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Archive | Backpacks

Top: A Cuben laminate with 150d black face polyester face fabric. Bottom: The 210d Robic nylon that is standard on ULA packs.

Reader question: Are Cuben Fiber shelters & backpacks worth the cost?

A question from reader Patrick H.: Most backpackers who look beyond REI while researching gear have probably learned of Cuben Fiber, either in a standalone conversation or as a fabric option for shelters, backpacks, and accessories made by cottage brands like Hammock Gear, Katabatic Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs and others. Cuben stands out, partly because equipment made with it is exorbitantly […]

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40L volume at capacity, next to a BV500 bear canister (11 liters)

Reader question: Is the Flex Capacitor Pack appropriate for a thru-hike?

From Lisa K.: For two reasons I wanted to share my answer to this reader question. First, I have not yet addressed the appropriateness of the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 Pack for thru-hiking, and I probably should. Second, it gives me an opportunity to discuss the specific needs of thru-hikers in regards to backpack selection. Appropriateness for thru-hiking […]

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The black rubber around the perimeter is very durable, and the colored rubber is more sticky. The flaw is the strip of foam between the rubber compounds -- the shoe would fall apart here first.

Long-term gear reviews: Product insights after a 100-day Appalachian Trail thru-hike

Intro by Skurka. After his recent 100-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, Garrett contacted me with some gear reviews, some about products I have written about previously. I thought his insights were valuable, due to his extensive use and to his unbiased viewpoint, and asked his permission to share them. If you have questions for Garrett, leave a comment. […]

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How-to || Pack a backpack: Load distribution, organization, waterproofing, & canisters

When packing my backpack, I have two primary goals: Minimize its effect on my center of gravity, and Keep oft-needed items easily accessible so that I can hike uninterrupted. I’ll start by discussing these goals in-depth. Then, I will address special considerations like bear canisters and backpack styles. Center of gravity When not wearing a […]

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The BV500 and Ursack AllWhite S29.3 are both about 650 cubic inches in volume. But the Ursak is 60 percent lighter and is soft-sided. Which would you rather carry?

Interview with Ursack CEO: Yosemite food regs, lobbying, & new products

Among bear-resistant food containers certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), the Ursack S29.3 AllWhite is easily my favorite. It weighs just 8 oz, or 80 percent less than my BearVault BV500, which has the same volume. It’s also $10 less. And, Unlike plastic or carbon fiber canisters, it’s soft-sided and collapsible, and as comfortable to […]

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Final side pocket. Clean and functional, but less durable than pack fabric, and no lock-out.

Room for improvement: Self-critique of the Flex Capacitor 40-60 Pack

Recently I highlighted seven standout specs and features of the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 Pack. Today, I’ll do nearly the opposite: identify its imperfections. Since I co-developed the Flex Capacitor with Sierra Designs, naturally I want to see strong sales of it. But I also want prospective buyers to understand its optimal applications and […]

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The easy-gliding #10 zipper offers annoyance-free access to the pack's main compartment.

Sales Pitch: Seven reasons the Flex Capacitor 40-60 Pack stands out

Earlier today I filmed the product video for the new Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 Pack, which with the High Route Tent 1FL currently constitutes SD’s “Skurka Series.” To develop my script, I had to prioritize and succinctly describe the pack’s must-mention specs and features. Later I’ll write a self-critique, as I did for the High Route, but for […]

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