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Gear Guy

Q:

Are old-school backpacks worth buying, or has technology advanced too much?

I have the chance to purchase an old, never-used Dana Design Bomb pack to replace my Dana Sluiskin 30, which has proven to be a bit small. I do a lot of peak bagging and some light overnights in Colorado and occasionally take friends who don't have packs. What do you think? Mark Topeka, Kansas

I have the chance to purchase an old, never-used Dana Design Bomb pack to replace my Dana Sluiskin 30, which has proven to be a bit small. I do a lot of peak bagging and some light overnights in Colorado and occasionally take friends who don't have packs. What do you think? Mark Topeka, Kansas

A:

Ah, the Dana Design Bomb. Possibly the most classic daypack of all time. I still have one somewhere. Purple and red. Very 80s.

Osprey Variant 52 Backpack

Variant 52 Backpack

If you can, but it just to have it. What a cool thing to have in 20 years! Otherwise, much as I love the Bomb, pack technology has progressed. Take Osprey’s Variant 52 ($199). It’s lighter than the Bomb, for starters. And it has a feature that is heir to the Shovit pocket—a handy place to stuff jackets and ropes that’s expandable and outside of the main pocket. It also has a much trimmer suspension than da Bomb that still makes 30-pound loads easily manageable. Or more in a pinch. So the Variant would a great choice.

For more of a daypack-size pack (the Variant holds 3,200 cubic inches and is a small overnight pack for today’s gear), try the Gregory Z35-R ($159), It’s a 2,100 cubic inch pack that does very nicely carrying big day loads. And it has a front “bucket" pocket that is the same thing as a Shovit. I have the version that doesn’t have the bucket pocket (the Z35) and like it a lot. Very light, good suspension, and good load-carrying ability.

I have more advice: Get your friends to buy their own damn packs!

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Filed To: Backpacks

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