Wednesday, August 12, 2009
weighing the pros and cons
As I mentioned before, I learned to backpack with a Kelty external frame pack. I was envious of my fellow backpackers with their internal frame packs, so at the end of my course I bought a used Dana Overkill from one of my instructors. Fast forward, witness a few technology changes, and you find me trekking out to the toy store to see what's happened in the past 10 years in anticipation of 10 days in Yosemite and the High Sierras.
I tried on a variety of packs, weighted them heavily, tromped around the store for a few hours and ultimately settled on a Gregory Deva 60. Of the various brands and styles I tried on, this one felt the most balanced to me.
As it was explained to me, there are folks who want to go as light as possible. Then there are folks who want some extra cushion and suspension, and get a heavier pack for those creature comforts. That's where my Gregory comes in.
It weighs in at a hefty 5lb 6oz, which is a LOT for a petite woman's pack. (The REI Flash 65 is 3lb 2oz for comparison.) That means I've sacrificed luxuries like my good camera on more than one occasion to make room for other things like, you know, FOOD. This is my most hated part of the pack, honestly. It makes me work hard to hit my appropriate weight limit, which is fine if you're used to it but really challenging if you aren't. If you have the benefit of a travel partner who can take a bit more weight when you have a longer trek it works out even better.
Side note: I have always been and will always be a proponent of group packing.
The weight factor aside…I love my pack. I love the squishy way it hugs me like a good friend; it really moves with me on the trail and that is HUGE. One of the competing packs was actually pulling me backward as I walked or stood!
I love the durability of the fabric and the zippers. I love the arrangement of the pockets, and find it holds just enough stuff for a several days on the trail. It even has 2 fantastic pockets on the front of my waist belt that neatly hold my smaller camera and snacks.
I also love that this particular pack was designed for a woman, including the pivoting of the waist belt to angle just right for my hips. That kind of design tells me they're really thinking about their customers, and was a selling point for me. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to other super-petite women, since the weight can be such a factor and every ounce counts—I still say check it out with that in mind.
(docking points for weight)