10 day pack - 50+l : any reason not to buy a DCF pack?

Discussion in 'Packs & Accessories' started by markgoodlad, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    (If there is a thread on this already, then please point me in that direction - tried searching!)

    I have a Liteway Elementum DCF pack and use this for most of my trips of up to 5-6 days as it has a max load of 12kg. My base weight is around 4.5 to 5.5kg depending on (Spring/Summer/Autumn) weather. I like the DCF as it does not absorb as much water as nylon.

    I need a bigger pack for a (hopefully) planned longer trip, assume up to 10 days - and no resupply: not sure.
    So it needs to be able to haul 5-6kg base + max 10kg food/consumables + water (2kg?)
    Likely take a TT Stratospire Li - so needs to be able to hold vertically (16in), which should not be an issue in a 50l pack.

    My go to is the HMG NorthRim 3400. It is the more durable Dyneema and easy to patch. And I can use this in Winter as a hiking pack in addition to my “alpine” Exped Black Ice 55.

    I have read many of the other similar posts on here (and BPL) about other packs (osprey, gossamer gear, atom) and like the Exped Lightning 60 as an alternative. It seems to be excellent/comfortable for carrying slightly heavier loads.

    Before I place the HMG order: Ignoring cost (except a McHale!) are there any reason/benefits/pros to get an XPac, Spectra or Robic pack over the HMG? And recommendations?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
    turkeyphant likes this.
  2. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    I've not used many of the packs you mention only the Atom pack Prospector.

    I tend to do trips where I will start out with 15 days food plus my kit, this generally comes to 18-20kg. For this I use an Lightwave Ultrahike 60, having an internal frame it carries this weight quite well. I've tried Ultralight packs, the atompack and ULA CDT but found they really didn't support the load very well. Mainly they don't transfer the weight to the hip much, this leaves it hanging off your shoulders which becomes very tiring. The same load in the Lightwave pack carries better so is less tiring even though it's around 3-400g heavier. There's a reason why they put a weight limit on Ultralight packs.
    PhilHo, rikdon, Jamess and 3 others like this.
  3. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    Apparently DCF packs don't fair that well, if you need to do some bush whacking, as they get abrasions. This was a reason why YouTuber Darwin stopped using DCF packs.
    markgoodlad likes this.
  4. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    Hopefully no bushwhacking, but will look at the route more closely. I will check out Darwin’s channel. I was looking at the NorthRim as it was much harder-wearing DCF. I do have a UL pack made out of 2.92oz dyneema and no issues so far, but to be fair I am not hacking my way through tough vegetation.

    Good to know
    Lempo likes this.
  5. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    Thanks the load carrying is a key concern and the weight transfer to the hips. I will take a more detailed look at the Lightwave. How does it hold-up in heavy rain? It says that it is highly weather resistant?
  6. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Section Hiker

    cant be any worse than my vx7 prospector that gained holes on the CWT (with no bushwhacking)

    I'm in the market for a nice DCF 40ltr bag too, just i want mine in some fancy colours (and a nice hip belt), probably going to try LiteAF unless anyone knows of any euro firms that do it.
    markgoodlad likes this.
  7. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    If I’m carrying a big load I really like my ULA gridstop (or whatever it’s called these days) packs
    Chiseller and markgoodlad like this.
  8. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    Just checked the LiteAF website again. As the 46l curve was an option, but the lead time is 23 weeks for custom DCF !!
  9. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    I looked at the ULA catalyst as it has full suspension. A little large at 75l but will carry 18kg so it is certainly an option.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
    DodgyKnee likes this.
  10. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    I've had it about 7 or 8 years now and so far not had any water inside. That includes a two week trip around glen Affric where it rained every day and a couple of trips to Swedish Lapland which isn't exactly dry.
    Mole and markgoodlad like this.
  11. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    I use an Ultrahike too for heavier loads. It’s excellent
  12. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    I'm attempting to own one.

    Bought one from here 10 days ago . It arrived last week. But was obviously a return rather than ex display/sales. Dirty, pilling on belt, small hole melted in one side panel and split seam on lid ( hard to repair). A missing drawstring...
    I spoke to Carol on Thursday, and he said it was sent by mistake. Heard nothing since though, so will have to chase up.

    It's first time I tried one on. Seems a pretty decent pack.
  13. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    Thank you. Based on your feedback then this is certainly an option for my Nordic trip
  14. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

  15. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    It’s strange that such a good pack has become so hard to get hold of.
  16. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker


    That's very strange, I've actually just got a smaller 40lt pack from them, again it said ex display but it doesn't look like it's been out of the bag. Why you can only get them direct I can only guess, doesn't seem good marketing to me.
    Mole likes this.
  17. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    It doesn't really matter what it's made from. It's the design and fit that influences how well it carries with a proper load.

    If your doing longer trips in Scandi though, your going to do some kind of bushwhacking and it tends to be harder on gear than the UK. It's just that kind of place.

    For me, X-pac is a great pack material. I find it tough, quiet and resilient.

    I have a few UL mixed VX07/VX21 packs, most of them made for mutlidayers/multiweekers with big load outs in Scandi and Scotland(30kg +). I chose and will continue to choose X-pac becuase I think it has the best blend of qualities for a pack material.
    markgoodlad likes this.
  18. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    The zpacks arcblast frame is excellent at transferring heavy weights and mine has had no issues with wear and tear other than the normal material aging process. The arcblast system made it easily the most comfortable pack I ever carried (and I would have bought a replacement if zpacks hadn't increased the size). But I don't know the pack you are considering and how comparible they may be...

    P.S. I do mostly alpine routes including alpine scrambling and off trail
    markgoodlad likes this.
  19. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    Me too. Usually alpine routes/rocky hence the HMG. I was looking for something that may double duty on a longer trail in scandanavia as well. The north rim is designed for high abrasion / bushwhacking but I am a thinking through whether it is comfortable for the load bearing.
  20. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    the pack size and load carrying are right. Not a great fan of the design but if it works then ok. If I can pick one up from site linked with the exchange rate the price is low enough to be able to test it Thanks.
  21. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    I only do the some bush (and rock) wacking here and there which has been fine. If I was planning on long hours of that, I'd strap a rain cover on my pack no matter what pack material since I always carry stuff in the side (shelter) and back pockets... I'd be curious if anyone know of any proper comparision tests between xpac and dcf longlivity...? My current main pack is an xpac atom - its fine and comfy enough for the weight in it but nowhere near the "Rolls Royce" carry class of the arcblast. Adjustusting the backlengh to have the hipbelt in the precise sweet spot worked really well for me.
  22. Robert P

    Robert P Section Hiker

    The Lightwave packs should be amongst the most water resistant:
    'All the seams on the main body and lid are either welded or taped, making the Fastpack quite weatherproof and ideal for use in wet or wintery climates. (For technical reasons the seams attaching the back panel cannot be sealed, but these are largely protected from the weather by the wearer’s own back.)'
    Personally I'd really consider a DCF pack primarily for the waterproofing not weight, as the weight advantages are not that great, and the Lightwave packs would be a very good alternative in the waterproofing regard. But I'd miss the large external rear pocket.
    markgoodlad likes this.
  23. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Summit Camper

    I would miss the large external pocket as well. For rain gear or a wet tent.
  24. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    PhilHo, Robert P, markgoodlad and 2 others like this.
  25. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

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