Monday, 21 March 2011

Backpacks Part 1

Rounding off my current big 3 we come to the backpacks.  As my girl friend has said, backpacks to me are what shoes are to her or in other words, I have many backpacks.

The North Face Terra 65
The Largest and heaviest pack of my fleet is the Terra 65.  Its an internal frame pack with an all up weight of 2304g.  I primarily bought the pack to hold my winter sleeping bag when hiking in the winter. I was able to purchase the bag on sale for 50% off...and it was one of the only packs I found that wasn't "shoot me yellow" or another wild color.  Although a brightly colored pack may be great in a rescue situation I prefer the more subdue tones.  The pack carries great with the load lifting straps and has a very comfortable belt strap as well as an internal pocket that will hold a 2-3 liter water bladder.  The trekking pole holders do an adequate job and the size is just right for me needs.  All around a nice rugged, inexpensive pack that I'm not afraid to thrash thru the trees with.

Maxpedition Falcon II
Next is my every day carry pack the Falcon II.  This thing is TOUGH!  Weighing 1378g its quite heavy for its size but thats due to its over the top construction.  The entire pack is fashioned out of extra heavy cordura and all seams are double stitched with extra attention paid to high stress points.  I carry this bag daily as it functions as my bug out bag (B.O.B).  I also use this bag as my day pack when I'm heading out for a more technical hike.  The pack sees plenty of use geocaching where encounters with rocks, sticks and trees are very common.  During the winter months this is my pack I wear snowshoeing, its ridiculous amounts of molle webbing and straps allow me to easily attach my snowshoes to the side or belt in my trekking poles.  The pack details can be found on the maxpedition website so I will not go too indepth with the size information.  Normally this pack is loaded with about 4.5Kg of weight and usually carries my 2.5L MSR dromedary water bladder.  The pack carries well...its not nearly as comfortable as my terra 65 but it gets the job done.  I've used this on one overnight hike in the winter and while I did need to strap a lot of the gear to the outside (no chance my -20 bag is fitting in here) it worked out well.

I've slid down frozen gravel hills on this pack, I've caught it on numerous tree limbs and I've tossed it around a good deal in and out of my jeep and it has zero signs of wear after 3/4yr. of use.  If your looking for a bullet proof day pack and dont mind the extra weight you'd be hard pressed to find something better.  They also make larger packs but since their gear is more military orientated expect over engineered construction and heavy silnylon or cuben fiber here.

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