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  1. #1

    Default Seek Outside Brooks Pack

    Okay boys, I'm finally ditching my Mystery Ranch packs and preparing to pull a trip with a Seek Outside Brooks pack at 7,400 cubic inches. Any other users of Seek Outside?

    This is an external frame pack and considerably lighter than my usual MR G7000 pack at 8 lbs 4 ozs. The old G series MR packs had poorly designed hipbelts with the side belt padding inside two hard plastic "wing" stiffeners. Once the padding is depressed enough these hard plastic edges end up digging into my hip flesh. So here I am with a new pack.


    Here is the Brooks pack in test mode with some test items on the back including my tent and a couple Thermarests.


    This pic shows how bulky items can be lashed to the pack for a typical winter trip. A typical trip for me is around 20 days and so the need for a 7,400 cubic inch pack. Ultralighters should turn away.


    One neat thing is the pack has this bottom "shelf" with straps to hold whatever you want to put on the bottom like a tent.


    Here are the bottom straps in action---with straps long enough to hold several bulky items.


    The outside pocket is a removable daypack called the Merlin which easily lashed onto the back of the pack. It has minimal shoulder straps to become a daypack when you need it for dayhikes from camp.


    This pack uses these attachment buckles called Gatekeepers---and they replace all the standard Quick Release/Side Release buckles used on most packs.

  2. #2

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    The Brooks hipbelt uses two buckles as shown.


    If you don't like the dual buckles you can use this Quad buckle---and return to a single hipbelt buckle.


    Finally, the hipbelt is attached to the frame in this way, with a one inch bolt and 3/8 inch lock nut.


    The 3/8 inch lock nut.

    This is not a review! Just wondering if anyone else has experience with these packs. A full review is forthcoming once it's used on a long trip with some real-world weight---day in and day out.

  3. #3
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I have a seek outside Unaweep 4800. I've posted pics of it in other threads. Basically still the same pack and suspension, but the belt has been changed. Still the most comfortable pack I've own.

  4. #4

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    I have been using their 4800 ci unaweep pack since 2014 as my primary pack, probably have 800 or 900 miles on it. I've generally been please with it. It is light and can haul a lot of stuff. I like the talon compression system. I have been using the new dual-buckle belt they released this summer and I think it is an improvement over the original belt. As a tall/long torso person I like that you can make the frame taller with the extensions

  5. #5
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    Nice pack!
    Couple things stood out -

    What advantage do you get with 2 belt buckles instead of one larger one? Seems like getting and keeping them equally cinched (to distribute the tension evenly) is just one extra worry.

    The shelf - is that the swath of fabric with the straps coming off of it? Very nice - should be a standard accessory, for externals at least. Though I suppose straps alone would do fine except for items that might not be all that long, and could shift and fall through.

    The daypack - do you see yourself using it? I had the impression you were on the move daily, unless forced to hunker down in a storm. Not so much someone setting up a base camp and exploring from there.

    enjoy, and hope your hips heal up fully.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cspan View Post
    Nice pack!
    Couple things stood out -

    What advantage do you get with 2 belt buckles instead of one larger one? Seems like getting and keeping them equally cinched (to distribute the tension evenly) is just one extra worry.

    The shelf - is that the swath of fabric with the straps coming off of it? Very nice - should be a standard accessory, for externals at least. Though I suppose straps alone would do fine except for items that might not be all that long, and could shift and fall through.

    The daypack - do you see yourself using it? I had the impression you were on the move daily, unless forced to hunker down in a storm. Not so much someone setting up a base camp and exploring from there.

    enjoy, and hope your hips heal up fully.
    I was raised on the one-buckle system and the two buckles take some time to get used to . . . more fiddle factor.

    My old MR pack had a detachable lid with shoulder straps and I used it frequently for long water runs away from camp. The Merlin will perform as such.

    Btw, the nut/bolts holding the hipbelt to the frame is NOT a 3/8 nut---but a 10/32 nut. It just takes a 3/8 wrench to remove it.

  7. #7

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    Two questions: what is in the dark blue storage sack? Also- will that 10/32 bolt rub against the fabric?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    Two questions: what is in the dark blue storage sack? Also- will that 10/32 bolt rub against the fabric?
    The dark blue roll is a test Thermarest, a big Base Camp pad---for testing purposes only.

    Yes, the bolt does occasionally touch whatever is strapped onto the bottom, in my case a tent. But no weight is pushed against this bolt to cause a puncture---and if problematic I could wrap the bolt in ripstop tape.

    Btw, I went to Lowes and bought some extra lock nuts and some one inch "flat head machine bolts". For field replacement in case of loss. If the grommet pulls away from the bolt you have a problem---but there is another webbing grommet just in case.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    The dark blue roll is a test Thermarest, a big Base Camp pad---for testing purposes only.

    Yes, the bolt does occasionally touch whatever is strapped onto the bottom, in my case a tent. But no weight is pushed against this bolt to cause a puncture---and if problematic I could wrap the bolt in ripstop tape.

    Btw, I went to Lowes and bought some extra lock nuts and some one inch "flat head machine bolts". For field replacement in case of loss. If the grommet pulls away from the bolt you have a problem---but there is another webbing grommet just in case.
    Thanks for the reply. That is definitely one heck of a sleep pad. . I have noticed in a lot of your trip pics you seem to have more than one tent type stuff bag on the outside. Do you carry two tents or do you separate your tents into two sacks?

    All in all- looks like a sweet pack. I have been eyeing up their Divide model for a while. It's just hard to pull the trigger with that price tag.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    Thanks for the reply. That is definitely one heck of a sleep pad. . I have noticed in a lot of your trip pics you seem to have more than one tent type stuff bag on the outside. Do you carry two tents or do you separate your tents into two sacks?

    All in all- looks like a sweet pack. I have been eyeing up their Divide model for a while. It's just hard to pull the trigger with that price tag.
    Wait til you decide to get a McHale pack---$$$.

    TRIP 185 (92)-XL.jpg
    Here's my normal long-trip Mystery Ranch set up. Bottom green is tent. Left red is Solar ccf pad. Right blue is Trail Pro sleeping pad. I go overkill on the sleeping pads. Nothing worse than being on Day 5 of a 21 day trip and have my inflatable pad permanently die, ergo the Solar backup.

  11. #11
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Mystery Ranch packs plus Seek Outside pack = McHale pack.
    Hmmmmm....
    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Mystery Ranch packs plus Seek Outside pack = McHale pack.
    Hmmmmm....
    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I started using Mystery Ranch packs 10 years ago and used them hard over the course of 118 backpacking trips. The history of packs. Before 2007 I used an awesome Dana Designs Terraplane---and before that a painful Kelty and from 1980 to 2001 my workhorse North Face BackMagic---I lived out of that pack for 21 years.

    67 old north face pack-L.jpg
    The beloved NF BackMagic.

    I never went the McHale route due to the length of time it takes to get one of his packs. I'm out so much that our correspondence would get choppy and delayed . . . and in the meantime what to use? Ergo the SO pack. And seriously, the MR hipbelts just aren't designed properly when wearing anything around 75 lbs. I.e., because of the hard plastic stiffeners used on the outside of the belt padding. There are work-arounds but it requires scissors and cutting up the pack---aghast!! Photo essay forthcoming.

  13. #13
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I dusted off my Bozeman built Red Terraplane for my Wyoming trip. The first day on the trail I encountered a lady with a Red Astralplane of similar vintage.
    Good gear never dies.
    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  14. #14

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    Tipi, looks like you are back. How did the Seekoutside pack perform on your first trip with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I dusted off my Bozeman built Red Terraplane for my Wyoming trip. The first day on the trail I encountered a lady with a Red Astralplane of similar vintage.
    Good gear never dies.
    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mankind117 View Post
    Tipi, looks like you are back. How did the Seekoutside pack perform on your first trip with it?
    I'm compiling a gear review and generally have to say it worked well but definitely better with 50 lbs than 95 lbs!!

    It took a while to tweak and get the torso length dialed in and fine adjustments on the hipbelt dual buckles to achieve hip comfort. For me all external frame packs when loaded with tremendous weight tend to bind against the hip muscles causing hip/thigh soreness with eventual leg stiffness. The Brooks was no different. A full report is forthcoming.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Wait til you decide to get a McHale pack---$$$.

    TRIP 185 (92)-XL.jpg
    Here's my normal long-trip Mystery Ranch set up. Bottom green is tent. Left red is Solar ccf pad. Right blue is Trail Pro sleeping pad. I go overkill on the sleeping pads. Nothing worse than being on Day 5 of a 21 day trip and have my inflatable pad permanently die, ergo the Solar backup.
    I've got a McHale pack, a SARC. The workmanship is exquisite, no question about it.

    Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but to get the volume and weight of a Brooks or Fortress 6,300 in a McHale pack, you might need to go with a full-Dyneema pack which means you could be looking at a $1,200-$1,500 backpack.

    I'm going to be getting a Seek Outside pack which hopefully can do everything my McHale pack can do except with a heavier wallet and a lighter pack.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    I've got a McHale pack, a SARC. The workmanship is exquisite, no question about it.

    Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but to get the volume and weight of a Brooks or Fortress 6,300 in a McHale pack, you might need to go with a full-Dyneema pack which means you could be looking at a $1,200-$1,500 backpack.

    I'm going to be getting a Seek Outside pack which hopefully can do everything my McHale pack can do except with a heavier wallet and a lighter pack.
    I'm in the process of tweaking my McHale Demo pack and getting ready to use it for a second trip. Even though it's only a Demo at around 5,000 cubic inches (I need 7,000 to 8,000), it still has the beefy harness system to hump 95 lbs and I put all my extra stuff on the outside---and will be using it until he makes me a real pack.

    I ended up rating the Brooks pack in the low range due to various problems on a 21 day October trip---see it in action here--

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...-Citico-Creek/

    I just returned from a 20 day trip in January using the McHale demo and if you want to see it in action go here---

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...en-Mile-Ridge/

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    Two questions: what is in the dark blue storage sack? Also- will that 10/32 bolt rub against the fabric?
    I have a Unaweep...same frame, different bag. Yes, they can rub, though I saw no damage on several trips. Because I'm a worry wart, I put a gob of Seamgrip on each - the benefit is twofold: prevents chaffing and also keeps the nut from loosening, which could be a disaster on a trip.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWODaddy View Post
    I have a Unaweep...same frame, different bag. Yes, they can rub, though I saw no damage on several trips. Because I'm a worry wart, I put a gob of Seamgrip on each - the benefit is twofold: prevents chaffing and also keeps the nut from loosening, which could be a disaster on a trip.
    One of the problems I had with the Brooks was feeling the frame hit my back/top of hips when I was turning around or twisting, most especially with 90+ lbs in the thing.

    As far as losing a nut or bolt, I carried a repair kit with a small bolt wrench and a spare nut and bolt (from Lowes) with washer in case the grommet ripped out---

    P1000044 (800x534) (2).jpg

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    One of the problems I had with the Brooks was feeling the frame hit my back/top of hips when I was turning around or twisting, most especially with 90+ lbs in the thing.

    As far as losing a nut or bolt, I carried a repair kit with a small bolt wrench and a spare nut and bolt (from Lowes) with washer in case the grommet ripped out---

    P1000044 (800x534) (2).jpg
    Carrying extra hardware is definitely a good idea.

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