Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

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Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 1:18 pm

Cost being the third issue and may be directly linked to the initial question.
The main reason I have such a large and heavy main rucksack is kids, and the need to carry most of the load myself. But after the kids grew up I found I needed the large bag for my winter gear because my set-up was rather more to the bulky side, due most probably my initial choices of more robust fabrics and affordability and to a lesser degree that fact that I am on larger side and need XXL clothing/tentage and sleeping gear
Now modern UL gear is usually both lighter and more compact than my more traditional gear but what was the initial reason for people making the change, less weight or a smaller more mobile pack; or was it a decision the found the combination more compelling?
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Warin » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 3:31 pm

How far back do you want to go?
Back in Paddy Pallin's day it was weight. And cost.

These days .. fairly much the same. Weight is a larger factor than size. Cost is a hip belt thing.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Neo » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 3:35 pm

Function versus weight vs cost, then compactness often follows (included for free?!)
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby GregG » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 3:46 pm

An excellent question, in my case weight wins over bulk everytime. It wasn't always that way, back in 1998 (22 years ago, where did the time go?) I was fed up with a few pack failures and wanting more volume I went and bought a Kathmandou Tallus 75 backpack (they used to make some pretty decent gear back in the day). This thing is virtually bullet proof and is capable of swallowing anything I have ever wanted to carry and is quite comfortable, the down side is that it weighs 6.5 pounds empty. The weight didn't seem to matter 22 years ago but my knees tell me that it really, really matters now. I still use this pack because of its capacity but it has gotten to the stage where it will have to be retired. Looking at the standard gear I carry like tent, sleeping bag etc I realise that it would easily fit into a 50L pack so yeah, weight is something I can't ignore any longer if I want to keep on walking for a few more years.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 4:32 pm

I have a bunch of gear that gets used for normal travel as well, so compactness does become a factor as well. I've got some very compact gear that is heavy, great for the car, and some slightly bulkier but lighter gear that helps with walking. Always have to "weigh" the options and factors, and while weight and size are often up there, utility is going to be a big factor often as well. ei, will this bit of gear suit the conditions I'm expecting, will I need flexibility, or can I trust the plan will go correctly.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby rcaffin » Mon 16 Mar, 2020 5:50 pm

When you go really UL, there is much less gear to carry, so volume does not matter as much. But at 74, weight is paramount.

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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby stry » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 7:58 pm

Neo wrote:Function versus weight vs cost, then compactness often follows (included for free?!)


It works much the same for me. I have reduced the weight of most of my stuff, and then noticed that "Hey I can use a smaller pack and still have room for water if necessary"

Winner, winner. :D
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Neo » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 8:51 pm

Given the OP, its a tough choice but weight comes first..!
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby andrewa » Wed 18 Mar, 2020 7:30 pm

Weight.

I have a MYO voluminous rucksack, which is perfect for the “quick pack up in crap weather” approach...it makes it so much easier than trying to make everything small,to then have to jam in the tiny rucksack.

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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Petew » Thu 19 Mar, 2020 10:11 am

Weight for me, then compactness.

I moved on from my Macpac Torre (90l) in 2000 and bought an excellent 60l pack from Cactus (NZ). I used the 60l a lot but four years ago went to an exos 48. Much better. Last year I took the plunge and bought an Atom packs MO 40l. Fantastic pack. The older stuff still gets used on family trips though the Torre harness has died (though Macpac still fix them I believe).

I'm not yet 50 but close enough. Definitely appreciate the lighter gear.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Birdman » Fri 20 Mar, 2020 11:31 pm

With my Osprey Aether 70 I don't often run into space constraints but it is still more likely than weight constraints. When carrying 9-12 days resupply, even quite compact food, I often use almost full space capacity.

Regarding weight, I think people are often too focused on just the weight, but the distribution of that weight is also very important. If you carry a relatively small pack that you completely stuff with gear and food, the centre of gravity tends to be relatively low and far away from your back. A larger pack allows for the centre of gravity to be closer to your back and more above your hips, so the weight is less of a burden.

When I stuff my (large) pack completely, it is difficult to lift it off the ground, but once on my back it is surprisingly comfortable to carry. But once I have used up half my supplies and am careless with packing it (i.e. most weight is relatively low in my pack, more ore less simulating a smaller pack) it is sometimes less comfortable to carry. It is lighter, but per kg the burden is more. The trick is to use the straps effectively, reducing the volume and distributing the weight over the entire length of the pack, close to my back and nicely above my hips.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 28 Mar, 2020 1:30 pm

Thinking though things I think compact makes more sense to me, if the weight goes up I would probably compensate by walking and/or skiing shorter distances each day.
I bought an Osprey Eather 80litre thru the forum but I sold it on, simply too small to fit my gear into when packing in a hurry, but also I think Osprey use small litres compared to WE rucksacks
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby ofuros » Sun 29 Mar, 2020 9:53 am

10-15kilo in a taller 80litre pack or 10-15kg in shorter 50litre pack...50litre pack for me. So compactness.

Besides, I wear a wide brimmed hat while out mooching & the shorter pack doesn't continuously bang into or knock off my hat while crawling, limboing under branches or downed trees...
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby north-north-west » Sun 29 Mar, 2020 3:47 pm

Currently, I prefer to use the Catalyst whenever possible, so compact matters more.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Neo » Sun 29 Mar, 2020 7:41 pm

Definitely enjoy a smaller narrow and upright pack shape, also a pack not sticking up above my height - for negotiating trees and tracks.

My original coment didn't answer the OP, so I say compactness. With either comes the other ;)
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Petew » Thu 09 Apr, 2020 12:57 pm

Both for me. I have spent the last few years updating my kit so I can do a week with no resupply with a 40 l pack. If I had to put one factor in front of the other it would be weight, but only by a nose.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 27 Jun, 2020 11:56 am

After last fortnites walk I have come to the conclusion that it's compactness not weight. While light weight makes a walk more enjoyable and allows you to walk further in a day if that is important; it's volume which limits my ability to get the needed gear into a pack and still allow for food and fuel without having to add extra pockets to the outside and rear and/or front pockets as well.
As I prefer to use a mix of down and synthetic insulations and still use a lot of fleece I think this means strong compression sacks and putting up with a shorter lifespan for the synthetic layers
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby GPSGuided » Sat 27 Jun, 2020 2:08 pm

One or the other is ideology and hard core ideology never works except under exceptional circumstances, here as for politics.

Reality is, I like to balance both. As compact as possible and as light as possible. It’s where the two curves cross ie. optimised for my needs and physical capabilities. It’s just wrong to think of one or the other.
Just move it!
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Lamont » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 10:56 am

I'm voting for compactness as long as it's not too heavy.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 11:00 am

I agree with GPS that there is the middle ground but while my legs hold out I can carry a reasonable weight but I don't want to buy a bigger rucksack.
Sleeping comfort has become a vicious circle, as the mattress gets deeper for better sleeping comfort the tent needed becomes taller and longer.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby BigBenny » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 2:10 pm

For me I struggled more with bulk due to purchase decisions. I have cheap 45L backpack. And bought winter gear. I wanted to spend money on good gear but have gear that I’d be able to use in all seasons, I wanted to avoid doubling up on gear, having specialised gear. I could squeeze everything in but then found I had no room for food and only two side pockets for water. What I had was overkill for the trips. Too much bulk.

I had been focused on weight, and utility. I then became focused on bulk and I bought summer quilts. The bulk difference is amazing.

My gear closest has grown and my wish list. I’m trying to balance bulk and weight. And trying to not over pack.

I have found trekking poles makes a big difference for my knees and my body weight. I was overweight, I’ve lost some, and I’m still on my weight loss journey.

I think it’s a personal thing, based on the style of trip you enjoy, and getting your setup dialled in. Like GPS said, I think both are important and you want to strike the right balance not be too extreme in either direction.

My old thinking was I’d love to get dyneema (DCF) tarps. My new thinking is I’d still love to get them but the increased bulk is a bigger negative (before I didn’t care).

My old thinking was get one setup that I could do a massive overland in and go through different seasons (romantically dreaming). My new thinking is just take what is suited the trip (with safety factor and optional luxuries based on mood, weight and bulk).

I’ve bought mainly UL gear and I’d say bulk is more important to me than weight - given it meets the minimum utility needs. I probably still struggle with perceived utility vs reality. I probably pack too much and could cut both weight and bulk. With experience/time I think I’ll get it more dialled in.


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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby nezumi » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 7:20 pm

Hiking, my priority is weight over volume. At a certain point, the volume becomes significant because it pushes me to take a bigger (and heavier) pack, but up until that point, weight is the priority.

For bikepacking, my other outdoor adventure activity, volume is the bigger priority. The space in the bags I have attached to the bike is far more constrained than a hiking pack, and I can move a lot more weight than I can when walking, so I am happy to focus on the size of my gear more than the weight in that scenario.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Ms_Mudd » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 8:11 pm

nezumi wrote:
For bikepacking, my other outdoor adventure activity, volume is the bigger priority. The space in the bags I have attached to the bike is far more constrained than a hiking pack, and I can move a lot more weight than I can when walking, so I am happy to focus on the size of my gear more than the weight in that scenario.

Discovering this for myself. I also find I need more water on the bike too and am tweaking how I can do this best as I detest anything on my back on a bike.

For bushwalking, hmmm, probably similar. Compactness is important as I don't want a giant pack on my short torso. Having said that my knees and hips don't want a colossally heavy pack either. So compactness would be my first priority as long as the weight penalty was not utterly ridiculous.

I have never owned a DCF shelter, but in my browsing and daydreaming, I have noticed although light as a feather, they generally seem bulky when packed up across the styles I have browsed.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby rcaffin » Sun 28 Jun, 2020 9:03 pm

DCF leaks after a while, at the compound folds.

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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Warin » Mon 29 Jun, 2020 8:43 am

For me the cost of DCF is not worth the weight savings. And that is at the DIY level where I'm not paying for labor.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby camm » Wed 01 Jul, 2020 9:24 am

Ms_Mudd wrote:I also find I need more water on the bike too and am tweaking how I can do this best as I detest anything on my back on a bike.


Have you had a look at the Cranktank4? I've got one and it's pretty good. Dialed the fit with some pool noodle.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 01 Jul, 2020 9:15 pm

camm wrote:Have you had a look at the Cranktank4? I've got one and it's pretty good. Dialed the fit with some pool noodle.


Hey, that is pretty cool! I hadn't seen those before. I will have a play with the tape measure tomorrow as that is a great solution if it will fit. May be tricky to fit to my bike though as my hardtail is a small size frame and only fits my 750ml water bottle in the gap of the frame via a side entry cage. I have a 1.5lt Nalgene I can put under the frame via a blackburn outpost cage, but still need bigger stash of water.
I had thought about getting a custom frame bag from Bike Bag Dude to slot a hydration bladder into, but I like the idea of that tank better, more robust and no slapping around like a bladder could in a soft frame bag.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby slparker » Wed 08 Jul, 2020 9:04 am

I use a bumbag water bladder on my hardtail when I need more water. It is surprisingly stable and avoids sweaty back syndrome.
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Re: Weight or compactness? What is more important to you?

Postby Aushiker » Sat 11 Jul, 2020 2:29 pm

With a move to more bikepacking than bushwalking, compactness has become a priority for me followed by weight. Thankfully generally lighter gear also packs small. Even on the bike weight matters to me at least. Sadly there seems to be an inverse relationship between weight and cost which I also now need to balance as well.
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