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Dana Design Mazama and other light packs
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OMG a backpacking topic!
“Dana Mazama: Does anyone have this pack? I've been looking for a lighter pack around 3500 CI and this fits the profile. I've got my load down to about 31lbs with food and water for a weekend. I was wondering if anyone had experience with this pack and could tell me if it could carry 30-35lbs comfortably?
Pack weight 3lbs 9oz
Other packs I was considering:
Gregory G Pack - ruled this one out due to weak fabric that tears easily. 2lbs 12oz
Granite Gear Nimbus 3800 - I like the weight of this pack and size...but 0 organizational features...I can deal without pockets but I'm not sure I can deal without a lid. 3lbs
Osprey Aether 60 - I've heard great things about Osprey--3lb 6oz.
Mountainsmith Chimera 4200 - Don't really know much about this brand. 3lbs 7oz”
“The Gpack ain't weak and silnylon doesn't tear easily. If you do a lot of off trail stuff through the brush you might need something beefier but on trail it's just fine.”
“I currently have a Shasta and I've used a Forester--I do like Gregory packs. A read a review, I think it was in [cough] Backpacker Magazine that said the G Pack's Fabric tore easily. I don't do much off-trail hiking, but I do like a pack the holds up.”
“I suppose it would give it up if you are dragging it across granite or through a gnarly blowdown. But normal wear and tear I think the pack will be just fine. Backpacker tends to favor gross overkill in construction (read, heavy)
My biggest concern would be if it would be confy for you at the weights you listed. 35 is definately on the edge if not over the comfort level.”
“Actually the 31lbs figure was for all gear including a 3lb pack, so my actual gear weight would be 28lbs. I'm slowly getting lighter as I started out at 65lbs.
I also just realized the Chimera is a womens bag...the Auspex is the mens version.”
“65lbs. Yep, been there. Hence the trailname.”
“Yeah, it sucked...if I didn't find out you could backpack with lighter loads I probably would have quit. 65lbs in 90F weather on huge WV hills sucked bad.”
“I made my own sil nylon pack and as far as a pack material, I have mixed feelings about it. The material is lightweight to be sure, but its weak point is that it's not very abrasion resistant, puncture resistant and easily repaired in the field. I like the fact that it's waterproof, but this is only an advantage in a pack if it's made from the start with minimal seams and the seams that are there can be sealed watertight. This isn't as easy to do as you would think when you fuse two different materials, silnylon and regular nylon into one pack. As far as weight savings, using silnylon doesn't save as much weight as you would think. It roughly takes about 3/4 yard of fabric to a make a pack 3500c.i. Silnylon at 1.3 ounces per yard opposed to about 7 ounces per yard for pack cloth. Do the math and you can see it isn't that much weight saved on fabric alone. For on trail travel a silpack will be OK if you're are careful with low hanging branches. A more challenging task is to build a silpack with seams that will survive long term use under decent loads. Lots of reinforcing is needed and that adds weight. If it isn't done don't expect the pack to last as long. It can be done and is a lot of work. Are companies doing it? I don't know because I never saw a commercial silpack, but I've heard of Gregory seam failures in some reviews. So to me silnylon in pack construction has very few advantages and some solid disadvantages for meager weight savings. It all comes down to priorities and what you want your pack to do for you.”
“Thanks richb for the writeup on silnylon packs--I think I'll avoid them.
What I'm specifically looking for in a new pack... 3-4lb range. 3500-4000CI range. Can carry 30-40lbs. Good suspension and hipbelt. Lid.
The packs above fit the criteria (except the GG with no lid).
Anyone have experience with the ones listed?”
“Have you considered a McHale, maybe the Subpop or Speed bump? I have one of his bigger packs and a custom pack is well worth a little more money.”
“I think the Zero Sarc can be customized the way I want and be around 3lbs...but McHale is way out of my pricerange right now.”
“OK, I just thought I'd mention it because I wasn't sure if you knew about his packs.”
“I'll look into a McHale pack after college, hopefully a time when I'll have more money.”
It's More Ultra-Simple Than Ultralight
“Don't let no stinkin lid reduce your choices of packs. BackcountryGear.Com has Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone packs onsale at a decent price.”
“I've got an Osprey Aether 60 and it's a great pack.”
“Where are Birch and Sass? Not here? I guess I'll say it:
“ULA P2, never heard of it.
That is a good deal on the GG packs...I hated going from a pack with pockets to the rucksack style of the Shasta...however, it has a lid and sleeping bag compartment...the GG has neither. I had to change my organizational style with the Shasta...guess I'll have to change it again.
So which pack...the Osprey, GG, or Dana...tough tough tough. Probably rule out the Dana due to price.”
“One thing I don't like about the majority of lightweight packs is the lack of bottom access. I hate having to empty out my entire pack to get at my sleeping bag or something near the bottom. In bad weather or wet ground it really sucks. The last pack I built I made sure it had a bottom access zipper. It added 4 ounces of weight which was no big deal.”
“That does suck. I have an old NF Inca that is a panel-top load combo. Nice for getting to stuff in a hurry, but also heavy as hell.”
“A pack with bottom access doesn't have to be heavy. The problem is there's just not much to choose from in lightweight packs with access. Packmakers are afraid to add any weight to a pack with the consumer walking in the store with a postal scale. A #10 zipper which can hold 200 pounds per inch and the zipper flap only add around 4 ounces at most. Well worth it for me and I won't use my other lightweight pack I have with no bottom access for backpacking anymore. Not worth the hassle for me.”
“i could manage without bottom access...although it would suck...but without a lid require different packing style.”
“I've just adapted my packing style to the top load packs. Yah I gotta haul everything out to get to my sleeping bag, but by then I've got my tent up and the stuff can go in there for the time being if it's raining or something.”
“Essentials that need to be reached easily. TP and trowel; raingear; medkit; food; headlamp; map/compass/gps; I uses to spread these out from the bottom access, the top of the pack and the lid...now I guess they have to stack.
Osprey or GG, decisions....anyone have experience with these? Other recommendations?”
How Can I Miss What I Never Had
“Essentials at the top...non-essentials at the bottom. Isn't this how most pack their pack?
I guess I never had a bottom-access pack.”
“I recently got an EMS Long Trails, $119.00, and something around 4 LBS. don't quite remember. It chopped 3 lbs. off my old pack. It has no bottom access. That has proven to be a non issue, and I really haven't changed how I load the pack much. The weight savings were well worth it.”
“At this point I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the Osprey Aether 60. It's got enough CI, a lid, good suspension, good pack material, large mesh pockets on the side and back. I don't know when I'll get the $$$ to purchase it though...maybe after Christmas.”
“Check for sales. A few people have posted some good prices for that pack in the past on this board.”
“dang - I feel left out of these pack discussions - oh well - for ease of access nothing beats a Gearskin - just stick your hand in from the side after releasing a strap. Of course the adjustment to the Gearskin packing style may be a bit radical for some.”
“I've got an Aether 60 - exchanged a cumbersome Dana TerraFrame for it at Northern Mountain back when it was on sale there. Looks like its $199 now.
I am very pleased with it. It didn't come with instructions on how to adjust it, but I found them on Osprey's webpage. Once I finished tweaking it, it fit great. You can add external storage to it, but that adds weight...”
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