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Need Help Choosing First Hiking Pack

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by ?uesto, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. ?uesto

    ?uesto Loaded Pockets

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    Hey all,

    So I haven't done much camping before college, but since I started living on my own, I've been going on proper camping trips more and more. When I graduate, I'm looking into moving to Tennessee where I know I'll be hiking and camping even more, since I'm a bit limited in good locations in South Florida. But I've been going on more and more trips where I'm setting up camp further and further from my car and would like to really scale down the stuff I bring with me and be able to fit it all in a backpack. That said, I don't know how big I should go for this first pack. Most of my trips have 2-3 days but I know with a bigger bag, I'll be able to have more stuff with me that's easier and comfortable to carry, so I can go longer. I'd like to stick with some better brands, while remaining under or around $200, so brands like Kelty, Osprey, The North Face, and the like would be preferred.

    Do you guys think I should be starting small and looking at packs in the 35-40L range, or maybe 50-60L or just go as big as I can carry? Needs to be able to hold sleeping bag, tent, jacket, food, water, and first aid kit, at the very least. Would love to get some general thoughts on the matter.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mudinyeri

    Mudinyeri Loaded Pockets

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    A smaller pack will force you to think more about how much crap you take with you.

    If you're open to lightly used, I have an Osprey Kestrel 48 and an Eberlestock Terminator that should fit your budget. Both are excellent packs. The Osprey is lighter. The Eberlestock is heavier and more durable.

    I probably wouldn't buy a TNF backpacking pack. Kelty makes OK stuff. Gregory is a brand to consider.
     
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  3. B.Haven

    B.Haven Loaded Pockets

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    If you check the REI website they have a Deals/Clearance tab with some great stuff pretty often... If it's your first, don't spend a ton, you'll just want to upgrade next year anyway. Lol

    I've got a Mountain Hardwear Pack (internal frame) that I like. It's not huge, but big enough for weekends and fits in my kayak like a glove.


    --
    B.Haven
     
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  4. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

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    Truer words never spoken. :cool:
     
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  5. nicknapp

    nicknapp Loaded Pockets

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    I have totally fallen in love with osprey packs. That said, I've been wanting a kelty redwing for a while.
     
  6. baccar-3

    baccar-3 Loaded Pockets

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    For extended trips I use a Kelty RedCloud 6650---Huge and heavy when fully loaded. Internal frame.
    For smaller and shorter jaunts, a High Sierra Badger external frame. Not real comfortable but OK for week-ends.
     
  7. CatherineM
    • In Omnia Paratus

    CatherineM Loaded Pockets

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    Been using Kelty's since the 70's. Never had one fail on me.


    Sent by owl post.
     
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  8. gibbsrule9
    • Memoria in Aeterna
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    gibbsrule9 Memoria in Aeterna

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  9. eddie1115

    eddie1115 Loaded Pockets

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    I bought my first pack a couple years ago. It was a Gregory Z65, but the recommendation isn't my main point (although, I'm very happy with the pack).

    Two things everyone told me: Buy your pack after you have the rest of your gear picked/purchased. The type of tent, sleeping bag, or sleeping pad might change the space you need.

    And second, you have to try it out. Make sure the store puts weight in it and lets you walk around for a while. REI is great about this, but other stores should be similarly accommodating. While you're there, you could tell them your list of gear and see what sizes they'd recommend.

    I'm a shorter guy, and I bought a 65L pack. I don't think I would want much bigger with my frame, and this pack has a good amount of room for 3-5 day trips for me (sleeping bag, pad, splitting a 2-man tent, food and water). This pack also cinched down well for shorter trips.
     
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  10. CSM-101
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    CSM-101 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I'd tag T.H.Cone ... but he's not checking his alerts. :p
     
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  11. ?uesto

    ?uesto Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the suggestions, all. I was more interested in thoughts regarding the size of the bag. I stopped by my local Peter Glenn today to check out some of their Osprey and North Face packs. I love the Ospreys, always have, and really dug the Kestrel 38 and Stratos 36. They didn't have anything in the 50L range, though; the next larger packs were 75-100L, which I think are way too large for now. I did get to check out the North Face Terra 50 at Sports Authority though, and that seemed like a great size. Any thoughts on the size issue?
     
  12. Viper101

    Viper101 Loaded Pockets

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    I just got an osprey atmos 65 this year an love it. The arch gets it off your back so it breathes really well. I regularly take it on three day hikes, and if you pack it right it works great. I like have it bigger though for longer full week hikes. As a young buck I don't really mind an extra pounds or two on my back for week long hikes. I usually hit 10 - 14 miles a day on hikes (low elevation change).
     
  13. Trespasser

    Trespasser Loaded Pockets

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    For a 2-3 day Pack trip either of the osprey packs you listed should be fine. I use a similar size for most of my shorter tips. Osprey packs are great and I have several. Really it comes down to what you are packing. My summer sleeping bag (anything over 40 deg F) packs to the size of a grapefruit. I don't use a tent just a waterproof bivy. I have a thermarest now that my back doesn't like lying on a 3/8 in foam pad. I carry a small camp stove from msr, a bottle of gas, and a titanium pot and spork (sometimes I use a jetboil). I am a minimalist as far as clothes go. My knife and fire gear is usually on me. Freeze-dried food and a few comfort items and I am good to go. All of this will fit easily into the smaller packs you listed. So i guess it is up to you. If you like to pack light they will work. If you like to carry everything and the kitchen sink a bigger pack will suit you better.
     
    Last edited by Trespasser, Dec 21, 2014
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  14. MattyEDC80

    MattyEDC80 Loaded Pockets

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    Get at least a 65...that way you can do 3-4 nights. You're limiting yourself getting anything smaller IMO.
     
  15. aflax

    aflax Loaded Pockets

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    REI is good about helping you fit a pack, and their return policy is awesome if you find out it doesn't fit as well all loaded down.
     
  16. Viper101

    Viper101 Loaded Pockets

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    +1 to both above. A 65 liter can work for 3 to 7 days (and more with checkpoints). Also REI is great with pack fitting. I am 6'3" 220lbs with a long torso and there was no issue.
     
  17. MTFatboy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    MTFatboy Loaded Pockets

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    I might even start with a large ALICE pack at around 63 Liters. They are tough and inexpensive. Using one would give you a list of features you want to improve or whether the size is right. Then, once you know what to look for in a $300 pack, you can retire your large ALICE as a spare or a backup, pack it up as a BOB, etc. The Hellcat variation from Old Grouch isn't a bad deal (except shipping is atrocious).
     
  18. Nimikor

    Nimikor Empty Pockets

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    I'm with Trespasser on this one. Since you are just starting out learn how to pack and camp as light as possible. You will enjoy your hikes a lot more. IMO anything bigger than 48L and you are carrying too much. I do 2-3 days with a 25L and have done 30+ days with a 35L. For the longer hikes I wasn't carrying a full ration of food, fuel and water. I was able to resupply each week.
     
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  19. B_H_

    B_H_ Loaded Pockets

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    Get something with MOLLE. Add pockets to it and take em away as u need them. go with a 30-50L and purchase a few 1000CI pouches to attach. Having a smaller pack makes you think about what ur gonna carry.
     
  20. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    Check Outbound. I've had one of their packs for nearly 10 years now and it's taken a lot of use and abuse camping, canoeing, traveling through rain, snow and raging rapids and is still going strong. Plus it's in Canadian dollars so you could get a lot of bang for your buck...more money left over for some lightweight titanium gear.

    Canyon 45+10 looks like a great value, especially with the exchange rate.

    Less is more where weight is concerned.