Help with Choosing Backpack ...

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by vja4Him, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    I could use some input regarding which backpack I should get .....

    I don't have much to spend right now. I will be using the backpack when I go bicycle camping, and do a little hiking around camp to get into shape and carrying stuff for birding: several bird books, two sets of binoculars, large digital camera, pocket tape recorder for bird calls, laptop, plus food stuff for the day and water, and a few basic emergency supplies.

    I'd like something that I could actually use for backpacking into the mountains for 4-5 nights. So it should be very water resistant!

    I went to the Army Surplus store today and noticed three backpacks that seemed like something that might fit my needs:

    1) Pacific Crest Denali 5 + 10 (3966 cubic inches), internal frame, $70
    2) Outdoor Dragonfly Framepack (2780 cubic inches), external frame, $50
    3) European Rucksack (20x17x32), $32

    Any suggestions and comments from experience would be appreciated. I really do want something that will keep my stuff inside the pack dry!
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    1. NEVER buy first and find out your needs later.
    2. Always buy the highest quality pack you can afford. Buy once.
    3. Keep away from gimmicks and "used" foreign military.
    4. Never buy the thin plastic colorful backpacks.
    5. Decide if external/internal frame is right for you (most prefer internal).
    6. Buy big, more room is better than not enough.

    Buy any bag that is comprised of durable materials (100% denier cordura), I recommend buying ONE bag and never having to buy another one. This is why I recommend the best, but the best may cost a little extra...USMC ILBE Main Pack Arcteryx Propper Pack Backpack - eBay (item 120647553207 end time Nov-21-10 11:58:43 PST) -for example, you *could* buy a used Marpat design Propper USMC ILBE main pack, a backpack I now own myself. Brand new, they are going for about $200, which is a VERY good deal. Now...if that's a little out of your price range, I would go with the next best pack....Webtex Army Full Size PLCE 120 Litre Bergen Rucksack - eBay (item 170564150551 end time Dec-09-10 09:27:34 PST) the Webtex PLCE bergen (120 liter is very large), another pack I also own. These also come in various sizes. Again, mileage may vary due to pricing and size -but like I said before, WHY BUY A DOZEN BAGS when you can have just ONE quality pack that will meet most, if not all your needs? I have experimented with many backpacks over the years, and rucksack after rucksack eventually failed with exception to only a few -and the two I listed just now are the best of the best for your dollar. If you REALLY wanted to spend HUGE money, then you would be looking at a Kifaru custom rucksack...but that's just silly (like $600 kind of silly)...still, Kifaru is KING when it comes to quality...but it will cost you. Here's an example of a SMALLER 3-day pack, MOLLE-125 - ModGear Coyote Tan Ultimate Pack 20x19x12" Padded Shoulder a Waist Belt Weighs 5.2 Pounds Lots of Pockets to Hold Gear typically designed for routine use and quick load functionality.

    Keep It Simple
    In reality, all you really need is a heavy duty pack like I listed, it could be just about any official military issue internal frame pack, but it must be heavy duty and double and triple stitched at every seam. Be certain to take notice of the straps are comfortable and heavy duty, and that it offers the support you will need for your loadout (total weight). Then, buy yourself a $2 waterproof rubber bag (OD green on one side, black on the other) at any Army/Navy store, or from online. THIS will serve as your waterproof barrier, and you will stow all equipment inside. In fact, buy a few of these no matter what.

    For a smaller, lighter alternative, you could always go with a 3-day assault pack (military), use the waterproof bag, and stay lightweight yet durable in this manner.

    What to avoid
    No matter what you choose, please stay away from thin fabrics which claim to be waterproof, lightly stitched packs, external frames that are NOT lightweight military grade (plastics), and anything in bright colors designed to attract yuppies. An example of a poor pack would be the outdated ALICE pack and metallic external frame with kidney pads from hell. Please, if you listen to nothing else I have said, stay away from these. They are FINE for a weekend warrior or the average novice, but only an ex soldier who has carried a 75 lb. load over 20 miles in this pack can tell you to stay away with good reason. Another poor backpack is anything "canvas". Sure, it looks neat. it's affordable, but it will also rot and it is not durable enough to last the trials of routine hiking -although some people tend to tread softly and like to use simple bags...I say that if you can't fill your bag with rocks and toss it around the yard for an hour and have it hold up, it's garbage. But that's just ME. Another gimmick is the ever cheap, slightly "used" foreign military backpacks. These suck for various at your own risk, and don't expect quality if you do. You have been warned.

    I guess no matter what you choose, you have to be happy with the purchase or change...I can speak from experience, and have dozens of bags. I have pretty much tried them all. BUY ONCE, aim big, focus on strength, and dig deep. Good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
    chelloveck and john316 like this.
  3. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    I'm just going to give you severalpacks to look over a think about. I am however not a paid spokesman for bass pro shops.......................

    1. redhead spike camp frame pack 7,130 129.99
    2. redhead spot& stalk seat pack 3,500 119.99
    3. redhead hybrid illuminator pack 3,801 cu in. 99.99
    4. redhead diamondback 2,531 cu. in 69.99
    5. redhead hybrid hunt pack 2,625 59.99

    all sizes all prices BPS has many more, you make a desicion i don't think you will go wrong if you choose a bps pack. They are extremely durable.
  4. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    Thanks! I like the Web Tex rucksack. Haven't found any dealers in the US yet ... $160 is a bit much for right now .... I might just get the cheap rucksack at our local Army supply for now, and save up for the Web Tex ....
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, I picked up my Webtex PLCE 120L Bergen off an Ebay seller for $40 brand new a few years back. Some deals are just too good to pass up. It really is an amazing pack. Honestly, you will never need to buy another pack if you get this. I only buy more because it's in Texas at the moment and I have this nasty habit of always "acquiring" more kit.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
    chelloveck likes this.
  6. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    Have you used the BPS backpacks in the rain? Anyone know how the BPS backpacks compare to the WebTex?
  7. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    Actually, I need two really good, very strong, well-built, durable, long-lasting, heavy-duty, large, and as water-proof as possible, backpacks!

    One for myself, and another for my youngest son (13 1/2). We will be doing some bicycle camping soon ... I'm hoping around Christmas vacation.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Packs are tough because they really need to properly fit your body. If you have any non-chain outfitters in the area, it might be worth popping in to try some on if they have a knowledgeable person on the floor. Sometimes you can find someone who really knows what they are talking about and they can help you select a style and features that fit you best.

    They are pricey but I have a Kifaru Navigator and can't say find a single fault with it other than they started making them in MultiCam 6 months after I bought it :(

    Kifaru is heirloom quality I don't think I'll be able to ever wear mine out.
    chelloveck and Brokor like this.
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    For waterproof, Keep a large trash bag in one of the pockets and place your stuff in the trash bag first. Second best is to purchase a pack cover. I keep one in one of the Long Pockets and bring it out to cover the pack when it rains. Decent pack covers are less than $20 and work very well. I've never once gotten my 20 year old Down sleeping bag wet and have hiked for days in the rain.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    I just found this:

    USMC Arcteryx Main Pack

    The USMC Arcteryx Main Pack for $100. I've had too much bad luck buying from eBay, so I'd rather buy direct from a company.

    Is this the same pack that you mentioned?
  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, same pack. We had a member on this forum selling a bunch, but I don't know if he still is. The Arcteryx is the USMC pack made by Propper. Although the one you linked doesn't come with a top lid. Be sure it does. Also, straps and waist belt are important, and some folks will try to sell you an Arcteryx without them.
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    Is that still a good price without the top lid? How much would it cost for a top lid?
  13. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Thanks Melbo. :) Looks like we still have top covers available too.

    Like I said, the $200 asked for a brand new Arcteryx USMC pack is an OUTSTANDING price, and you won't find better in my opinion. I think they are currently listed on Ebay.

    *edit* As of 8/2014 these packs are selling for $65 - $120 NEW and complete. Plenty of stock. With shipping, you might be able to pick one of these up new for $100-$125 which is a great deal.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  15. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

  16. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    The Tasmanian Tiger backpacks are exceptional, and very high quality. I would almost rank these packs up with Kifaru.


    I own a Tasmanian Tiger pack, German Military issue in flektarn camo. I have to say, it's a very good pack. The thickness of the material is not as heavy as the USMC Proper backpack discussed earlier, and the zippers leave a bit to be desired, but overall the fit is outstanding and the quality is excellent.

    DSC00003.JPG Look at the padding and the fully adjustable harness. What a fit!

    DSC00004.JPG I can attach some items to the exterior, mostly extra water containers and gloves, eye wear. The exterior doesn't really have a lot of attachment points, no molle, but TT does make tactical and civilian models which have these features. I just got this German military version because it was all I could get at the time locally. The top lid and interior are incredible...

    DSC00005.JPG The exterior zippered compartment in the lid.

    DSC00006.JPG The interior lid zippered compartment makes up most of the lid.

    DSC00007.JPG You can see there's plenty of room for essential items in a very rugged waterproof material.

    DSC00009.JPG The interior is protected with this heavy cinch waterproof material. No need for extra waterproof bags with this pack, but I always use extra waterproof bags and compartmentalize.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  17. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    bps backpacks

    I have not used one of the new ones in the rain I had one that I purchased from a garage sale about a decade ago and it did very well for me for several seasons and it was at least 10 years old then. I would say they are very durable as they are hunting packs, and Bas Pro Shops is a company not known for selling crap. A huge plus for myself they are already camoflauged so they are easily hidden if you don't want your supplies found.
    chelloveck likes this.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    vj, your insistence on water proof is a non starter. There is every chance that water will get inside the pack, somehow. The message is plastic bags that you can seal up with the stuff that must stay dry in them. There are certainly packs out there that will come close, but just open it once in a downpour ---
    chelloveck and Brokor like this.
  19. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    I've been caught in a good downpour more than once! Even though things were pretty dry inside, couldn't find good shelter from the rain, and I know what you mean about water getting stuff wet inside the pack!

    I'm just looking for a good pack that will keep things reasonable dry inside while I'm hiking around. I plan on wrapping stuff inside with plastic bags for extra protection. Now that we are in the rainy season, I won't be taking my laptop camping!

    I think one of the most important factors is a well-built pack that is sturdy, and will last many years.
    chelloveck likes this.
  20. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Honestly with Bass pro shops backpacks I would not be scared to take electronics on a camping trip with me. If you wrap it good you will be in good shape.
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