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26397Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Packs that take weight off the shoulders.

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  • John
    Dec 30, 2012
    Interesting set-up Roleigh, but while it may provide better balance, I can't help but think that all or most of that Camelback's weight falls on your shoulders (albeit forward weight).  To me, skin-out weight is felt least when positioned/directed on or near the centered strength of our pelvic girdles (waist).  I think we would all agree that the lion's share of our pack's weight must ride on the waist rather than the shoulders to minimize pain and discomfort, while maximizing endurance.    

    Even though I own two types of hydration bladders for other activities, I am not a fan of bladders used inside the main pack and prefer easily accessible hydrating vessels for the following reasons:

     - ease of filling without unpacking/re-packing the bladder.
     -  lost internal pack volume due to stowed bladder.
     - potential leak problems with an internally-stowed bladder (eg. saturated equipment such as down bag, jacket, or other hydro-phobic items.
     - ability to easily monitor fluid intake and fluid stores.
     - multiple plastic bottles (such as G-rade bottles) still weigh less than a hydration bladder, hose, and mouthpiece.
     - ease of/cost of replacement should a vessel leak. 
     - no disinfecting or clean up hassles - just get new disposable (and recyclable)  bottles.  

    On my abbreviated 2012 JMT trip, I experimented with a Marmot fanny/lumbar pack (sorry...unknown model) which houses two pouches for bottles between a main pouch that was perfect for quick access to things like maps, snacks, etc.  I donned the waist pack (facing forward) before putting on my primary pack (Osprey Atmos 50).  While this concept is nothing new to the backpack world, I was very satisfied with the fit, feel, and functionality of the set up.  I usually carry between 1-2 liters for most Sierra excursions, so this works great for me.  YMMV

    Here's a pic of my set-up with the black Marmot waist pack fitted with two Gatorade bottles on either side of the "kangaroo pouch".
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