Q:

Which pack should I use while peak bagging Colorado’s 14ers?

I've done my research and will start to bag Colorado’s 14ers this summer. With all the choices out there, what pack should I bring? Tony Euless, Texas

May 7, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Osprey Talon 33

Talon 33

A:

Day-bagging or overnight-bagging? If it’s the former, then a pack with less than 2,500 cubic inches of capacity will do nicely. Osprey is turning out great packs these days, and the company’s 2000-cubic inch Talon 33 ($129; ospreypacks.com) would fit the bill. It’s designed so that gear is easy to organize, and it has an excellent suspension that contours to your body. It can manage 30 pounds pretty easily. REI’s new Jet UL ($55; rei.com) is a super-light (one pound, six ounces) pack with 1,830 cubic inches of capacity. Not a big-load pack, but it has a clean, simple design and plenty of places for attaching crampons, an ice axe, and other climbing accoutrements. The beauty of the Jet is that it’s so light and flexible that it can be rolled up and stashed into a bigger pack. I long ago gave up the notion of hauling a day pack on overnight trips or climbs, but the Jet makes that a reasonable proposition.

If overnight, then 3,000 cubic inches or more is probably what you need. Gregory’s Z55 ($189; gregorypacks.com) offers 3,350 cubic inches in size medium and is widely acclaimed as one of the best light weekend packs out there. The comfortable, hefty suspension will manage 35 pounds fairly easily, just enough room for what you need without creating the temptation to stuff a lot into the pack. Arc’teryx’s very spiffy Bora 50 ($245; arcteryx.com) is just a touch smaller but still has weekend capacity. And it has a very tech-y carbon-stay suspension, big outside pockets, and watertight zippers (the pack itself is water-resistant, but not waterproof). If you’re on a budget, then Kelty’s Morain ($130; kelty.com) offers good quality and 3,300 cubic inches of capacity at a very good price.

Packs are like shoes—fit really does matter. So take the time to try on several packs with simulated loads and get a sense of how they feel. You want good contact over your shoulder with the straps (no gaps), the hip belt to hit you right atop the hips, and an adjustment system that offers options but isn’t so complex that you need a degree in physics to figure it out.

The Gear Guy reports from 2007 Winter Outdoor Retailer, the bi-annual gearapalooza in Salt Lake City. Check out his top picks for gear to watch in 2007.

More at Outside

Not Now

Need a Gear Fix?

Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.

Thank you!