Friday, June 25, 2010

The Top 5 Backpacks of All Time (My Picks)

There are a lot of lightweight and ultralight packs out there and I've tried many of them.  Here are my picks for the top 5 including their strengths and weaknesses.



These are my choices and their specs in no particular order:


GossamerGear Mariposa Plus

Golite Jam

ULA P-2/Catalyst

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus

Mountainsmith Ghost

What are your favorite packs?




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20 comments:

Kathy Handyside said...

Great video, as always, Jason! I had already decided that when I can get the money together, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus would be my pack of choice. Glen Van Peski really gives you a lot of choice to customize the fit. I like the weight, as well as the features.

Kathy Handyside said...

My current pack - other than my old circa 1970s Kelty Sonora external frame pack - is a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone. Nice pack, very comfortable. But it weighs 3 lbs empty (normally, it weighs 2 lbs 13ounces, but I added a Granite Gear The Lid to it, which adds 3 ounces to the weight). I'd like to get a lighter pack.

Kathy Handyside said...

Oops! It's a Kelty Tioga, not Sonora (my friend has the Sonora).

Marty said...

Great video again Jason... My favorite pack is my ULA Conduit, (I think it is now the CDT)its a great Ultralight Pack... Love it. Roomy, and holds lots of gear... Very comfortable!

Jason Klass said...

YIKES! What a horrible still frame of me!

stick13 said...

Nice reviews. I have eyeballed both the Jam and the Exodus as well, but just not ready for that light a weight... It amazes me though at the capacity of some of the UL and light-weight packs, but due to lack of frame, or a limited frame, they are limited by the amount they can comfortably carry. Maybe I will understand when I get closer to being lightweight? Right now I have my sights on the GG Nimbus Ozone. Large enough capacity, and can still haul 40 lbs comfortably if needed. (My current pack is the Kelty Red Cloud 5600. Big and heavy. Hey, I'm learning though!)
Good video. Thanks.

Lance Milks said...

Very cool Jason. Like you I have aquired several packs over the years. My pack of choice right now is the REI flash 30. However as I told you Ive got my eye in the MLD burn.

Jason Klass said...

Stick,
The Granite Gear packs are very comfortable but I hate the side pockets--they're too tight to the body of the pack to be practical in my opinion. I'd like to know what you think about th pockets.

Kathy Handyside said...

Jason - I agree with you about the pockets on the Granite Gear pack - at least, that's the case with my Nimbus Ozone.

Basti said...

Hey Jason,
thanks for an other great video.
I think one of my favourite ul-packs is still the classic GoLite daypack/ RayWay pack. Doesn't have extra features as most other packs (ok. It has nearly no features...) but it's the pack I carry nearly every day. It's simple, durable, comfortable and most important, it works.
But when I have to choose which kind of ultralightrucksack I would carry on my trips my decision would always be a Laufbursche huckePack. Less than 13 oz, about 3300 ci/in3, made of either SilNylon (my wifes choice) , Dynema Gridstop or X-pack (my choice).
I like the clever design and this pack really has a lot of features...

Maz said...

I have been out with the Gossamer Gear Gorilla only once, but it was such distance ahead of my previous packs that I'd have to say it'll be hard to beat. It is supremely comfortable, a fact attributable to the wide shoulder straps, the excellent hip-belt and the aluminum stays. It clung to my back, limpet-like, and the side pockets are very easy to access whilst on the move, which I like. I have added bungee cord all the way down on one side to ensure that, when scrambling, my camera cannot escape from the side pocket. I’m a huge fan of the large mesh front pocket where I can stuff my hat, gloves and Lite Speed. I found that I had the Lite Speed on and off several times during each day’s hillwalking, constantly adjusting my temperature in the heat and the wind, which was easy because it was immediately accessible and because the Gorilla is so easy to shrug on and off. The Y-shaped roll-top lid strapping is also very effective. All-in-all, a joy to carry.

Anonymous said...

Ancient alu-frame women's Kelty of unknown model but at least 25 years old. Ultra-lite construction, small and comfortable on a man with upgraded suspension. Lots of pockets and ties. It is a joy of a pack to use. Good conversation starter, too. I buy every one I see with working zippers at yard sales to give away to friends. Cheap, cheap, cheap backpack at a coupla bucks.

Anonymous said...

What conversation about great packs would be complete without someone mentioning the Golite Ion. I don't know why but I'm always drawn back to it and trying to shove my gear in it.

amytys said...

Gossamer Gear G5 Hyperlight - no idea why they discontinued this 8oz, 4000 cu/in pack. Great for weekend backpacks for people who aren't quite "Ultralight," or if you've really gotten your gear footprint down you can go a week easy with this pack, with cold-weather gear to boot.

Granite Gear Vapor Trail, and of course the MountainSmith Ghost too.

Rocky said...

The Granite Gear Vapor Trail was *the* pack on the AT for several years, and introduced a lot of people to lighter packs.

You are right about the pockets being too tight.

The Vapor Trail has a plastic sheet frame which works well for most loads. However, when I strapped a fully loaded bear canister to the top, the sheet buckled after a few days. I spent an hour repacking by the side of the trail, with the canister inside the pack and lots of gear strapped to the top.

Haven't used it since.

Gregory Backpacks said...

Hey!

Seriously...how can you not have a Gregory in that list!

Have you tried one?

Regards
Matter

Jason Klass said...

Matter,
Sorry, I should have clarified that my picks were for lightweight or UL packs. I have owned several Gregory backpacks in the past (Whitney, Palisades, etc.). They are definitely well designed and well made packs but WAY too heavy for my hiking style now. I associate Gregory with "heavy". If you have a new design that fits the growing trend toward UL and lightweight backpacking, I'd love to hear more. I know Gregory makes good stuff, I just don't know what they offer the lightweight hiker in the current product line. Maybe something in the Z-series? Feel free to educate me.

Timothy said...

I'm just getting into the ultralight backpacking craze, and having a hard time choosing the right pack. I currently have an Osprey Atmos 65. It's a great pack, but it weighs 3 lbs and it has way oo much space (4000 ci). But, if I go smaller, I'm afraid I won't be able to use it during the winter. At $200 per pack, I can't really afford to have two or three different packs. Do you have an all around perfect pack that you reccomend?

Jason Klass said...

Timothy,
You don't need to buy multiple packs. Any of the packs in this video would serve as a good all around pack. It comes down to which features you want (panel loading, hip belt pockets, etc.).

Anonymous said...

I love my Dana Design Astalplane!! Bomb, heavy, yeah but the most durable pack I own! Certainly not light weight but what craftmanship.