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#1 tnmule20

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:29 PM

I plan on attending our spring OLS training and I need a backpack.  This will be a 2 night camp.  I have been looking at the High Sierra Appalachian 75 for this purpose.  I know it will be too big for just 2 nights but I'm thinking of the future and longer trips.  Do most of you have multiple size packs for different length trips?  I would like to buy one and be done or should I invest in a smaller and larger pack.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:41 PM

I have a shoulder strap military duffle bag for canoe treks

 

I have a old Yucca Pack (BSA) for weekend campouts  I have 2 so I could go front and back (short trek) or tumpline for longer treks.

 

I have a military ALICE pack for long weekend campouts

 

I have a full external frame pack for 7+day treks.

 

I always travel quite light and do without on most outings. For example If the weather for the weekend looks decent, I'll use a poncho as my tent/pack cover or rain fly.


Edited by Stosh, 08 April 2016 - 07:44 PM.

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#3 vumbi

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:48 PM

Hi, and welcome to the forums. The best choice is a really personal thing. It depends on your size, build, interests, and personal preferences. Some like external frames, some like internal frames.

If I were thinking about another backpack I'd go to an outfitter who had a good variety to try on and have an experienced person carefully see what 'fits' best. That is really important because you're going to have that thing your back for many hours, sometimes under difficult conditions. This is one situation where you really want to have comfort on the trail.


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#4 qwazse

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:04 PM

I have one pack. Currently a Kelly trekker. It's medium size. For extended treks (rare for me), I tie on gear and extra bags.
The problem with a larger pack: you are more likely to fill it for no good reason.

I strongly recommend asking around to borrow a friend's pack. (Different friends, actually.) Try before you buy.
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#5 Krampus

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:58 PM

I plan on attending our spring OLS training and I need a backpack.  This will be a 2 night camp.  I have been looking at the High Sierra Appalachian 75 for this purpose.  I know it will be too big for just 2 nights but I'm thinking of the future and longer trips.  Do most of you have multiple size packs for different length trips?  I would like to buy one and be done or should I invest in a smaller and larger pack.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.


Very difficult. Will you use this for more back packing? Are you a light or heavy packer?

I I'll say I like the ability to have more space if needed. I'd go with 85 if you are going to keep back packing. Also, look for the extras. Some come with summit bags and rain covers, others don't.

I like this one for extras, fit, price, size and storage. We all have pet peaves with packs. Real personal choice. ;)

https://www.rei.com/...baltoro-85-pack
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#6 Sentinel947

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 07:24 PM

Figure out what gear you will need for the course. Then think about what gear you will use backpacking. Buy a pack that fits that. I own 3 packs. A 58 liter Osprey Exos. I own a Dueter 65 ACT lite that Ill be selling to a friend. Then I own a Kelty Red Cloud 5,400.

But seriously. Gear first. Get the lightest, smallest gear you can afford. Sometimes you can improvise with things around your house. Then get the pack. If possible, borrow a friends pack for OLS. Don't rush into pack buying decisions. A pack can be a big financial sink hole, if you find out on a 5 day backpacking trip that it rubs you funny, or hurts your back is a sad time.

I recommend internal frame packs. They are more comfortable in my opinion. Externals are harder find nowadays, because they are mostly outclassed by internal packs. You can probably find externals online for fairly cheap if you want to go that route. 

 

I do not recommend military gear. It's durable sure, but it's heavier than it's civilian equivalent. Scouts don't tend to go off established trails, LNT frowns on bushwhacking through the forest. Therefore the durability of a military bag is simply overkill and adds unnecessary weight. 

Danbrew makes a good point. Most troops nowadays do park and plop style camping.

 

Backpacking with Scouts is the activity that can engage and keep older scouts. I highly recommend your Troop start a backpacking program if your troop doesn't backpack currently. It's a great way to keep older scouts involved, encourage youth leadership, introduce your scouts to a hobby that lasts a lifetime, and they can even earn a merit badge for it. 

Sentinel947


Edited by Sentinel947, 11 April 2016 - 06:48 AM.
Edit to add more.

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#7 Stosh

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 07:48 PM

As you can tell @tnmule20, no two people are going to give you the same answer, everything is relevant to what is being done and who is doing it.  If you look at my post, I don't even consistently use the same pack   Depending on what I'm doing I can pick any one of 4 different packs and that is by no means the full range of options I have on the shelving of my garage.

 

There is no such thing as an ideal pack that is a one-size-fits-all.  It's a bit like the parable of the 7 blind men describing an elephant.  Seven different answers, all of them correct and all of them incorrect.  :)


Edited by Stosh, 09 April 2016 - 07:49 PM.

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#8 jjlash

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 07:50 PM

Some good advice here - I agree with those who suggest that you not buy a pack just for your OLS session.  Either borrow a pack, or use something you already have or is inexpensive until you have a bit more experience and/or until you have a better handle on what else you'll do with it.

 

Like others who have been doing this a while, I have several packs.  For monthly campouts, OA campouts and training that involves camping, I use a two-strap military duffle because I take way more stuff on a local campout than on a backcountry trip - I often take multiple of the same item so I can test new stuff.  I have a canoe portage pack for those trips and a 72L Golite pack that I absolutely love for backpacking.  


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#9 Eagledad

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 10:01 AM

There are some basics for selecting packs:

1. People tend to fill a pack, no matter the activity. My first pack was a huge 80 ci and I could never end my trips with less than 50lbs. Sometimes 65 lbs or more. Everything fit in that pack. My next pack was 48 ci and my typical loads drop between 40 to 45 lbs max. now I'm talking Boy Scout trips, my pack on personal trips was closer to 30 lbs. By going smaller fit, I was forced to say no.

2. Internal frame packs require some organization where external frames can be packed more hap hazard. In general external frame packs are easier and faster to access. Think setting up camp in heaven thunder storm; if the tent was at the bottom of the internal frame pack, EVERYTHING will get wet. Packing an internal frame pack requires some thought. For scouts and scouters with little backing experience, I typically suggest using an external frame pack until they have some experience.

3.The key to comfortable backbacking is understanding how to adjust the pack. Externals are typically easier to adjust and repair quickly in the field. And, many internals need some custom fitting at the store. Most externals have a lot of adjustability for different body size. Internals are typically built for specific sizes and have less adjustiblity.

As for a pack to fit the activity, there was a time I averaged 65 nights a year camping. I eventually went to duffle bags on none hiking camp outs and save the pack for treks. Believe or not, duffles are easier to pack and carry for most non hiking outings. As a scoutmaster and training corrdenator coordinator, I took as many duffles as I needed for my gear. Duffles take up less space for travel and tents. Packs are expensive and can be broken if not stored correctly during travel. Duffles are cheap and hold up to years of abuse. I use duffles even now for my business and vacation travels.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad, 10 April 2016 - 10:03 AM.

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#10 MtnScouter

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 11:38 AM

Tnmule20,

 

I don't know what your access to military surplus is, I lucked out in being former Army to have a few ruck sacks, I find them very useful for scouting as they have lots of storage space, spots for both sleep system (Sleeping bag AKA: Fart sack) as well as mat roll and tent. Check eBay for Molle ruck sacks, call around Mil surp stores. Rucks being decent for rucking it up. The molle systems are great for adding specialized pouches, even getting ahold of smaller 3 day assault packs are great, also having molle loops for specialized pouches as need presents, they also sport a spot for a camelbak hydration system. I use my 3 day for lots of stuff still. Lots of good stuff should be available. 


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#11 Mountaineer

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 05:31 PM

You will not go wrong with an Osprey; you'll thank me later. The Aether 70 will serve you well on a day hike or multi-day backcountry hike.Go to REI and have them weight it down and adjust it for you.


Edited by Mountaineer, 10 April 2016 - 05:57 PM.

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#12 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 05:45 PM

Borrow a friend's pack, or rent one from REI.

 

Military surplus is good. Joke in my troop growing up: Military surplus, if it's designed to survive combat, it may survive Scouts. And yes, I own a medium ALICE That I used for 2 fifty milers afloat, numerous camp outs, 2 years of high school, and 5 years of undergrad. She's had some surgery, both needed and cosmetic ( turned mine into a HELLCAT ALICE), but she is still around.

 

But with the advances in technology, I'm looking towards a USMC FILBE.

 

I also have an old Camp Trails' Wind River. In fct just used ti this weekend to prep for a trip later on.


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#13 danbrew

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 09:22 PM

Some good comments here.  Don't buy a pack for OLS.  Heck, don't buy a pack for Cub Scout camping.  And, really, I'd bet that the camping that 99.99948382% of troops out there conduct won't require you to have a pack.

 

Here's pretty much how it works in our council - you drive to wherever you're doing OLS and you bring a duffle bag or some other bag with your stuff in it.  You walk, maybe, 50'.  For Cub Scout camping, you car camp at local council properties or maybe a state park.  For Boy Scout camping? Maybe you walk 100' for virtually all campouts.  Yes, we're a "city" troop - Three Fires Council in Northern Illinois.  In ten years of Scouting I can count on one hand the # of camping trips that I've gone on that a pack would be required.

 

Most of the time you'll have your stuff in the car/truck/trailer and can go right up to the campsite.

 

If your troop gets into High Adventure treks, sure, you'll need a pack.  We're sending a crew to Philmont this summer and we all went out an get packs.

 

But I'd bet that you probably don't "need" a pack if you're like most Scouters.

 


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#14 qwazse

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 04:08 AM

Some good comments here.  Don't buy a pack for OLS.  Heck, don't buy a pack for Cub Scout camping.  And, really, I'd bet that the camping that 99.99948382% of troops out there conduct won't require you to have a pack....
 
But I'd bet that you probably don't "need" a pack if you're like most Scouters.


Don't be like most scouters. Park a mile from every campsite ... Keep those 4wD SUVs out of the mud! :D

I'm not discouraging the purchase of gear because you'll never use it. I'm encouraging borrowing to give you a chance to try out gear before you buy something that will not suit you during the years of use you'll put on it.

My sons left for 1st year cub residence camp with packs on their backs. Son #1's 1st backpacking hike was when he was a Webelos II.
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#15 blw2

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 07:40 AM

hey lots of great suggestions already

borrowing really makes a lot of sense, because a big pack can be expensive

.... (and keep in mind I'm not a heavily experienced backpacker, have only done it a bit, want to do more because that is what I consider "real" camping)

 

my suggestions

1st - get your hands on "The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide" by Andrew Skurka and give it a good read.  He's an ultimate ultra lighter, but it gives lots to think about even if that is not your goal.... I tend to be a heavy packer but I realize that this is... well... kinda stupid really, to do...  probably a good idea to buy a pack that's a bit on the smaller size to help keep you in check...

http://andrewskurka.com

I ordered a copy from amazon

 

2nd - even though it's not the normal recommendation form most backpackers, i would go for a back opening pack as opposed to a top opening.  The zipper adds a bit of weight, but honestly that's fairly negligible in my opinion, until a person starts to get very serious... and it's a bit more of a leak potential and failure point, but no more that I'm using it I would really like to have the accessibility the back opening models give.

 

As a reference point - I bought a Teton sports 4000 pack from amazon several years ago before I got into boy scouting again... based on price mainly.  Of course wasn't able to try it on, but figured it would be good enough for my needs... Sometimes i regret the decision because of the top opening style, and it's a bit heavy, but it's ok

Interesting thing, I noticed Clarke Green recommends it over at scoutmastercg.com 

http://scoutmastercg...outs-backpacks/


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#16 Stosh

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:03 AM

It is surprising when one stops and ponders the Civil War soldier carried 3 day's rations in a haversack, 2 qt water in a canteen, a bedroll over the shoulder, 6# ammunition and a 11# gun and hiked for thousands of miles over the course of 3 years.  Our people can't walk from the parking lot to the campsite without an external/internal framed pack with sippers, pockets, shoulder straps, belts with breakaway belts, pack covers, double ziplock packing, etc.

 

I've done the 4 day outing of a national re-enactment, with nothing more than what I could carry in a bed roll and that included tent and 11# gun.  Nothing was nylon, all canvas and leather.  Of course I was over 50 years of age at the time too.  This backpacking stuff is not as hard as many of the "professionals" seem to make it out to be.

 

My BSA Yucca pack is a luxury and it doesn't have a waist belt either.


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#17 Sentinel947

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:10 AM

It is surprising when one stops and ponders the Civil War soldier carried 3 day's rations in a haversack, 2 qt water in a canteen, a bedroll over the shoulder, 6# ammunition and a 11# gun and hiked for thousands of miles over the course of 3 years.  Our people can't walk from the parking lot to the campsite without an external/internal framed pack with sippers, pockets, shoulder straps, belts with breakaway belts, pack covers, double ziplock packing, etc.

 

 

 

They also didn't have flush toilets, electricity, air conditioning, cars, or cell phones either. Given the chance, I bet you they would upgrade to modern gear. They did the best with what they had at the time.  ;) Doesn't mean I'm going to do things how they did it. 


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#18 Stosh

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:19 AM

They also didn't have flush toilets, electricity, air conditioning, cars, or cell phones either. Given the chance, I bet you they would upgrade to modern gear. They did the best with what they had at the time.  ;) Doesn't mean I'm going to do things how they did it. 

 

Hmmmmm, out in the woods where scouts are supposed to be they don't have flush toilets, electricity, air conditioning, cars or cell phones....  Where is it your boys camp?  :eek:   They used to call it "Getting away from it all!"  :rolleyes:  I think they call it "Drag it along with you. Nowadays! :mellow:

 

The last camporee I went on, I camped totally as a scout would have camped in 1910.  I cooked over wood, I slept in a WW I era dog tent with bed roll, used metal mess kit and canteen and wore the 1910 wool uniform.  Boys were constantly stopping by to see "how it was going" and I was doing just fine. 


Edited by Stosh, 11 April 2016 - 08:21 AM.

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#19 Eagledad

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:40 AM

2nd - even though it's not the normal recommendation form most backpackers, i would go for a back opening pack as opposed to a top opening.  The zipper adds a bit of weight, but honestly that's fairly negligible in my opinion, until a person starts to get very serious... and it's a bit more of a leak potential and failure point, but no more that I'm using it I would really like to have the accessibility the back opening models give.

We also advice back panel openings as well for people new to backpacking because they are just easier to access gear with the packs in a tent. I think they are good packs to start with and learn how to pack.

 

But our troop is a backpacking troop and we started using tents that don't have room for the packs. We learned and got used to packing most of our clothing gear in gallon freezer bags. They actually make it easier to pack a pack. After the tents are set up, we pull out the freezer bags and throw them in the tent. we leave our packs and patrol gear outside with the rain cover to protect them. Top loads aren't such a big deal then.

 

Barry


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#20 Eagledad

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:49 AM

Any adult suggesting a scout use a pack without a hip belt should be reported for abuse. Our troop even back in the 60's was attaching surplus army web belts to our packs. 

 

Barry


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