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Topic: Choosing my first daypack....help?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 9:25 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First off, let me say great site. I've been pouring over post after post, there's too much info here to digest.

Anyways, I am looking for my first daypack. I am looking for something in the 32L - 40L range. I'd like to be able to carry whatever version of the essential 10 I come up with, plus when hiking with the family, the associated stuff that goes with having a 2 and 6 year old out on the trail. I'd also like the bag to be capable of pulling an overnighter if I decided to do so.

I have two major issues. One, as my name suggests, I am a big guy. 6'2" and around 290 pounds. I have a pretty broad chest and my waist isn't petite either.

Second issue, I am pretty limited in getting handons before buying. I have a GanderMountain not too far from me and an REI several hours away. Otherwise, it's internet shopping.

I do plan to hit up GanderMountain this weekend, I might make a day trip and head to the REI as well. If I do, I hope to find out whether or not two of the three packs I was considering will work for me. Right now I am looking at these packs....

Granite Gear Escape A.C. 40
Gregory Z35 or Z40
Deuter Futura Pro 38

I'm hoping one of the stores will have at least the Gregory and the Deuter, they are both listed on the REI site and maybe I can get to see some Granite Gear stuff in person even if not the exact pack I want. In the mean time, I was just hoping to get some insight on any of these bags, or suggestions for other bags. I really appreciate any help I can get.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 10:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Go in to REI and try stuff on. There are REI branded packs that work fine as day packs, and have hip belts. Any of those you mention will work fine, probably - until you get pack weight over 15-20 pounds it's not really critical to have bomber suspension or a big padded hipbelt.

I have a Jet UL (an old REI branded day pack) that has a frame sheet and a hip belt that I use for winter day hikes - it's 32L and I could probably do an overnight comfortably if only it had a slightly better suspension.

If you want something that doubles as an overnighter, have a look at the Osprey packs as well. If the frame works for you, that is. I tried on everything from the Talon to the Aura to the Atmos and the frame hurts my hips. Gregory will have a similar frame but as I recall it's a little wider and doesn't dig into me so much.

I use a 40L Gregory Jade as my SAR pack and have used it on many 1-5 night trips as well as dayhiking. The frame is overkill for day hiking, but it is a versatile pack. It takes some non-bulky, lightweight gear to overnight in a pack advertised as an extended day pack.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 10:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 01 2012, 10:18 am)
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Go in to REI and try stuff on.

...And bring with you everything you would expect to put in it. Pack for the trail in the store -- the role of "pack mule" for the family can make it hard to judge what size you really need. Also a good exercise in determining what ultimately can be left behind.


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 11:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For a daypack, go to Target or Walmart and get whatever fits.  My typical daypack is one that my kids don't think is cool enough to take to school anymore (would that be a hand-me-up?)

Don't even try overnighting with a day pack.  If you have a Gander Mountain, they have some big Kelty Comanche (specially branded for that store) packs that might fit you nicely, but try it on first.

DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS OF A PACK BEFORE YOU TRY IT ON!!!  I wouldn't even bother to do research, just go to the store and try some on.  Some packs have nice features, but the fit is by far the most important aspect of buying a pack.

Same thing with boots.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 11:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Lots of great day packs out there.  The one's you mentioned are good quality.  My only advice beyond what has been mentioned is to get one that's a little bigger than you think you might need.  Seems like a lot of us end up cramming in more stuff than we originally thought we'd bring.  Plus, you never know, you could easily expand your day hiking adventures into colder seasons where you need to bring more stuff i.e. warmer and extra clothes.  Of course the same doesn't hold true of regular backpacks where a large pack can easily  contribute to taking more than you need and just add extra weight with the pack itself, but I don't believe this is such an issue with day packs.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have an REI Lookout (40L) which works fine as a daypack with just the 10 essentials and little else - it cinches down fine. But I've also used it for ultralight overnights in the summer, where it's warm enough to not require a sleeping bag or I just use a light sleeping bag liner though the pack also came with straps for a sleeping bag (or pad) at the bottom. I also use it for winter dayhikes and it does OK with the bulky extras.

There is a built-in pack cover which you could cut out of the pack for an extra pocket on the bottom of the pack. You will need a hipbelt extension, though. For some reason the hipbelt is not particularly generous.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 1:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Repeating what the others have said, try on packs to see what feels good before buying. If you already have your gear, bring it along, toss it in, and wear the packs for a bit. Otherwise see if you can toss some sample gear into the packs. The sandbags and pillows stores offer to stuff the packs never really feel right for me, but YMMV.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 2:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a Mountainsmith Mayham 35.  Sounds like it might fit the bill.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 4:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If getting to the REI is a problem, another option is to order several based on whatever you can learn about their fit online and then keep the one that fits best.  Try them at home (inside) with a load and see what feels comfortable.  Return the rest.  Most retailers will allow you to return unused gear.

I have done that in that situations where local stores do not carry anything I like.  

But as everyone else says, trying before buying is optimal.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 5:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Nov. 01 2012, 11:08 am)
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For a daypack, go to Target or Walmart and get whatever fits.  

For summer dayhikes I probably carry about 10 lbs. For three people I'm guessing you might have 15 lbs or more. That will increase in the spring and fall (extra clothing). Personally I appreciate some suspension at that weight. The backpacks at Target and Walmart are going to have no or minimal or poor suspension. That means that all of the weight will be hanging off your shoulders, with no weight transferred to your hips.

I find that Deuter has very good suspension on their daypacks. I have the Deuter ACT Trail 24 and the suspension looks like it could easily handle 20 lbs. I'm less fond of the Gregory because it is very curved (to ventilate your back), which I find difficult to pack. I think the Deuter is the best of the three you're looking at.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 6:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow...thanks for all the suggestions. It's a lot to take in but I appreciate it. I do want to try before I buy. I plan to do that this weekend before I consider ordering anything. Hopefully something will workout because I don't want to deal with the hassle of ordering and returning. But then again, I have all winter cause there won't be much hiking while it's cold...at least with the family. I still plan to get out and do some day hikes.

The suggestion on getting something at Walmart or Target, ect...I've had, still have, bags from Walmart at least and they are nothing I'd want to do any serious hiking with. I appreciate the suggestion though. I'd just rather buy something quality that will last a long time. It might be the only day hiking bag I'd even have to buy for a very long time or the kids can move up to it when they are bigger.

All I can say is, I wish there were much less selections out there cause all the awesome looking bags just makes it so hard to know where to start and what to choose...at the same time, for me at least, gear research and purchasing is kinda part of the fun.

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE FOR THE HELP SO FAR!!!!!!!!!!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 9:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just wanted to update for anyone interested, especially for anyone in the future that may find themselves in the same boat. I ended up making it into REI today and tried on several packs and weighed them down and walked about the store.

I tried an Osprey Talon 44 Pack which was really nice but slightly on the small side as far and it wasn't adjustable enough. Nice pack though and very light. I also tried the Osprey Kestrel 38. Same thing. Very nice pack but not adjustable enough.

Another pack I tried was the Gregory Z30. I was hoping they had the Z35 and Z40, but they didn't. Again, nice pack, too small in the length and not adjustable at all. I'm not sure if the Z35/40 are adjustable. It would definitely had been a contender if it was adjustable in length between the belt and shoulder harness.

Third pack was the Kelty Redwing 50. Pack felt good. Tons of room (maybe too much) and some neat features. Felt well constructed and the price was fantastic. I loaded it up and walked around a bit. Felt good and I thought I had a winner. It wasn't adjustable but the fit was good. I tried one more pack just to make sure....

the Deuter ACT Lite 40 + 10. Grabbed it off the rack and threw it on my back. It was ok. Not great. Loaded it down with some weight, 20 pounds or so. Still, good but not as good as the Kelty. Plenty of room in the waist and shoulders to accommodate even the biggest person which was really nice. I took the pack off and saw the adjustable shoulder harness setup which was super easy to do. Added a few inches of length between the shoulder and belt and heaved the pack back on. It was like a completely different pack. It was PERFECT! Fit like a glove. Cinched everything down and went for a 20 minute stroll through the store. Felt great. I was extremely please. The bag itself is nice, very well made with all the features I would have wanted. It even has a sleeping bag compartment which I really like, even if that's not what I use it for. Nice padded belt with a zipper pouch on one side, plenty of compartments, compression straps, place to secure my poles, side pouches that are great for water bottle, attachment points...just a very nice pack and if you can't tell, I'm pretty excited about it.

So, needless to say, I am happy to find a pack out there that will actually fit a fat arse like me and not one that I just have to settle for. If anyone else reads this and is a member of the heavy hiker brotherhood in need of a pack, do yourself a favor and check out the Deuter ACT Lite 40 + 10.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, I also grabbed a very nice REI Revelcloud Jacket on clearance for 50% off!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 12:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As predicted!

Glad you found the right pack.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 12:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 05 2012, 12:09 am)
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As predicted!

Glad you found the right pack.

hahaha....that's right...you did call it. Great recommendation, spot on.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 2:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am thankful you started this thread as I am a big boy too. I come in at 6'2" tall, 300 lbs with a 56" chest and more belly than I care to admit lol! I tried on a Kelty Redtail 30 pack the other day at a chain retailer , and the shoulder strap tore in two !

The stitching where the webbing met the padded section on the shoulder strap just gave out as I reached for the waist belt, and the straps where at their longest point.

I will say, I HOPE this was a single bad item, and not a true indicator of Kelty quality, and two, I will not risk it and will not buy a Kelty pack. Sorry Kelty.

I will be checking out this Deuter pack as soon as I find a local dealer, and I am also going to check out the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Alchemist 40L pack.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 9:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome this thread might be helpful. Sounds like we are close to the same size. My chest is about 54" these days and I wear a size 42/44 pants. The Deuter has more than enough room to accommodate.

That sux about the Kelty. The one I tried on seemed to be decent quality, not as good as the Osprey, Gregory, or Deuter though, but not so bad I'd imagine it tearing apart like that. Glad I didn't end up with it. Some say their quality has taken a drop since they started selling their products at Target, some say the Target stuff is different than stuff sold at outdoor stores, so I don't know if either is true, but it's interesting to hear about this failure. Hope it was just a defective pack and not an indicator of there quality down the whole line, I certainly don't blame you for writing them off. I'd be a bit hesitant as well.

The Gregory packs might be something to look at as well if you can find one that fits your torso. My not so local REI didn't have one so I couldn't get a really good idea how well it could have fit, but as far as room, there was plenty.

One other brand to consider, if you can find one, is Millet. They are a French company and seem well regarding among the climbing/mountaineering community. I have a Khumbu 55+10L bag made by Millet and it's pretty awesome. Fits great, tons of room, great features, very well made bag. I actually ordered a Millet Hiker 38L bag before I went to REI. It should be delivered today or tomorrow. I'll definitely post up thoughts on it compared to the Deuter.

At some point, once I get some more hikes under my belt and a little more gear accumulated, I want to start doing some big guy gear reviews on youtube, so watch out for those. The account will be TheFatpacker over there.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Personally I would rate Kelty quality as "lower middle class." Kelty makes decent, cheap gear for beginners. A step above Coleman but not in the same league as Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, etc. Deuter packs are rugged, highly adjustable, and packed with extra features.

Osprey is another pack to look at for those who have a nonstandard body type (whether large or small) because on some models you can switch out the waistbelt and harness to any size you choose.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 1:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 05 2012, 12:50 pm)
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Osprey is another pack to look at for those who have a nonstandard body type (whether large or small) because on some models you can switch out the waistbelt and harness to any size you choose.

Good to know. The Osprey packs I tried on where super nice and very lightweight. It would have been a very tough choice if they had fit better at the store or I knew parts could be switched out.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 5:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use the Gregory Z35 as my go to pack and I swear by it.  Great for day hikes and save for January & February can easily handle 2 nights solo.  Like you, on my more mellow day hikes often have an 8 year old in tow and in addition to my gear can handle emergency layers & rain gear for her along with lunch.  But to reiterate what everyone has already said, try before you buy.  Especially with the Gregory Z series, I have friends that do not care for the way the Cross Flo suspension system sits where as I think it's amazing.  I'm huge fan of Gregory products and also use the Z55 for longer treks while my wife uses the Jade 34 & Maya 22.  Cheers....

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 11:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 05 2012, 12:50 pm)
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Osprey is another pack to look at for those who have a nonstandard body type (whether large or small) because on some models you can switch out the waistbelt and harness to any size you choose.

If you have a long torso and a lean waist (or vice-versa)  there is no substitute for being able to fit a pack correctly.  I envy you guys and girls who have average builds.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 10:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 05 2012, 9:50 am)
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Personally I would rate Kelty quality as "lower middle class." Kelty makes decent, cheap gear for beginners. A step above Coleman but not in the same league as Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, etc.


Now there's a comment.  Kelty is a lower middle class bag for beginners.  Spectacular comment, one with which I cannot agree.

My own view is that no pack can ever be your girlfriend, regardless your fondness for fabric, that every pack is fundamentally just a bag with straps, and that Kelty makes a good-enough bag.

So, when I go multi-week-no-resupply-no-trail I go with a Kelty Lakota, a good-enough bag.  And the Gregorys stay in the foot locker.

For beginners.  Really, a spectacular comment.

HYOH

Drake
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 05 2012, 1:49 pm)
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Good to know. The Osprey packs I tried on where super nice and very lightweight. It would have been a very tough choice if they had fit better at the store or I knew parts could be switched out.

You can get swappable belts and harnesses on the large Osprey backpacks. But there is not a pack in their ultralight line that has swappable anything - it was another of the quibbles I had with them. My backpacking load is such that the "ultralight" (they really aren't) packs they make are what I needed, but the belts and straps were not workable for me.

Now, if I needed an 80 liter Argon, I could have the belt heat-molded to my hips, after picking which belt I wanted...


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As a 5'11" 200lb athletic build type(18" torso,34" waist), I have found that some brands fit better than others. I have found that Deuter packs are the best fitting packs for me. While I like the quality and features of Gregory and Osprey packs, at my torso length, the hip belts are very uncomfortable(even though most say up tp 34"). I have also found that the REI brand packs are very versatile and have one of them as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 9:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drake @ Nov. 06 2012, 10:51 pm)
QUOTE

(TrailTramper @ Nov. 05 2012, 9:50 am)
QUOTE
Personally I would rate Kelty quality as "lower middle class." Kelty makes decent, cheap gear for beginners. A step above Coleman but not in the same league as Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, etc.


Now there's a comment.  Kelty is a lower middle class bag for beginners.  Spectacular comment, one with which I cannot agree.

My own view is that no pack can ever be your girlfriend, regardless your fondness for fabric, that every pack is fundamentally just a bag with straps, and that Kelty makes a good-enough bag.

So, when I go multi-week-no-resupply-no-trail I go with a Kelty Lakota, a good-enough bag.  And the Gregorys stay in the foot locker.

For beginners.  Really, a spectacular comment.

HYOH

Drake

First of all, "lower middle class" isn't an insult. It's sort of a compliment. It designates gear that is functional and cheap.

"For beginners" isn't an insult either. A beginner is a person who has to make a big cash outlay for all new gear and can't afford too much fancy stuff at that point. Beginners often ask, "What's a decent cheap tent?" I reply, the Kelty Grand Mesa 2. It was my first backpacking tent and worked pretty well, especially for a tent that you can pick up for $100 at Dick's SPorting Goods.

On their tents Kelty does cut some corners, and the current colors are lousy. Kelty backpacks tend to be heavy and don't have the adjustability of more expensive packs. But they are functional and would suit a beginner in many cases.

How come your pack can't be your girlfriend? I'm pretty enamored of my pack. Just a bag with straps? That's heresy.

Now, don't take me for a snob. I'm one of the ones in this forum who is always hunting for and recommending good cheap stuff. I like Mountainsmith and Alps Mountaineering---good solid stuff, well made, well designed, and cheap. But you're not going to get a refined pack from them like an Osprey if you have special fitting needs. That's the only reason I would fork over the extra cost of an Osprey, because nothing else fits me. Same for Kelty.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 07 2012, 6:49 am)
QUOTE

(Fatpacking @ Nov. 05 2012, 1:49 pm)
QUOTE
Good to know. The Osprey packs I tried on where super nice and very lightweight. It would have been a very tough choice if they had fit better at the store or I knew parts could be switched out.

You can get swappable belts and harnesses on the large Osprey backpacks. But there is not a pack in their ultralight line that has swappable anything - it was another of the quibbles I had with them. My backpacking load is such that the "ultralight" (they really aren't) packs they make are what I needed, but the belts and straps were not workable for me.

Now, if I needed an 80 liter Argon, I could have the belt heat-molded to my hips, after picking which belt I wanted...

That doesn't surprise me, as the fasteners etc. for swappable parts add weight.  To keep it UL, they keep it simple.  But it does limit the folks they fit.  I do wish the Talon had a swappable hipbelt.  I got one (the 44) for my son, and would happily buy the M/L belt for when I use it, as he needed one with the smallest belt available (dang skinny kids!)

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I must not be there yet, I keep hiking...
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 9:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 07 2012, 9:34 pm)
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"For beginners" isn't an insult either. A beginner is a person who has to make a big cash outlay for all new gear and can't afford too much fancy stuff at that point. Beginners often ask, "What's a decent cheap tent?" I reply, the Kelty Grand Mesa 2. It was my first backpacking tent and worked pretty well, especially for a tent that you can pick up for $100 at Dick's SPorting Goods.

It's a pack, and you can use it no matter what level of experience you have.

I have a few friends who hiked their Kelty packs to shreds, literally had it held together with duct tape - one of them has that pack stuck together with so much tape we started calling him Duct Tape - and you could not by any means call him a "beginner." He just hasn't found any pack he likes as well. It's gone with him for hundreds of miles of backpacking.

The folks who carry old external frames - same thing. You use what you like - period. Plenty of folks just use a pack without ever having to label it this way. What's an "advanced" backpack? The one you've taken to a seamstress to patch where the marmots chewed, stuck all the souvenir patches to, dropped down a rock face when you cliffed out heading over the cross country pass, or had to get a new hip belt for because you wore it out.


--------------
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
     Friedrich Nietzsche
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 11:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

AlmostThere, I see what you're saying. I didn't mean to imply that Kelty was "exclusively" for beginners and not suitable for others. I meant to say that Kelty is particularly good for beginners because it's solid and cheap. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
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