Pack Selection / Size

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High Desert
Posts: 4
Joined: November 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Pack Selection / Size

Post by High Desert » November 10th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Hi all - new person here and seeking input to help decide on some gear. Used to backpack and got away from it and after time, decided to reenter with day hikes through Central Oregon. I would like input on two items - pack manufacturer and pack size. I am 6' 1", packed on some girth and have found that the Osprey Stratos packs don't fit with the waist belt. However, I did try the Gregory Zulu series and they fit fine, which is really kind of bizarre since both companies state equivalent sizing on waist belts. I was gearing myself towards a 24 - 30 liter pack, but at REI, today, I tried a 40 L Zulu that was quite comfortable with 25 pounds loaded. Since I am just getting back into long day hikes, is a 40 L bag too big and should I take a more serious look at the 30 L Zulu, or just go with the 40 as there is not that much size difference? Also, what is your opinion of the new design Zulu bags? REI is having there member sale this Friday, so wanted to use the sale to get a pack. Thanks for your help,

Aimless
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by Aimless » November 10th, 2019, 8:33 pm

Any 'major brand' backpack will be of sufficient quality to be a safe buy in that regard. After that it is almost entirely a matter of how well a pack fits your particular body, while carrying the stuff you intend to carry in it. Whatever any other hiker tells you about how comfortable their pack is, or how much they love it is true for them - but not necessarily for you. You just have to try them on with the load you intend, or the nearest equivalent you can manage. This may give you a lot of choices, all equally good, or you might strike out and need to keep looking or else settle for a barely comfortable pack.

This advice is, unfortunately, so vague that you can't use it to just go out and buy 'X' model pack by 'X' maker, knowing you will be happy with it because it made 'x' number of other hikers happy. But it happens to be the best advice you can get. Sorry. :(

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Bosterson
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Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by Bosterson » November 10th, 2019, 9:24 pm

This will depend on your definition of "long day hike," the season you're hiking in (winter = more stuff), expected weather, etc, but off the cuff I would say 40L is too big. If you're taking 25 lbs on a dayhike, you need to pare your gear selection down a bit. I have a Stratos 24 that's my "summer" daypack, and an old 35L Arc'teryx that's my winter pack for when I have more jackets, etc. (For winter you also need to be able to strap snowshoes and stuff to the outside, which some daypacks - like the Stratos, for instance - don't do easily.) I would aim for 30L knowing it will be too big in summer (make sure you get one that you can compress when empty) and you may stuff it to capacity in winter. If you were to get the 40L it would surely be fine, but that much space is overkill in summer (for general hiking) and having extra space sometimes entices you to try to fill it with things you don't need to bring.
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High Desert
Posts: 4
Joined: November 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by High Desert » November 10th, 2019, 9:42 pm

I don't disagree with you Bosterson, in that the 40 may be too big for summer use. In summer, I'll be traveling in mostly the south west and Colorado, Montana areas and being married, I tend to have to lug her stuff along also. I have been rethinking the size and am now in a real tossup between the Zulu 30 and 40 L bags. The 30 may be a better all around bag, but not sure how it will do for carrying items during snowshoeing in the Ochoco's or Mt Bachelor area. Physically, there is not much difference in the size of the Zulu 30 vs 40 pack, but capacity wise there is 600 cubic inches difference (1831 vs 2441). I am going to have to wrestle with this a bit and maybe go back to REI tomorrow and try the Zulu 30 for a while. I don't really want more bag than i need, but at the same time, I want to make one, educated purchase. Its a bit late in life to start "collecting" packs :D

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Bosterson
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Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by Bosterson » November 10th, 2019, 10:00 pm

You may have to face it that like many of us, you'll need a stable of packs in your closet. You could always get a 20L for summer and the 40L for winter if you're concerned about it. The ability of the pack to carry snowshoes is more a function of its design than its size - the bigger pack will just carry more spare layers. I believe I know someone with a Zulu 30 and it carries snowshoes just fine. Maybe get your wife a pack too so she'll feel more like a partner rather than a tag-along - with her own equipment, she can ditch you and strike out on her own if you're too slow. ;)
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High Desert
Posts: 4
Joined: November 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by High Desert » November 10th, 2019, 10:05 pm

The more I think about it the more the 30 L sounds like a better choice, for an "all purpose" pack. Appreciate your input, as I really needed a sounding board here. Thx

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Chip Down
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Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by Chip Down » November 19th, 2019, 8:17 pm

I've used a variety of packs through the years, as my pendulum swings from luxury mode to pared-down mode. Currently I'm using a 25L and quite satisfied, even though I tend to carry more than many hikers: rope, beer, everything I need for a 15 hour day, sometimes a watermelon. For most of us, a parka will be the biggest item carried, and I've started packing it on the outside, rolled up and tucked under compression straps.

Bosterson observed that a bigger pack is good if you're carrying snowshoes. Agreed, snowshoes need a sturdy foundation. Of course, snowshoes are a colossal PITA, you're better off without them.

Maybe this sounds silly, just my preference, but I feel like an oversized pack makes me feel clumsy and awkward. A svelte pack makes me feel more agile. I know, it's all in my head.

High Desert
Posts: 4
Joined: November 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by High Desert » November 20th, 2019, 4:26 am

I received my Gregory Zulu 30 yesterday from REI. I think this will be a good all around day pack for most any type of hike I want to do. Appreciate the input from all of you.

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texasbb
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Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by texasbb » November 20th, 2019, 11:54 am

30L or 40L? Whichever one fits and feels the best when loaded with your stuff. If you don't have your stuff yet, try to settle on that first, then go look at packs.

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Bosterson
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Location: Portland

Re: Pack Selection / Size

Post by Bosterson » November 20th, 2019, 12:43 pm

Y'all are a little late to the party, it sounds like he already got a Gregory 30L, which seems like a good choice.

Chip, you should also go back and reread what I wrote, because that's not at all what I said about pack size. (I was suggesting that some packs may have poor attachment options for snowshoes, specifically like my Stratos, since the OP said he was looking at those.) Also, I think that postholing in deep snow w/o snowshoes is probably more of a PITA than carrying snowshoes.... ;)
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