I was discussing Philmont with some of the leaders who went last year. They were describing having a 50lbs(+) pack. Even back when men were real men and you carried your food with the water in it by gum – I never carried that much and I did carry food for a non-resupplied 10 day trip a couple of times. (the resupplies in Philmont are a 3-5 days apart)
So obviously I’ve been looking for how to keep pack weight down – while still carrying the supplies needed for a safe trip. (adult scout leaders tend to have a weight tax, because they’re the ones who promise to bring the boys back home in more or less one piece).
My heavy pack is a Kelty 50-year anniversary pack and its a great pack. It’s just big and well – too easy to load up. It also weighs enough that you can’t actually get a base load less than 20 lbs unless you really shave the load, and then you don’t need a big pack.
Finally I have found a light-weight pack that can actually work for me. I can actually break the 20lbs barrier with a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus, and with packing everything I need (which is too much). This is after trying an Osprey Atmos 50 (nice pack, but puts a lot of pressure on the lower back, and the curved frame gets in the way of loading), and Equinox Katahdin (big bag – the mesh backpanel is a wet weather concern, and there is no way to tie wet things to the outside). Neither of these really works for the kinds of loads I have – although I could see them working for some people.
Here are my criteria:
- Comfortable hip belt and suspension (Mariposa & Katahdin)
- Light Weight. (Mariposa < Katahdin < Atmos 50)
- Easy access of Nalgene or Soda bottle (Mariposa < Katahdin << Atmos )
- Some sort of stable frame so the pack cover stays on (Atmos < Mariposa << Katahdin)
- Enclosed bag (Mariposa == Atmos << Katahdin)
- External tie ons or pockets for wet gear (Mariposa << Atmos, Katahdin or kelty)
Point 6 is the real deciding point. Things that are wet should stay on the outside of the pack. There’s no reason to put a wet shelter or rain gear inside of what should be the dry bag.
So now to see how it carries on a real trip (vs. around the block a couple of times) and to start on the rest weight reduction.