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Topic: Backpacking pack< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 10:08 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm looking for recommendations and warnings on a backpack .

For now the forays have been just the weekend and the hike in is only <2 miles. But I'd like the ability to do trail hiking, especially the Continental Divide in which, from what I understand, there isn't much for cache or restocking. And I still have several years left of carrying my daughters stuff too.

I currently have a Cuscus Expedition 75 liter, but the water bladder pouch seam ripped before I even got it outside. And I've read of others having part failures on the trail soon after purchase.

What I'm looking for:
I really like several exterior pockets, external attachments for a tent/sleeping bag, and an overhead pouch to put rain gear that can be reached w/o having to take the pack off. I really dislike bright neon colors, though I've wondered about potentially dying an odd color. It needs to be hydration bladder ready, and I'd like to keep pack weight similar (~5 lbs) or lighter. It sure would be nice to have a pouch on the belt. I'd like to find a good pack for under $300.

Does this bag exist? Know of ones that don't hold up or have terrible customer service such as Cuscus?


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 10:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm just shy of 5'8" and weigh 150 lbs, and so have also considered a women's pack as a possibility (as long as it's not pink or has butterflies on it!) if it's not specifically designed for a woman. I'm not sure what my torso measurement is, but I'd guess average.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 10:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're going to get an internal frame, the torso measurement is kind of important to have. Weight and height matter not - the measurement is between that vertebrae between the shoulders when you bend the head forward, and the top of the iliac crest (hip bone, in the front, where your hand ends up when you put your hands on your hips).

Get a tape measure and have a friend measure from that vertebrae to the floor, then measure from the iliac crest to the floor. Subtract the two and that's the number to determine the pack size.

The other metric is hip belt size, which is easy to measure with a tape measure.

Check out the sales on Sierra Trading Post and steep and cheap, look on craigslist, check the thrift stores, see what you can find. In your situation (family sherpa) if hiking trails and not doing a lot of long, more rigorous (climb-y or steep) stuff, I might just pick up a cheap external frame load hauler for a while, and keep researching for something else.

Durable packs will have less mesh, more cordura - something like a Gregory. Because I have cross country and manzanita-wacking to do, and frequently sit on or throw the pack into jeeps, I picked up a Gregory internal frame and have beat it up for a couple of years now. It's showing a little abrasion wear but not much.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"In your situation (family sherpa) if hiking trails and not doing a lot of long, more rigorous (climb-y or steep) stuff, I might just pick up a cheap external frame load hauler for a while, and keep researching for something else."

Since it's not extremely important I'll keep using my Cuscus for these short hiking forays. But I've been asked to come up with an Xmas list, and she doesn't want a rifle on it.

No actual plans, but we'd like to try to take off a month to do a trail. We both think the Rockies are the best, but may do the Appalachian Trail instead. I'd like to be better prepared in case the opportunity arrises sooner than we may figure. The list of wants & needs is still fairly long, but figured the big things to reduce weight are first.

"Get a tape measure and have a friend measure from that vertebrae to the floor, then measure from the iliac crest to the floor. Subtract the two and that's the number to determine the pack size."

So the measurement is taken with the tape measure falling straight down or following the curvature of the spine?


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 4:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a couple of kelty backpacks and really love the exterior pockets and durability.  Their Lakota 65 (which someone just posted about) is $155 and weighs just 4pounds 1oz.  If you need more space (which I do) they have 80, 90 and 110L options as well.  I've been carrying the 44L Redwing for about a year as a gym bag/carry on/ briefcase and it still looks like I just got it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 4:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's my favorite, after a lot of research and trials: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/womens/ariel_55_1

Or maybe 65L if you have to carry gear for another person,  but the collar on Osprey packs is quite tall to hold additional gear. The volume of the pack needs to match what you're physically able to carry.

This is a medium-weight pack with a good balance in the hipbelt and harness between stiffness (for supporting the load) and softness (for comfort). It has an adjustable torso and you can exchange the harness and hipbelt to get a perfect, customized fit. You can get either a men's or women's hipbelt---the women's is curved to fit round hips,  but some women have straight hips and prefer a men's hipbelt.

Most packs these days are short on exterior pockets. The pockets tend to be flat and not designed to hold much.

There are cheaper packs but if you can afford $300 I feel the Osprey Ariel is a top pack.

I'm not personally able to get gear out of the top pocket of my pack no matter what the pack is. You might need long rubbery arms for that. I don't think it's a priority.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 5:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ishmel: How do like the single stay?

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 8:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I forgot to mention that the Osprey Ariel has two hipbelt pockets, two water bottle pockets, and an outside stash pocket, which I find VERY convenient, and a hydration pocket. It meets all of your criteria. The top pocket is very large. It has all kinds of straps for cinching, fastening, and hanging things on. It can sometimes be found for less than $200 with an internet search.

I don't get the part about getting your rain gear out of the top pocket without taking the pack off, unless you use a poncho? Otherwise you have to take the pack off to put your raincoat on, right?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 8:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Oct. 11 2012, 8:31 pm)
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I don't get the part about getting your rain gear out of the top pocket without taking the pack off, unless you use a poncho? Otherwise you have to take the pack off to put your raincoat on, right?

Plus, for a pack that large, I find it putting on a poncho to be much easier if I take my pack off first and put it back on underneath the poncho.  I might be in the minority on that, but I find it difficult to get the back of the poncho up and over a bigger pack and to get it hanging evenly.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 10:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rodwha @ Oct. 11 2012, 11:03 am)
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"Get a tape measure and have a friend measure from that vertebrae to the floor, then measure from the iliac crest to the floor. Subtract the two and that's the number to determine the pack size."

So the measurement is taken with the tape measure falling straight down or following the curvature of the spine?

Here is a video:

Measuring for a backpack

Men seem to really like this one for some reason, so even tho you are not looking for an ultralight pack I figured I would give you the link. The procedure is the same for any pack.

There is a more boring but more detailed way listed here at McHale's site (they make custom packs, so want more precise measurements).

McHale's method


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 11:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would recommend going to a local outdoor shop and try on several packs.  At the better stores there are lots of packs to compare,  and they usually have experienced associates to assist you.  I recently bought an Osprey Atmos 65 and really like the comfort and features.

I examined the pack very closely, looking for any flaws and could not find even a loose thread.  Osprey has really good quality control on their products.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 11:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bigredd @ Oct. 11 2012, 11:04 pm)
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 and they usually have experienced associates to assist you.

"Usually" is an important qualifier here.  Even really good stores don't have an ace packfitter working every shift.  It pays to ask for recommendations.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 11:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Try the deuter act lite. I have the Aircontact 75 and it's great. It's a bit of a beast though at 6 pounds, but it feels great on. I can out walk some of my hiking buddies in their little 45L packs with the stuff all outside. All my stuff goes inside...

The Aircontact has a big sleeve for the water bag inside, and "side bellows" pockets outside. I store my rain jacket in one, and my water filter stuff in the other. It has a top pocket too, on the lid, but it's not very big. I guess a raincoat could fit in there. I usually store my gps and snacks inside that pocket, because I have to take the pack off to pull out the built in rain cover anyway.

I'm not sure if the ACT lite has the daisy chain loops that the Aircontact does, but I found them useful last time as a place to clip my shoes when hiking barefoot. The 2011 model also had a rear map pocket. I think the 2012 model did away with that, and just put in a zipper access to the inside of the pack. mine has a sleeping bag compartment, but unzips inside if you don't like that feature, you can just use it as one big space.

My stuff is big and bulky, but average weight, so I do like the added space. I could get by with a 60L pack, but it would be stuffed to the seams. I like a little extra room. So my stuff isn't jammed in, and I don't feel like I'm stressing the pack construction too much.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 1:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rodwha @ Oct. 11 2012, 5:15 pm)
QUOTE
Ishmel: How do like the single stay?

On the redwing 44 that I have the single stay is perfectly adequate for good support. I am not sure that it would be enough for a large pack though, like the Lakota 65. At least not with my small frame (5'6", 150 pounds, 17" torso). I have been updating my gear lately and have tried on many packs, and I really like the osprey and Gregory packs, but for the money, kelty has been where I have defaulted. I have been very pleased with the durability and design of the products I've bought from them, but I would classify them as a "utility" brand. While there is nothing sexy about the kelty packs I own, they will probably outlast me as they seem to be bulletproof .
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 10:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"I don't get the part about getting your rain gear out of the top pocket without taking the pack off, unless you use a poncho?"

I do use a poncho.

"Plus, for a pack that large, I find it putting on a poncho to be much easier if I take my pack off first and put it back on underneath the poncho.  I might be in the minority on that, but I find it difficult to get the back of the poncho up and over a bigger pack and to get it hanging evenly."

I've yet to use it and assumed I would be able to put it on over my pack. I don't go alone anymore. I figure we could help with straightening. Maybe it's not even a big deal having to take the pack off.

"My stuff is big and bulky, but average weight, so I do like the added space. I could get by with a 60L pack, but it would be stuffed to the seams. I like a little extra room. So my stuff isn't jammed in, and I don't feel like I'm stressing the pack construction too much."

SWMBO's pack is a 58 liter pack, and my daughter has a little kid's school backpack that we have her carry her clothes and stuff toy in (~2-3 lbs). It seems my 75 liter pack typically gets fairly stuffed. I'd prefer to have a little excess room rather than trying to figure out how to attach stuff to the exterior. And like you, I don't want to stress the seams... My pack typically weighs at least 40 lbs, and as much as 50.

We have been replacing the heavier bulky things. Most things have been upgraded. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and trail shoes instead of boots are next. It would be nice to tote a pack that weighed less than 40 lbs...


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 10:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"I would recommend going to a local outdoor shop and try on several packs.  At the better stores there are lots of packs to compare..."

Having worked off of the reviews online and getting a sorry pack this is what we figured we needed to do this time around.

I recently looked up my backpack to get the technical info and noticed how many good reviews it received despite things breaking on it's first outing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 10:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Trauma say Granite Gear Crown
that's good enuf for this child
http://www.rei.com/product/831620/granite-gear-crown-vc-60-pack
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 2:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If I'm measuring correctly I have a torso ~17".
It seems packs (large) that will accommodate that size aren't very common. 18" torso can be had with about all. How big of a deal will that 1" difference make?

In essence could padding be sewn on in the shoulder harness to accommodate the difference if it's a problem?


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 13 2012, 4:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Are you asking about torso size because you have to order sight unseen off the internet?

It's hard to measure your own torso. On the other hand, I've never been accurately measured by a pack fitter either. They usually tell me my torso is 2" longer than it actually is. I think the mistake is that they have you bend your head forward to find the vertebra, and then they have you leave your head bent. I experimented with that and concluded that it adds 2" to the measurement. Even the manufacturer's fitting tools didn't give an accurate measurement. It's a rough estimate.

If you to order sight unseen, do so from a retailer with a generous return policy. You will probably have to pay return shipping for an exchange. Once the pack arrives, it's not that difficult to determine whether it's the right size.

Here's a good diagram: http://www.ccoutdoorstore.com/deuter-....ry.html
Scroll down to "Fitting a large-volume pack 50 liters and up." In my opinion the most important part of the fit is point #3, which shows the strap wrapping over the shoulder and going down the back about 2"-3". That attachment point of the strap to the pack corresponds to your torso length.

Another strategy is to find the same pack or at least the same brand in a store and figure out what size you need.

1" is a big deal in my experience. If the pack is 1" too long in the torso, the weight will be hanging off your shoulders instead of on your hips. You can get around this by getting a pack with an adjustable torso, which again points to the Osprey Ariel. :-)

Forget about adding padding to the harness. The pack has to fit and torso length is an essential measurement.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 13 2012, 6:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The problem is that I cannot seem to find a pack that will accommodate a 17" torso and ~30" waist that has the features I'm looking for that don't weigh 6+ lbs. I'm trying to cut weight back where I can. My pack typically weighs 40-45 lbs.

My current pack weighs ~5 lbs and has a 75 + 10 liter capacity. I'm looking to duplicate or better that, but constructed in a way that I know I can depend on it.

There seem to be many more options available online vs what I can find around here, and we have (brand new) REI, Bass Pro, Academy (no large capacity packs), and Dick's that I know of.

The only packs I've found (so far) is the Osprey Aether 70 (67) and the Dueter ACT Lite 65 + 10. There is also the High Sierra Sentinel and Titan 65 if I don't mind 1/2 a pound extra weight.

Anyone have anything to say about the Dueter? It's $80 cheaper and nearly a pound lighter @ 3 lbs 15 oz over the Osprey Aether 70 (67).

Being that some women's packs are built different does that mean that they likely wouldn't work well for a man? It seems the straps are designed for breasts, which I don't see being a big deal, though it may distribute the weight differently, but that the belt is built different for a different curvature of the hips, which may very well not work.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 13 2012, 8:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rodwha @ Oct. 13 2012, 6:23 pm)
QUOTE
The problem is that I cannot seem to find a pack that will accommodate a 17" torso and ~30" waist that has the features I'm looking for that don't weigh 6+ lbs. I'm trying to cut weight back where I can. My pack typically weighs 40-45 lbs.

My current pack weighs ~5 lbs and has a 75 + 10 liter capacity. I'm looking to duplicate or better that, but constructed in a way that I know I can depend on it.

There seem to be many more options available online vs what I can find around here, and we have (brand new) REI, Bass Pro, Academy (no large capacity packs), and Dick's that I know of.

The only packs I've found (so far) is the Osprey Aether 70 (67) and the Dueter ACT Lite 65 + 10. There is also the High Sierra Sentinel and Titan 65 if I don't mind 1/2 a pound extra weight.

Anyone have anything to say about the Dueter? It's $80 cheaper and nearly a pound lighter @ 3 lbs 15 oz over the Osprey Aether 70 (67).

Being that some women's packs are built different does that mean that they likely wouldn't work well for a man? It seems the straps are designed for breasts, which I don't see being a big deal, though it may distribute the weight differently, but that the belt is built different for a different curvature of the hips, which may very well not work.

OK, again: Osprey packs, including the Ariel, are fully customizable to fit just about everyone. Let's say you have a long torso and a small waist. You start by buying the pack that fits your torso, let's say women's large. If the hipbelt is too long, you exchange it for a shorter one. Ditto for the harness (shoulder straps). You could end up with, say, a large pack, a small hipbelt, and a medium harness.

On top of that, you have about 4" of adjustability with the torso. You rip out the velcro panel on the back and move it up or down until you get a perfect fit. This is very easy to do.

The Ariel is under 5 lbs. It meets all of your criteria.

PLUS: Osprey is a very good company to work with. Let's say you find the right torso length at a cheap internet site that doesn't provide any further service. Osprey will gladly exchange the hipbelt and harness for you. They did that for me free of charge, threw in a lot of good advice, did the exchange twice when the first attempt wasn't successful, and didn't charge me shipping (return shipping yes; it's only about $10). Amazing.

It's really hard not to like the Osprey Ariel. If you want to carry a lot of stuff, get the 65 liter. The collar is huge and adds a lot of extra space. If I had no possibility of seeing a backpack before buying it, I would buy an Osprey knowing that the company would work with me to make it fit.

As for men's versus women's, again, with Osprey you can choose anything you want. I have a women's pack, a women's harness, and a men's hip belt (because the curve of a women's hipbelt doesn't fit me). A women's harness is usually a bit narrower at the neck/shoulders and curves around the chest.

The Aether is the men's version of the Ariel.

45 lbs is a heck of a lot of weight for a slight female. Maybe you can work on reducing that weight.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 13 2012, 8:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"PLUS: Osprey is a very good company to work with. Let's say you find the right torso length at a cheap internet site that doesn't provide any further service. Osprey will gladly exchange the hipbelt and harness for you. They did that for me free of charge, threw in a lot of good advice, did the exchange twice when the first attempt wasn't successful, and didn't charge me shipping (return shipping yes; it's only about $10). Amazing."

This right here makes a company worthwhile to deal with. I've seen this with Big Agnes as well.

"45 lbs is a heck of a lot of weight for a slight female."

Well, more like a slight male... I know, a little guy.
I don't take things too personally...

"Maybe you can work on reducing that weight."

We've been doing this, and that weight is with the majority of our revised camping things. Part of the problem is our daughter (almost 4 yrs old). I'll be carrying the majority of her stuff for quite some time. She does have a small backpack that we put her clothes and a stuffed animal in that she carries. But our trips are merely <2 miles to camp.

I've also been looking at Dueter, which I've never heard of, but has a good price and light weight. And Kelty, which we have a child carrier that has been quite good, and a brand I trust.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 14 2012, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh shoot, I have to learn to read. I just figured out that you're a guy (that new photo helps). I saw the word "female" in there somewhere and lept to conclusions. My bad.

OK, let's start over again. Check this:
http://www.ospreypacks.com/en....cations

Osprey Aether, size Small (torso 16"-18.5"), 4 lbs 11 oz.
Hipbelt: Small (hips 27"-31")
Harness: Hard to say. Depends on your chest, but you could start with a small.

So even though you think your body is hard to fit, it looks like there's a good chance this small would fit you.

The small pack will only be 67 liters. But Osprey (if my memory serves) doesn't include the collar in the volume calculation, so you will be able to fit several more liters if you fill the collar.

If you want to carry 70 liters and 40-50 lbs, automatically the weight of the pack is going to go up. The Aether is a reasonable weight for the amount it can carry.

I can't say much about Deuter. I did try on their packs extensively and couldn't get the right fit, but that's totally unrelated to you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 14 2012, 6:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Deuter quality is top notch.  I have an Aircontact 55 + 10.  Very comfortable and can carry some serious weight.  I haven't had the opportunity to try on their ACT Lite, but it looks nice.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 14 2012, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarpon6 @ Oct. 14 2012, 6:45 pm)
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Deuter quality is top notch.  I have an Aircontact 55 + 10.  Very comfortable and can carry some serious weight.  I haven't had the opportunity to try on their ACT Lite, but it looks nice.

I'll second the quality thing... Have had NO problems with my Aircontact. I only have a hundred miles or so on it, and it looks almost new (except where I scuffed the back and bit on rocks). Good quality build, Big tough zippers on the sleeping bag compartment, wide nylon hip belt, rip stop nylon throughout, water resistant interior coatings, padded hip belt, built in air channels against your back, and fully adjustable shoulder harnesses.  Deuter makes one 'size' pack in each category (45L, 65L, etc.), with an adjustable shoulder system for all torso lengths. They don't do three different length 55L packs... I don't recommend it, but you could buy a deuter pack sight unseen, and it WILL adjust to your torso. That doesn't mean you will like the way it hangs or feels, but it will fit your torso length...
My second choice would be an osprey, because I love their features too, but I would really like to try one of the ACT Lites before making a firm choice.


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