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Has anyone seen Backpacker magazine - editors choice awards, April 2010 edition?

Starting on page 57 there is a list of recommended pcaks. When I saw the size of the packs, I laughed out loud. These people must be carrying a lot of gear.

On and off for well over 10 years, Backpacker magazine has one of my favorite publications. It offers a good variety of reviews and articles. This is the first time I have picked up a Backpacker magazine in a few months, and this is the first time I have ever laughed at one of their articles.

Daypacks:
Black Diamond Nitro - 1,340 cubic inches
Marmot Eiger 40 XT - 2,450 cubic inches
Camelbak Vantage 35/Vista 32 - 2,440 cubic inches


Weekend Packs:
Gregory Z55 / Jade 50 - 3,417 cubic inches
Kelty Lakota - 4,000 cubic inches
Granite Gear Escape AC 60 - 3,660 cubic inches

A day pack with over 2,000 cubic inches? They must be carrying some serious gear - maybe climbing gear, cold weather clothing,,,,,,.

A weekend pack in the 3,500 - 4,000 cubic inch range? The only way I can justify that is if its cold weather and I need a good sleeping bag and extra clothes.

This is the first time I have scratched my head and asked myself "what are they talking about?" My day packs are under 1,500 cubic inches. Heck, most of my hot weather overnight packs are less then 2,000 cubic inches.

One thing about Backpacker magazine, they seem to always recommend the top end - most expensive stuff. Most of the packs they recommend, I just can not justify it. Maybe the editors have grown out f touch with economy line hikers / backpackers?
 

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One thing about Backpacker magazine, they seem to always recommend the top end - most expensive stuff. Most of the packs they recommend, I just can not justify it. Maybe the editors have grown out f touch with economy line hikers / backpackers?
I'm guessing that's where their advertising dollars come from...IMO buying a pack based on a recommendation from Backpacker is like buying a fitness supplement based on FLEX magazine's recommendation.
 

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I don't see it being all that large unless you're a minimalist. Mine is 60L, which is about 3660 cubic inches. If you put in a typical compressed sleeping bag, very small tent, light pad, compact stove, stove fuel, pot, a few packages of dehydrated food, a couple water containers, water filter, and an extra shirt, you're totally full except for the small container on top. These aren't exactly uncommon items either, I wouldn't go on a weekend trip without them, and actually most people carry more than that, so I don't exactly think they've lost touch. If you really are gone all weekend and it's cold outside, meaning you've got extra clothes, yeah I wouldn't mind having extra space, especially if it were mixed weather and I might have to store my coat in the pack, which isn't out of the question.

The difference would be if you could offload stuff between multiple people. You could get away with a little smaller if you did that. You don't need redundant items of some of the larger things I mentioned.

The difference would also be if you're used to looking at external framed packs, the size of the internal framed packs would seem much bigger even if they hauled the same amount of crap.




As for the daypacks, yeah over 2,000 cubic inches is rather big, but it all depends on what you use it for. I went on a week long mountain biking trip in Colorado, went on 1 day trips at a time. By definition, I needed a daypack. It was 82 during the day but if it stormed it would drop to 40 so I needed a variety of clothes. We'd be gone for 8 hours so I needed food, and lots of water. We switched between hardcore rocky downhilling and sweet smooth singletrack, so I needed to be able to put my armor in my pack. We were far from camp and had to eat in town when we finished riding so I still needed my wallet and a clean shirt. GPS and maps were necessary too. I was using a Camelbak Trailblazer which is 1,400 cubic inches, and I barely got by, that thing was absolutely crammed full. So, even though 2,400 is a bit overkill, somewhere in between that and what I had would have definitely been nice. Quite honestly, I wouldn't have complained if I had a 2,400 cubic inch daypack on that trip, mine wasn't adequate. Climbers sometimes have alot of gear that they can't scrimp on as well.
 

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I usually carry a small ALICE (which I imagine is under 2k ci) for 4 day unsupported treks. I don't know if I've ever carried a pack above 3k outside of training when they made us carry so much weight that we'd want to quit. I think the biggest key is a nice sleeping bag and lightweight tarp. I also carry an LBV which helps offset pack weight immensely.
 

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One thing about Backpacker magazine, they seem to always recommend the top end - most expensive stuff. Most of the packs they recommend, I just can not justify it. Maybe the editors have grown out f touch with economy line hikers / backpackers?
That Kelty Lakota can be had for barely over $100. Same with that Gregory, backcountry.com has them for $99.48. That's not exactly top end and very expensive. $100 for a good recreational weekend pack is on the very low end of things nowadays. You can easily spend over $300 on one.
 

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A weekend pack in the 3,500 - 4,000 cubic inch range? The only way I can justify that is if its cold weather and I need a good sleeping bag and extra clothes.

This is the first time I have scratched my head and asked myself "what are they talking about?" My day packs are under 1,500 cubic inches. Heck, most of my hot weather overnight packs are less then 2,000 cubic inches.
Keep in mind that most people don't go backpacking in Texas in the summer like you. Fall is the most popular time, and Backpacker magazine is going to cater to folks who are potentially going to places like Colorado, and I wouldn't have it any other way. You simply need more gear for this situation. I'm not surprised in the least that you can get away with half the pack size in hot weather Texas.
 

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One can look at it as "If I need it, it is here…" Some people don’t like to have it, just not with them…:confused:
 

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Well you have to have room for the Latte’ machine and the shower heater. Gosh Kev you want us to get all barbaric?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Keep in mind that most people don't go backpacking in Texas in the summer like you. Fall is the most popular time,.....
I can not go in the fall around here. Where I usually go hiking/camping is on the deer lease.

During the off season (not deer hunting season), members have access to the entire lease - its something like 8,000 acres. When fall gets here and deer season gets close, the members are supposed to stay on their section, which is about 100 acres.

When I go hiking / camping in wilderness areas, my prime season starts in May - because Turkey season stops at the end of April. Its May, June, July, August and sometimes September. Bow season for deer starts in October. So I rarely go hiking / camping off my section between September - April.

My family shares a 500 acre section of the lease. So when I go wilderness hiking / camping, its on our section.

There are a few parks around here with hiking trials, but I have not taken the time to go on them. The parks do not allow camping on the trials there anyway. So its more like a day use trail.

As for Kelty, their supposed to be one of the top brands of packs. If your going to recommend a Kelty, then recommend some off brand name. And that is something that is missing from the list in Backpacker magazine - little known, or economy brand name packs. Fair is fair, if a $50 pack will do just as good as a $200 pack - then it should be noted as such.

I just got a new pack in last night - the Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger, its about 1,100 cubic inches. I'am thinking how I can turn it into a hot weather overnight bag. As far as I'am concerned, the smaller the better.


That Kelty Lakota can be had for barely over $100. Same with that Gregory, backcountry.com has them for $99.48.
Both Kelty and Gregory are associated with top end packs. Where are packs like Jansport and Maxpedition listed at? I sure did not see them.

It looks to like the editors were looking for packs by certain brand names, and packs that "looked" a certain way. I do not remember seeing a single one that had PALS or webbing on the outside to attach extra pockets, there were every few outside pockets at all,,,,,.

I do not understand how someone can list a 4,000 cubic inch pack as a "weekend" pack. They must plan in carrying everything including the bed, TV, coach, sofa, love seat, kitchen sink,,,,,,,.

Overall, I was very unhappy with the list.
 

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As for Kelty, their supposed to be one of the top brands of packs. If your going to recommend a Kelty, then recommend some off brand name.
They did - Granite Gear. I've never heard of them before.



Both Kelty and Gregory are associated with top end packs. Where are packs like Jansport and Maxpedition listed at? I sure did not see them.
I disagree here. Kelty is definitely not a high end brand. I also disagree that Maxpedition is not one... their larger backpacks are very expensive for what they are, plus they cannot be compared to the larger Kelty's because they're not nearly as big, comparing apples to oranges.
 

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Both Kelty and Gregory are associated with top end packs. Where are packs like Jansport and Maxpedition listed at? I sure did not see them.
There have been reviews of Jansport packs in Backpacker, but Maxpedition isn't really catering to the backpacker crowd. They're man purses. It's not really surprising to not see a recommendation in Backpacker Mag for them.

It looks to like the editors were looking for packs by certain brand names, and packs that "looked" a certain way. I do not remember seeing a single one that had PALS or webbing on the outside to attach extra pockets, there were every few outside pockets at all,,,,,.
Again. The backpacking crowd that Backpacker Magazine is catering to don't have a need for PAL's or webbing. Look at the newer mountaineering and climbing packs that have come out recently. They're streamlined with many of the old bells and whistles removed in an attempt to save weight. You can still find the packs with all kinds of attachment points.
 

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I do not understand how someone can list a 4,000 cubic inch pack as a "weekend" pack. They must plan in carrying everything including the bed, TV, coach, sofa, love seat, kitchen sink,

4,000 cubic inches is 65 liters. That's fairly common actually. The new Terra backpacks from North Face has jumped up to 65L and they cater to recreational weekend trips.

Forget summer camping in Texas and consider going to the mountains or Oregon or something where most readers of that magazine would want to go, and in a season where they'd want to go in. And, consider actual weekend trips, as in 3 days and 2 nights. Let's say the Rockies in the fall just for giggles. That's a backpackers wet dream.

What would you bring? It fills up quicker than you think when you actually have to stay warm and have to be gone longer than overnight. I'm curious to see what someone would bring for that situation that would not come anywhere near filling up a 65L pack. An affordable but warm sleeping bag alone takes up 1/4 to 1/3 of that size of pack.



Is it really out of the question to bring the following:

20 degree sleeping bag
thermarest foam pad
tiny ultralight 2 man tent
jetboil stove
katadyn pocket filter
two 0.75L water bottles
change of warm clothes
jacket
dehydrated food
misc. small items like headlamp, knife, silverware, soap, etc.


This list will easily fill up the 65L bag that you say are way too big for a weekend trip. Remember the pics from the Shawnee backpacking trip I took? This is the list I had, and I had the North Face Terra 60 pack. Notice that it's cram packed, and that was with the jacket, water bottles, and knife on the outside of the pack, and the small items like lighter, soap, etc. in the flap on the top. What did I take that was inappropriate and needless? This is what the above list (minus jacket) looks like in a 60L / 3,660 cubic inch pack.




Notice how much room gets freed up when I took the tent and pad out... and I have an extremely small tent and small 3/4 sized thin foam pad:

 

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Those guys are into collecting add fees, so they recommend a lot as necessary that others don't. Lots of bulk in their necessities list and yuppies require more gear. They often carry CHAIRS so they won't get their little tushes dirty!

Most of their staff are vegitarians so their food has more bulk and less nutrition.

They are big into a change of clothing for each day and rull rain gear.

They also carry everything inside the pack, so tarp/tent and sleeping bag go in there too.

So stack up three days worth of clothing, raingear, sleep system, tent, first aid kit, examine the pile and see how much space they need to recommend.

Different outlook on the outdoor experience. Where a survivalist will normally list a knife as their #1 priority item most backpackers will list a flashlight and recommend not carrying a knife because you might hurt yourself.

Keep in mind that there are two different groups of backpackers that consider themselves seperate from each other: regular backpackers (50-70lb loads) and ultralight backpackers (30 lb load max).

They consider themselves as different as our bug in/bug out, 9mm/.45, AR/AK supporters.
 

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They go with whomever pays the most for advertising in thier magazines.I havent had the need for a vector pack in the civilian world as im not going to be out that long.I use cheap surplus rucksacks for 24.99.I have a vector pack for long term excursions which will not happen unless things go bad here.
But im not carrying scuba gear and parachute etc out here in civilian world.
 

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Different outlook on the outdoor experience. Where a survivalist will normally list a knife as their #1 priority item most backpackers will list a flashlight and recommend not carrying a knife because you might hurt yourself.

Keep in mind that there are two different groups of backpackers that consider themselves seperate from each other: regular backpackers (50-70lb loads) and ultralight backpackers (30 lb load max).
Look at my above thread. I filled up that 60L pack. My weight before strapping on the full water bottles and strapping on the jacket was less than 30 pounds. I even had a knife. ;)
 

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For a three day to one year hike I also use a 60L bag. Weight ranges from 19 to 30 pounds depending on season and location. In Arizona, the packweight increases by another 10 pounds for H20.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm curious to see what someone would bring for that situation that would not come anywhere near filling up a 65L pack. An affordable but warm sleeping bag alone takes up 1/4 to 1/3 of that size of pack.
Strap that big sleeping bag to the outside of the pack.

Ok, I will admit that the types of hiking/camping I do differs from someone up north, or in the desert. Its going to be different for every region of the world you go to.

With that being said, I feel that backpacker magazine is catering to a very narrow and select group of hikers/campers.
 

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Strap that big sleeping bag to the outside of the pack.
That's defeating the whole purpose of an internal framed pack. They're larger so you don't have to strap on dangling clumsy crap. Most people like to keep it all on the inside if possible. Of course when you do this the pack you need will be larger than ones you're used to looking at.
 
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