Packs and more challenging terrain

Discussion in 'Packs & Accessories' started by Michael_x, May 28, 2019.

  1. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    Last week I managed to get out for a very short hike and overnight camp.

    My hope was to test out my new As Tucas Sestrals blanket before the weather got too warm.

    Sadly Welsh weather failed to live up to its reputation with an impressively sunny hot day, clear skies and a warm evening. Even camped overnight at 560m by Llywn Bochlwyd the temperature never dropped below 9.5c in my tent.

    Not surprisingly I was very very warm. I even had to skip the Merino nightwear and just sleep in Alpkit briefs. So, blanket test fail. It's a lovely blanket but I guess I'll have to await winter to enjoy it under proper conditions.

    To get to the point, as well as failing miserably to find a cold night in Wales I discovered my pack has a major, and somewhat surprising, shortcoming.

    Heading up from the lay-by on the A5 was a lot steeper in places than the route descriptions I read suggest but no major problems for the pack.

    Not so heading down. Alas I found my descent was significantly slowed because as I moved from rock to rock the pack insisted on trying to pull me over and throw me off balance. Not fun.

    Some of that could no doubt be helped by reducing base weight which I'm working on. What I had was :- https://lighterpack.com/r/etpuj9

    I've also since experimented with the back adjustment and it's a bit more stable so I suspect part of it was my fault with poor pack adjustment.

    Much as I love my Berghaus ABS I've been yearning for a lighter slightly larger pack and the above has decided it. Presently I'm pretty well decided on an Osprey Exos 48.

    The bulk of my backpacking with overnight camping gear will probably be on easier / gentler terrain than Tryfan but just occasionally hilly bits happen.

    Still I wonder what thoughts and suggestions folk have on the subject of packs for hiking over rough / uneven ground.
  2. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    It's an interesting kit list, and normally base weight doesn't include 'consumables' (food, fuel, water). Even so, you could lose 2-3kg from your load without too much trouble - not that you should of course, it's up to everyone what they chose to carry, but if you're interested in the detail feel free to PM me.

    As far as your question about pack stability is concerned, I think there are quite a few possible sources of problems, some of which have little to do with which pack you actually carry:
    - load distribution (is the weight equally distributed within the pack - not more on one side than the other, and not top-heavy?);
    - load stability (are things secure within the pack, or shifting around with your motion?);
    - dangly stuff (not good obvs);
    - pack fit (self explanatory);
    - weight transfer (hips/shoulders ratio - better to keep it lower down - packs without load-bearing hip belts are never going to be as stable imo, others may disagree);
    - too much weight (you've referred to this);
    - pack profile (wider packs are less stable because there's more of an overhang/pendulum);
    - harness (on unsteady ground I strap everything in tighter to my body).

    I reckon your proposed Osprey would be a revelation in many ways, although it might be worth giving some thought to the 'trampoline' mesh arrangement at your back which does move the pack's weight a little further backwards from your body (perhaps not the most stable arrangement), in the interests of maximising ventilation.
  3. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    Lol, it's a kit list that will evolve. I've started with what was to hand. Step one has been getting a decent mat and blanket. Before that was ccf+ancient self inflating multi mat and a Blacks down bag at 1.46kg for the bag and 2+ kg all in. Next the pack. Then shelter, etc.

    The Berghaus is a fascinating pack in that the adjustable back was revolutionary when it appeared. One can even adjust each sides length differently, possibly the only design to cater to scoliosis. Served me well hiking around the middle east in the 80's but I'm sure you are right that a modern pack will be a revelation ;) I plan to try one for size etc soon.
  4. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Deferring pack.... Re your quilt... Just wait for a full moon, add altitude and a clear sky... You'll be able to use your quilt then... No need for waiting till winter rolls around
  5. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Slackening off hip belt significantly when descending has always worked for me.
    Michael_x likes this.
  6. Jamess

    Jamess Ultralighter

    I'm with Davidola on this one.

    If your pack is adjusted right and the load compressed properly it shouldn't move around.

    Much as I respect Ed's judgement on things ultralight, if you are carrying a reasonable amount of weight loosening your hipbelt on descents is likely to exacerbate your problem.
    edh and Michael_x like this.
  7. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I've hauled my backpacking multi day load over Tryfan a few times and made my own packs to cater for this use specifically.

    I find that if I leave my hipbelt loose on any packs with any weight, they barrel about on my back. It does however give me more flexibilty in my torso and allows me to jetison the pack more quickly if I'm having to drop it off for a more technical climb down. I'll often cinch the shoulder straps harder to compensate for the lack of load control straps (that do more for flopping/barrelling than anything else)

    The caveat to this is Ed is far more capable than I on technical stuff, but I very much doubt he ever carries the weight I do.

    It comes down to weight for me...anything over 10kg and I'm wobbling more than normal.
    edh likes this.
  8. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    If you can live with your current pack for a bit longer and reduce the weight (and bulk) of some other items, you may find that you need a smaller pack. as @dovidola said above, there is 2-3kg that could probably come off your cuurrent load, I would prioritise that first.

    The comment comment about the Osprey 'trampoline' mesh arrangement is valid. I have never found an Osprey pack that fits me yet and I particularly dislike the 'trampoline' back because it de-stabalises the pack (in my view). Others love Osprey packs, so its all down to fit and comfort in the end.

    Have you looked at a custom pack like an Atom? https://www.atompacks.co.uk/
    You'll find other recommendations for good lightweight packs on this forum. My Atom Prospector (40 litre) was made to measure and weighs 730 grams.

    Couple of observations about your load but you need be comfortable with any changes you make and you will get lots of differing advice as well !
    • You are taking a storm shelter and a bivy tent - do you need both?
    • You could go for a much lighter mat when funds allow, also a lighter shelter.
    • First Aid Kit + trauma dressing - seems a bit heavy. My FAK weighs 90 grams and I reckon I could go lighter but its all down to personal preference.
    • Rucksack liner - do you need to waterproof the entire backpack or just some items like quilt & clothing? Would something like a single 35 litre ultra-sil dry-sack (45 grams) do the job?
    • You are also taking 2 additional dry-sacks and a pump sack, I use a Thermarest AirTap fitted to a dry-sack, so it does double duty.
    • Do you need to take the syringe with the Sawyer filter. For a short trip I wouldn't bother especially as you are also packing chlorine tablets as well?
    Best wishes Phil
    Chiseller likes this.
  9. Patrick

    Patrick Trail Blazer

    Just to add to this - if you find a water bottle with a sports cap - ideally the sort with a flip cap and a "nipple" that you suck from - then you can hold this on the outflow of the Sawyer to backflush just as easily as you can with the syringe.
    ZenTrekker, Beachlover and Michael_x like this.
  10. maddogs

    maddogs Trail Blazer

    If a pack is pulling you backwards I'd suggest consider whether the heavy part of the load is too high or the load lifters are not doing their job? If the pack is pulling you side to side as you scramble around its likely just too heavy!

    I used a 2014 model Exos 48 for 5 years and liked it. I found it fine on technical ground (but I was a climber once upon a time). However I don't get on with the new 2019 model Exos - the frame is much more flexible and the pack "bounces" on the trampoline mesh against my back much more than the old version and I don't imagine this would help your issue.

    The Gregory Optic might be worth a look as a close alternative. The arc of the back is less than the Exos so may be more stable. Load transfer to the hips seems better on the Optic. additional thoughts here: https://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/quest-for-a-new-pct-backpack.5980/
  11. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    The optic sounds really interesting but costs around 50% more than the exos. More of an issue alas is I can't see anywhere near me that sells it. So no chance to try one. I went into Outside in Hathersage today and tried on the exos48. Overall lots of pluses but wasn't love at first sight but might well grow on me.
  12. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    Trouble is neither the Osprey or the Gregory are particularly lightweight packs at 1.162kg & 1.104kg respectively.

    Have you looked at the Montane Trailblazer 44? @Chiseller has reviewed this pack recently, see here https://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/montane-trailblazer-44-review.6315/

    There is also a good discussion here https://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/which-lightweight-pack.6426/#post-123680
  13. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I tried on a trailblazer fully loaded with my stuff. The infinite adjustment on the back length, wrap around hip belt wings and double strap connection from the shoulder straps and harness set up’make it extremely comfortable and stable feeling. What I don’t like is that once it is full it’s very difficult to push my water bottle into the side mesh pockets, which are flat, without darts. So, it should not be packed full. I suspect that will be a problem for the OP until he has reduced his pack contents.
    Enzo and ZenTrekker like this.
  14. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Perhaps bigger than the OP is looking for but seeing a few recommendations here and elsewhere for the Montane Trailblazer led me to wonder: has anyone seen or tried on a Montane Naukan 60? It looks quite nice to me.
    Clare likes this.
  15. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    Interesting looking pack, too big for me but it shows what can be done.
  16. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Looks nice. That back adjustment system is brilliant. But the side water pockets, while usefully pointing the bottle at an angle have no actual volume so you gotta jam and squeeze unless your pack is 1/3 empty. And even if it is quite empty, it’s going to be full at the bottom because duh.

    @Chiseller hows it been on the trailblazer ?
  17. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    [​IMG]TB44 by Bearded Bimbler, on Flickr
    [​IMG]TB44 by Bearded Bimbler, on Flickr

    I use the side pouches for things like, brolly, table, mid pole etc...a smart bottle will go in, but it's an effort if you have the HUGE zipped side pockets rammed.
    You could carry a smart bottle or a 1.5l bladder in those.
    I use the harness pockets for 2 x 500ml speed pouches.
  18. Adam Peel

    Adam Peel Summit Camper

    A little late into this conversation, but I’ve found that the Arcteryx Bora is absolutely brilliant.

    It has a rotating and sliding hip belt which distributes any load seriously well when twisting and turning, and the fully adjustable shoulder straps are a big bonus too.

    Furthermore, it’s absolutely hard wearing, so if you are using it on rough and tricky terrain you don’t need to worry tooooo much.

    I took one on trial to load out my heavier winter gear on a big overnight across quite a few hills in the Peak District and I felt the difference compared to my old bag.

    But it is a pricey pack, and Phil is right too - carry less and anything will seem easier!
  19. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    As a general rule, I drop the pack backwards and away from my shoulders during ascents and carry most of the weight on my hips. On decents and for scrambling, I carry my packs tight to my body for better control. It also helps to have a pack size that fits the load (compression can only achieve so much), packing well, and last not least finding a pack that really works also helps. It is amazing how 2 same size packs, which look quite similar in design, can feel so differently...
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    Teepee likes this.
  20. Gadget

    Gadget Thru Hiker

    Full moon? How does that enter the equation? :headscratch:
    edit
    What no :headscratch: emoticon??
    (Look at me, showing my age and not calling them emoji)
  21. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    If you use a pack liner and just put your bag in loose rather than a compression sack it takes up any unused space and you compress it the minimum needed do they loft faster. Works well
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  22. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Will anyone own up to doing this?
  23. lakeshore

    lakeshore Trail Blazer

    Yes, not in stuff sack I have put a sleeping bag in the pack after a foam pad creating a frame; the bag is then adding some softness and comfort. However that was in my days with frameless Golite Breeze pack. I became very nervous about having wet sleeping bag in heavy rain and of staining it with leaking food or something.
  24. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Spoilsport :rolleyes:
  25. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Guilty.
    Not sure how that's applicable here though? :)

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