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Loco Raindrops

question HMG 4400 ice pack vs Osprey Aether Pro

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Posted (edited)

So, Ive been a backpacker the majority of my life with some climbing many years ago. In the process of upgrading my kit and am on the hunt for a new pack. 

I have been an Osprey die hard for years. Their pack geometry fits me. I also own many packs but I see the sense in a streamlined pack for above treeline endeavors. 

I actually tested a few pre production models for them before they hit the shelves over the years 

I like that you can really strip the Aether pro(top lid/flap, removable side pockets....)

But the HMG is stripped from the gate and everything I have seen on the HMG is solid. 

Plus its waterproof so...

My thought is the Aether Pro may be a bit more usable being I can also use it for backpacking being it has "some" features and not just an alpine pack.

I have held the Pro, tried it on, blah blah blah. 

Nowhere near me to see the HMG pack. 

I also know that the back panel on the HMG isnt very breathable from all accounts which makes sense looking at the design 

Any thoughts here from real world use between the 2?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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IMO the whole lack of a top pocket sucks.  I bought an HMG 3400 Porter and just can get use to the crinkly fabric, bottomless tube and lack of top pocket.  If you're a hard ore alpinist or whatever, great, get the stripped down newest greatest thing.   But since you're "a backpacker the majority of your life" I would stick to Osprey.

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NWD - the material used in HMG, is not abrasion resistant, so don't expect the pack to last long if you climb with it.  The material was developed for sailboat sails, not for dragging up coarse alpine rock.  Also, it is really expensive! 

I agree with Darin, if Osprey packs work for you, stick with them. The Osprey Mutant 52 looks like a decent alpine pack.  The right size, not too much crap on it, a nice big top pocket, and only $200, which I am sure you can find on sale somewhere on the web.  Water resistance in a pack has never been an issue for me, ever.  If that is a concern, line your pack with a garbage bag and put everything inside the bag and roll it closed.

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Also check out the BD Speed 50 and Mission 55.    I don't get skipping the top pocket, nor those ridiculous fabrics that don't last.

If you must have a monster pack, I'd look closely at the Gregory Denali 75.  I've been using an older version for 10+ years on week long trips and it is great.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, JasonG said:

 I don't get skipping the top pocket, nor those ridiculous fabrics that don't last.

If you're a desk jockey with too much time to "research" the latest and greatest, they can be appealing. :blush: I have a the 40l HMG Icepack I found on Craigslist a few months ago and paid about 50% of the new price. I generally leave the brain off my other packs anyway in favor of stuff sacks inside the pack and a hip pocket for readily accessed small items.   The HMG pack does carry better than my other packs in the 40-60l size but, as the OP suspects, it's pretty sweaty and warm on your back.  It is pretty much waterproof, which has been nice for SAR missions in the rain.

 

Edited by Bronco
terrible at grammar

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22 minutes ago, Bronco said:

If you're a desk jockey with too much time to "research" the latest and greatest, they can be appealing.

:lmao:Personal preference is king.  I haven't tried them so I shouldn't be too down on it.  I just put everything in one of those NZ pack liners that can double as an emergency bivy bag.

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Posted (edited)

I really appreciate all of your feedback tremendously. Thank you. 

I have a bunch of packs. Everything from 26L to my Osprey Argon 110 I dubbed big blue. I havent decided on what seminar but Im going to do a run up Rainier with RMI in 2020. 

Just waiting on dates to be released in September. 

I would definitely go with the Mutant but Im not sure how stringent they are on the 70L pack req so I figured I would get the Aether Pro or HMG and save some weight over what I currently own.

I think the Osprey would offer me a little more flexibility to be used on varying endeavors and not just above treeline.

I like the HMG but the problem is I cant put one in my hands and try it out. 

Im familiar with cuben/sail cloth. Had a tent made of it. 

I sold it and stuck with my Soulo or Tarra.  

Anywho, I do appreciate your responses a lot.

I climbed many years ago when I was a pup. Few climbers in my family and many hippie hikers lol. 

I do have larger endeavors I want to take on such as Denali and a few others. 

So I think 70L is a happy medium. I can always dial the pack down for smaller hauls with the compression straps. 

The Aether Pro isnt as robust as say my Xenith from a material perspective but it doesnt seem like a pack I would have to handle with kid gloves.

I do like the flexibility of being able to remove the hipbelt pockets as well as the flap that takes the place of the top lid when removed. 

If any of you have any recommendations that I may not be aware of please fire away. 

Im not rich but I learned long ago buy once cry once so I will spend for a quality product. Heck, Ive had my Danners for over 20yrs now and will be heading for their 4th resole soon. 

I have a Dana Designs pack that has some mileage on it as well. 

I should have a fire sale lol. 

 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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Posted (edited)

I love the desk jockey reference lol. 

I was a steel erector by trade. Walked beams blah blah blah.

Im well versed in wet weather travel on foot(the Loco Raindrops tag was well earned lol.)

My buddies always say I must be on trail because its raining.

I did a 115 mile solo a bit back and it poured for 11 of the 12 days I was on trail. Was a record rainfall.

Not once did anything in my pack get wet. 

This was the trail:

LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-041.jpg

LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-044.jpg

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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Black Diamond Mission 75. Relatively inexpensive, just works. Not the fanciest, but perfectly functional. Has a side access zipper if you don't like tube-only access in the big sizes.

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Posted (edited)

I dont think HMG packs are all that expensive when compared to say a CiloGear pack. 

I had a McHale years back that was a bit pricey. 

...but it was a custom so. 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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I wouldn't buy a CiloGear pack either. 

My fully custom McHale pack that I had built in 1997 with the lightest materials available (420 pack cloth) and a small, simple one buckle hip belt from a day packs ("It will work better than a WT Andinista or some such shit" - Dan McHale").  I drug that pack all over Alaska, Canada, and North America.  20 years later it is still in perfect condition.  The retail price was $350.00 20 years ago (I paid the friends and family rate of $300).  Not expensive considering I fully expect it to last literally for the rest of my life.

You would be hard pressed to get two years of hard of climbing out of either an HMG or CiloGear. So, $350.00 for a pack that will last you the rest of your life I don't find expensive.  Buying a $350.00 pack every other year, or sooner, is expensive.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, DPS said:

I wouldn't buy a CiloGear pack either. 

My fully custom McHale pack that I had built in 1997 with the lightest materials available (420 pack cloth) and a small, simple one buckle hip belt from a day packs ("It will work better than a WT Andinista or some such shit" - Dan McHale").  I drug that pack all over Alaska, Canada, and North America.  20 years later it is still in perfect condition.  The retail price was $350.00 20 years ago (I paid the friends and family rate of $300).  Not expensive considering I fully expect it to last literally for the rest of my life.

You would be hard pressed to get two years of hard of climbing out of either an HMG or CiloGear. So, $350.00 for a pack that will last you the rest of your life I don't find expensive.  Buying a $350.00 pack every other year, or sooner, is expensive.

I agree 100% on the McHale packs man.

Figured I would throw the CiloGear packs out there and see what kind of response I got on it.

Thank you for the input.

I'm pretty fixed on the Aether Pro based on the input I am receiving here. 

Just want to make sure I have looked at every option possible b4 I buy.

You all rock. 

Thank you 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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FYI, HMG knocked $50.00 off the price of their packs.

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7 hours ago, DPS said:

FYI, HMG knocked $50.00 off the price of their packs.

Lol thanks. From all accts here on the durability front I think I will pass. 

Im not easy on my gear. 

I tried the UL thing years back. Had a BA Copper Spur. Had a nature call one night, caught a guyline with my foot, and the fly split up a seam. 

Sent it to BA, they repaired it, and I think its somewhere in Alaska now. 

Was my last stroll thru the UL world. 

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I'm a big fan of the Cold Cold World packs, which you don't see a lot of out here. Relatively inexpensive, and you can get them customized however you like. I use the Valdez for all my day trips, works great. I have the larger one too, which I like. One nice thing about frameless packs is that you can make them much smaller if you're gonna hike in for a few days and then climb with the pack. Frameless doesn't carry a bunch of weight as well, but ideally you're not carrying a bunch of weight anyway, right?

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Posted (edited)

I totally forgot of CCW packs. I know of them(never owned 1) but didnt even know they were still in business. 

Thanks for mentioning them. Those I know who have had one of their packs never had really anything negative to say about them. 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Loco Raindrops said:

I totally forgot of CCW packs. I know of them(never owned 1) but didnt even know they were still in business. 

Thanks for mentioning them. Those I know who have had one of their packs never had really anything negative to say about them. 

I could not find a proper 30 liter climbing pack to replace my Serratus Genie, a model of simplicity, weight, cost (~$65.00) and durability.  Made of inexpensive polyester ripstop it weighed 12 oz and lasted over 40+ seasons of mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, winter mixed alpine climbing, ice climbing, and ski mountaineering.  I decided to replace it when I was rooting about for an ice screw and realized I could see sunlight filtering through the fabric.  I had worn the fabric threadbare, but not a single stitch had failed. 

I purchased and returned packs by Gregory, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardware before having Randy build a custom 30 liter alpine pack.  Built with 210D Dyneema ripstop (different animal than non-woven Dyeenma) with an ice tool attachment system, crampon straps, and vertical daisy chains on the sides for strapping pickets, pads, skis, trekking poles, etc.  Total cost was $180.00, less than the cost of an off the rack 30 liter CiloGear Worksack, HMG 2400 Ice Pack, Arc'Teryx FL 45, or 25 liter WT Guide pack, the only comparable production packs. 

I have used a CCW Chaos, and it is a great pack, but like the WT Andinista you cannot comfortably carry more than 35lbs.  Not a problem if you don't have to suffer a long approach or are using pack animals to carry your stuff base camp.  I think it would be easy enough to build a frame sheet from HDPE and an aluminum stay which would greatly improve the carrying capacity of big, frameless packs.

Edited by DPS

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