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Tired_Eagle_Feathers

Tell me about backpacks.

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So I dug my old backpack out of the attic and discovered that the nylon straps are disintegrating.  The frame is aluminum and the bag part is fine.  I can probably make new straps from leather.

I looked online at REI and all the backpacks today look like a giant duffle bag with straps.  Not at all what I grew up with.  How do you attach a bed roll, sleeping bag, and tent to these new kinds of backpacks?

 

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There are straps for attaching a bed roll.  My boys stuff their sleeping bag into compression sacks and put them inside their packs.  If you have an REI store near you, go there during a quiet time of day and ask a sales associate to run you through the newer backpacks' features. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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2 minutes ago, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

So I dug my old backpack out of the attic and discovered that the nylon straps are disintegrating.  The frame is aluminum and the bag part is fine.  I can probably make new straps from leather.

I looked online at REI and all the backpacks today look like a giant duffle bag with straps.  Not at all what I grew up with.  How do you attach a bed roll, sleeping bag, and tent to these new kinds of backpacks?

 

They go inside. Some have lower pockets for the sleeping bags.  The tops are expandable for lighter sleeping pads.  Yes the nylon will fall apart after many years.  Also the padding breaks down if stored in heat and comes out like little pellets.

The newer packs with the internal frames take some getting used to if you are only familiar with the frame ones.  Though many have handy nalegene pockets that can be accessed right behind you while hiking.  One does have to adjust the straps and the way you load more thoughtfully as they can tend to have the center of weight lower and that can tend to pull you back as opposed to the frame pack which tends to ride higher and can be flatter

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6 minutes ago, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

... I looked online at REI and all the backpacks today look like a giant duffle bag with straps.  Not at all what I grew up with.  How do you attach a bed roll, sleeping bag, and tent to these new kinds of backpacks?

:rolleyes: I feel your pain! Some of those packs require a degree to understand! There's nothing like visiting a bunch of stores and trying on the variety that they have in stock. Some stores even have weights to give you a sense of how they'd feel with load.

Personally, I've stuck to external frames. I can scavenge my retired packs for parts that I want to keep on the new ones.

Kevlar straps and para-chord are beautiful things.  Rated carabiners are nice too.

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I get the distinct impression that modern packs will not have the longevity of older, canvas ones. My original BSA Yucca pack is now permanently attached to the war surplus plywood (!) GI M4  pack board. I used this from about 1960 thru 1980....  

I think the internal frames are very comfortable to carry, but not very adaptable.  You are fairly limited to their pockets, very little to tie extraneous things to.  Diamond hitch is becoming a archeological artifact. 

I presently use ( when I need to walk) a REI pack frame with a generic pack bolted (real bolts!) to it, or a Kelty  pack and frame of unknown vintage,, given to me by a friend.    Next in the mix is my 2013 Nat Jam duffle, which is overly commodious and can be shoulder packed. The Kelty and REI packs are sturdy, but  thread worn. The GI packframe and Yucca pack combo is still useable, if heavy in comparison to the more modern gear. 

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39 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Some stores even have weights to give you a sense of how they'd feel with load.

That is one of the things I like about REI.  They will measure you, and based on measurements, weight, and what type of backpack need you have; they will fit one to you.  You can then load it with the weight you will likely be carrying and wear it for a while.

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1 hour ago, SSScout said:

I get the distinct impression that modern packs will not have the longevity of older, canvas ones. My original BSA Yucca pack is now permanently attached to the war surplus plywood (!) GI M4  pack board. I used this from about 1960 thru 1980....  

I think the internal frames are very comfortable to carry, but not very adaptable.  You are fairly limited to their pockets, very little to tie extraneous things to.  Diamond hitch is becoming a archeological artifact. 

I presently use ( when I need to walk) a REI pack frame with a generic pack bolted (real bolts!) to it, or a Kelty  pack and frame of unknown vintage,, given to me by a friend.    Next in the mix is my 2013 Nat Jam duffle, which is overly commodious and can be shoulder packed. The Kelty and REI packs are sturdy, but  thread worn. The GI packframe and Yucca pack combo is still useable, if heavy in comparison to the more modern gear. 

Wonderful post, SSS!

My first pack was a nylon green Kmart yucca.  Simple and tough.  Used it for 25 plus years til it wore out.  Recently found another on ebay that I use and treasure.

As an SPL in AK, we had an old locker in the scout hut on Elmendorf AFB that was a mystery.  We figured it belonged to the cub pack.  They thought it belonged to us.  Once we figured out that it was really a mystery, the cubs declared no interest in the locker and said have at it.

So the next scout meeting we snapped the lock and peered inside.  Nothing much.  But there was a BSA advancement guide from 1968.  And a wonderful canvas BSA yucca pack.  My SM gave me both.  I used that yucca as well.  Lost it in during a move but got another one on the big auction site.

For day hikes, I still like a yucca pack.  Very straightforward, tough, and useful. 

For longer trips, I still use an external frame pack.  I rotate between a modern-era Mountainsmith and an early '80s Camp Trails.  I like the simplicity.  Pack it, put it on your back, adjust shoulder straps, and start hiking.  I'll also readily admit nostalgia plays a role too.  It's what I know.

PS.  Our scout troop in AK also had a conex full of brand new GI M4 packboards!

Edited by desertrat77

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I've found that the modern internal frame packs work very well if you have exactly the correct type of gear that will fit inside it.  The moment you have something that's an odd shape or is too big, you carrying options become quite limited.

Back in the day, you could plop a 4 man tent on top of your external frame pack, secure it with bungee cords and you were off to the races.  It's pretty difficult to do that with the current crop of packs.

I also do not like top load packs at all.  After my first external frame pack, I had an internal frame from Camp Trails that was panel load and had plenty of D-rings and compression straps that you could barnacle on just about anything.  It finally fell apart after 20 years of service.

My current pack is a gen 1, J51 Warhammer pack from Eberlestock (ALICE frame, not the new Intex-II frame) with a Superspike duffel.  When fully loaded it looks a little weird as it is fairly wide, but the setup is so easy to configure for all kinds of stuff that I don't care about the width.  Even when bushwhacking I've never had a problem getting snagged etc.  It might be a little too on the tacti-cool side for some though.

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3 hours ago, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

How do you attach a bed roll, sleeping bag, and tent to these new kinds of backpacks?

Take your sleeping bag out of the compression sack and stuff it unrolled into your backpack's main compartment while you're loading everything else. That way, it can fill the voids between other items or suspend them higher up for better weight distribution. Think of it like packing material.

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36 minutes ago, shortridge said:

If any external frame fans really want their heads to explode, check out the ultralight sub on Reddit and read about Ray Jardine. Base pack weights of 10-15 pounds - or less!

I see what you mean...really mind blowing stuff compared to the heavy equipment of yesteryear. 

Edited by desertrat77

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Alps Mountaineering actually still manufactures (or has manufactured) a line of external frame packs.  A couple of the scouts in my troop have bought and use them and are quite happy.  I know personally, internal frame packs drive me nuts.  In addition to not being able to attach things to the outside, I find them to be extremely warm on my back.  Plus, (and this is the biggie) they carry with more pressure on your shoulders than the external ones do; and since I already have neck and back issues, I want every pound possible riding on my hips.

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1 hour ago, shortridge said:

If any external frame fans really want their heads to explode, check out the ultralight sub on Reddit and read about Ray Jardine. Base pack weights of 10-15 pounds - or less!

I remember when I was in Scouting that when I first started out I wanted to put every little cool thing in my pack that I could. 

In the end I tried to see how little I could put into my pack.  When you think about it, you are really only going to be gone for a weekend.  About the only thing you absolutely have to bring is water.  Once we took Wilderness Survival, it really changed the way we approached food on hiking trips.  We did not want to bring cooking gear beyond our own personal mess kits.  And even those were sometimes forgone for a simple plastic plate and a fork.  We didn't want to clean it nor carry it.  Not to mention when I was older I had to look after the younger kids.  I remember packing out one trip with my pack on my back and another kid's on my front.

I don't know if I have it in me anymore to be able to go on hiking trips with my son when he gets into Scouting, which will be a shame.  But if I do, it's going to be very spartan packing.  Hard enough to drag my 280 pound, 48-year-old self up a trail.

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