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crackers

New Panel Loading Pack

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Howdy All,

 

I am currently in the process of prototyping some new packs. I'm about done with two small summit / travel packs, and I'm playing around with some panel loading ideas.

 

I'm thinking about two panel loaders. Do you have any thoughts or experience with them? I am playing with one where the zipper is along the back side and another where it's in the front. (In my world view, the back of the pack goes against your back;) ) In either setup, you can open the zipper without adjusting or playing with the zipper. However, this does mean that there can be a big load on the zipper...

 

Any thoughts about panel loaders?

 

As an aside, I am also going to be redoing the design of the 30L worksacks, which means there is going to be a super saver sale soon!

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I hate panel loaders cause the zippers add weight and are a weak point that is always the first thing to blow out. Those are my thoughts on panel loaders.

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How about a panel loading pack for BC skiing?

 

Have the one zipper on the back and shovel blade, handle, and probe attachments on the outside (or a separate pocket) along with ski attachments.

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I have to say that personally, I agree with Dru more than a little. I've blown out two zippers on them, but a lot of people have asked for them, so...

 

But for traveling or for B/C skiing, well, they work. I was thinking of having the gear (shovel blade, handle, probes) all on the inside of the pack.

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I'm generally of the opinion that panel loaders suck, but I have to say that I've had a Lowe Contour Mtn 40 pack for 10yrs now and I'm really impressed with it. The zipper blew out ~5yrs ago and Lowe warranteed it w/ a really beefy zipper that has been going strong ever since. The straps and bottom have actually been disintegrating lately, so it looks like the zipper is going to outlast the pack.

 

I think the secret to this pack's success is that the zipper only extends 1/3 of the way down the pack, so most of the load is exerting force on the fabric, not on the zipper. Of course this makes the pack handle a lot more like a top-loader... Another good design feature of the pack is it's tear-drop shape - the back-to-front dimension is much larger at the bottom of the pack than the top. This again keeps the load off the zipper and keeps the weight in the small of your back.

 

And although everyone else thinks shovel-flaps are uncool these days, I like them for quick stashing of clothes and even an occasional shovel... I don't want to go digging through my pack for my shovel, losing all of it's contents, while my buddy's trapped in an avalanche.

 

Just my $.02

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In my experience, people either really like them or don't. There seems to always be a market for them somewhere, so it might just be about what is out there already.

 

Personally, I don't care for them, however, the long zipper (I call it 'burrito loader') like you see on the Granite Gear packs is really functional. If you eliminate the back lid, a couple of pockets with bellows or spandura on the sides behind where your ears are if the pack is on, are an excellent substitution. I actually prefer this design to a pack lid.

 

That said, all my packs are top-loaders.

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Larry is right - I've seen lots of people lose gear that is attached to the outside of a pack. But, if you are so inclined, a good way to carry a shovel on the outside of just about any pack is to put two snap hooks on the ice axe loops that are pretty much standard.

503.jpg

 

Just slip the loop through the ring, and slide it over the hook and you have a square knot that will not untie. Then clip the hooks to the holes in the corner of your shovel, and use a keeper strap on your handle. You will not lose the shovel and it is very easy to stow/remove. This is more secure than simply shoving it into a shovel pocket.

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