Pack design choices

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Pack design choices

Postby redbruce » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 10:21 am

I continue to look for opportunities to reduce my pack weight (tent, clothing, cooking gear, etc addressed so far).

My current focus is replacing my 3.6kg Outgear (down to earth) 80-85L pack that has served me well for the last 30 years.

I have a 65L (2kg) pack for weekend jaunts but are looking at an Osprey Zenith 75 for longer trips (drops 1.2kg and much better harness)

However, at 20.5" back length I am between a medium and large frame so can go either way.

Medium (probably technically the best fit) achieves the volume by a shorter deeper pack. The Large achieves the volume by being thinner and taller (~ head height).

Any experiences on relative merits/demerits of pack design for same volume?

For a relatively similar cost, I am also toying with an Aarn design as I am nearly 60 and have some back issues. Although my conventional pack hasn't been an issue to date and I suspect I may find the the Aarn design fiddly in practice, but I am open to comment.
Last edited by redbruce on Fri 30 Dec, 2016 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Merits of Pack design choices

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 10:30 am

Looking just at the title I was expecting another Internal Vs External frame discussion
Personally I would see no benefit in only an extra 10 litres capacity, 60 to 65 is adequate for most of the off-season and even 85 too small for my own winter needs and it is hard to find a comfortable and stable 100l+ rucksack that is also LW
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby redbruce » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 10:39 am

I'm actually mot sure of my Outgear Kakadu pack size (it is a large though). It has an expandable top design (I estimate maybe 5L) and compared to modern packs (specifically One Planet) looks like a good 90 at full capacity.

I find 65 works for much of my hiking, but is fiddly to pack and no spare capacity for longer hikes or if forecast is cold (hence need for bulkier clothing).

I will always have the Kakadu as backup but my trips are seldom 10 days (and less likely in future) or more now.

It is also evident that marketing, and lack of defensible standards mean pack size is relative, but not an exact science. I've no idea whether my packs are as stated in reality.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby Mark F » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 10:51 am

All other things being equal, the shorter, deeper pack will move the centre of gravity further away from your back requiring a more forward lean when walking but keep it lower increasing stability. These effects can, to some extent be reduced by how you pack. The relative benefit of either is likely to be decided by the type of terrain you walk in. Tracks and open country will be favoured by the taller, shallower pack while the shorter, deeper pack will be better for off track walking.

One thing you don't mention is your current base weight (everything expect food, water and fuel).
"Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove".
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby redbruce » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 11:07 am

Good point. Sharing with two (but individual tents):

Starting pack weight (minus water, fuel, food) for last 11 day expedition (Overland in March) would be 17kg.

For 4 day walk, probably 13kg.

Both include my 3.6 kg pack.

I don't really do much off track walking these days.

I should point out I am not keen on gear lashed externally to pack if I can help it.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby RonK » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 3:05 pm

redbruce wrote:Starting pack weight (minus water, fuel, food) for last 11 day expedition (Overland in March) would be 17kg.

That sounds like a lot of weight for an OLT - considering you are going to add around 3 kg of food, 1 kg of water and half a kg of fuel.

Perhaps it's more than just your pack that needs rationalising.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 4:00 pm

I don't think I could do it for less than 15 kilos FSO Ron. But I pack for comfort at night and I hate being cold.
I like to eat well but never 3kg a day of calories
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby andrewa » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 5:35 pm

I'm with Ron.

I've been cutting down weight progressively over the years, and was initially surprised at how much clothing weighed. I try to keep each piece of clothing under 300g, and generally don't bother taking spare clothing. If it's properly designed clothing, it will dry off fairly quickly when you're wearing it if it's wet, and it will have insulating properties when it's wet.


I sleep in my clothing at night, to minimise the weight of the quilt I use. If it's cold, I might even sleep in my goretex outerwear.

I suggest you weigh everything, and work out where that extra weight is coming from - it sneaks in there!!

A
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby weeds » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 9:57 pm

RonK wrote:
redbruce wrote:Starting pack weight (minus water, fuel, food) for last 11 day expedition (Overland in March) would be 17kg.

That sounds like a lot of weight for an OLT - considering you are going to add around 3 kg of food, 1 kg of water and half a kg of fuel.

Perhaps it's more than just your pack that needs rationalising.


Only 3kg of food for 11 days......not sure I would survive
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby PedroArvy » Fri 30 Dec, 2016 11:28 pm

IMO the Aarn is not at all fiddly in practice. I wouldn't even consider another pack again unless extreme bush bashing was what I was doing.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby peregrinator » Sat 31 Dec, 2016 12:17 pm

PedroArvy wrote:IMO the Aarn is not at all fiddly in practice. I wouldn't even consider another pack again unless extreme bush bashing was what I was doing.


Totally agree with the first sentence, so long as you get good advice when buying. And as hardly any of the replies have dealt specifically with redbruce’s original question, that of alternate pack designs, it is interesting that he mentioned “toying with an Aarn”. Do try one, redbruce.

RonK did refer to pack design influencing a walker’s posture. This is where Aarn is pre-eminent, in my experience. An Aarn makes it so much easier to adopt a comfortable, non-slouching posture. Heavier things like water go in the front pockets (easily accessible) and you’ll have a better balanced load. Further, with the choice available of various pack and pocket models and sizes, you can perhaps get exactly the carrying capacity you need.

Pedroarvy, I don't know how you define "extreme bush bashing", but I've certainly had no difficulties in a bit of dense stuff. Didn't try to rush it though, and maybe you're thinking of repeated efforts, not just occasional ones. But in that case, most packs are vulnerable.

I am not an Aarn representative, just a happy customer.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby kitty » Sat 31 Dec, 2016 2:44 pm

Before trying an Aarn, I also thought they would be fiddly or complicated. But then I tried one and I havent looked back. And if I bought another pack, it would be another Aarn.
With respect to pack desgin, as Peregrinator mentioned there is the load distribution advantages, as well as the ability to expand the volume pack with front-pack options.
The front packs are also very handy with quick, on-the-go access to camera, water, rain gear, sunscreen, hat, gloves, etc, without having to take the pack off.
But one thing that really surprised me was the comfort and easy of movement that the design of the harness allows. I think its called U-Flow, but whatever its called - I like it.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby farefam » Sat 31 Dec, 2016 4:08 pm

The Aarn design looks like it would be very good to use on formed tracks (particularly on long trips). May have to consider it when my Macpac finally gives up from the decades of punishment it has suffered. I'm doubtful that it would be suitable for long scrub-bashing trips though. In my experience a narrower pack width is better for easing yourself through tight, dense scrub (e.g. ti-tree) rather than winding up getting caught on the scrub. A pack design with removable sidepockets can help keep the load closer to your back and minimise the stresses (I attach one on my Macpac Cascade for long trips).
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby north-north-west » Mon 02 Jan, 2017 12:55 pm

farefam wrote:The Aarn design looks like it would be very good to use on formed tracks (particularly on long trips). May have to consider it when my Macpac finally gives up from the decades of punishment it has suffered. I'm doubtful that it would be suitable for long scrub-bashing trips though. In my experience a narrower pack width is better for easing yourself through tight, dense scrub (e.g. ti-tree) rather than winding up getting caught on the scrub. A pack design with removable sidepockets can help keep the load closer to your back and minimise the stresses (I attach one on my Macpac Cascade for long trips).

Admit that the Aarns aren't the best when extended scrub-bashing or pack-hauling is required, but they cope well enough given their build. The lower part of the harness system (tube/cord attachment) is the most fragile thing about them.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby redbruce » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 6:00 pm

So, weighing my gear and I find the old Outgear Kakadu (85-90L) pack weighs 2.9kg, not 3.6.

Not light but not worth spending $500 on a new 2.45kg pack atm given not sure about merits of conventional (eg Osprey Zenith 75, actually 79L in large) versus Aarn design.

My Kathmandu goretex is 1.2kg, might look at that first.
Last edited by redbruce on Mon 09 Jan, 2017 10:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pack design choices

Postby Chezza » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 7:47 pm

It's relatively expensive, but consider a Seek Outside Unaweep Fortress 4800. 80L for 1.64kg, designed to carry massive loads, can be specced to be more robust than any off-the-shelf pack, and all reviews speak of it being more comfortable than just about anything else out there. I haven't bought one yet, but it's on my wishlist thanks to all the glowing reviews.

https://seekoutside.com/unaweep-fortres ... 800-combo/
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