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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: Problem/Issues experienced with backpacks and duffle bags carried along
I polled my backpacks and they all agree, they are the proverbial children of Lake Woebegone, every one of them is well above average.
When I sent The Ancient One back to Jansport because there was no more fabric left on the seams, they apologized and said they just don't make them out of that lightweight fabric anymore. The new packs are all about 4x as heavy but the old lighter fabric didn't wear as well. Durable fabric, straps, clips, padding, that stuff is all freaking HEAVY.
The replacements they offered were a fairly basic "book" bag with one main pouch and one smaller, or a fancy thing with pockets and pouches and whatnot, which seemed useless for lugging groceries and the like as The Ancient One could. But after a while I found all those pockets meant an orgnaized sailing bag. Food and drinks here, dry things there, this pouch for the VHF only, this clip just right for the flashlight of last recourse.
Of course that's still a "bookbag" sized pack, it isn't the hauler I use as a check-on bag, which happens to work very nicely at eating three or four bags of groceries. Chafe? Fit? Yeah, straps and selection and loading accomodate all that. No one pack can or will fit two different prople with bodies in two different sizes and shapes.
Ventilation? Ah, that's where my frame pack proves it can't be beat for serious work like backpacking. I think they invented mesh backbands for that 35 years ago, the allow the pack to stay completely separated from the mule, ergh, person, and fully ventilated.
I will say that I've seen a lot of nice little tweaks, compound curving, clever improvements on new packs. They've improved since the standard alpin rucksack and WWI. But I'd call waxed cloth a step backwards. It is flammable, highly flammable. And the wax has to be renewed regularly. Waxed barn coats fell out of fashion for a reason, folks don't have buckets of sheep tallow conveniently around the house any more. And sailcloth...used it is not of regular properties. New, it is arguably the wrong qualities, although North has used it for bags for 30? years mainly for the aesthetics for sailors. And to make use of their large scrap supply, which they "must" buy.
Now, how about a backpack with a luminous interior, or at least, a luminous bottom panel, so I could see what really was down there, without needing to dump it all out? And some generous flaps over the zippers, to keep it dry in the rain? And a zipper between the compartments, so I could open it all up from all over, for the bigger stuff?