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Brendan P

Gearheads: 90+ liter packs for 2-3 week excursions

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Anyone have a 90+ liter pack they LOVE? Tell me everything! Osprey and Gregory are on my radar atm...

 

*edit* First post here and very new - glad I found you guys though!

Edited by Brendan P

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McHale packs are pretty hard to beat. I have a 75 liter pack from Dan that carries and climbs very well and is incredibly durable. I also like the old Dana Designs Terraplane. Big, heavy, durable, but handles heavy loads almost as well as McHales. You should be able to find them used for pretty reasonably priced.

Edited by DPS

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I also like the old Dana Designs Terraplane. Big, heavy, durable, but handles heavy loads almost as well as McHales. You should be able to find them used for pretty reasonably priced.

 

+1. If you truly need the volume, the old Dana packs are hard to beat if budget is a concern. The McHales are loved by all who use them, but come at a premium that you'd normally expect for something that is customizable and handcrafted locally.

 

Search ebay for terms 'terraplane' , 'astralplane', 'arcflex' appended to Dana and Mystery Ranch.

 

Edited by jared_j

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older-school Dana Designs, I have an old-school Dana TerraPlane I've taken to Alaska. But it's much much too large for anything but extended trips in the lower-48.

 

If you're looking at a 90+ liter pack, I hope you're not overpacking for weekend trips! :)

 

The last 12 years or so I've been using a 45L pack for all trips, including some winter alpine overnights.

 

 

Edited by Alex

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hmmm.. you know most PCT thru hikers probably use a 60liter or smaller pack. and they're going thousands of miles..

 

resupply along your route, carry less weight, and you can walk faster/further. tho I suppose if you're carrying 14-21 days of food on your back you will probably be happy to make 9.5-12 miles a day.

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I use a ArcTeryx Bora 95 when I need a pack that big. I pretty much only use it for outdoor ed and wilderness therapy courses, when you might (read: do) have to open it up and carry a bunch of other people's stuff. It's like an insurance policy in the backcountry for swallowing gear.

 

I pretty much avoid using my 95 unless I'm working. I've got a 50 and a 62 that work for everything else.

 

How long of a food pack will you be doing at a time?

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Not overpacking for weekend trips for sure... 170-200 mile trips along the PCT are in the plans :)

 

Then you don't really need such volume. Do you already have something in the 50-60L range?

 

Take the money you're budgeting for this pack, and use it to modify your shelter, sleep, and insulation/clothing systems down to a modern weight (and volume).

 

I suggest spending an afternoon in a local park with a cheap tarp from the hardware store, some trekking poles, and parachute cord practicing tarp configurations that you've learned from all the videos posted on youtube related to tarp camping (good ones from hunters on there with heavy southern accents).

Edited by jared_j

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I suggest spending an afternoon in a local park with a cheap tarp from the hardware store, some trekking poles, and parachute cord practicing tarp configurations that you've learned from all the videos posted on youtube related to tarp camping (good ones from hunters on there with heavy southern accents).

Or pick up a Black Diamond Betamid for $79.00. Easy to pitch, rock solid in surprisingly nasty conditons, very durable.

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I had a feeling "You should do this and not that! What you're doing is wrong!" would rear up...

 

I just want peoples opinions on packs they have, not critiques on how I choose to travel.

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I have a 1990ish FrostFire Big-Ass pack. It's pretty poor but works okay. A big dufflebag with straps & waistbelt would work pretty good too; especially for strong folks (I am weak).

 

I forgot how big the thing is, but is close to biggest I could find. It was pretty cheap, too. At the time I wanted something to handle a synthetic deep-winter sleeping bag and mattresses, etc. Very light stuff. It was perfect size for overnights.

 

Probably FrostFire stuff got better, but I'd never particularly recommend the brand, if they are even still available.

 

I have a couple of 50L-ish packs that I've used much more often over the years.

 

But you know something? lately I get damned tired of struggling to cram a lot of junk into these tiny packs just to look cool for my increasingly minor hikes (on which I often also end up with stuff for girlfriend and her dogs).

 

Certainly for bushwacking and climbing it makes sense, but taking the giant old dinosaur pack is otherwise damned convenient. Having twice the space you need makes packing a lot less fussy and time-consuming.

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johndavidjr, if you are referring to a Mountainsmith Frostfire, which is ndeed early 90s vintage, that pack and even the Frostfire II are not more than 60 L.

 

I had a TNF Inca Trail long ago, which was fairly large, larger than my Frostfire (I), but it was only about 75L. It carried like crap.

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I had a feeling "You should do this and not that! What you're doing is wrong!" would rear up...

 

I just want peoples opinions on packs they have, not critiques on how I choose to travel.

 

you know why you won't hear more than a mention of an old Dana Designs - Mystery Ranch, and then a McHale pack? Because anyone who has a pack that is 90+ liters who actually fills it to capacity is not loving that situation.

 

I gave my advice to you to based on previous thru-hiking experience on the AT and being connected with plenty of present day thru-hikers.

 

Want a 90+ liter pack? I owned a Lowa Netherworld 90+ back in 2003-2004 because when I first learned about backpacking I assumed having a huge pack was cool since you could carry whatever you wanted. I sold it before I ever took a step on the AT.

 

but maybe the rest of your gear is ancient and weighs a ton or you're going to be working for outward bound, or you're going to bring along 35lbs+ of additional photography and other misc. gear?

 

nobody knows your background so the advice you're getting is just based on the experience of seeing people who are inexperienced apply their notions to packing for a trip and end up with a miserably heavy pack. seen it a million times is all, if you have a specific need for the volume of 90+ liters that is totally fair, as opposed to just choosing big because you're hiking long distance.

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+ 1 for the old school Dana Astralplane. It has been a great pack for well over 15 years now. I was hesitant to spend the extra $150 at REI for the Dana but my buddy convinced me... "Dave, the way you pack, you deserve the Dana". Glad I heeded his advice. I don't use it often anymore, but it rides well and I can fit a shite ton of shite in it.

 

144_Dave_pulln_sled_in_rocky_tundraDENALI_JPGBACKUP.jpg

Day 34 of 35.

150_Dave_knackered_at_turtle_hillDENALI_JPGBACKUP.jpg

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I like my Kelty Red Cloud 6650. If I feel like carrying less in it I just remove the "brain" and leave it at home. I've had mine for 4 years.

I end up using the entire volume quite often though because I take my kids on longer trips (ages range 3-13) and end up carrying lots of their gear. Since I'm with the kids the speed factor is a non-issue.

I'd rather be able to stuff it all inside the pack than have to tie it to the outside.

Yes, its way big for a summit pack but it compresses decently and I make it work b/c I am too cheap to buy another pack.

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I have the Osprey Aether 90. I used the googles and see that it is now sold as an Aether 85 with some different looking features. I think it is a great pack. I got it for guiding 10 day backpacking trips in the Wind Rivers and it was ideal. I also use it when I go backpacking with my wife and want to make the trip cushy and fun.

 

I love lightweight backpacking. I have done lots of long trips with the first gen Gregory z-pack. However, I also like to sometimes take big trips into way-back mountains and stay for a while. Sometimes I want to climb routes back there that will require ice tools, ice rack, rock rack, and ropes. I can't fit that stuff in a z-pack, so I need a pack that I can suffer with. The Aether is the suffer pack.

 

If you can get one of the old Dana packs, they are great suffer packs too.

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http://montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=34&p_id=1223329

 

Check out the Mont-Bell Super Expedition 90. I have the 80L version of this pack (last years model) and it carries super well. Mont-Bell is often overlooked. It's probably one of the cheapest retail 90L packs you can find, has basic features, but rocks.

 

Highly recommended if you like simple but effective packs.

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+ 1 for the old school Dana Astralplane.

 

Day 34 of 35.

150_Dave_knackered_at_turtle_hillDENALI_JPGBACKUP.jpg

 

and thanks for posting pics of your son grandson too Dave. :)

 

 

 

Sounds like a great backpacking adventure about to happen! Have fun.

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For the record, my old Frostfire's listed max capacity is about 6100 ci or 82L, which is as large a pack as I can imagine. Therefore, I do NOT believe that larger packs actually exist, other than as mere theory.

 

Is NOT a good pack, but pack quality is topic of over-rated importance.

 

On the other hand, the few times I've topped 30-pound loads, I've nearly decided to it give up. This generally with frameless packs, possibly of wrong brand.

 

Fact remains that I am a weakling of low moral character and intelligence.

 

The real solution is probably Sherpas, helicopters or livestock or boats.

 

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definitely helocopters!

 

I think it must be a Frostfire II or Frostfire III, the original Mountainsmith Frostfire was about 5000 cu in. (thats the one I had...)

 

It was a sexy pack but carried like crap and was not durable.

 

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The fabric on mine is a little stiff with age, but thing will almost certainly outlast me.

 

Perhaps some sort of pack basket would be of interest to original poster? Or Chounard (sp?) brief revival (70s) of the tump line?

 

Carrying a s&%tload of weight.. I've just mostly avoided it. A pack, deluxe or otherwise, simply doesn't make stuff any lighter.

 

On the other hand, cramming a lot of stuff into a very small space creates difficulty that is often pointless.

 

 

 

 

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I had a feeling "You should do this and not that! What you're doing is wrong!" would rear up...

 

I just want peoples opinions on packs they have, not critiques on how I choose to travel.

 

Good folks are trying to help and you get snarky. You'll fit right in with the spray folks.

 

You are also asking a question in the newbie section. This implies you are new to the climbing (and long distance hiking) game. Expect advice that does not fit your original question if there are obvious ways for improvement. Really, these guys are way more experienced than you. Listen to what they are saying.

 

If you are not a newbie, then this should be posted in the gear forum.

Edited by genepires

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Sherpas are a great idea! And cheaper than you might think.

My brother actually proposed picking a few up at Home Depot for a trip we were planning. He figured he could get some for about $80 per day.

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Not overpacking for weekend trips for sure... 170-200 mile trips along the PCT are in the plans :)

 

The following is based on if you're actually just hiking. If you're doing some kind of special project, like lugging an IMAX camera and a few thousand feet of film....well, get a pack goat or mule.

 

There are zero, absolutely zero, places along the PCT that would take 2-3 weeks over 170-200 miles without optional supply points. The only way to go that long in time or distance on the PCT is to willingly forgo resupply opportunities.

 

The only section that comes close to describing 170-200 miles without a (close) resupply is going straight through from Kennedy Meadows to VVR, while doing the side trip up Mt. Whitney. And that's only if you choose to skip heading out for resupply 1/2 way through this section.

 

Lets see....175 trail miles from KM to VVR plus the 15 or so bonus miles up Whitney and back to the PCT = 190 miles. And that took me 12 days on my thru hike in the very high snow year of 2006, with a moderately early departure of June 14. Best damn 12 days of the hike. That said, having been there, done that, next time, I'll take the resupply exit over Kearsarge if it's another high snow year.

 

I did it with a Granite Gear Vapor Trail - about 60 liters. Everything fit just fine in that pack. And my gear wasn't anything close to the smallest or lightest. I left KM at about a 48 lb pack. 16 lbs non-Sierra base weight. Add bear can, add ice axe, add insteps for the snow fest. Carry a full liter of alcohol fuel for the stove (extra carried by choice - heard tales of having to pour boiling water on shoes that froze solid over night to get them on). Remainder of the pack weight was food.

 

In a normal snow year, or even a high snow year with a late June departure, it shouldn't take more than 10-11 days, even doing Whitney.

 

Do yourself a favor. If you're thinking of this section - lighten up your load. If you actually have 80-90 liters of stuff, you really ought to try and pare it down a bit, else you're setting yourself up for a self inflicted suffer fest. Even being in great thru hiker shape, going in with a pack with an extra 5-6 days of food, extra equipment, at that elevation in high snow is some seriously hard hiking.

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