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For those that don't know, the Dana Design Terraplane is regarded as the best backpack money can buy. You can find Backpacker Magazines review here. They didn't just give the pack their Editors' Choice Award, they gave it the Gold. Before I bought this pack I looked all over for websites that had the 2002's in stock on clearance, many stores had them (one for even $10 less)--but no one had the selection that Northern Mountain Supply has in stock. If you have never tried one of these packs on before, go to a local dealer, list found here, and try one on. Even with 65LBS of sand in my pack, it felt like nothing. While you are their, you can also find what size pack fits you (as well as what size belt, and what size shoulder pads)--then leave the store and their $500 packs to buy one at ~1/2 off <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

These are big packs, the kind you take out for a week or more (or if you like to belly boat fish, they can carry all your gear to your hard to reach lake/pond/river/stream/septic tank). I wouldn't recommend getting one of these just to use over night--that would be over kill. if you do need a pack this size, however, you won't go wrong with this pack and at this price, it's the same price--if not less--as mid range packs that won't carry a load as nice.

Here is a link to epinions about the Terraplane LTW

Northern Mountain Supply has the Terraplane LTW marked down from $439 to $263. These are the 2002 models so you don't get the new colors for 2003--other than that, no differences between the two models. NMS has all sizes but medium in stock (XS, S, L, XL) and all colors (Salad, The Blues, Salsa) in all of those sizes except XS-The Blues in stock.

Terraplane LTW @ NMS

NMS also has the Terraplane X in stock for $249 marked down from $469. The X features zippers on the sides so you can get at the contents of your pack with out unpacking the entire bag. Unfortunately, they only have S and XS in Bronze and Black in stock. If I had fit the X, I would have bought it over the LTW despite the extra pound of weight it has.

Terraplane X @ NMS

I ordered a Large LTW from them two weeks ago and had it in my hands a few days after ordering via phone (shipping via FedEx was $5). Their website is listed on Dana Designs website as an authorized distributor. though the web site looks amateurish, I would not hesitate to order from them again, they seemed first rate to me. When I ordered, I spoke with an Alan who seemed quite knowledgeable, you can reach him at 1.800.878.3583.

NMS is a great internet company. I have spend more than a thousand of dollar on order from their site. Dana design is also a great backpack, too bad they don't have Medium size left ... <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0>

Great deal. They also have the external frame version of the Terraplane, the Terraframe, for only $100 in both Medium and Large. Hopefully one of these is on the way to my place now.

Thanks!

between the internal and the external--I would go with the internal. even though the external is much less, there really isn't much point on getting it unless you are going to carry VERY heavy loads.

they also have the following Dana Design packs as follow:
Astraplane D2 was $469 now $239
Alpine LTW was $399 now $199
Bridger was $279 now $139
Bomb Classic was $245 now $122
Glacier LTD was $299 now $179
New World was $199 now $99
Pilot Peak was $159 now $79
ReDirect LTD was $279 now $149
Snow Factor was $269 now $159
Sphinx was $189 now $139

I placed another order from them last week for one of the bridgers as well. the Terraplane I originally ordered from them came with the wrong size straps (my fault) so they did a cross ship of some new ones for me. they have very good customer service.

Are those made in Mexico now? I thought they were bought by K2? When I was in Bozeman and they made the backpack in Bozeman, they used to have a yearly inventory sales at the factory, which I got mine for $100. I saw people bought at least two to five pieces. These are really good quality backpack!

wjones said:

<< Are those made in Mexico now? I thought they were bought by K2? When I was in Bozeman and they made the backpack in Bozeman, they used to have a yearly inventory sales at the factory, which I got mine for $100. I saw people bought at least two to five pieces. These are really good quality backpack! >>



they are made in Mexico now (and have been for the past several years), but the pack i have and the others i've seen make me think that they are still of great quality.

I am in the market for a backpack (going on a weeklong trip in the Wind Rivers this summer) and I was wondering if anyone knows of any good deals for backpacks.

These Dana Design packs look really nice, but I think they are a little out of my budget.

Searching a little I was able to find a Dana Design Glacier backpack for $139 (retails for $299). Anyone know how it would compare to the other Dana Design backpacks in this post?

Here is the link to the Glacier backpack, anyone heard of Sports Basement?
Dana Design Glacier Backpack for $139

I am also in the market for a backpacking stove and possibly a water filter, any ideas?

Thanks, I will have to tell my Porters about this.

jkh43 said:

<< I am in the market for a backpack (going on a weeklong trip in the Wind Rivers this summer) and I was wondering if anyone knows of any good deals for backpacks.

These Dana Design packs look really nice, but I think they are a little out of my budget.

Searching a little I was able to find a Dana Design Glacier backpack for $139 (retails for $299). Anyone know how it would compare to the other Dana Design backpacks in this post?

Here is the link to the Glacier backpack, anyone heard of Sports Basement?
Dana Design Glacier Backpack for $139

I am also in the market for a backpacking stove and possibly a water filter, any ideas?
>>



this is all off the top of my head so I might be a little off on some of the stats, but you should get the idea...


fist off, if you really are going on a weeklong backpacking trip--you are going to need a larger pack. I would say 5000 (or more cubic inches). the terraplane ltw and x, astraplane, alpine ltw, and glacier should all be ok size wise. I would not go with any smaller of a pack though. with the terraplane, astraplane, and the alpine, you are essentially getting the exact same frame with the only difference being the bag that is on the frame. with the glacier you are getting a different (lighter weight) frame. while some people might like a pack that weighs a pound or two less--you must keep in mind that the lighter frame won't carry as much weight as comfortably as a heavier framed pack. the other potential problem I see with the glacier is that it is more generally sized than the first 3. those first 3 packs come in XS, S, M, L, XL (with belts and shoulder straps for you to mix and match in the same sizes), the Glacier comes in XS/S, M, L/XL (with belts and straps in those sizes to mix and match). while this isn't necessarily a problem, it does make it more likely that you won't get a proper fit on your pack when you get it.

I bought the terraplane for myself and an alpine for my girlfriend, if I were you, I would consider one of these two packs in stead of the Glacier. you will be more likely to get a good fit and you will be able to carry larger loads (or your smaller loads will feel much better 50 miles from now). since cost is a large deciding factor for you, the Alpine seems like the best bet at $199 (or $179 if you are a size Medium and don't mind that atrocious orange color, PM me and I'll look up what site had them for $179).

if you are even considering other brands over Dana, I would highly suggest that you take a look at these packs in person first. try them on, put in 60 pounds and see how they feel. nothing I tried carried as nice as a Dana. in my GF's case, nothing would fit her properly besides Dana. also, just comparing the packs side by side, you will notice that the Dana packs just seem to be of a higher quality (these are $500 back packs after all) than the other brands out there--even over Gregory.

I have herd of Sports Basement--but I have never dealt with them. you are kinda' on your own on that one if you order from them.

as far as stoves go, I own the Optimus Nova (distributed by Brunton in the states). the stove is a multi-fuel variable flame stove (read, it simmers). it retails for about $150 and has worked very nice over the past few months. the only problem I have had with it is a small brass plate on the stove would fall off as the stove was cooling after use. the last time I used it, I bent in the tabs that hold it in place and that seems to have fixed the problem. either way, it seems to me a good stove and it even won backpacker magazine's editors choice award. if the price seems a little steep, I can see if the person I purchased from still has them in stock for $100. again PM if you want me to look into this. if you don't give a crap about simmering capabilities, take a look at the MSR multi fuel and white gas stoves. you should be able to get a low end MSR for about $60. be forewarned that these MSR stove have two settings, off and scorch. I would not use one of these stove for anything but boiling water for instant drinks and instant freeze dried foods. no cooking what-so-ever.

for filters, I like the Katadyn Pocket Filter. while the filter costs a lot new ($200) and replacement filters cost about $140--each filter will process 13,000 gallons before it needs to be replaced. similar filters from MSR et. al. require a new filter every couple hundred gallons. at $60 a pop for the MSR filters, the pocket filter will very quickly start saving you money. you can buy these filters for about $140-150 online new or you can get them on eBay for about $100 (only $20 more than a MSR).

go on, feel the arc, you know you want to

Sorry to take this off-topic, but does anyone know exactly what the airline regulations now are for camping stoves? Is it only fuel canisters (even empty and clean, but previously used ones) and stoves with a built in fuel container?

Or are stoves that attach to a fuel canister and don't hold the fuel themselves also a problem? I have one of the MSR international stoves but I haven't tried to do much more than really boil water. I'm more accustomed to using other people's stoves or cooking with campfires. It's a little distressing to find out that the temperature control isn't fine enough.

Everyone, be careful before buying a stove if you plan to fly with it. You many need to give yourself enouh time to ship it by ground to your destination.

arctan1701, since I've done more backpacking with external frames than internal, I'm somewhat partial to them. Although looking at the Terraframe, I'm not sure how much I could latch to the outside. I hoped to use it for a Yosemite trip, but I had to cancel the trip at the last minute. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0>

Anyone have any ideas for how I *quickly* could load up my pack to test it with weight (and adjust the straps)? I was planning on filling up as many water bottles as I could and throwing them in with some sheets. I don't want to pack everything in my backpack just to adjust it.

By the way, if anyone else does get the Terraframe, I'd suggest the Red. I found the Green a little boring. I'm satisfied with it so far though.

jkh43, here are some other places where you can get lower quality but cheaper backpacks:
www.thesportsauthority.com (especially outlet area and use both 20% off coupon and MSN dollars).
www.gear.com (goes to overstock now).
www.rei-outlet.com
www.sierratradingpost.com
www.campmor.com (use MSN dollars)

Of course, look for coupon codes and free shipping on all of these.

How do these packs compare to REI or North Face?

dana makes nice packs. but definitely try on the same model/size pack in a store before buying it online somewhere. making sure you get the right fit is very important. as nice as dana packs are you might find a gregory or arc'teryx fit you better.

oldjb said:

<< Sorry to take this off-topic, but does anyone know exactly what the airline regulations now are for camping stoves? Is it only fuel canisters (even empty and clean, but previously used ones) and stoves with a built in fuel container?

Or are stoves that attach to a fuel canister and don't hold the fuel themselves also a problem? I have one of the MSR international stoves but I haven't tried to do much more than really boil water. I'm more accustomed to using other people's stoves or cooking with campfires. It's a little distressing to find out that the temperature control isn't fine enough.

Everyone, be careful before buying a stove if you plan to fly with it. You many need to give yourself enouh time to ship it by ground to your destination.
>>



For a while airlines were allowing people to bring brand new fuel bottles and brand new stoves (in packaging) on airlines. I don't know if any of the airlines are still allowing this to be done though. apparently they think that the residue left on a stove is enough to blow up a plane--yet the Bacardi 151 that is served in first class won't burn. no sir. whatever.

I _think_ airlines might have stopped allowing the stoves on as they realized that most/all stoves are tested before they leave the factory and would have some of this highly flammable likely to cause a plane to go down like a flaming cattle car residue on them. I would call the airline I was going to fly to see what they say on the matter. if they say you can bring your stove on board (new or used)--get it in writing. either way, I'm sure you'll still get a nice strip search once your at the airport...

if you want to play it safe, don't bring your stove or fuel bottles (or anything else that has had fuel on it when you fly. just purchase new equipment when you arrive at your destination or ship it there separately (they still allow you to do that, don't they?). there are reasons I drive everywhere...

it's not that the MSR Whisperlite International doesn't have good temperature control--it's that it does not have temperature control at all. if you want a stove that allows you to simmer, look at the Optimus Nova, Primus Omnifuel (I think), MSR Dragonfly, or the MSR Simmerlite. I would recommend the Nova out of that bunch.


oldjb said:

<< arctan1701, since I've done more backpacking with external frames than internal, I'm somewhat partial to them. Although looking at the Terraframe, I'm not sure how much I could latch to the outside. I hoped to use it for a Yosemite trip, but I had to cancel the trip at the last minute. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0> >>




I have not tried a Terraframe personally. the people that I have talked to that have tried them say that they are nowhere near as comfortable as a Terraplane. unless you are carrying MASSIVE loads (100+ lbs), you probably don't need an external frame. and even if you are, I wouldn't be surprised if the TerraPLANE could handle it. I have had about 80 lbs in my Terraplane with out problems. as far as strapping things to the out side of the Terraplane, there are buckles and straps all over the pack as well as a daisy chain--did I mention the crap load of buckles and straps? if you are just strapping a sleeping pad to the bag--you will have no problems at all. you should be able to strap on numerous pads to all the points on the Terraplane. if you are hoping to strap on a sleeping bag as well, the Terraplane will allow a large (read, el cheapo) bag inside the pack in the sleeping bag compartment. you can also collapse the sleeping bag compartment and then strap the sleeping bag to the outside if you're that kind of person.

I'm curious as to what size (in cubic inches) external frame pack you have used before that caused you to strap large amounts of stuff to the outside. if you look at a Terraplane you might find that you can fit most everything into the pack and won't need to strap anything to the outside. also, if these packs aren't big enough for you (even the Astraplane) you can purchase a wetrib or two to attach to the front of the pack 2 or 3 hundred more cubic inches of storage per wetrib, plus they will each hold a 32oz Nalgene so you have plenty of water in reach. you can also add a few necessity pockets to the pack (they strap on to the belts and buckles that I mentioned earlier). these hold 250 or 400 ci per pocket depending on the size you get and if the numbers in my head are correct. with the way that Dana designed these pockets, it is possible to install them under the compression straps so that they do not flop around and maintain the center of gravity close to your body.

if you haven't been in a Terraplane before, I would highly suggest it. you might be surprise as to how comfortable the pack is and how much stability you gain as you are walking around.

oldjb said:

<< Anyone have any ideas for how I *quickly* could load up my pack to test it with weight (and adjust the straps)? I was planning on filling up as many water bottles as I could and throwing them in with some sheets. I don't want to pack everything in my backpack just to adjust it. >>



if you are doing this at a store, they should have sand bags that you can use. if you are at home, the water bottles work well. also, lots and lots of canned foods work well for testing. just remember when you are packing the bag to ensure that you are packing the weight as you would if it were real gear. don't forget to put in your lightweight fillers (or even your real sleeping bag) so you get an accurate feel.


oldjb said:

<< By the way, if anyone else does get the Terraframe, I'd suggest the Red. I found the Green a little boring. I'm satisfied with it so far though. >>



that was what I didn't like about the red--it seamed to stand out too much. I took the blue even though it is not dull by any means. at least the red is better than that atrocious pumpkin color they have <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

krAmerica said:

<< How do these packs compare to REI or North Face? >>



if you think of REI and North Face packs as the Chevys and Fords of backpacks, the Dana Design packs would be the Ferraris.

cryptopunk said:

<< dana makes nice packs. but definitely try on the same model/size pack in a store before buying it online somewhere. making sure you get the right fit is very important. as nice as dana packs are you might find a gregory or arc'teryx fit you better. >>





that is true. the thing I always find surprising, however, is that everyone seems to hold Gregory packs up so high--yet when I was shopping around for a new pack, the Gregory packs seemed to be of a much lower quality. for example, on one of the packs the hip belt actually deformed and pulled away from my body as you tightened the trim straps. granted this pack didn't fit well to begin with and might very well not do this at all on someone that does fit the pack. but the fact that the hip padding was so short, thin, and small allowing this to happen was kind of a turn off.

I've bought a bunch of stuff from Sports Basement here in San Fran. Good company and good people.

Anyone that is trying to find a low cost, decent pack shouldn't rule out certain Kelty packs. Look for one with the Mystery Ranch system and I think you might be surprised. That system was designed by the original designer of Dana Designs and it has some good options for a custom fit. That being said, if you have the money for a more expensive pack, I like the Dana Designs and Arc'teryx packs. If you can afford it, the Arc'teryx Bora 80 is incredible.

For a cheap stove that I really like, you need not look further than the MSR Pocket Rocket. It's dirt cheap at $40 just about anywhere, and it does have an adjustable flame. You won't be cooking for 20 with it but for a couple of people it's great.

Finally, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON NORTH FACE! It may have been the Sierra Designs of it's day but now it is nothing more than made in China junk sold at high prices with their marketing hype.

flyboymilo said:

<< Anyone that is trying to find a low cost, decent pack shouldn't rule out certain Kelty packs. Look for one with the Mystery Ranch system and I think you might be surprised. That system was designed by the original designer of Dana Designs and it has some good options for a custom fit. That being said, if you have the money for a more expensive pack, I like the Dana Designs and Arc'teryx packs. If you can afford it, the Arc'teryx Bora 80 is incredible. >>



the one nice thing about Dana Packs is that you can often find them for about 1/2 price (like the ones above) when the new models come out. thus you can get an excellent pack for the price of a mediocre pack. it seems that you don't see the other brands that are out there marked down on clearance as often. maybe it's just me, however, as I usually don't look for anything but Dana. Each person is different, if a Kelty, Arc'teryx or whatever is the best fit--that should be the pack for you. for people that fit Dana packs well (many/most people with the 5 varieties of sizes) the deal above is great. mmmmmmmm, Dana at Jan Sport prices <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

flyboymilo said:

<< For a cheap stove that I really like, you need not look further than the MSR Pocket Rocket. It's dirt cheap at $40 just about anywhere, and it does have an adjustable flame. You won't be cooking for 20 with it but for a couple of people it's great. >>



if you look the Pocket Rocket is available for $30 from some retailers or about $20 on eBay (not many sold though). the PR is very small, in its case it will slip into a pocket nicely and I love that. the thing I don't like is that it is a canister fuel stove. in the long run these stoves cost a lot and if you plan to use them in very cold weather or at high altitudes there can be problems. I do realize all the tricks that can be employed like sleeping with your canisters and using mouse pads--but for me it's just not worth the trouble. the other thing I don't like is that sometimes it can be hard to find the fuel for these as they use canisters exclusive to the backpacking stove industry (though you can mix and match most brands). I like the ability to use white gas (Coleman fuel), unleaded, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, or colza. chances are, no matter where you are, you will find one of these fuels. camping at the airport anyone? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> the one thing that the canister stoves have going for them is that they can all simmer, are incredibly convenient as long as you can find the fuel, and the initial stove cost is less. I still prefer a liquid fuel stove however. problems specific to the pocket rocket from my own usage were the angled pot stands and the flimsy strength of said holders. unless you have a ribbed bottomed pot like the MSR BlackLite or the GSI Extreme (my choice) your pots slip and slid all over. boiling water on your legs is not fun in the morning. as I only used this stove for a week before returning it, I didn't get to really give it a work out--however, I would defiantly worry that I would bend those pot holders as I was able to bend them with just my fingers. in my opinion they are much too thin. flyboymilo, how long have you hat the stove? do you use it a lot? how have the holders held up? I do think that the stove would be nice for your day bag due to its size. I just wouldn't want to cook over it every day for any amount of time.

flyboymilo said:

<< Finally, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON NORTH FACE! It may have been the Sierra Designs of it's day but now it is nothing more than made in China junk sold at high prices with their marketing hype. >>



I wouldn't say that the entire company is crap. I own a few items from them that I am extremely happy with (made in Italy btw)--but that's not to say that all their stuff is great. what is seems is that often when a company makes a name for them selves with a great product and they become a large company, they just ride along on the reputation they once had and start to cut corners. I think it's inherent to becoming a corporation <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> MSR has done this in some of their stoves and other equipment (can you say plastic stove pumps anyone?) and I have definitely seen this from other companies as well. people will often buy these products not because they are cheaper, better, or anything else over a competitors product. it's just that they know of the company and don't really know of any other options out there.



<< it's not that the MSR Whisperlite International doesn't have good temperature control--it's that it does not have temperature control at all. if you want a stove that allows you to simmer, look at the Optimus Nova, Primus Omnifuel (I think), MSR Dragonfly, or the MSR Simmerlite. I would recommend the Nova out of that bunch.

>>



Aw come on, you mean you do not like its ones and only "blowtorch" setting? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
I have the Whisperlite international too.

Sportz outdoors in Albuquerque has Dana Design bomb packs on sale for 99 right now

one thing I've been looking for are the Dana PackFlys in Large (aka the 4.6) in ultralight or regular. these feature a hood so you don't get rain running down your back. from what I have been told, Dana is making a batch of them--but they won't be done until August or so. I need two of these now! now! now! does anyone know of a place that has them in stock?

This thread has been incredibly usefull to me as I start to put together my backpacking gear, thanks to all those who have posted.

I still am not sure about a backpack, I think I will try and find a store around me that carries the Dana Design packs so I can go try one on. The Terraplance does look like a very nice pack, but that is just so much money as I am just getting started and am on a tight budget.

Would the DD Glacier backpack be better than your average "cheaper" backpack (ie. Kelty, REI, NorthFace, etc.)? Here are a few other ones that I am looking at.

Kelty Continental Divide ($150-$30MSN=$120) Link

Cumulus 80 backpack ($60) Link1 Link2?

Guidegear 5100 cubic inch backpack ($80) Link

Kelty Tornado backpack ($140) Link

Any opinions on any of these? How important is it to try on a pack before buying it? Can most packs fit most people? I am 6'2" tall and about 240lbs. If I were to try on a DD Glacier or Terraplane at a store, would the ones bought on the internet (different years/models) be pretty much the same?

I am still looking for a stove, I think I have narrowed it down to an MSR (whisperlite, dragonfly, pocket rocket) or maybe a Primus (Himalaya Vari-fuel).

I have a decent sleepting bag and tent, but think I will need to get a pad. Do most of you use pads? If so is there any difference from one to another?

As far as filter go I just bought one yesterday. I got the Pur Guide filter from SportsmansGuide for $49.00 (there is a $10 off coupon, but it pretty much just negates shipping, and you need to order at least $75, which I did). From the reviews it looks like a pretty good filter, and the price was right. Link

Once again, thanks for everyone's input. FW is the best.

i hate to say it because i'm sure the hardcore backpackers will disagree, but... the coleman exponent xtreme stove is pretty nice. very lightweight, starts up easy, variable flame. uses proprietary coleman powermax fuel cannisters - not good if you're planning on trekking in nepal, but for most domestic backpacking very easy to find. i've not used it in 40 below weather, but down to about 15 it's been fine for me. they crush down flat when they're empty which is nice. coleman also makes a very small latern that uses the same fuel.

jkh43 said:

<< This thread has been incredibly usefull to me as I start to put together my backpacking gear, thanks to all those who have posted.

I still am not sure about a backpack, I think I will try and find a store around me that carries the Dana Design packs so I can go try one on. The Terraplance does look like a very nice pack, but that is just so much money as I am just getting started and am on a tight budget.
>>



would you consider the Alpine LTW at 199 or maybe 179 in your price range?

jkh43 said:

<< Would the DD Glacier backpack be better than your average "cheaper" backpack (ie. Kelty, REI, NorthFace, etc.)? Here are a few other ones that I am looking at. >>



dollar for dollar, i would say yes.

jkh43 said:

<< Kelty Continental Divide ($150-$30MSN=$120) Link >>



from the reviews I found, this does seem to be an ok pack and would be worth considering.

jkh43 said:

<< Cumulus 80 backpack ($60) Link1 Link2? >>



I don't see any reviews of this pack, but I don't think that I would trust a pack that sells for this little. it appears that this is a one size fits all pack aka this pack probably will not fit you.

jkh43 said:

<< Guidegear 5100 cubic inch backpack ($80) Link >>



a cheap pack from a unknown company in a one size fits all. I don't think this would be a good choice.

jkh43 said:

<< Kelty Tornado backpack ($140) Link >>



this one looks ok except I don't think the size is right. there are people that will take a pack this size out for a week. these are people that spend lots of money on their gear so they can go ultralight. given the fact that we are on fat wallet--I'm just going to guess that you did not spend lots of money on your gear <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>. I would not get this pack unless you know that your gear (including food if you plan to eat) will all fit in it.


jkh43 said:

<< Any opinions on any of these? How important is it to try on a pack before buying it? Can most packs fit most people? I am 6'2" tall and about 240lbs. If I were to try on a DD Glacier or Terraplane at a store, would the ones bought on the internet (different years/models) be pretty much the same? >>



it is VERY important that you try the pack on before you buy it. some packs just won't fit some people. my GF went through every pack in a store before we gave up and bought her a Dana. we were also trying to find a cheap pack like you are. one thing she found was that the offerings from Gregory, Alpine Lowe, and others (that were already above the price range you are looking at) did not carry the weight well. once I got her in a Alpine LTW she didn't believe that I had 60 lbs on her back. you need to remember that if you are going out for a week you are going to do a lot of walking. everything you have for that week will be on your back. people that buy cheap packs often regret their purchase on the first day. they say the two things you should not buy cheap are your hiking boots and your backpack. of all the packs you listed above, I would only consider the Kelty Continental Divide. the others are either too small or will probably not fit good. if you do consider the Kelty Continental Divide, I would then ask you why not get the Terraframe? I don't think the link stated it as such, but the Kelty Continental Divide is an external frame pack just like the Terraframe. also the Terraframe will cost you $100 from Northern Mountain. if you were to try on a back pack in a store that uses the same suspension as another bag--these will all fit the same. for Dana Design packs, the Astraplane, Terraplane, and the Alpine all use the ArcFlex suspension. the Glacier uses the ArcLight suspension. the Bombpack and (I think) the Bridger use the ArcActive suspension. the Terraframe uses an external from suspension, not certain of the name. thus if you try on a Terraplane, it will fit differently than a Glacier no matter what a salesman says. I really do think that you should consider the Alpine LTW, at $199 (or $179) it is a very good deal and not that much more than the Glacier or the Kelty Continental Divide you listed. but go try them on, see what fits and what feels good. if you are not able to find these locally (local Dana dealer list http://danadesign.com/retail_sup.htm) you could order several of these from an online store and see what you like and just return the ones you don't. you should also measure yourself so you know your torso length (for Dana you will need to know your waist size and if you are male or female, I don't think there is a way to measure for the shoulder straps but you will probably be a L).

jkh43 said:

<< I am still looking for a stove, I think I have narrowed it down to an MSR (whisperlite, dragonfly, pocket rocket) or maybe a Primus (Himalaya Vari-fuel). >>



are you going to cook or boil water? do you want convenience of use or do you want to save money and always have fuel?

I don't like the whisperlite as it doesn't simmer. the dragonfly simmers but is big and for the same price you can get the Optimus Nova. the pocket rocket has issues as I stated previously (there are better canister stoves that fold up as small that are I would recommend). the reviews of the Primus Himalaya where not good the last time I looked so I don't think I would purchase it. you may want to consider the simmerlite from MSR but again, you can purchase the Nova for $10 more. did I mention you could consider the Optimus Nova? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>


jkh43 said:

<< I have a decent sleepting bag and tent, but think I will need to get a pad. Do most of you use pads? If so is there any difference from one to another? >>



many/most people do use pads. these are the same people that don't like to sleep on the cold hard ground--you might know one of them. I don't bother with pads. comfort wise I'm ok just on the ground (just put the tent up somewhere with soft ground like grass, mud, moss, gravel). the only thing I would recommend a pad for is the warmth factor. if the ground is very cold, you may want a pad as you sleeping bag will not insulate when it's compressed under your 240 lbs. go put your tent up in the back yard and sleep for a night or two, you'll know whether you will need a pad or not. if you do need one, Therm-a-rest is the brand of choice. you will probably want a 1/2" or 1" think version. to save a little money and weight, consider the 3/4 length version (your feet don't really need a pad do they?).


jkh43 said:

<< As far as filter go I just bought one yesterday. I got the Pur Guide filter from SportsmansGuide for $49.00 (there is a $10 off coupon, but it pretty much just negates shipping, and you need to order at least $75, which I did). From the reviews it looks like a pretty good filter, and the price was right. Link

Once again, thanks for everyone's input. FW is the best.
>>



just remember with the filter you bought, in the long run you will pay more since you will need a new filter at ~$50 ever 200 gallons. the $120 filter for the pocket filter does 13,000 gallons. that means you will pay $3250 (13000/200=65 - 1 (included with your filter) = 64 * $50 = $3200 + $50 (for the filter you just bought)=$3250) to get the same amount of water that the pocket filter will give you. you can buy the entire Pocket filter setup for <$150 online or about $70 on eBay.

cryptopunk said:

<< i hate to say it because i'm sure the hardcore backpackers will disagree, but... the coleman exponent xtreme stove is pretty nice. very lightweight, starts up easy, variable flame. uses proprietary coleman powermax fuel cannisters - not good if you're planning on trekking in nepal, but for most domestic backpacking very easy to find. i've not used it in 40 below weather, but down to about 15 it's been fine for me. they crush down flat when they're empty which is nice. coleman also makes a very small latern that uses the same fuel. >>



for a butane stove I think they are a little pricey and again the fuel is expensive. the Xcursion lantern is a nice item even though my last one had a valve go out on me...

Arctan, thanks a ton for your detailed reply, it was very informative.

<<would you consider the Alpine LTW at 199 or maybe 179 in your price range?

Yes, I would consider the Alpine LTW in my price range. I don't mind spending in the $200-$250 range if I am really going to get a much better pack with it. There are a few Dana Design dealers in my area (SLC), so I think I will have to go try some packs out. Where can I get the Alpine LTW for $179-$199, it sounds like that might be my best bet. The Continental Divide is an internal frame (for what I can find). What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of an external frame versus and internal one? I will have to look into the Terraplane a little bit.

<<are you going to cook or boil water? do you want convenience of use or do you want to save money and always have <<fuel?

<<I don't like the whisperlite as it doesn't simmer. the dragonfly simmers but is big and for the same price you <<can get the Optimus Nova. the pocket rocket has issues as I stated previously (there are better canister stoves <<that fold up as small that are I would recommend). the reviews of the Primus Himalaya where not good the last <<time I looked so I don't think I would purchase it. you may want to consider the simmerlite from MSR but again, <<you can purchase the Nova for $10 more. did I mention you could consider the Optimus Nova

I will be cooking (hopefully a lot of fish) and boiling water. I think convenience is probably the most important to me as I won't be backpacking tons and am not too concerned about fuel cost, etc. I am going to look into the Optimus Nova stove, sounds like you have a very opinion of it. Anyone else have any opinions on it or other stoves?

<<just remember with the filter you bought, in the long run you will pay more since you will need a new filter at <<~$50 ever 200 gallons. the $120 filter for the pocket filter does 13,000 gallons. that means you will pay $3250 <<,(13000/200=65 - 1 (included with your filter) = 64 * $50 = $3200 + $50 (for the filter you just bought)=$3250) <<to get the same amount of water that the pocket filter will give you. you can buy the entire Pocket filter setup <<for <$150 online or about $70 on eBay.

I think that someone else in our group will buy the Pur Guide filter from me, so I might start keeping my eye out on eBay for a pocket filter. I don't know that I would ever need to filter more than about 500 gallons in my lifetime, so I think a more appropriate comparison would be that I might need to buy 1-2 more filters durning my lifetime.

I am starting to get a better idea of what stuff I want to end up with. Keep the reviews & opinions coming.

jkh43

"hotter than yo'mama" ??!? how do they mods allow this??? Is nothing sacred anymore?!? For SHAME! how can our moral character be so low? I'll have you know that my mother is dead and I for one don't need someone mocking her or her memory!

Therm-a-rest pads are fairly decent. I feel pads make a huge difference in keeping you warm by insulating you from the ground. They are also fairly useful in keeping you dry if your tent floor gets wet. For example, if you put the groundcloth of your tent on poorly and a little water leaks in when it rains. I've been using a 3/4 pad for 15 years now and I often wish I had a full pad.

I find it difficult to stay on the pad though; I roll off. Mountain Hardware now has a system that buckles into their sleeping bag. This seems like a good idea but you probably need to have one of their sleeping bags.

Fit is important, but it is even more important to properly fit the pack. Spend a lot of time experimenting with the straps to see what makes you most comfortable and adjust it often when you're hiking.

As for internal vs. external packs, I feel external packs can be easier to attach things too, but arctan disagrees (in a PM). External packs are better at keeping you cool. Because internal packs stay right up to your back, your back gets very sweaty quick.

Internal packs keep the weight closer to your center of gravity, that makes manuevering easier and allows you to walk more upright. Plus I think people like internal packs because they look cooler, being used by many of the real hardcore folks like mountaineers. As I mentioned, I purchased the external Terraframe.

I have a 1995 Dana Designs Astralplane and a 1996 bridger Overkill. Both of these packs have been used and abused. I used the Bridge Overkill pack as my daily pack for 5 years when I was working at ski resorts. I also use it as a weekend pack for summer trips. The Astralplane hasn't been used as much, but for long summer trips and winter trips I love it. I have had Zero problems with both packs and other than a little dirt they are in great shape. I'll probably still have these packs when I retire (30 years from now). The money I spent on these packs was probably the best investment in my outdoor gear. BTW being the tightwad that I am I bought these on pro deals when I worked At a Ski Resort, 50% off but still expensive for a Snow Bum.
If they are still made with the same quality as when they where made in Bozeman, Buy them if you can. Hell,I ate ramen noodles for most of one winter so I could get my packs, I wanted them that much<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

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jkh43 said:

<< Arctan, thanks a ton for your detailed reply, it was very informative.

<<would you consider the Alpine LTW at 199 or maybe 179 in your price range?

Yes, I would consider the Alpine LTW in my price range. I don't mind spending in the $200-$250 range if I am really going to get a much better pack with it. There are a few Dana Design dealers in my area (SLC), so I think I will have to go try some packs out. Where can I get the Alpine LTW for $179-$199, it sounds like that might be my best bet. The Continental Divide is an internal frame (for what I can find). What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of an external frame versus and internal one? I will have to look into the Terraplane a little bit.
>>



I would say that you defiantly getting a much better pack--even over the Kelty packs you listed and especially over the other two. the KCD is an external frame. a review pointed this error out in his review. apparently the frame is smaller and not visible when looking at the front (or back depending on how you see things) of the pack. the Alpine LTW is 199 at northern mountain (website in my OP). I need to figure out where I saw the Alpine for 179, I came across it several days ago while looking for the Dana pack covers. either way, the pack was only available in the orange color in a size medium. if you are of another size, then you will need to get the 199 version from northern mountain. you need to go to a dealer and get measured so you know you size. also, before you settle on an Alpine, make sure that your gear will fit in ~5000 ci, you might need a ~6000 ci (Terraplane) or even a ~7000 ci (Astraplane) and don't discount the Glacier before you try it on. it's probably not a bad pack, I have just never seen it in person whereas I know how great the ArcFlex suspension is. you may find the Glacier is a perfect fit for you and it carries 60 lbs like a dream (the ArcFlex is defiantly overbuilt for 60 lb loads, this is not a bad thing) these sizes very somewhat with the sizes. I think you will be a L or XL so you can probably add a few hundred ci to the pack--but don't count on it.

jkh43 said:

<< I will be cooking (hopefully a lot of fish) and boiling water. I think convenience is probably the most important to me as I won't be backpacking tons and am not too concerned about fuel cost, etc. I am going to look into the Optimus Nova stove, sounds like you have a very opinion of it. Anyone else have any opinions on it or other stoves? >>



I would say that you want a variable flame stove then. if you want a butane stove that's ultra portable like the pocket rocket--there are much better alternatives out there. I'll try to pull up some names as I can't think of them now. these stoves cost about $60 or so.

I should state that I don't find the Nova inconvenient at all--once you learn how to use it. have a sales man demo one for you if you can find them locally. if not, see a demo of a dragonfly as it operates similarly (but not as loudly). also take a look at the pocket rocket or other butane stove they all operate about the same. this should allow you to see if you would rather have a canister stove or a liquid fuel stove.

jkh43 said:

<< I think that someone else in our group will buy the Pur Guide filter from me, so I might start keeping my eye out on eBay for a pocket filter. I don't know that I would ever need to filter more than about 500 gallons in my lifetime, so I think a more appropriate comparison would be that I might need to buy 1-2 more filters durning my lifetime.

I am starting to get a better idea of what stuff I want to end up with. Keep the reviews & opinions coming.

jkh43
>>



if so, then it's not as bad of a deal for you--but you do start to spend pretty close to the price of a new Pocket Filter. one nice thing about having a filter is that if there is a boil order in effect, you can use one of these instead of boiling. this is great if you are in flood prone areas...

oldjb said:

<< As for internal vs. external packs, I feel external packs can be easier to attach things too, but arctan disagrees (in a PM). >>



I might have misstated a little in my PM. I don't think that internal frame packs are as easy to lash to as an external frame pack--the external will always be easier. in the case of the Terraframe, you have the entire bag from the Terraplane plus all of the external framing to aid in lashing. I do think that if you have so much stuff that you need to entirely cover your pack with lash ons--you may want to consider leaving a few things at home. the Terraplane should allow several items to be lashed to it, I would imaging about 4 or so therm-a-rest pad size objects with ease. I'm sure you could fit more if you wanted to though. of course, YMMV.

though I always think I'll use my power drill and potted plant while back packing--I never seem to be able to find an outlet or a window sill... <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

DarkMind said:

<< If they are still made with the same quality as when they where made in Bozeman, Buy them if you can. Hell,I ate ramen noodles for most of one winter so I could get my packs, I wanted them that much<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> >>



I have never sat an old and a new pack side-by-side--but I can say that the new packs are very well made. when you look over one you are just amazed at the attention to detail they put in one of these packs. you will find people selling the older packs on eBay saying that their pack is a quality Bozeman rather than an inferior Mexico pack--but I have never heard this from someone that was not trying to sell me an older pack.

just the thought of ramen noodles makes me ill. I have lived off of ramen for far too long in my life.

Edit by Moderator: FatWallet is a Flame-free zone. Please show respect for others by not participating in this type of activity.

As someone else mentioned, Arc'teryx packs are quite nice, but rather overpriced here in the US. They typically list for the same price in the US and Canada ($350 US from a US place and $350 Can from a Canadian place), so when you figure the exchange into it, buying from Canada can save you $$.

As for stoves, I've had a Primus Himalaya stove for the past few years. The model I have will do liquid or canister fuel. I've never had any problems with it.

REI-Outlet has a stove that runs off butane canisters on their top sellers page. There's a coupon floating around here for 20% off which would bring that down into the mid $20s if I recall correctly.

Well, yesterday I finally had a chance to go look at the Dana Design backpacks and try some on at my local Kirkham's Outdoor store.

I looked at both the DD Glacier and Alpine. They both looked like great packs to me, and I don't know that you could go wrong with either one. I tried the Glacier on, and had the salesman show me how to properly adjust it to fit me, and I was amazed at the good fit. He put about 40lbs in it, and it was very comfortable. The suspension system was great, amazing how properly adjusting it takes practically all the weight off the shoulders and puts it on your hips.

For me, the premium cost for the Alpine is not worth it, so I ordered the Glacier pack this morning from SportsBasement. I was able to find a coupon for 10% off as well, so the total cost was $139-$13.90=$125.10, IMO an amazing price for this backpack (Kirkham's was selling the Glacier for $299, and wouldn't budge on the price).

The coupon code for 10% off is HASHUSA (in case anyone is interested).

Now I just need to help my dad find a good pack. He would of gotten the Glacier in a second, but they only have the L/XL size and he would be a M/L (he measured a 18"-19". I looked around everywhere for a place that has the DD Alpine for $179 (like arctan mentioned) with no luck. Kirkham's had the orange color (only) Alpine on sale for $269. I think that my dad's best be may be to get the Glacier as well from Northern Mountain, although it will be more than $50 more ($179) than what I paid for mine.

I also bought the Primus Alpine Power Cook stove from the REI outlet. I used the 20% off coupon and was able to get it for $27.93+tax+S&H which in my book was a pretty good deal. It has decent reviews and I like the convenience of the canister stoves, I know that they are more expensive to fuel, but I don't think I will backpack enough for that to really come into play. Does anyone know where to get the fuel canisters for cheap?

Now I just need to get a pad, and a few other odds and ends. This thread has been very helpfull to me in getting all my gear together.

jkh43 said:

<< I have a decent sleepting bag and tent, but think I will need to get a pad. Do most of you use pads? If so is there any difference from one to another? >>

A sleeping pad is a must in on my pack. You never know what kind of terrain will be under your camp site. If you've ever tried to sleep in cold weather without a pad, you will freeze. A pad will allow your bag to perform to its optimum ability by preventing the ground from sucking the warmth right out from under you. I've used many pads in my backpacking days. I've found that Therm-a-Rest's Z-Rest is the best pad I've ever used. At ~$30, it costs significantly less than an inflatible pad. Since it is an open-cell foam pad, you never have to worry about anything breaking or puncturing your pad. The Z-Rest accordians up when you're finished and it takes 1 second to stow. Since you don't have to inflate it, I also use it as a sitting pad when cooking or resting. It's ultra light, worry free sleeping padness at its finest! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

I realize that some of you dislike the MSR Whisperlite stoves because they run like a torch, but I've found that it is much easier to level this by changing to the new canister pumps. I've been able to simmer for minutes at a time without my interaction. After 5 minutes or so, I would need to give it a pump or two. I love my Whisperlite international because it runs on just about anything I throw through it.



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