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  1. #21
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    If you already have a functioning pack, keep in mind that there is an outfitter directly on trail at Neels gap, 30ish miles from Springer mtn which carries a good variety of ultralight backpacks and will have more packs geared towards thru hiking than an REI will have. It is where I bought my ULA pack and got my wife her frameless Granite Gear. If you are so inclined, you could easily use your current pack for the first few days and then buy a lighter pack once you get to their store.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Yes there is a definite tradeoff
    But UL packs, with reasonable care, should last several thousand miles.
    Just dont drag them across concrete, or throw down and sit on them, or overload them, cram pointy things in them, etc.

    My 16.7 oz cuben arcblast has about 700 miles on it, no wear issues except I rubbed a few small holes in it with bear cannister, easily repaired with cuben tape on inside. The dyneema is tougher.

    Not sure what you plan to do that would destroy a pack before a thru hike.

    No experience with the arc haul, or the new arc blast with adjustable suspension, heavier belt, and round stays and bottom stay to handle more wt
    When Joe made mine it was a UL pack, custom torso length
    And its perfect
    After 700 miles, for 17-25 lbs, I still cant envision a pack being any better .

    Im considering getting rid of my last circuit (had 3) and getting a larger new one for winter.

    Like other said. Get all your gear first. Then get a pack to handle it comfortably with at least 5 days days food and 2L water.
    Its not that im super hard on gear or making summits every weekend just if i end up having to wait until spring 18' (likely at this point) just wanting it to last the trips/hikes I go on from when I get it to then and beyond. Without having used a UL pack I just didnt have experience with durability is the only reason I mentioned it. Im usually pretty careful with things i buy anyway.

    I can see why everyone is saying to wait on it after gear, im in no rush to buy one right now anyway but it would make sense to see what you gear you end up with and then a pack to accomidate it rather than sacrifice what you can take (being reasonable) based on the sizeof the pack.

    ULA and Z packs seem to be really popular ones out there from what guys here say and from doing research on this.

  3. #23
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    I use the ULA Ohm and have for two years now. I am playing on AT Thru in 2018 or 19. I Started looking at Osprey Exos 1st. Then I decided that 10 oz was worth going lighter at basically the same price. I thought I would ultimately go into a CF Z Pack Arc Blast for the trip itself. However, after seeing some of the small durability issues with the CF and having no issue with my ULA Ohm; I think I am set. I have all off my gear, except for switching out tarps, and the ULA Ohm meets all of my needs. I can see why ULA packs and even Z packs are popular.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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  4. #24
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    I hiked the BMC, and AT Springer-Roan, during late fall and winter with a 36L pack and had no problem fitting everything I needed. I say go with the smallest pack you think you can get away with and make your gear fit it. I've always found, in my experience at least, that I'll bring as much gear as my pack will allow. I've gradually switched to smaller and smaller packs over the years and found there wasn't anything I couldn't fit into my smaller packs that I really needed to have packed into my larger packs. As far a as finding a pack that works for you, I say try as many as you can. I know a lot of people who use the Exos packs and love them. I've heard nothing but good things about them. There are also a lot of smaller ultralight companies that make great packs too. I really like Gossamer Gear, and ULA. And always remember...if you don't like a piece of gear you bought before your hike, you can always buy something else along your hike. I hardly know anyone that was still using the same pack by Harpers Ferry that they started with at Springer. You can't really tell how gear is going to perform until you get it out on the trail for months on end and have to carry it and use it everyday. That being said, most of the folks carrying the Exos packs ended up going all the way with them. That was probably the most common pack people DID NOT swap out. Hope this helped out...if not then just my two cents!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maizeandblue9 View Post
    That's the downfall of light weight is the trade off on durability. Anything I get between now and when I eventually hit the trail is going to get used quite a bit on hikes before the AT. I'm not super rough on gear but I still need to handle what I go through
    ULA packs are hard to beat as far as durability goes.....duribility vs wright is definitely a trade off but I do like my new GG Gorilla thus far........honestly all the Cottage MFG I've dealt with have been top notch and for the most part not sold at big box stores...i.e. REI, BC.com, STP etc....


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  6. #26
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    I saw more Ospreys than anything else on the trail. There were also quite a few Z-Packs and ULA packs. I liked the look and apparent durability of the ULAs. I saw a lot more ULAs in the south and really didn't see many/any? at the end. Maybe they all hiked past me.

    Personally I used an Arc Blast and it did have to be replaced (carbon fiber pole poked through) half-way through. The best thing about the Z-Packs is that it is water-proof. Never had to worry about rain and nothing ever got wet in my pack. I was right on the edge of weight for it though (pushing 30) and the Ospreys look pretty comfortable next to it.

    Make sure that you try on packs before purchasing and that you have the weight in them that you expect to carry. Good outdoor stores will have weights that they can put in the packs for you.

  7. #27
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    You could also check out the Elemental Horizons Kalais. Similar to the ULA Circuit. Many good reviews. I like mine.

  8. #28
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    ULA packs are hard to beat as far as durability goes.....durability vs weight is definitely a trade off but I do like my new GG Gorilla thus far........honestly all the Cottage MFG I've dealt with have been top notch and for the most part not sold at big box stores...i.e. REI, BC.com, STP etc...
    Ditto all this. I'm glad Gossamer Gear got mentioned. I like the gear and the company. I've been able to get their packs on sale once in a while. I got my current G4 for $80. They generally are not as durable as ULA, but lighter and cheaper and they do get the job done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maizeandblue9 View Post
    I'll defiantly have to check those out for sure....
    No need to get defiant about it (kidding). (I've been seeing that typo a lot lately, an easy one that spellchecker/autocorrect misses.)
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Ditto all this. I'm glad Gossamer Gear got mentioned. I like the gear and the company. I've been able to get their packs on sale once in a while. I got my current G4 for $80. They generally are not as durable as ULA, but lighter and cheaper and they do get the job done.



    No need to get defiant about it (kidding). (I've been seeing that typo a lot lately, an easy one that spellchecker/autocorrect misses.)
    Both ULA and GG have GREAT customer support!!!


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  10. #30
    Leonidas
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    Just another pack to consider, a lot of people liked this company when they were GoLite.

    http://mytrailco.com/collections/pac...pack-light-50l
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  11. #31
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    If it was I, I would want a pack that can do it all. Have enough space to carry my bulkier cold weather gear yet not have a ton of wasted space or bulkiness in summer, has durability to last the trail, good customer support, and a overall lighter pack. Personally, I would go with a ULA Catalyst. I like having the extra space for colder temps when I want to carry bulky warmer gear or haul more food for a longer stretch where reaupply is either non existent or a pain to get to. Also the outside catch all mesh pocket is great for drying damp clothes while you hike, as well the hip belt pockets are nice to store snacks, cell phone, to munch on while hiking and not even need to stop and remove your bag. As well, many of the Outfitters along the trail carry them...nice if you needed say a new hip belt and it bodes well for credibility of the gear.

  12. #32
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    This is an invitation. I'm in Shelbyville, and setting up a SOBO section hike of the Knobstone Trail on Black Friday through that weekend. I have an REI Flash pack that I've been using in Indiana state parks the past few months. It's around three pounds and lightly used. Nice pack. I just bought an Osprey Aether 60 from Fireplug and plan on carrying that on the Knobstone, though it's a heavier pack. If you like the Flash, I'll let it go cheap and you can rock the AT with it in the spring. If not, you'll have a good training hike in for your thru. The Knobstone is known as "the Little AT" and lots of people train there to thru the AT.
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 255.5 / Total miles: 905.27

    Author of "Hiking Into Trail Days"



  13. #33
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I think there are a lot of Osprey Atmos packs on the trail because outfitters recommend what they best feel safe recommending. That's what happened to me as a new hiker. I got a 65 liter Atmos and filled it up. I hiked 530 miles with it this year but NO FURTHER! The pack alone weighs over 4 lbs. It's all about weight and I sometimes had over 40 pounds in that pack.

    Go as light as you can. Read up on how the ultra-light hikers do it. Weigh everything and mind the ounces. However, if you still think you need a big Osprey, PM me. Mine is for sale.

  14. #34

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    Started mid April with Granite Gear Crown. Highly recommend the pack, however 60l was way more than I needed. 40 would've likely be perfect.
    A lot of Osprey's on the trail, and they are nice packs however your already screwed on getting a decent pack weight when just your pack weighs 3-4lbs. Weight on the Exos is good though. You got time, go to diff outfitters and try as many as you can. Check out Zpacks, gossamer, hyper liter, etc. also.


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  15. #35
    Registered User Slosteppin's Avatar
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    I have an Osprey Exos 58 and a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 cuban fiber pack. My Exos weighs 440 oz while the Windrider weighs 28 oz. The two packs are about the same volume but the Exos is much easier to pack. OTOH, I can carry the Exos about 3 days before it gets just plain uncomfortable tho is is a little cooler on my back. The wind rider is just as comfortable on day eight as on day two. While my quilt and clothes are in trash bags in either pack I also use a pack cover with the Exos. I have never used a pack cover with the Windrider and have hiked in several all day storms in the last 5 years. I also do some bushwhacking and have stains on the white Windrider but no rips or holes.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maizeandblue9 View Post
    I searched and couldn't find the answer for this but I'm planning on doing my Thru Hike of the AT hopefully in the Spring of 17' (as long as I can save enough before) or having to wait to at worst spring of 18'.

    I've done several 2-5 days hikes and have gear for that but I'm obviously cutting down my weight and updating gear for this type of hike.

    I'm currently looking at the Osprey Atmos AG 50L and the Osprey Exos 48 for a good lightweight pack that would have enough room to haul it all the way.

    Do you guys have any opinions on the two or other recommendations I should consider based on either prior use or just seeing/talking to others on the trail.

    Just wanting to get some more information before going to like REI and trying them on and seeing how they fit and features for myself but that doesn't always tell the full story
    I have an Exos 48 and would recommend it over the Atmos if you can keep your total weight under 30lbs max (preferably <25lbs).

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