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thin_air_aaron

Expedition pack recommendation

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comfortable with about 50 lb. I'll likely try to identify a pack that carries well with a medium load at around 4,500-5,000 cu inches but can extend to accommodate an increased load of say 5,500-6,000 for the hike down.

 

CCW Chaos

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http://www.mchalepacks.com/ultralight/detail/UnLtd.htm

 

Essentially, this is a newer version of the one I use. Mine is a 43-43-43 with extension. Mine is an older version which I bought used from one of the moderators on this board. However old, outdated and not custom made for me, it still far out performs any pack that I have tried. When I purchased it I had 7 packs to test against including a Cilo, BD, Arx Bora 80, Gregory Baltora and Denali since so many liked the Denali, 2 different Osprey's and a few others. None of them including the Gregory Denali even came close to carry the loads like the Mchale. All I can tell you is that whatever weight you carry in the Mchale will feel at least 50% less than ANY other pack. I would think, if price is an issue, that Dan could make one for you in less expensive materials like they used to be done, that is, without the Dyneema and Spectra etc.... You have to remember that a Mchale pack does not cut any corners and they are simply made so far superior and made the best it can be which one would expect to cost more. With a Mchale, you will be buying a pack that will last a lifetime.

 

I see so many that suggest this pack and that pack for load hauling and I can guarantee you that if they actually tested all of these packs against a Mchale the Mchale will win every time. Most of the packs I see recommended for loads are simple alpine type packs. But the fact is they don't even come close for that purpose. I see folks all the time buy the less expensive packs and think that they are better, however, one only knows what they know!

 

 

Edited by ASmith

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CCW, Wild Things and Cilo pretty much cover the best of the climbing packs.

 

http://www.wildthingsgear.com/prod_packs.php

 

http://cilogear.com/index.html

 

http://www.coldcoldworldpacks.com/intro.htm

 

Andinista is a pack that will carry everything down and make a great summit pack as well. Cilo offers a nice compression system as well. Never used Randy's larger packs but he used to work at WTs so I suspect he has something similar in his largest packs.

 

The discussion is covering backpacking rigs and true climbing rigs. They are not the same animals. While may be not the most comfortable solution I normally use a true climbing pack on my "back packing" trips. The MH I listed earlier is neither but it was cheap and more importantly, easiy available.

 

Polish route..

polish_glaciar_route_06_big.jpg

 

CroppedImage555400-polish1.jpg

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The discussion is covering backpacking rigs and true climbing rigs. They are not the same animals.

 

That is something I'd agree with. ;)

 

To the OP: the absolute best way for a pack to be comfortable with 50 pounds in it is for you to train with a small pack with 60 pounds in it. Like a dumbbell or a similar. I'd recommend you do it on a stair master, others will tell you that's crazy, but it works and it saves your joints. Then drink the juice for more training happiness!

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A pack designed specifically for climbing (technical ascents while wearing the pack) will often do just fine for backpacking or walking up snow (your Aconcagua trip).

 

Packs meant for backpacking/mellow snow climbs/walking-only activities will often be a pain to climb technical terrain with.

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A pack designed for carrying 50 pounds while technical climbing?

 

Not something I understand. Good for those that actually manage this feat.

 

Basically a dufflebag with straps works good for up to about 20 pounds. After that, I'm screwed.

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"CCW, Wild Things and Cilo pretty much cover the best of the climbing packs."

 

I would also concur. I love the Cilo for Alpine use as well and would like to buy one.

 

However, this post is titled "Expedition pack recommendation".

 

To me there is a huge difference between back packing or expedition type climbing hauling loads and short and fast alpine climbing rigs for one day or weekend packs for quick trips to the crags in the cascades as well as consideration for styles such as Alpine or expedition trips with multi-week trips to the large mountain ranges. Two different packs for two different uses.

 

I for one would not use a climbing sac for an expedition trip nor would I carry 40-60 pounds in a alpine type "sac" as I value comfort over self imposed suffering, but I'm sure others will.

 

Just last week I ran into a female climber coming down from Rainier wearing a new Cilo who works in the industry, at a climbing store in Seattle, who was suffering with 40 or so pounds and extremely unhappy with her choice of packs for what she was using in for. I suggested she call crackers who she said she bought it from. She offered me her alpine sac on the spot for $100.00 several times, I graciously declined.

 

To prove my point, I let her carry my load from mid snowfield down for a while which had 65-70 pounds of water and lead in it ( training hike) and she said it was far more comfortable and easy to carry.

 

IMO, there is not one pack for everyone that does everything no different than one boot, or one tent, but what the heck do I know. There are a lot of great specialized packs out there.

Edited by ASmith

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I think a key thing to take away from this discussion is that pack choice and fit is very personal and the only way to know whether a pack will work for you is to load all your gear into it and wear it for a day. Also, learning to pack your pack well is a critical skill that most people I know don't take the time to learn.

 

I've done trips where I had a Golite Gust and my partner had a Gregory Makalu, each with 65-ish lbs, I was fine and she had bruises on her hips and shoulders for over a week. But I've also done trips with my Gust with 35-ish lbs where I was miserable and my partner had the same load in his Andinista and was happy as a clam.

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In response to ASmith's post:

 

I'm a female climber who works at a local gear shop, and I was recently on Mount Rainier with my new CiloGear worksack. I did interact with a man carrying a McHale pack, but I'm not sure if I'm the person you're referring to.

 

If you're the man who approached our group asking for help because of problems with leg cramps, then we have had different impressions of our interaction. I was descending the snowfield after a summit attempt, and was tired, sore, and carrying a significant portion of my partner's weight due to an injury.

 

When you stopped us to ask for electrolytes to help your leg cramps, we weren't in the mood to discuss packs - we just wanted to get back to the car. When you inquired about my CiloGear pack, I did mention that it was new to me, that I was carrying more weight than I wanted to be, and that the waist belt wasn't properly adjusted to my hips - but never that I was unhappy with the pack itself.

 

I did not accept your repeated offers to try on, carry, or otherwise handle your pack. When you offered your opinion on my body shape and size (and how well my "oddly shaped torso" would work in a McHale pack), I thanked you for your thoughts but made it clear that I was not looking for a new pack. Our party shared our electrolyte drink mix with you, established that your leg cramps weren't serious enough to prevent you from walking out, and continued down to the parking lot.

 

I definitely agree with the conclusion you make in your post - that different packs have different strengths, and are best used for different things - but I want to be very clear that (if it was in fact your interaction with me that you refer to) I'm enjoying my CiloGear pack. It took me a couple of outings to properly adjust it, but now that I've got it set up correctly, I wouldn't trade it for any other pack on the market.

 

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who was suffering with 40 or so pounds and extremely unhappy with her choice of packs for what she was using in for. I suggested she call crackers who she said she bought it from. She offered me her alpine sac on the spot for $100.00 several times, I graciously declined.

 

I'm enjoying my CiloGear pack. It took me a couple of outings to properly adjust it, but now that I've got it set up correctly, I wouldn't trade it for any other pack on the market.

 

 

What about selling the cilo gear pack for $100? was that part true?

 

Maybe she was really just offering $100 for the dude to quit badgering her.

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if i spent 600-700 on a backpack i'd probably have a bit of a pack complex too, i'm sure they're incredible, but after spending that much i think it would be mandatory to try to make everyone else recognize this fact.

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Nope, you are not the same person I was referring to. However, I do believe that several weekends ago we may have ran across each other at the bottom of the Muir snow field if you were resting with a partner when I inquired about if you had any salt as I had a leg that kept cramping up and you gave me a hand full of cashews if I recall. During our conversation you loudly complained about your pack and went as far as to show me the marks and bruises resulting from on your hips and like the other person offered to sell me your pack for cheap mostly from what I perceived as frustration and displeasure. A conversation about Mchale packs followed and I suggested that since you work at the store it only would make sense for you to call crackers (CILO) as they seem to have a good rep and a good product and I'm sure they would take care of you. I did also offer you the opportunity to try my pack, but I don't think you ever did try my pack on.

 

Welcome! and Many thanks again for your help, and its good to hear that you got your pack issues all figured out as I thought you would. Its a great pack.

Edited by ASmith

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if i spent 600-700 on a backpack i'd probably have a bit of a pack complex too, i'm sure they're incredible, but after spending that much i think it would be mandatory to try to make everyone else recognize this fact.

 

Price has nothing to do with it. Although higher price in my experience is usually associated with a far superior product. You know when you find a product that is so nice, works so perfect for you that you are always excited to always use it? When it flawlessly out preforms everything that you have ever tried and not by a little but by a ton? And each and every time you use it, it is purely pleasure and bliss? And everyone you know or meet who also tries it has the same opinion and/or experience? Then, while not mandatory, it is almost obligatory to tell others so they too can enjoy the same experience. Cheers!

 

 

BTW, Regarding cost:

 

Dyneema® 60 WorkSack

Item# 600247

$650.

Edited by ASmith

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About 13 years ago I had Dan McHale strip down his SARC model to make an alpine climbing pack for me. This pack used the lightest materials he had, no extra zippers, and the smallest hip belt he could come up with. What I have now is a nearly industructable pack that is about the same size as an Andinista or CCW Chaos but in my experience carries and climbs signicantly better. While it is too big for most routes in the lower 48, it works really well for Alaskan climbs. I have used it on alpine style ascents of technical routes as well as on an expedition style ascent of Denali. It was 300.00 at the time, but it is much more durable than any pack I have seen. Just my 2 cents.

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Dan everyone I have had the pleasure of speaking with about Mchale packs have only good things to say. I know that in years past Dan's packs have been known to be the most comfortable, the best load carriers, and absolutely bomb proof even maybe too much so at the expense of being too heavy to accomplish that. Over the years Dan seems to have made a lot of changes in designs and materials to keep up-to-date with technology with all of the good stuff his packs are known for and now makes much lighter packs but still out of the best materials. I know it is really a joy to use my and I find myself looking forward to using it, odd as it may seem.

 

You know what I find interesting here, is that with most great products you always find a lot of happy and impressed clients and usually always at least a few unhappy ones, that is expected. However, with Mchale packs I have never met the latter and before I order a new one I would be interested in hearing from anyone with positive, and even more helpful negative, experiences or input. There has to be someone.

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ASmith pretty much said it all... I too tried nearly every manufactured pack imaginable before getting 2 Mchale packs. I now own a full dyneema super sarc P&G and a cordura Critical mass II. Nothing comes close to their comfort for carrying heavy loads period.

 

Going up to Camp Schurman last year I was carrying all of our team gear in my Mchale pack... tent, shovel, stove, fuel, rope, water filter, wands, and god knows what else. With water the pack was a good 65lbs. I jogged up to glacier basin in 55 min and took nap. Once the 2 teams showed up i noticed some folks were struggling. For some this was their first experience carrying a heavy load for a long distance. All had reputable packs made by industry leading manufacturers.

 

Due to a combination of fatigue and discomfort I ended up hauling some gear for people. I loaded on NF mountain 25 tent, another rope, some fuel, and a few bags of stuff. I maxed my pack out around 100lbs and kept going. The only time it seemed the pack was heavier is when I had to pick it up and put it on. Anyhow it was great all the way up and back from camp.

 

Regarding durability... if a mob of crazed samurai wielding Hanzo swords were to attack you and you had the following choices:

 

1. Hide inside a Arcteryx Bora 95

2. Hide inside a Lowe Alpine Crossbow 90+15

3. Hide inside a Gregory Denali Pro

4. Hide inside a Dana Designs Astralplane

5. Hide inside a Mchale dyneema pack

 

Go with 5.

 

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