Is there such a thing as a comfortable pack basket?

Discussion in 'Packs, Bags & Pouches' started by jjwint, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Hello all . . . . . I tried doing a Search for "pack basket" and "comfort" both online and here specifically and haven't had much luck.

    My basic question is . . . In your experience . . . . Can a pack basket be used for long distance hiking . . . . let's say 10 miles a day for five days carrying 20 pounds?

    One maker puts a groove in the middle while most others use a flat back with maybe a slight curve. Is there any structural component to look for?

    Some sell with leather straps but most sell with cotton webbing (some appear to be thin and others thicker). Is there a particular strap type that works best?

    I don't think "comfort" is a good word to use since I don't believe there is a way to carry 20-30 pounds and be truly "comfortable" . . . . but I couldn't come up with a better one. I've carried very heavy ALICE packs in the Army and understand that you can train yourself to do anything. I've seen little Korean guys carry a refrigerator on their back up three floors. Anything is possible.

    I'm just wondering if the pack basket is a good alternative to carrying gear on something like the Appalachian Trail for a few days. BTW, my current mode of carry is either a blanket pack or home-made veshmeshok so I'm into "primitive" gear.

    Thanks in advance for any advice - John
     
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  2. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

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    Others probably have more pack basket miles than me, but I think it might be against the law to use "pack basket" and "comfortable" in the same sentence, because I ain't never heard anybody say it before.
    Convenient or utility maybe but not comfortable.
     
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  3. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Is it possible? Yes.
    Is it recommended? No.

    Most of my experience with this device was in Boy Scouts, where we carried it full of food/garbage from/to a "commissary" at summer camp. Even a few hundred yards was pretty miserable. I'm pretty sure my cousins used it on canoe trips, and a buddy used it for trapping supplies, but none of that was long distance.
     
  4. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    Yeah, without using backpack-style suspension, I wouldn't consider that kind of mileage with a pack basket. The cotton webbing straps and that kind of weight, you'd likely not be able to feel your fingers by the end of the week.

    When referring to pack baskets, words like "utilitarian", "handy" and "pragmatic" come to mind. "Comfort" and "pack basket" are antonyms.

    Carry a load like this for long and you'll know it.

    IMG_00000191_zps58f649bb.JPG
     
  5. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    ^This.

    As a possible alternative if you really want something of this type, LL Bean makes a canvas version with a backpcack type suspension (I think that it is padded on the back, not sure).

    It is not currently available, but it looks like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Tdr

    Tdr Scout

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    We all over analyze everything, just watch someone carry something heavy for any kind of distance and you'll soon see them shifting the load on there shoulders tight to there body, I don't see any way to carry a basket comfortably for any distance unless you can do that
     
  7. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    Pack baskets are great for heavy bulky items like traps, axe, dead animal parts, plant materials and the like. My basket is wider at the bottom so it fits well into the curvature of my back. It is more comfortable than a flat sided basket. I've only used it on short trips but with some heavy things like cast iron cookware. It wouldn't be my choice for long distance hiking. It is no where near the comfort of a frame pack.
     
  8. Togus

    Togus Echo of the Loon Supporter

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    Can it be used...yes. Will it be comfortable...no. Could probably fit one with more comfortable strapping but I guarantee you’ll be pretty miserable very quickly with any amount of load. To wear this once to pack in and again out is one thing, to do it day after day for half marathons is another!
     
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  9. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Scout

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    I like my Loring Pack basket. I use it for ice fishing. It’s usually loaded up fairly heavy. I hike out onto the lake with it. I have never tried really long distances though
     
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  10. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've only ever done this once, but you could lash one to a roycroft with a blanket in between (to simulate the roycroft load that pads the back a bit).
     
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  11. Tdr

    Tdr Scout

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    20190629_172638.jpg I read these posts yesterday and I don't know if someone already mentioned it. This thread reminded me of a book by cliff Jacobsen mentioning tumpline. Yeah, I have a pretty good memory, I don't remember yesterday though,
    I never tried it but here's a picture from the web. Screenshot_20190629-171418.png
    Works on Duluth packs apparently also.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  12. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Wow. Definitely an idea worth stealing.
     
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  13. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Yeah . . . . yesterday is hard for me to remember too. But, I'm retired. I prefer a boring life. ;)

    I always wanted to try the strap around the forehead idea. But I'm too vain and self-conscious. LOL
     
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  14. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Yeah that's an excellent idea. I thought about doing that with a garbage can.

    The problem I have with the Roycroft Frame is that it's uncomfortable as hell unless you deliberately have something soft bulging out on the side touching your back. (Inside?)

    I've found that very hard to do in the Summer because I like to travel light.

    But I'll try the RF + Garbage Can idea . . .

    Thanks
     
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  15. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Thanks!
     
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  16. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    I found one guy online who talked about using it and he only said it was uncomfortable as hell. Now I can't find that post so that's why I asked.

    Supposedly . . . . and I emphasize 'supposedly" . . . . there's a manufacturer who puts a big groove in the middle and that plus the thick leather straps give a fairly comfortable experience. I just don't want to spend %00-800 to confirm the hypothesis . . . .

    Thanks for the funny comment. Cracked me up!
     
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  17. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Uh . . . . I just realize that if I thank everyone individually, I'' turn a short simple thread into a long thread full of fluff. So, thanks to all of you who have commented so far. Your advice if greatly, greatly welcome!
     
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  18. Tdr

    Tdr Scout

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    Since your retired I'll assume you're either really old, really smart or really lucky, I'll assume really old,
    If in that case you can wear a big hat to disguise the tumpline on your head, that way people would just say,
    Look at that old guy with the crooked neck and goofy hat with a basket on his back!
     
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  19. leightyj2

    leightyj2 Instagram: jleighty92 Supporter

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    I put some leather shoulder strap pads on mine and it’s fairly comfortable. I’ve had 30 lbs in mine before and wasn’t terrible uncomfortable. One idea is maybe make a roycroft frame for your pack basket and carry it like that with an added waist belt. Would still be fairly primitive. W
     
  20. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Just found this in Chapter II of WOODCRAFT AND CAMPING by Nessmuk

     
  21. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    LOL Yeah . . . . really old . . . . but every time I hit the woods I come back younger and younger. (Note To Self: Start taking wife to woods.)
     
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  22. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    LOL!

    That's wonderful!
     
  23. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    There really is nothing new . . . . . :(
     
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  24. wvtracker14

    wvtracker14 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman

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    Whenever I actually needed a pack basket for trapping I took a large alice pack frame and pack and inserted a matched size trash can and bolted it to the pack. It was 100% more comfortable than my fiber tough pack basket that I usually used.
     
  25. Juany118

    Juany118 Supporter Supporter

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    I will quote Nessmuk...

    "Don’t be induced to carry a pack basket. I am aware that it is in high favor all through the Northern Wilderness, and is also much used in other localities where guides and sportsmen most do congregate. But I do not like it. I admit that it will carry a loaf of bread, with tea, sugar, etc., without jamming; that bottles, crockery, and other fragile duffle is safer from breakage than in an oil-cloth knapsack. But it is by no means waterproof in a rain or a splashing head sea, is more than twice as heavy—always growing heavier as it gets wetter—and I had rather have bread, tea, sugar, etc., a little jammed than water-soaked. Also, it may be remarked that man is a vertebrate animal and ought to respect his backbone. The loaded pack basket on a heavy carry never fails to get in on the most vulnerable knob of the human vertebrae."

    I love the look of them, that with practice we can make them in the field (if in the right environment) but Everytime I hear "pack basket" I think this.
     
  26. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    I made a pack basket this past winter with plastic trash cans ( large office sized?). I thought one may be a bit flimsy so 2 were used.
    I’ve used it for tip ups, etc. and for firewood and it is a comfortable carry.
    Cheap, too!
     
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  27. wvtracker14

    wvtracker14 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman

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    Yeah it was around that size and I happened to find a decently built one it held up well despite the heavy loads. Like you said really comfortable!
     
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  28. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Slung shoulder straps of pack basket over uprights of packboard. This was before waist belts and padded shoulder straps, so not really comfortable, but better than pack basket alone.

    [​IMG]
     
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  29. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    I find a pack basket to be comfortable enough but a lot of that depends on how much weight is in it. I don’t do what I would call long distance with one but a more comfortable pack wouldn’t change that.

    They are plenty waterproof when covered with canvas.
     
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  30. 1773

    1773 Supporter Supporter

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    The only way I have found be even remotely comfortable is to take an external pack frame with waist belt and good suspension type shoulder straps and attach a 5 gallon buck to it, this works well but is bulky, I use it for trapping when I have to carry stuff a long way. For actual backpacking I much prefer a regular pack as you can distribute and secure your load better so stuff isn't shifting as you walk. Actually on second thought I have found a very comfortable way to carry a packbasket, they cause me no discomfort at all in the back of the truck. :)
     
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  31. Joseph McEvoy

    Joseph McEvoy Tinder Gatherer

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    Pack basket comfort is tough...great utility though, used it lots in Boy Scouts, later in life for some extended canoe trips, modded and padded straps help. Now I use one for farmers markets etc so my goods don't get crushed
     
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  32. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    Short answer? No. I use my pack basket as a bulk stuff carrier. Traps, trapped animals, kindling wood, mushrooms or bark, that type of stuff. I liked mine trapping muskrats, is it would drain water. One or two mile circuits back to the truck, is plenty under a load. The tumpline attachment is torture for me.(Long neck) For comfort I wear thicker clothing under the pack; sweatshirt, jacket. A good packing strategy to get a good center of gravity is a big help.
     
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  33. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    My homemade one is comfortable for up to a day or so...it's custom sized to fit my torso, woven thin enough to be a little flexible, and I almost always wear a thick sash with it to protect my lumbar area. It's not comfy (or big) enough for multi-day trips, though.

    I LOVE it for shorter trips where I'm collecting materials; just drop them over your shoulder and they land in the basket...:dblthumb:
     
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  34. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    I haven't read all the responses so if this has already been stated, I apologize....

    The fastest way I've been able to make my pack baskets comfortable is to wear them; especially in all sorts of damp, wet weather. I've found that the more I wear them, the more them mold to my back. The dampness seems to help "set" the shape. I've made two baskets over the years out of black ash under the direction of a friend and this method has always worked for me. My two kids also made baskets under Bill's eye and found they got the same results doing it the way I did. Just how it worked out for us. I hope you can find something that works for you as well.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
     
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  35. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    No.

    Steve
     
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  36. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    LOL
     
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  37. jjwint

    jjwint Tracker

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    Is that Bill Makowski?

    I've spoken with him and he says the contour he builds into his basket plus the thick leather straps make it very comfortable.

    I wonder how much of the discomfort issue is caused by the cotton straps and the lack of a waist belt?

    "In theory" :rolleyes: if the baskets sits on your hip bones it should be little difference than a framed backpack . . .

    But that's purely an assumption.
     
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  38. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    No. Bill Smith is his name and he lives in Colton, NY; in the Adirondacks. Bill is a well know story teller and basket maker and has done workshops and story telling presentations throughout the eastern USA.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
     

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