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Thread: frameless packs

  1. #1

    Default frameless packs

    who's carrying one? which one? what's your base weight? by replacing my current shelter, a sierra design flashlight2 and my current pack, a granite gear lutzen45L i'll have my base weight down to 11.5lbs. so i'm considering a frameless superior wilderness design 35L (interior volume,total of 43L) pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by needlefish View Post
    who's carrying one? which one? what's your base weight? by replacing my current shelter, a sierra design flashlight2 and my current pack, a granite gear lutzen45L i'll have my base weight down to 11.5lbs. so i'm considering a frameless superior wilderness design 35L (interior volume,total of 43L) pack.

    I have two 22L frameless packs, but they're just for dayhiking, not backpacking. Not sure what to make of a baseweight of 11.5 lbs, because as far as I know, no one carries only baseweight. Weather conditions, hiking distance, elevation gain, and water availability dictate how much water you need, and water carry is a huge factor in total weight. 2L water is the most I want to carry in a frameless pack - which may sound like a lot to some people, but you combine drought, water tainted from mining runoff, elevation gain, and someone who sweats a good deal when temps hit the 80s - I need at least that much on just about any such hike. Heck, even the fiter-able water around here (Cumberland Trail area) tastes terribly metallic. So I bring ALL my own water whenever possible.

    I do have a sub-10 lb baseweight LIST made up ... just as a mental exercise, nothing I've used in reality. Since I sleep cold, it would only be adequate for me to about 55F or so. Not sure the stuff would fit into a 22L pack, even though they total under 10 lbs. Oh - forgot ... we have a bunch of kids' school bookpacks at 32L each, so maybe ... haven't tested fit in those either. I just like the 22L ones because they have water bottle pockets, and the bookpack does not.
    What are you replacing your current shelter with? Just curious - I have a SD Tensegrity that has been quite good, but it's out of production. If I had to replace it (already had to repair mesh) I'd definitely consider a trekking-pole-supported tent again.

  3. #3

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    The problem I have with frameless packs is the SBS (sweaty back syndrome) Those packs sit tight to your back and even in cool weather your back ends up soaked. That's a problem for a lot of packs, but is especially bad for frameless.

    11.5 pounds is good, but add a few days of food and some water and you'll be pushing close to 20 pounds at times.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Mine really isn't a "frameless" pack (well... it is now). On my thru, I took a Santa Fe 4000 and cut off all the extra stuff I didn't need and took out the internal frame. I just learned to pack it correctly and it actually fit so well, I now have a (believe it or not) $25 Amazon Basics pack that I did the same thing to. I wouldn't hesitate to take this one on a thru and it's already seen a couple hundred miles on the AT. Not sure on base weight, but the full pack with 1 ltr water and 4 days food (mains and snacks) is around 23 pounds.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    The day is coming when bear cans will be mandatory.
    I own an original frameless Jensen pack made by the Hippies in Victor, Idaho. Currently built in Seattle. It was my favorite pack until I bought an ULA pack. Then my granddaughter talked me out of it. I’m back to using the Jensen pack.
    Buy the smallest, lightest ULA pack that will handle a BV 500.
    Have fun!
    Wayne
    Last edited by Venchka; 11-17-2019 at 20:44.

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    Garlic
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    I've been using various Gossamer Gear frameless packs for over ten years. I waited until I got my base weight below ten pounds (currently about eight) before I moved to frameless. I carry seven liters of water with several days food in that pack, or ten days food and one liter of water. Either case pushes the total weight up to 25 pounds and that's not comfortable (for a day or so).

  7. #7

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    TimeZone, i'm going to replace the SD flashlight 2 with a Tarptent protrail......Venchka SWD claims it will hold a bear canister vertically . My day pack is a mountainsmith lookout 25L frameless pack. i can get the same pack with "suspension" that weighs about a 1/2lb more

    Frameless pack: https://www.swdbackpacks.com/product...pack-frameless
    Suspension (framed): https://www.swdbackpacks.com/product...ull-suspension
    Last edited by needlefish; 11-17-2019 at 21:49.

  8. #8
    Leonidas
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    I went frameless used it for a couple trips and after a trip with drought conditions, I sold it. Sweaty back was terrible to me, which made an otherwise comfortable pack, not. The drought hike, I only carried a litre because I wanted that ultra low weight and regretted it. After realizing I was going to need to suck it up and carry at least 3-4 litres for the area I was in, I never went frameless again.

    9.4 lb base with a GG Virga II: https://lighterpack.com/r/w41oo
    9.3 lb base with a Zimmerbuilt Quickstep: https://lighterpack.com/r/oliny
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I've been using various Gossamer Gear frameless packs for over ten years. I waited until I got my base weight below ten pounds (currently about eight) before I moved to frameless. I carry seven liters of water with several days food in that pack, or ten days food and one liter of water. Either case pushes the total weight up to 25 pounds and that's not comfortable (for a day or so).

    Are you carrying that as a secondary, front-mounted pack? It would seem that in either case the food and water alone would account for virtually all of the 25 lbs (less pack weight) you mention, implying no shelter, sleep system, or other essentials.

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    Echoing what is said below, I tried the frameless thing briefly, saved 1 pound on the pack itself (1lb 10 oz zpacks arc to 9 ounce zpacks zero). I did this with about a 9 lb baseweight kit (incl the pack), plus 2-3 days of food and up to 2 quarts of water, so we're talking 18-19 pounds total. I did this for 2 separate 2-night trips in Colorado.

    No-go for me. carrying 20 total pounds with the Arc Haul is like carrying basically nothing, comfort wise. Carrying 19 pounds with the Zero frameless was a lot less comfortable. And the SBS thing was a major reason; I love that arc-mesh system in the Arc Haul (plus some heavier Osprey packs have it).

    Definitely not worth the weight savings for me. Sold the zero, basically for what I paid for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by needlefish View Post
    TimeZone, i'm going to replace the SD flashlight 2 with a Tarptent protrail.

    That should cut about 2+ lbs from your pack weight. I remember someone on a group bp trip who had what looks like the Protrail. Despite the specs, as I remember it, I'm not sure I could sit up in it even at the front. It dipped down pretty quickly from that front pole. The length might also prove tough to me even with the vertical end walls. I'd have about 5 inches on either end - barefoot. Add the fluff from a sleeping bag and hood/hat/pillow, and account for some movement, I'd be sure to touch the ends at some point in the night. That said it is laterally roomier than my Tensegrity, so maybe you can bring your pack in with you at the head end.

  12. #12

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    I started my backpacking career using a frameless pack---a canvas Yucca pack without the frame of course---

    1963.jpg
    Yucca pack loaded up before a trip---1963.

    index.jpg
    Here's an internet pic of the Yucca pack and in the configuration I wore it.

    walter in panamasmaller.jpg
    Here's a trip I did in 1972 with a Yucca pack in the jungles of Panama---pack is out of the picture on the bank of the creek.

    foototot.jpgalice.jpg
    And then in the 1970s-'80s I wore another frameless pack---the Army ALICE pack (in picture on the left)---without the frame of course. Nothing like having 60 lbs hanging off your shoulders and neck---headaches were common as were swollen hands due to impeded circulation. We've all been there.

    So yeah, alot of experience with frameless packs.

  13. #13

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    thank-you guys for the input, i appreciate it!! i believe i'll stick with the framed version

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    It really depends on your loadout and where you're going. I've been exclusively using frameless packs outside of the winter for the last five years (and occasionally in the winter depending on conditions and trip plan). Venchka's point about bear cans is worth considering, however. I'll certainly have to reach for another pack in locations where that's required. Also, if there's any likelihood you'll be above 20 pounds with a full load (food, water, etc) then it's not worth doing. I routinely start around 15 for a weekend trip in good weather, but drought or extended food requirements would certainly push that a bit. Above 20 pounds definitely gets a bit uncomfortable, so unless it's very rare I'd avoid frameless.

  15. #15

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    After 20 years of trying to make these new light frameless packs work, with sub 10 lb base weight, I longed for the old frame pack days when you could carry a lot and put almost all of the weight on your hips (my first 1000 miles on the AT was in 1974 with a 50 lb Kelty pack). The problem is that these wimpy packs absolutely destroy your shoulders by the end of the day, even with relatively light (<25 lbs) loads.

    So for a 10 day PCT hike this Fall I bought a used Osprey Atmos pack, which has a substantial suspension system and a killer belt. I carried 35-40 lbs and climbed over 30,000 ft in 120 miles, up to 18 mpd, with no problems at an advanced age (well over 60). Maybe in other circumstances I would use a wimpy frameless pack, but not on a REAL hike with a REAL load (10 days/food).
    Last edited by RockDoc; 11-18-2019 at 14:24.

  16. #16

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    FWIW,ULA made me a custom CDT with removeable belt,hoop frame,and load lifters.You could essentially have the same pack in their Ohm 2.0 if you removed the belt and hoop etc but I like the narrower and deeper side pockets.
    Might not be for everybody but mine fits like it was tailor made compared to the Circuit that I have.My total load for this custom pack is about 25 - 26 pounds with enough food for 4 days,fuel,liter of water.It will accomodate a BV 500 on top but I have not carried one that way yet.

  17. #17
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post

    Are you carrying that as a secondary, front-mounted pack? It would seem that in either case the food and water alone would account for virtually all of the 25 lbs (less pack weight) you mention, implying no shelter, sleep system, or other essentials.
    Base weight is about seven pounds for summer and desert trips. Add seven liters of water at about about 15 pounds, and about five pounds of food for two nights out. That'll be just over 25 pounds, but only for a few hours. My pack is "rated" for 30 pounds. I certainly don't want to exceed that.

    The pay off with a frameless pack really comes on the last day, when consumables are gone and you can forget you have a pack on.

    I also like taking my frameless pack along on bike tours, so I can park the bike at a trailhead and go backpacking for a while. The pack stashes nicely in the bottom of a pannier. It's a versatile, inexpensive solution that fits my style of travel.
    "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

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    Love my Arc Haul for year round use to include the occasional bear can (ugh I hate those those things). And ULA makes fine packs.

    It seems that YouTube is filled with great videos of people going frameless (Dixie, Darwin, and others). Frameless packs are trendy, but the funny thing is that I think there’s more hype than substance in that market. I’ve also found that it’s just not for my style even though I have UL gear and my “base weight” for the summer is about 10 lbs, maybe even less for a 1 night trip.

    My problem is that in the summer, back sweat is nasty on the east coast where I hike. And in the winter or cooler temps, base weight shoots up a couple pounds. And for longer AT sections, I typically carry an extra 1lb or so of sleep clothes and other misc stuff. And I also typically carry about 2L of water. And I also seem to always have an extra days worth of food in there....

    You get the point. “Base Weight” is a fun spreadsheet and shopping drill. But in reality, my comfort weight is always a couple pounds more.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by globetruck View Post
    I think there’s more hype than substance in that market.
    Wait, what?

    Quote Originally Posted by globetruck View Post
    My problem is that in the summer, back sweat is nasty on the east coast where I hike.
    East coast and west coast conditions vary, but few gear recommendations take into account geographic location and conditions. It seems that a lot of the most highly regarded hikers, hiking places, and gear companies are out west, and their recommendations and gear endorsements reflect that. Go get a calendar that showcases beautiful natural places in America. About 10 of the 12 months will feature pictures from west of the Mississippi River. Look at Andrew Skurka's (historical) partnership with Sierra Designs. He helped develop the High Route tent, but on his website, he states

    ... I would not to be forced into regularly using a ground-based shelter in areas with poor ground campsites, notably high-use zones in eastern woodlands like the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Smokies, Presidentials, and Adirondacks. In these areas, hammocks are the clear choice.
    But he did not develop a hammock system with SD. Possibly in part because he's not out east all that often compared to out west.

    Intended conditions for use of gear has big implications for optimizing choice of materials and design of such gear. We don't consider it as much as we should, IMO. Instead we look to an admired reviewer of gear and take their recommendation at face value, even if they're using it totally different conditions.

  20. #20

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    some helpful/food for thought info posted, thank-you guys

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