Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jace's Kit Loadout III: Backpack Comparison

Recently Alix’ backpack blew out while we were on the road, prompting Alix to buy a new backpack and me to compare the features of these backpacks in this instalment of Jace’s Kit Loadout.
In this Vlog I compare 3 different packs:

• The Black Wolf “Grand Teton” 75L travel pack
• The Osprey “Ariel” 65L hiking pack
• The Macpac “Aztec- Genesis” 85L hybrid pack

The photographs below illustrate the carriage of the packs. When travelling, the most convenient way to carry your pack is to wear your day pack on your chest. One advantage of having a hybrid or travel pack is that they typically have an attachment system so you can simply hang the day pack off the main pack’s shoulder straps, rather than wearing two sets of shoulder straps, front and back.
One feature I think is important that I don’t mention in the video is the attachment mechanism of the day pack to the main pack. The Macpac has a male/female buckle type arrangement which is quite secure.

As you can see below, the Black Wolf pack uses a key-ring clip type arrangement to achieve the same thing, but this is not so good because the clips are flimsy (if you look closely you can see the thin arm of the clip on Alix’ left shoulder has broken off.)

Also illustrated is Alix modelling the top section of the hiking pack when worn as a lumbar pouch. This is kind of cute to look at, but it is really a bit of a gimmick because it is questionable whether it is big enough to use as a daypack; your lunch plus a water bottle and a warm jumper might not fit in it.

Alix is currently using the day pack from her old backpack to supplement her overall luggage capacity, which means wearing two sets of shoulder straps when carrying the daypack on her chest (no big deal, but a daypack which clips onto the harness of your main pack is more comfortable). If you are thinking that a hiking pack is the way to go for you, check out what options exist for compatible daypacks, you might even find a daypack from the same brand as your main pack that clips onto its harness so you don’t have to double up on the shoulder straps.

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