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Thread: Kinda urgent help needed for daughter re: lightweight backpack

  1. #1

    Kinda urgent help needed for daughter re: lightweight backpack

    Hi guys, wonder if any of you could advise on which particular backpacks to look at?

    Daughter is only 5ft tall and is very thin and petite. She is doing her Duke of Edinburgh expedition and needs lightweight kit. She had a practice run with borrowed kit and it nearly killed her, it was all far too big and heavy for her small frame to manage.

    So we need to buy her good lightweight kit if we've any hope of encouraging her to actually enjoy the outdoors lifestyle. The problem I'm having is finding out which brands/models will fit someone of her height. Most of what I've seen seems to go from 5' 4" tall upwards.

    We don't have many stores that stock a good selection of packs so we can't go try things for size. Most of what is stocked here is the kit that's on the DofE recommended kit list and that's all too big and heavy for her. Her other kit that we've just bought her (sleeping bag, mat etc) is all very lightweight and small so I don't think she'll need the recommended 65-75l size they state. I was thinking somewhere between 40-60L?

    Her preference is for something with decent padding on the hipbelt and shoulder straps as she has no meat on her bones and often feels things digging into her but most of the really lightweight packs don't seem to have much in the way of padding at all and I've read reviews elsewhere about women feeling parts of frames rubbing on their backs even although the backpacks were ultra lightweight jobs.

    I'm running out of time so could use some help. I'll probably need to order online so if anyone has any suggestions I'd be glad of them. We're hoping to find something that weighs in between 1kg - 1.5kg ish (2-3 lbs ish), certainly no higher than 1.75kg at a push. It may end up being a choice between comfort and weight if we can't find something that's decent on both aspects. She'll likely be carrying kit weighing around 6kg-8kgs at a wild guess right now. We're buying all her kit and are going for good quality lightweight versions of everything so I'm not sure exactly what the load will end up being yet.

    We're in the UK btw so so can't really access some of the US/Australian lightweight packs unless they are in UK online stockists too.

    Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

  2. #2
    Wanderer laika's Avatar
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    The Osprey Sirrus 26 is perfect for our 9 year old daughter, there is a 36 litre version that weighs in at 1.25kg. Very good padding on the waist belt but 4 litres short of your 40-60L criterion. Failing that, the Tasmanian Tiger 2 in 1 pack (60 litres) might be worth a look ( http://intranet.tatonka.com/infosys/...0in%201%20Pack ). This is heavy (2.6 kg) but is in fact a 15L MOLLE pack piggy-backed on the main pack so in the first instance your daughter could just use the main 45L pack. I can vouch for the build quality and comfort of the TT kit - exceptionally durable and comfortable. I have the TT field pack and the weight distribution system is excellent so don't necessarily be put off by the extra weight of the TT but it is a lot heavier than the Osprey. Hope this helps.....

  3. #3
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum teb, lets see what we can do

    Totally agree with the recommended kit list and weight issues which is why I don't automatically point our DofE participants towards it.

    The first thing with lightweight packs is that they are not going to be cheap but then kids never are eh? Secondly, with regards to the capacity of the sack, I would opt for closer to the 60 litre mark as although the weight may be down on the gear you are buying there is still an issue with the physical size of the items that may not change too much. With that in mind I can recommend the Osprey Exos packs which come in three different capacities - 38, 48, and 58 litre, as well as covering small medium and large back sizes.

    I personally have the Exos 46 (previous version as it has recently been updated), have spent a small fortune of lightweight gear, and find that things can still be a little tight on space. If the pack is a little large for whats inside then it can be compressed after all. It can also carry the weights you have in mind with ease although personally I think that you may have underestimated slightly.

    Linky is here and I know that there are a number of stockist that will do mail order

    http://www.ospreyeurope.com/gb_en/vi...ng/exos-series

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by jus_young; 14-05-2014 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Spelling issues !

  4. #4
    Trapper suggy's Avatar
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    +1 for Osprey, my missus tried on allsorts before settling on Osprey.

  5. #5
    Wanderer laika's Avatar
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    Ignore everything I said and listen to jus_young! Didn't know about the Exos - much better than the Sirrus and half the weight of the TT. Apologies for adding noise to the signal.......

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jus_young View Post
    Welcome to the forum teb, lets see what we can do

    Totally agree with the recommended kit list and weight issues which is why I don't automatically point our DofE participants towards it.

    The first thing with lightweight packs is that they are not going to be cheap but then kids never are eh? Secondly, with regards to the capacity of the sack, I would opt for closer to the 60 litre mark as although the weight may be down on the gear you are buying there is still an issue with the physical size of the items that may not change too much. With that in mind I can recommend the Osprey Exos packs which come in three different capacities - 38, 48, and 58 litre, as well as covering small medium and large back sizes.

    I personally have the Exos 46 (previous version as it has recently been updated), have spent a small fortune of lightweight gear, and find that things van still be a little tight on space. If the pack is a little large for whats inside then it can be compressed after all. It can also carry the weights you have in mind with ease although personally I think that you may have underestimated slightly.

    Linky is here and I know that there are a number of stockist that will do mail order

    http://www.ospreyeurope.com/gb_en/vi...ng/exos-series

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks for the welcome and the help.

    The Osprey looks good on paper and as luck would have it, I've just discovered whilst searching this morning that a new place has opened up 2 weeks ago near us that stock this so we can see it in the flesh. I'm going to pick her up after school today to check it out.

    You're right about cost as I've found out but I would very much like to encourage her willingness to embrace outdoor pursuits so it's something I can justify in my own mind. (Also selling things on eBay helps, lol!) Things are always much more positive if they don't involve the kind of pain, struggling and hardship that can come from ill suited kit.

    You also may be right about underestimating sizes/weight etc but I've become somewhat obsessed with the subject and I'm doing lots of research on new kit. I've just got a (need to whisper this because of the cost) Sea to Summit Spark SPIII sleeping bag that weighs 640g and compresses down to the size of a grapefruit. It's treated down and my first impressions of it are good. Ultra lightweight, very soft and comfortable and very warm. I've also changed her cutlery and got her a titanium spork which saved another 40g. I've even swapped out her emergency ration pack and got lightweight jelly beans as one item instead. See...obsessed. There is not one area of her kit that I haven't looked at to see if there is room for improvement.

    Anyway, we'll look at the Exos to see if we can judge which size would be best to go for but if the sizes all compress down anyway and they are all light, then perhaps we'd be just as well getting the larger version. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Thank you.

    And thanks to everyone else who posted to help too.

  7. #7
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laika View Post
    Ignore everything I said and listen to jus_young! Didn't know about the Exos - much better than the Sirrus and half the weight of the TT. Apologies for adding noise to the signal.......
    Far from it, all opinions are welcomed and can be very useful for others as well

    Quote Originally Posted by teb View Post
    Thanks for the welcome and the help.

    The Osprey looks good on paper and as luck would have it, I've just discovered whilst searching this morning that a new place has opened up 2 weeks ago near us that stock this so we can see it in the flesh. I'm going to pick her up after school today to check it out.

    You're right about cost as I've found out but I would very much like to encourage her willingness to embrace outdoor pursuits so it's something I can justify in my own mind. (Also selling things on eBay helps, lol!) Things are always much more positive if they don't involve the kind of pain, struggling and hardship that can come from ill suited kit.

    You also may be right about underestimating sizes/weight etc but I've become somewhat obsessed with the subject and I'm doing lots of research on new kit. I've just got a (need to whisper this because of the cost) Sea to Summit Spark SPIII sleeping bag that weighs 640g and compresses down to the size of a grapefruit. It's treated down and my first impressions of it are good. Ultra lightweight, very soft and comfortable and very warm. I've also changed her cutlery and got her a titanium spork which saved another 40g. I've even swapped out her emergency ration pack and got lightweight jelly beans as one item instead. See...obsessed. There is not one area of her kit that I haven't looked at to see if there is room for improvement.

    Anyway, we'll look at the Exos to see if we can judge which size would be best to go for but if the sizes all compress down anyway and they are all light, then perhaps we'd be just as well getting the larger version. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Thank you.

    And thanks to everyone else who posted to help too.
    The lightweight bug can be very addictive indeed, thankfully I am recovering from it now and the obsession is somewhat less than it used to be.

    There is always the other levels of DofE to help justify the cost. I have two children that will be undertaking it now, my son has been with the Scout movement for years so has plenty of kit but my older daughter has decided that it is something she would like to do and have the pleasure of buying everything for her now as well!

  8. #8
    Well that wasn't a great success. There was nothing in the store that fitted her well, including the Osprey(s) (more versions than just the Exos). There were some that she could have got away with at a push but they simply didn't feel comfortable on and she hated the feel of all the Osprey packs she tried. She disliked the packs that had straight backs (like the Osprey or Lowe Alpine packs that had the straight mesh backs), she felt they dug into her at the area where her back ended and her bottom started and the straps felt uncomfortable as they had to be pulled in quite tightly in order to get the packs to sit better on her. She much preferred the Berghaus Torridon as it didn't have a straight back and it had plenty of padding. It just seemed to dwarf her and looked far too big tbh. If they did that model in a smaller version it would have been perfect.

    The chap that was fitting her was very good and did say she would struggle because of her petite size and that the 30L sizes were a much better fit for her frame but she'd struggle to get all her kit in, especially further down the line when the expedition was for longer. She wont be growing any more now though (we know this - health stuff) so it's not as if we can buy small now and get bigger later, we'll always have this problem.

    I have got no idea where to go from here. Surely there must have been other small teenagers out there who've had the same problem?

  9. #9
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Ok, so as you have previously said, sounds like the problem is down to two things. One is the padding issue around the hips where the weight needs to be, and two could well be the actual frame of the packs.

    Rather than dealing with 'conventional' packs as we see them in the UK, you may need to look at some of the packs from our American cousins. There are a few manufactures from over there that make the packs with minimal framework, and the frame that does exist, if at all, can be shaped easily to provide a more comfortable fit. Padding on the belts can also be more favourable for the smaller frame as well.

    Have a look on this site as they stock a range of these style packs in different capacities and also have a very good Youtube channel with reviews and info.

    http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/30...litres/page/0/

    Their customer service is also excellent so if you have any questions they will get back in touch.
    Last edited by jus_young; 14-05-2014 at 11:43 PM.

  10. #10
    Hobo sjl14's Avatar
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    Not sure if this would help but what about trying a smaller size rucksack that she finds comfortable and combining it with a ribz front pack?
    Stephen

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