What’s your favorite pack for multiday trips???
Right now I’m using MLD’s largest pack. Here’s their site:
Overall I like it… but for use packrafting I think it’s good to cut off the little plastic hooks that can grab hold of any string that might be about and become an entanglement hazard.
I have 2 packs I use for packrafting trips
- Berghause Dart 45 for straight packrafting trips
- Golight Pinnacle - Medium for walk in/packraft trips up to 5 or 6 days.
Everything inside gets put into Sea to Summit dry bags. Not had a problem with anything getting wet…yet. The camel back in the Pinnalce can be inflated to add some bouyancy to the pack. I like the GoLight the best. It weighs in at about 850 odd grams so is not to heavy. I prefer a lightweight approach to compensate for the 3kg of raft and paddle.
Thus far I’ve been using a ~55 liter pack I made myself. All ballistics nylon, very simple. It works well for summer trips, but I’ll need a bigger pack for multiday trips that require more insulation. I’m thinking of making something along the lines of the Pinnacle, though perhaps a big bigger.
PS I’ve experiemented with a smaller version of the sandwich style drybag packs (a la the Arctic 1000, ULA Epic) and have found the packing to be too darn fiddly for my taste.
Recently, I’ve used the ULA Epic, Mammut Trion and a pre-production version of the Arc’Teryx Naos
ULA Epic: Good packrafting pack. It’s basically a drybag-holder, made out of mostly leno lock mesh and webbing. I liked it for canyoneering (I used it on the dirty devil), where I’m scraping my pack a lot, because of the durable components. I like the “drybag holder” aspect because it lets me switch out the waterproof part inside, & makes it easier to patch holes. It does use several working zippers, on back pocket and hip-belt pockets, so you need to take care of those, esp. w/ respect to sand and grit.
Mammut Trion, 40 liter: This one isn’t really “packrafting” in any special way; just a big daypack / small multiday pack that I’ve taken packrafting. Nice streamlined the design, seems pretty functional so far, but no unique advantages for packrafting over other packs in its class. If you’re getting pack immersion, an interior drybag is necessary.
Arc’teryx Naos This was a prototype I borrowed, NOT the production version, which I haven’t used. Production version has more bells & whistles. As an engineered “holds-no-water, is-always-dry-inside”, this thing was spectacular. The webbing is tight-woven poly, body totally seals up, nothing on it holds water. In that regard, it knocked everything else I’ve every used out of the park. The downside: the way I truck around out in the wilderness, I end up with half my gear wet all the time. A “big drybag and nothing else” doesn’t work great for me because I really need both dry space & wet space. That, and the production-version price of the Naos is very high. It’s the kind of pack I’d literally consider scuba diving with, and at one point I used it as a raft while crossing swamps (probably not recommended by Arc’Teryx). I loved the Naos for it’s part, but the way I travel I got much more utility & flexibility out of the Epic.
I use Golite Jam 2
After a bunch of experimentation and thinkering, I made a pack with packraft trips forement in my mind.
This is it: http://vimeo.com/15764558
Down here in Australia we tend to have some different brands to yours in North America. For my month-long solo wilderness river journeys, I have used the Mountain Equipment Freycinet, and more recently the excellent Macpac Cascade expedition 90-litre canvas pack. It’s a big thing, but it gives a nice counterbalance up the front of the raft with about 30 kilos in it.
Macpac is a New Zealand-based company that makes some fine outdoor gear. There’s a brief video of the Cascade pack in use on a recent northern Australian packraft adventure on my river exploration website: www.remoteriverman.com
After doing a few days with my regular 65LTNF backpack plus a mass of roll-top ‘dry’ bags, I got myself a Watershed UDB. It’s a plain 90+ litre submersible seam-welded duffle with a dry suit zip and a basic backpacking harness (and even a purge valve). Lacking a frame, you carry it all on your shoulders which has its limits, but with just one bag, everything inside will stay dry.
Since its been a little while since the latest posts in this thread, I would like to solicit input again for best packrafting packs for 5-7 day packraft trips. I’m an avid backpacker, but just starting packrafting. For backpacking, I have most recently been using an REI Flash pack.
REI Flash (A couple year’s agos model).
Similar to: http://www.rei.com/product/778468
Weight: <3 lbs
Pros: Relatively low weight, low cost
Cons: A bit on the small side for an extended trip with a packraft. I’d definitely be strapping extra stuff to the outside. I’m also a little worried about durability.
Mountain Laurel Designs Ark 4400
Benefits: Lowest weight (~17.5 oz!), Reasonable price. Sounds like decent durability?
Cons: Limited weight carrying capacity (at least according the the website). Might be painful loaded with a raft and food for 6 days? Probably ok for shorter trips, or trips with reasonable weather? Can anyone who uses this pack pipe in to state their opinion on weight carrying comfort.
Benefits: Also low weight, slight cost savings
Cons: ?? How’s the weight capacity/durability?
Benefits: Better load capacity
Cons: More weight (obviously)
Weight: 3 lbs 1 oz
Benefits: Designed for packrafting?! ‘Waterproof’, Light, but still has ‘stays’, Durable design (don’t tear up your pack as much at least)?
Cons: Most Expensive, relatively low recommended weight?
Weight: 2lbs (Does this include the weight of the drybag? Guessing not?
Size: 65L (DryBag) + (~ 5-15L ‘other’ including packraft strapped on the bottom?
Other suggestions, and any additional input on the above packs would be appreciated.
I recently added another pack to my collection that is very cool
Pacific Outdoor Equipment Gobi - it is essentially a heavy duty dry sack in a backpack format, perfect packrafting pack.
I’m still digging the Epic although it is not perfect. I’d like to find someone that does custom dry bags or customizes dry bags. I might try to mod a few this winter. While the “modularity” can add up to more weight than found in an integrated design, well you have to pay the piper someplace.
I am very happy with Sixmoons Comet (similar Starlite). Under 2 Pounds (780g) and up to 35 Pounds (17 kg). Comfort zone 25 pounds (12 kg) Very durable (use mine for 2 years) http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/packs.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_smd.tpl&product_id=23&category_id=11
Stays are mandatory for the weight with a Packraft IMO. Also it tolerates varying volume much more. Not a fuzz with packing
For waterproofness there is a Liner I put inside, which I can check and replace if needed. There will never be such a thing as a waterproof pack! Also I prefer to put the Raft inside of the Pack for compactness
Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) is making some really cool packs out of Cuben Fiber. HMG’s roll down closure for the top of the pack is feature I am particularly found of. HMG packs wisely lack the common design of a draw sting and top lid. Instead they employ a simple, secure and proven dry-bag style closure that remains fast during falls, swims, drops, and other unintended mishaps. Additionally, the closure provides a watertight seal when engaging amphibious sports such as packrafting. To further improve the design for packrafing I had HMG sew two daisy chains on the inside of the pack. These two daisy chains allow the pack to be attached to the bow of my Alpacka Raft when flipped inside out so that the shoulder straps and hip belt are safely stowed away.
To read my full review of the HMG Porter Pack go to - http://teton.outerlocal.com/hiking/hyperlite-mountain-gear23-review
Is there any Pack for sale?
I’m using a’ Heaps’ backpack made by Imlay Canyon Gear, they are made for canyoneering and are very tough and made to get wet as the water drains very fast from them. http://www.imlaycanyongear.com/101.php
I use an Osprey Talon 44. Its fine as a walk with raft pack ,and is ok for riding a bike, too. The best thing about it, and really the only thing that “tests” it is running with it loaded. I like to jog an hour or so up stream from my house and paddle back down. The hip belt and frame really seem to do a good job of stabilizing the gear (incl paddle, pfd, helmet, packraft, dry bag) when cinched around my waist (rather than hip). Its pretty light and dries quickly when I take it off the raft and run back home again. There are heaps of attachment points on the outside so I reckon packraft kit and overnight kit would be OK but pretty snug in there, and a lot of it would be lashed to the outside.
I’ve been using Osprey Atmos 50 as it’s big enough for a few days trip and there are good spots to tie up paddle and boat. Plus the whole pack fits nicely in Tatonka’s XL-size drybag.
I’ve also considered purchasing a Aquapac Noatak 35 for weight-crunching trips I intend to start after my Scout & trekking pole paddle arrives.
A follow up on the Osprey Talon 44 is that after a year or so of use, the base has started to cut up and there are now two tears about an inch long down there. I guess its the paddle blades or the round sections of the shaft that are cutting it. I’m going to try sewing a layer of cordura onto the base to hopefully get another year or so out of it. The pack is still performing well otherwise.
I like the idea of the ULA Epic design - a pack with a solid harness without the need to ‘double up’ on the body of the pack. An interesting take on this style is the bag I saw on Chris Zimmer’s site here. As his packs are individually built I can get the perfect dimensions and accessories. I think it’s worth a shot.