Pack size question

Discussion in 'Packs, Bags & Pouches' started by Poeschel, Dec 7, 2017 at 11:15 AM.

  1. Poeschel

    Poeschel Scout

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    I see a lot of references to pack size with terms such as, 2 day, 3 day, overnight. My question is when people use those terms, are they generally referring to a comfortable 3 days? Or more a survive for 3 days? I ask because I see a lot of companies going this route as well.
     
  2. BalsamFur

    BalsamFur BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    That's such an arbitrary measurement I think it's best to ignore it completely and look at the actual volume. My overnight has different needs from your overnight, and seasons and location affect those needs as well.
     
  3. central joe

    central joe Guide

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    I found that the older I got the smaller pack the pack I needed. The season can affect it, but lay out your gear and get a pack just slightly small than you think you need. Maybe you can try a pack from a buddy. You will be amazed at the amount of stuff you really don't need to be comfortable. Just my thoughts. joe
     
  4. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    ..... and if you go with a larger pack, don’t fill ‘er up just because you can!!
     
  5. BalsamFur

    BalsamFur BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    "Packing Down", that is, using a slightly smaller pack than you think you'll need, is s good habit to get into. The knowledge of how much space you need comes with experience. Under specific (warm) conditions, I've gone 36hrs with an 18l pack on an isolated island because that was all that would fit in the hold of my kayak. I wouldn't recommend that to someone new to the outdoors.
     
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  6. Zunga

    Zunga Scout

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    I ignore the days thing. I look at over all volume usually in liters. But more importantly how the pack is designed and how that matches my intended use. Very first pack I ever bought I made the mistake in thinking. "Bigger is better". Not true. The more space you have the more you'll want to fill it. I like to seperate my gear by use and put it in individual dry bags. Color coded. Red is med kit. Green food and so on. My pack is cinch top with a side zipper on the main body. It works well for my purposes. But it's a very tall pack and can be awkward. I'm looking at the more square military style packs in the 45 liter range (molle of course). My current pack is a 60 liter and the extra room is great for things I don't end up using. Hope this helps.
    Cheers
     
  7. curtiseddie

    curtiseddie Tracker

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    When I first began backpacking I had a 90L bag. It was filled too. Because I was inexperienced and thought I needed all this unnecessary stuff.
    I no longer use it. It's way oversized for anything I do. Now I carry a 65L for anything more than an overnight. Unless the overnight is in cold weather with more bulky gear. I've realized I carry the same stuff whether I'm on an overnight or multi-day trip. The only difference is food and it seems to take up a lot of space.

    I'll stop rambling and respond to the OP: I would focus on what volume (actual capacity) fits your needs. If you are researching a pack, pay attention to the volume of the size appropriate to you. The difference between a medium and a large can be 3L.
     
  8. Red Wing

    Red Wing Supporter Supporter

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    I know it's a popular term but really it's invalid for me at this point. My gear is the same for one or 3 nights.. might take even less on a longer trip, not more, to make room for food.

    So really it's how much literage does my gear require and how much room for food foes that leave me.

    People have been considering my packs daypack for a while now, I don't reference 2 or 3 night or daypack as it's so subjective to your personal system

    Completely agree with all above posts
     
  9. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    I went 4 days out of a 30L. Thats unheard of for some, while others could probably go weeks out of a pack like that. Granted it was packed to the limit and the weather wasn't cold. I was in an area though that bear canisters were mandatory, which are bulky. I could do the same trip again, but down size a in gear. The weather was forecast to be wet (and was), so I packed extra rain gear and tarps, that I normally wouldn't on a clear weather trip. Point being skill level matters as well as what/how you pack. I was going into a wilderness area so packed enough to stay an extra couple days if needed. YMMV
     
  10. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    Remember when packs were in cubic inches instead of liters?
     
  11. BalsamFur

    BalsamFur BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Yes, and I could never wrap my head around it. Litres are much easier for me to visualize, but that's just me.
     
  12. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    This thing about # of days is just sales hype. Bottom line, bag size is dictated by what you normally carry for 1 night and 2 meals, anything larger is just for extra space for the for food based on the number of days you will be out and extra layering clothes depending on expected WX conditions.
     
  13. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    ^^^I agree to an extent, but there definitely are variables. I can tough out one night of bad weather holed up in a tent, but would rather have the option of a larger shelter so if the weather is bad I'll pack accordingly. Same with packing extra clothes, especially in shoulder seasons and when you're not really sure what to expect.
     
  14. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    IMO, it's pretty simple. a day bag has what you need for an out and back, water and a snack is generally carried but a smart person will take some stuff for an unexpected stay/survival situation. I carry a couple 2-person heatsheet survival tarps, a headlamp, and a tiny bottle of water tabs even on dayhikes

    an overnight kit and a 3-day (2 nights) both assume shelter and sleeping gear are part of the load along with food and probably the ability to process water. the nature of the trip (hunting, rock collecting, birdwatching), and the equipment needed for that, will affect the pack size but the amount of food carried will probably be the greatest difference in pack size.

    I hike on the Appalachian and other trails with a 50L pack. I can carry 5 days of food with this size bag but I'm not doing any bushcrafting or stopping to fish, etc. so I only have my hiking, sleeping, and eating gear. this is my 3-season kit, so it's not that bulky, my winter kit is bigger...
     
  15. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    ^^^Exactly my point. I did a day less on my trip, but easily could have gone another 2 days. He may have had some heavier clothing options than I did, but I packed some fishing gear. It's all in what/how you pack. Do you want a fresh change of clothes every day or are you ok with just changing socks and underwear? Maybe just not even a new change of socks/drawers everyday, but wash them and hang to dry for the next rotation. Can you find/harvest food on your trip to cut down on packed food? There's just too many variable.
     
  16. Zunga

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    Having read additional post on this thread my original post seems incomplete. Thankfully everyone filled in the gaps and then some! As mentioned in many other posts your gear load can be very seasonally. While I mentioned I was looking at a 45 liter to replace a 60. The one time a fire ban required a propane stove the 60 had the volume. The 45 wouldn't have. Granted it was an old school duel burner steel brick! Point is smart gear choices can very much affect your required pack volume.
     
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  17. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    A MSR Pocket Rocket and their smaller size canister should allow you to keep using your 45L. Granted it can't simmer, but some stoves can that will still be smaller than the old dual burner (I'm picturing the Coleman style that has a folding top/sides). Something like a Dragonfly or similar will give you a bit more versatility.
     
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  18. Red Wing

    Red Wing Supporter Supporter

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    A canister and bsr will nest in a 550ml mug so space is no more than taking the initial pot.

    If you have down or synthetic would probably have more impact on necessity of one or the other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 5:51 PM
  19. JoeMez

    JoeMez Minimalist Supporter

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    I gather my gear and food (seasonal) bundle them on the floor, then select my pack. I own 35L and 65L packs, so one is bound to store the essentials no matter when and where I go out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017 at 7:04 PM
  20. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I don't get it either... Unless you're not bringing hygiene items on an overnighter, counting on a rainless weather forecast so you don't have to carry rain gear, or waiting for warm weather to avoid carrying an extra layer, or some other such "hocus pocus", you should need the same stuff every day, regardless of how long your trip is... What I wear, carry, and have in my pack shouldn't change. The only variable should be food... to me, that's 2lbs a day, and fills a quart ziplock bag, roughly (longer trips will supercharge your metabolism, but you can still stay fed on about the same volume of food, it just needs to be higher in fat.)

    So for me, knowing the pack's capacity in liters or square inches is a much more useful figure.
     
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  21. Red Wing

    Red Wing Supporter Supporter

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    My hocus pocus is taking a doorless tarp instead of one with doors or taking a 3/4 underquilt instead of a full length.. it's never an AMAZING amount but every bit helps if I'm doing big miles.

    Not usually more than a couple liters difference though
     
  22. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Tracker

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    I am 50 and over the years have continued to downsize my pack each year. I am now down to a Duluth Scout pack and a large haversack for 3 days comfortable. I keep all of my food and snacks in my haversack and everything else is in the scout pack. No tent - I go the 10x10 tarp method and a 100% wool blanket. In the winter months I go for the super shelter and all other seasons I use a modified lean-to shelter. Dave Canterbury has a great video on scout pack mods that allow you to carry that all important wool blanket.
    It will really come down to personal preference - all of the ideas listed in this thread are great. You just have to find what fits you.
     
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  23. LFowler

    LFowler Tracker

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    I go a different route then most, I get the biggest pack I ever need (meaning winter sized) and just leave it half empty most of the year. Lots of people have trouble leaving empty space in a pack, but once you overcome this it can be really nice having more pack then you need. I never have to compress anything, and I have room for the inevitable expansion that always seems to happen as a trip goes on. Even at around 100L my pack is never all that heavy, just during the winter it is crammed full of light, fluffy insulation that takes up a lot of space.
     
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  24. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have a 90L GoLite Gust that's like that.
     
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