equipment: backpacks

updated: 2019-10-19

backpack index

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mens – John’s backpacks

For reference, I am around 5’11” and have wide shoulders.

  • Osprey Kestrel 48 (amazon affiliate link)
    • size: M/L
    • owned since: 2017-10
    • current status: primary multi day backpack
    • acquired: REI members only garage sale
    • condition when acquired: returned and used
    • paid: $108.83 + $6.26 tax
    • weight:  3.68 lbs
    • capacity: 2929 cubic inches (48L)
    • dimensions: 28 x 15 x 16 inches
    • type: internal frame
      • I have used it through the JMT and a couple of other backpacking trips.
      • It generally can fit everything I need for a week on the trail, but it is recommend for shorter trips of 2-5 days. I was able to pack it for longer and had to get creative with a bear canister (I was using BV500).
      • It has plenty of compartments and a built in rain fly.
      • While it had belt pockets, they were a bit small to be very useful.
      • A negative is that you can’t remove the top pouch like other Osprey packs as it is permanently sewed onto the pack, making it less flexible.
      • I would recommend this for a beginner’s all around backpack, but this isn’t good for ultralight packers.
  • Ultraspire Epic XT (amazon affiliate link)
    • size: universal (Chest Size: 28″-48″)
    • owned since: 2019-10-19
    • current status: light / short multi day backpack
    • acquired: REI members only garage sale
    • condition when acquired: used & returned with description of insulation is tearing at the seams of the bladder pack
    • paid: $44.83+ $2.69 tax = $47.52
    • weight: 33 oz (2.0625 Ibs or 935 g) with frame / 26 oz (1.625 Ibs or 737 g) without frame
    • capacity: 1526 cubic inches (25L)
    • dimensions: 23 x 11 x 5 inches
    • material(s): Extrema 100-denier ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
    • frame material: high-density polyethylene
    • type: removable internal frame pack
      • I was looking for a smaller and lighter pack since all the equipment are getting lighter, so giving this marathon inspired pack a try because of low garage sale price.
  • Osprey Aether 70 – 2008 version  (current version – amazon affiliate link)
    • size: L
    • owned since: 2015
    • current status: sold in 2019 to a friend for $100
    • acquired: bought from friend
    • condition when acquired: barely used
    • paid: $140
    • weight:  4 lbs 9 oz (2.10 kg)
    • capacity: 4200 cubic inches (70 L)
    • dimensions: 30.5×15.5×11.5 inches (77.5x39x29 centimeters)
    • type: internal frame
      • This old version was a no frills backpack.
      • It had a large compartment with a seperator for the sleeping bag. It was pretty minimal with only 2 large side pockets, a front pocket, and the top pouch. No belt pocket.
      • It does have plenty of straps and a water pouch inside the large main compartment.
      • Top pouch can be removed along with the hipbelt for a small day pack, but that was never worth the effort.
  • REI Co-op Ridgeline 65 (REI, non-affiliate)
    • size: L
    • owned since: 2010
    • current status: broken but usable, backup pack for when large volume is needed
    • acquired: REI
    • condition when acquired: new
    • paid: $120
    • weight:  4 lbs 4 oz
    • capacity: 3,966 cubic inches (65 L)
    • type: internal frame
      • This was my backpack from when I first started on our first trip to Yosemite to it’s last in Torres del Paine.
      • It is pretty much retired at this point with the top zipper fallen off and duct tape to hold a lining at the top.
        • If needed, I would use this without the top “brain” pouch.
      • It didn’t provide much in terms of airflow on my back, but that was welcome in the cold climates.
      • It had the necessary pockets with weighing only about 5-6 pounds. It has served me well for 6 years.

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womens – Meg’s backpacks

For reference, Meg is about 5 feet 3 inches tall.

  • Gregory Octal 45 Backpacks (Amazon affiliate link)
    • size: XS
    • owned: 2018-2020
    • current status: sold for USD$80 on reddit
    • acquired: Massdrop (referral link)
    • condition when acquired: new
    • paid: $119.99 + $9.00 shipping – $10.00 referral discount = $118.99 total
    • weight:  2.3 lbs (1.04 kg)
    • capacity: 2,563 cu in (42 L)
    • dimensions: 26 x 12.5 x 11 in (66 x 31.7 x 27.9 cm)
    • type: internal frame
      • This was bought as Meg’s primary backpacking pack that is lighter than her larger REI pack.
      • It is Gregory’s version to compete with the trend of ultralight packs such as the Osprey Exo/Eja, Osprey Levity/Lumina, Zpacks Arc Blast, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider, Granite Gear Virga 2, etc. (amazon affiliate links).
      • As with ultralight backpacks, she does miss the many pockets and compartments of her REI pack. She also found the hip pockets a bit smaller than she’d like for them to be completely functional.
      • Meg liked the weight of the pack, but found it sits a little higher on her hips than she likes.
      • After a little bit more than a year and several backpacking trips, she found the hipbelt just sat too high on her and wasn’t on her hips. It lead majority of the weight on her back. A negative about the bag was that we couldn’t adjust the torsal height. Looking over the information on this pack, it seemed the length was 14-16 inches while her REI bag was 15-17 inches, so Meg is probably toward the 17 inch torso length. So we sold it.
  • REI  Co-op Crestrail 55 XS (REI non-affiliate link)
    • size: XS
    • owned since: 2015
    • current status: primary multi day backpack
    • acquired: REI
    • condition when acquired: new
    • paid: $160
    • weight:  4 lbs 5 oz
    • capacity: 3,356 cubic inches (55 L)
    • type: internal frame
      • We got this for Meg and she hasn’t had a complaint about it.
      • There are so many pockets, it makes me a little jealous. We’ve taken this more for traveling more because of that.
      • Currently, this pack is still in capable condition, but there are starting to be some wear and tear in the form of small holes. As our equipment has gotten smaller, the need for the larger backpack is lower as well.

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  • Camelpak Trinity Hydration Pack 100 fl. oz. inc bladder
    • owned since: 2012
    • current status: daypack, bladder has broken since
    • acquired:
    • condition when acquired: new
    • paid: $33
    • weight:  1 lb. 13 oz.
    • capacity: 1,709 cubic inches (28 L)
    • dimensions: 19 x 12 x 10 inches
    • bladder liquid capacity: 100 fluid ounces (3L)
    • type: frameless
      • I got it for the bladder, but it has served as a nice day pack and as a carry on when traveling light. The built in rain cover has also been nice.
      • Since the purchase, the bladder has long broken with leaks. However, I’ve shifted away from bladders anyways.

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