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Resident Ninja
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Discussion Starter #1
Did a search and didn't come up with anything this specific.

My wife and I do quite a bit of hiking. I need suggestions on a decent backpack for me that has good air flow in the back. Right now I've got a High Sierra day pack that is a great size... but the back of my shirt is completely soaked in sweat after our hike. Not saying I shouldn't be sweating, but my backpack seems to compound the issue.

Is there any sort of backpack that you would recommend with decent amount of air flow or vent system? I'm not certain of the correct terminology but I'm wondering if some packs specialize in this or have this as one of their added features?
 

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Try something with an exterior frame, military alice pack comes to mind. Having worn one for more than a few years, the actual pack has some space between it and your back from about mid shoulder blades down.
 

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Winter is coming.
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Mountain Designs do a 50ltr ultralite pack with exceptional airflow. The downside is they are bright red. They come in mens and womens varieties.
 

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Many of osprey's packs have contoured backs that provide good airflow. Osprey generally makes good stuff, so check em out. Don't have to go with a heavy external frame just for airflow.
 

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Resident Ninja
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Discussion Starter #7
Will definitely check out the Osprey line of packs. I'd like to forego the external frame, if at all possible. I do know the pack is held away from the back because of the frame, but the sheer bulk of the pack itself has me shying away from external frames.
 

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Most of the newer packs have a raised padded section that hits your back to add comfort and airflow. Problem is they may provide some extra comfort but they really lack on the airflow.

The U.S Military Alice System has this worked into the design of the pack. The lightweight aluminum frame that the pack is attached to lets a good portion of air to flow between the pack and the frame preventing the problem you mention. The medium pack can also be attached to a frame. In the USGI Alice Pack manual it states that one must use the alice frame to prevent problems for the user in cold temps due to sweat build up from not using the frame and the problems that can occur.

Here is a video on the Alice System. : http://youtu.be/4KcgWELyB1c
 

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I have an external frame pack for this very reason, I like the air space between my back & pack, Mine is a older Dana Design that has been modified several times over the years
 

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Another vote for the Osprey solution. Been using a 46L Osprey Exos myself for a while (used to have the Atmos 65, which has the same airflow system, but found it to be WAY too big for my needs.) It's worked in the hellish heat of the Grand Canyon, and about 80 other trails around Arizona, so I'd say it handles heat well =)

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/web/exos_series
 

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Maximus
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I have to add a vote for Osprey also if you are looking at ventilation. They have this ventilation system that is sort of like a thin nylon trampoline.

BUT !!!!!

You have to actually try on the backpack first to see if it fits you ok. I had went to try it on and apparently my back doesn't have the curvature that the pack was designed for. So it gave a hotspot on my back when I wore it. Happened with every pack so be sure to try one on first before ordering.
 

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Good point about trying it on first for fit. This is also important because each pack comes in at least three different sizes. For example, the Exos 46 has a small, medium, and large version, the Exos 56 also has S/M/L, etc. It's usually only a difference of the distance from the hip belt to the shoulder strap mount point, but it can make a HUGE difference in whether the weight ends up being carried by the hip belt as it should, or if you shoulders end up getting it all, thus causing fatigue.
 

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Maximus
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Good point about trying it on first for fit. This is also important because each pack comes in at least three different sizes. For example, the Exos 46 has a small, medium, and large version, the Exos 56 also has S/M/L, etc. It's usually only a difference of the distance from the hip belt to the shoulder strap mount point, but it can make a HUGE difference in whether the weight ends up being carried by the hip belt as it should, or if you shoulders end up getting it all, thus causing fatigue.
Right. The correct size is measured with Torso length. Your height has nothing to do with torso length. You can be 6 feet tall and wear a small or 5.7 and need a large.

Here is the chart for Osprey sizes and how to measure torso length.
http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/web/sizing_and_fitting

But even for me, the right size did not work on my back, even different style bags.
 

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Really?
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I picked up a REI Venturi 30 on sale for less than $40....it's a internal frame and has excellent air flow in the back( mesh)...it actually holds the pack away from your back, so you're carrying it with your shoulders and hips....great for hiking.
 

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Resident Ninja
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Discussion Starter #16
Wow.... really appreciate all the replies, guys. I've been keeping a notation of all the different suggestions that everyone has offered. I'm going to make it a point to try all of these on and depending upon size, see which one fits me best.

Again... thanks for the taking the time to reply, everyone!!
 

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I have had a couple of the mesh backed packs like this one:

http://www.deuter.com/en_US/backpack-details.php?category=120&id=1585&title=Futura Pro 42

Basically there is a mesh panel which goes against your back, and a large air gap to allow air circulation. A lot of big brands have this sort of system.

After having used them for a while, I really don't like them. You lose a lot of capacity in the pack, and it shifts the weight distribution away from your back, making the bag feel heavier. Where I am the humidity is always very high, so the increased airflow actually doesn't make much of a difference. And in cold/dry weather, they can actually make your back uncomfortably cold during pauses.

In hot, low humidity climates it might be different, but if you're in a humid environment, you're probably going to sweat no matter what pack you wear.
 

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Maximus
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...

After having used them for a while, I really don't like them. You lose a lot of capacity in the pack, and it shifts the weight distribution away from your back, making the bag feel heavier. Where I am the humidity is always very high, so the increased airflow actually doesn't make much of a difference. And in cold/dry weather, they can actually make your back uncomfortably cold during pauses.

In hot, low humidity climates it might be different, but if you're in a humid environment, you're probably going to sweat no matter what pack you wear.
Exactly what I have heard. If you are going to hike here, you are going to sweat here. That is about all there is to it. And great point about the winter insulation. I also knew someone who tore the mesh ventilation on the back also while on a trip.
 

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Renaissance Man
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I have had a couple of the mesh backed packs like this one:

http://www.deuter.com/en_US/backpack-details.php?category=120&id=1585&title=Futura Pro 42

Basically there is a mesh panel which goes against your back, and a large air gap to allow air circulation. A lot of big brands have this sort of system.

After having used them for a while, I really don't like them. You lose a lot of capacity in the pack, and it shifts the weight distribution away from your back, making the bag feel heavier. Where I am the humidity is always very high, so the increased airflow actually doesn't make much of a difference. And in cold/dry weather, they can actually make your back uncomfortably cold during pauses.

In hot, low humidity climates it might be different, but if you're in a humid environment, you're probably going to sweat no matter what pack you wear.
You don't really lose any capacity in the pack. The backmesh simply holds the pack away from your back. If you need a bigger pack, get a bigger pack.

The air gap may look large before you put the pack on, but in reality (at least in the Osprey packs I've tried) the mesh gives and the pack rides much closer to your body than it would appear if you're simply looking at the pack sitting on a shelf. Not much of a gap is needed for some decent airflow.

In winter, you simply store your midlayer (sweater, fleece, etc) between the pack and the mesh. This cuts out the airflow, and allows real easy access to your midlayer when you stop, and easy stowing when you get moving again. Actually, I've noticed less of a problem with back sweat on cold winter hikes and especially snowshoeing, where you really get a workout. And there's nothing worse than a sweaty patch on your back when you stop moving and it's -4 degrees.

I've tried the Deuter pack and was not impressed at all with it's suspension. It was too flexy when loaded down, and the back mesh did not aspirate nearly as well as other designs.

I used the Osprey Atmos 50 on a week long trek in North Georgia earlier this summer where the daytime temps were 95-96 every day. The pack definitely kept my back cooler, especially when we were on top of the ridges and had a bit of a breeze. I would turn sideways and let the breeze flow right through the gap... that was heaven! But nothing could help with the sweat. We were soaked from head to toe pretty much all day. The Osprey also carried the load very well, easily being the most comfortable pack I've ever owned.

In comparison, my Eberlestock keeps the pack close to the body for stability. It breathes admirably well for what it is, and it's very comfortable for what it is. While it's a better choice for off road acrobatics, for a straight up trail hike, the Osprey is far more comfortable.

Az
 

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I'll put my two cents in.

The North Face Angstrom 30.

I've had it a while and I really like it. Keeps my back relatively cool, holds a lot, and has a built in rain cover for when I hang it up at night.

You can pick it up on sale for around 80-90 bucks from ebags, campmor, etc.
 
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