Thursday, 13 October 2011

Oh. That didn’t help

I have still been pondering rucksacks. I took the advice offered about trying out a rucksack with all my gear on board, but felt weak at the idea of doing this in the shop. I still have confidence issues and I knew I would feel too self-conscious. However, I came up with a plan.

I like to use websites that offer free P&P including returns. On this occasion, the best site I could find offered free P & P excluding returns but at a good price for both the Exos 46  and 58 in Ember (I don’t like the green). After a quick perusal of the Post Office site, it was still cheaper to pay for a return than to travel to my closest dealer (Aviemore or Inverness) and pay parking (ok, so I can find free parking in Aviemore). So that’s the option I took.

Ordered Sunday afternoon and delivered this morning, not too bad for the north of Scotland. I felt a little nervous at first and put off loading them up by doing some housework (must have been absolutely desperate!)

I tried the 46 first, but perhaps was a little too gentle and couldn’t quite fit it all in, so on to the 58. Everything fitted in neatly and logically, but I had a little room to spare. Bum!

Back to the 46, this time using a pack liner (another dilemma, liner or cover?). It still didn’t all fit, although I was more brutal (tricky when being careful) but I’m still not convinced I could, even with a bit more squeeze.

There’s nothing included that I didn’t take on this year’s Challenge, although there have been one or two swaps. I’ve packed my tent into a smaller bag and it is now quite a bit smaller. The only two bits of kit that would warrant change are my Prolite mattress and my tent. Despite the bulk, I love my Prolite, it’s comfy and robust. I would be paranoid using a Neoair or the like, especially at the cost. My tent. I’m not planning to replace Bill (my Coleman Kraz) anytime soon. He has his faults, but they are all minor and easily dealt with. He’s comfy, cosy, watertight and suits me. I don’t intend to buy another tent until David and I can Challenge together when Maisie will be replaced (I’m not hoofing even half of Maisie across Scotland, she’s no lightweight!) That could be another eight years hence. (By which time, I might need a new, smaller rucksack!)

So, a decision must be made.

It all fits in the 58 although there is unnecessary extra space. I can’t see me happily squeezing everything into the 46 to save 90g and I’m not likely to pack in extra items just because I have extra space. I have a list and I stick to it. (I have a thing about lists…)

I’m going to sleep on it (the thought, not the rucksack) and make my decision in the morning.

I hate decisions.


Laura said...

I think I'd go for the 58 - cinching down any extra space is probably better than cramming it so tight there's no room for those extra bits and bobs you might suddenly need. I've sent off my Deuter to have the slipping buckles looked at but I'm not hopeful anything can be done about them.....

Phil said...

90gms? You're fretting about 90 gms??? That's the weight of a pot noodle in exchange for twelve litres of lovely rummaging space. I often see people boast about their tiny sacks (if you'll pardon the expression) only to see them on the hill with half their kit hanging on the outside!

Ooooooh I feel an Outdoor Stereotype coming on, "The Gramme Counter" :-)

-maria- said...

Decision-making is often hard! Just a question, maybe a stupid one, but still: have you packed also the food you will be carrying? There is some extra space in my 55 liter Deuter for a 2 or 3 day trip, but if I plan a longer walk (say a week) when all the food needs to be carried, the "problem" is solved (all the extra space is used!).

I think I would choose the 58, unless the extra space makes it uncomfortable to carry.

Louise said...

Laura, I tend to agree and good luck with your slipping buckles! You are more than welcome to give my Pinnacle a whirl, even if you need a different size in the end, it's always interesting to handle things.

Phil, the 90g thing is weighing on my mind! I prefer space to firtle and I don't like any dangly bits, (oo er Mrs!) so the 58 is looking highly likely.

Maria, I did actually through in about two days worth of food, but I didn't fill my bladder (if you see what I mean!).

Thank you all. I am an incredibly indecisive creature (you should see me at path junctions with a map and compass...) and I like the reasurance of others' opinions. That's three to the 58 and it does appear to be the most logical choice! Thanks.

Laura said...

Just had a look at the 58 and noticed that if you have the short back length it's only 55 litres - so you wouldn't have as much 'rummaging' room (that's a brilliant concept Phil!) as you might think....

Louise said...

I had hoped the short would be enough, but after measuring up (and allowing for an amount of 'hippiness') I'm a medium. I was surprised by this, but having tried it on (full), it's very comfy!

I like the way Phil thinks. For a man, he has an exceptional mind. (Perhaps I should be more careful how I put things until he's 'done' my type.

Gayle said...

Everything seems to be pointing to the 58 litre to me. Especially if there's only 90g in it and if you're not going to get tempted to fill the extra space.

Have you been able to wander around with it enough to find out whether the hip belt stays where you want it (which I seem to recall was one of the reasons you were after a new pack)?

(And, for the record, liner over cover every time for me!)

David A said...


If you put your sleeping bag in an oversize drybag it will fill more space in the bottom of your pack and you may find your excess space is gone.

Worth a try, but better to have a little exta room tham having to cram me thinks!


Louise said...

Hi Gayle! 90g is a daft amount to fret about, the 58 is the winner. I did have a wander round whilst it was loaded up, including up and down the stairs a few times, I usually find that a reasonable test. It's a curious thing, but perhaps it's because it's less structered and bulky that the hip belt works? There's less to push against so it stays put, if you see what I mean. I could certainly feel that the load was on my hips where I want it.
I'm coming round to the idea of a pack liner. I've always found the idea of a wet pack unsettling, but the outside of my pack was soaked at Tarfside (poor Mick) despite a cover, but everything in dry bags inside it was dry. Logically, an extra layer inside and no flappiness must be better!

Hello David, thank you for popping by,
It's a funny thing, but I was just saying to TTS last night that I'd seen Chris Townsend talking about putting his sleeping bag in an oversized drybag and perhpas it was worth a try. Now you mention it could fill up the gaps, it seems even more sensible!

Alan R said...

What about putting the tent on the outside of the sack. Properly fixed of course so that you don't loose it.
If you pack it flat and wide rather than in a rolled up condition you hardly notice it's on the outside.
You could then pick the smaller sack.

Just a thought.

Louise said...

Hi Alan. That's a good idea, except I hate anything dangling on my pack, a) it looks untidy and b) I would be absolutely paranoid I'd lose it! (And knowing me, I would...) But I've decided for the sake of 90g, it isn't worth the effort of squeezing everything and I'll just enjoy the 'rummage room'. I'm confident I won't be tempted to fill the extra space, it's not my way..

Alan R said...

Yes, 90gr. in rucksack speak for the extra room is good. And it’s a good sack too at around £115. So it’s the 58 then. Decision made.

The reason why i always put my tent on the outside is so that it can drip water to its hearts content. It’s always secure though.
Even if i had plenty of room in the rucksack it would still be on the outside. It’s just my choice. Habit i suppose.

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise. I've only just discovered your blog. I've been looking at TGOC accounts as I've applied for next year.

I have an Exos58. However, I've moved on to other sacks (GG Mariposa and Lightwave Ultrahike). The Exos wasn't quite right for me but it is a very comfortable pack. I found that the material of the Exos tends to get quite waterlogged. Personally I would use dry bags plus a silnylon pack cover.

Second suggestion is to get a Podsac Airstream drybag for your sleeping bag. You can compress it to conform to the bottom of your rucksack.


Louise said...

I do like the idea of my tent dripping on the outside, but I know I'd fret. You're quite right Alan, it's all very individual.

Hello Robin, thank you for popping by!

I've always used dry bags and a cover before, but on the Challenge, I found the rustling got on my nerves and it collected water on extreme days, not useful! Maybe I just need a different cover.
I've been looking for a better bag for my sleeping bag, this could be the answer, thank you!
Good luck in the draw, we missed out the first year we applied, but I was lucky this year as a solo Challenger. It's brilliant, I've got everything crossed for next year. Hopefully see you there!