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dionysus

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Apr 27, 2009
Location
the land of snow and maple syrup
@dionysus , I meant to ask, did they basically show you "light low, heavy high" or something else?
pretty much, but mostly ensuring the pack itself was really high and tight, so your shoulders vs back took the brunt of the weight
 

bamberfishcake

Senior Member
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Jan 8, 2019
Location
Essex
Show how easy it is to get it wrong. Have always packed heavy stuff at the bottom as thats what i have always been raised to do. Thats what everyone does isnt it?

How can something seemingly so simple be so wrong......so there is my 'learn something every day' covered for today anyway.

Didnt get to the army surplus store but the kids are set on camping now so being armed with my new kit and new method of packing is on the list.
 

maxd

PAB (Complaints) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
Show how easy it is to get it wrong. Have always packed heavy stuff at the bottom as thats what i have always been raised to do.

Actually you may not have been as misguided as you thought. In my experience Dio's advice is spot on IF you are using a frameless or internal frame pack where you basically suck the load in as tightly to your spine as you can. Despite the fluff about load distribution and such the bottom line with these backs is that you are getting your upper body to do a fair amount of the work, hence the usual trend toward fluffy shoulder straps, etc.

On the other hand a lot of the old school external frame packs aimed to put the majority of the weight down on your hips, hence the considerable effort usually put into the hip belt and the shoulder straps looking more or less like an afterthought.

The ALICE pack is probably one of the best examples of this: the weight goes on your hips and the shoulder straps are actually worn fairly loose, basically just to keep the thing from falling off. You'd be surprised how well this system works AND you've got a lovely, cooling space between the load and the small of your back, enough to pass your arm through. I'm not kidding, look at the design of the ALICE frame, that stand-off at the hips is entirely intentional.

Anyway, with this type of load carry you want to reverse the "light low, heavy high" idea. Heavy crap goes at the bottom of the pack and you'd be amazed how much you can comfortably carry this way. I've packed loads of wood pushing 50 kilos out of the bush and I promise you, I'd much rather do it with an external frame pack than the more modern frameless or internal frame packs. I've done it both ways, it's certainly physically possible, but in terms of comfort and sure-footedness it's external frame for the win IMO.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone but I pretty much detest most modern pack designs. Sure, I'll take the nice padded shoulder straps and waist belts but as to the bag and frame, give me a good external frame bucket pack any time you need to carry a real load. Below 15 kilos it doesn't matter much either way but at 20 kilos or more I find a properly packed and adjusted external frame pack is by far the way to go.

That said I am not a trail hiker, I much prefer off-trail, cross country hiking. I suspect this has more than a little to do with my preference in packs.
 
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bamberfishcake

Senior Member
PABinit
MM
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Location
Essex
Actually you may not have been as misguided as you thought. In my experience Dio's advice is spot on IF you are using a frameless or internal frame pack where you basically suck the load in as tightly to your spine as you can. Despite the fluff about load distribution and such the bottom line with these backs is that you are getting your upper body to do a fair amount of the work, hence the usual trend toward fluffy shoulder straps, etc.

On the other hand a lot of the old school external frame packs aimed to put the majority of the weight down on your hips, hence the considerable effort usually put into the hip belt and the shoulder straps looking more or less like an afterthought.

The ALICE pack is probably one of the best examples of this: the weight goes on your hips and the shoulder straps are actually worn fairly loose, basically just to keep the thing from falling off. You'd be surprised how well this system works AND you've got a lovely, cooling space between the load and the small of your back, enought to pass your arm through. I'm not kidding, look at the design of the ALICE frame, that stand-off at the hips is entirely intentional.

Anyway, with this type of load carry you want to reverse the "light low, heavy high" idea. Heavy crap goes at the bottom of the pack and you'd be amazed how much you can comfortably carry this way. I've packed loads of wood pushing 50 kilos out of the bush and I promise you, I'd much rather do it with an external frame pack than the more modern frameless or internal frame packs. I've done it both ways, it's certainly physically possible, but in terms of comfort and sure-footedness it's external frame for the win IMO.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone but I pretty much detest most modern pack designs. Sure, I'll take the nice padded shoulder straps and waist belts but as to the bag and frame, give me a good external frame bucket pack any time you need to carry a real load. Below 15 kilos it doesn't matter much either way but at 20 kilos or more I find a properly packed and adjusted external frame pack is by far the way to go.

That said I am not a trail hiker, I much prefer off-trail, cross country hiking. I suspect this has more than a little to do with my preference in packs.

I wondered why there was a picture of an arm being put between a frame and ALICE pack on the Savotta website. Now it makes sense.

On my list to get one now. Take the kids camping and enthusiastically bore them with my newfound pack knowledge.

I take it ALICE is an acronym? Im off to google.

I checked out your dream list and they look smart. I think one of them said 'will last for life, and probably longer'.

I wonder how many modern day products can stake such a bold claim in our throw away society.

Edit:

all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment

ALICE (all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment) is an equipment attachment system and accessory set officially adopted by the military in 1973.6 Aug 2015
 

dionysus

Good(w)ill Ambassador
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Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Location
the land of snow and maple syrup
I'm def no pack expert so dont take any of my advice lol
I've had both; in my earlier years, I had expensive gear when I backpacked Europe, a lot of bells, whistles, straps and padding - and as max mentioned, the hip padding and it was near a body pack; contoured my body, huge ass padding around my hips and waist

But I tell ya...for me - at least in my 30s (last major trek) the best for me, was hoisting it to my shoulders, and letting my upper body strength do the work

Dunno if age thing, or body thing but if..IF..i had to do a go again, no way, i could distribute the weight throughout my body
I'd have it all top and high
 

maxd

PAB (Complaints) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
On my list to get one now. Take the kids camping and enthusiastically bore them with my newfound pack knowledge.

FYI a Large ALICE -- quite a different pack than the Medium -- in good shape runs around 50 £/USD.

The Medium is basically a day or overnight pack, the Large is an expedition pack, with almost twice the capacity.

Bryan's advice -- he still has his -- was "get Large" and now that I have mine I'd second that. But I like big packs so there's that.
 
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