to hear what you all think are the most important features in a serviceable backpack and why...


First comfort. I used to have an expensive pack with a fancy molded hip belt - it was hideously uncomfortable. Now I use a SixMoon Starlight and it's by far the most comfortable I've tried.

Second, a simple design that works with my gear. Some packs have all kinds of whistles and bells and doohickeys that never get used. All they do is add weight and expense and get in the way.

If I were to make a new pack I'd look at the SixMoons Feather design. Ultra light weight, design was tweaked from the Starlight to make it tougher for bushwhacking, uses your foam pad as the backpack frame, which you can remove without emptying the pack.

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zelph
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby zelph » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:20 pm

I like the looks of the SixMoons Feather. I'm attracted to the big pocket on the back. Don't know why :?
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shakeylegs
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby shakeylegs » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:11 pm

If I were to make a new pack I'd look at the SixMoons Feather design.


This is an appealing value at that price. I like the dual use back pad and the large kangaroo pouch on the back. And at eleven ounces it weighs in comfortably. I wonder if a bear canister would fit inside easily? It's almost not worth making one from scratch. However, that's part of the fun.
shakeylegs

shakeylegs
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby shakeylegs » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:26 pm

I've been browsing various pack maker's web sites and found an interesting suspension system at zpacks. It appears the "arc blast" utilizes a carbon fiber frame to transfer weight from pack to hips, thus relieving pressure on the shoulders. I'd much rather support my pack with my hips than with my shoulders. From what little is mentioned about the frame, I gather that it is tubular with two uprights and two cross bars. Similar materials are available from several sites (both plastics manufacturers and kite making web sites). The tube stock, whether solid or hollow, looks about 1/4" to 3/8" in diameter. The sites also offer joint fittings to facilitate structural building. A "pulltruded" hollow .230" tube 40" long is around $4 to $6 dollars and the fittings are a few bucks.

Has anyone experimented with carbon fiber structures"? I'm wondering if a frame of two upright 1/4 inch hollow CF tubes would be sufficient to withstand 20 to 30 lbs of gear. The zpack frame appears to be set under tension by stretching a mesh back panel from top to bottom of the frame, inducing a slight vertical arc in the frame that holds the pack just off one's back. My old Mariposa pack used similar CF or fiberglass rods (i think solid) as framing but they stood straight and the pack rested against my back - rather worm at times. I'm going to order some solid and hollow stock and devise some stress tests to see how much weight and inertia a flexed tube can withstand.
shakeylegs

Pnw.hiker
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Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby Pnw.hiker » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:01 pm

My Starlight uses some internal struts (along with the foam ground pad) to create the frame. It transfers the load to my hips as good as any other pack I've used. It can haul 35 pounds, though I never go that heavy.

That being said, you mention 'super ultralight' in the first post here, so you probably don't need a frame at all. Then you mention 20-30 pounds of gear in a later post. Those are two different packs, Bro!

To add a simple ground pad frame to an ultralight pack, you typically roll your pad into a tube, place inside your pack, then fill with gear (inside the tube). Your sleeping bag is placed in the bottom and the rest of the gear on top. Use an oversized stuff sack for your sleeping bag, then it can expand somewhat to remove slosh after loading the pack. Add a hip belt and it makes an efficient tubular frame that molds to your back. A homemade pack of this design does great with a 12 pound baseweight, maybe up to twenty depending on design.

The Feather pack mentioned earlier is obviously a little more sophisticated, with an external sleeve for the pad. It might make an interesting DIY project. They use an elastic fabric for the ground pad sleeve. The Feather's specification says 10 lb recommended baseweight (without the optional hip belt) and a maximum of 25. I've found that SixMoon's specifications are very accurate - they don't exaggerate or make misleading claims, very reliable company. This pack is designed for a 10lb baseweight, and I'd get the optional hip belt for sure. Might have to make your own version a little bigger for a bear canister though, not sure.
Last edited by Pnw.hiker on Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Pnw.hiker
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:09 pm

Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby Pnw.hiker » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:37 pm

zelph wrote:I like the looks of the SixMoons Feather. I'm attracted to the big pocket on the back. Don't know why :?

Funny you should mention that ... when I got my Starlight pack I was a little suspicious of the big pocket, never used a pack like that before. Turns out it's a fantastic feature - for things you want easy access to, wet socks you don't want to put inside, water bottle you can reach without taking off the pack, general overflow storage :)

shakeylegs
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Location: Napa Valley, Ca

Re: Most Important Pack Features

Postby shakeylegs » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:10 pm

you mention 'super ultralight' in the first post here, so you probably don't need a frame at all. Then you mention 20-30 pounds of gear in a later post. Those are two different packs, Bro!


Hi Pnw.hiker,
As I mentioned, this project is a "compromise" of SUL and rugged. I've torn up a "mariposa", and a "go-lite race" on cross country routes. I want a rugged pack that can function in a SUL capacity but also withstand abuse and occasionally carry the added weight of climbing gear or better-half's necessities. Most of the time I'm out on my own and not facing severe undergrowth or sheer granite climbs. But on occasion true SUL packs just won't hack it. This project is an attempt to bridge that gap.
And more to the point, I'm curious what others consider absolutely necessary in a functional pack. You may or may not be a SUL fan. That does not matter. I'm interested in the specifics other hikers consider indispensable in a pack that functions for them.
shakeylegs


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