/ 50-60L rucksack for a fussy woman...

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Ali - on 05 Jan 2013
Having spent a very frustrating few hours today trying on loads of different rucksacks, I thought I would turn to the wisdom of UKC...

I'm possibly looking for a largish, fairly lightweight rucksack - ideally around 50-55L with 10L expansion, no bigger. I tend to prefer a fairly slim style, but that may just be down to the sacks I've tried on. I already have a Macpac Pursuit (50L) which I love, but unfortunately I can't quite fit all my stuff in for a 3 week trip - and it's design means once packed its hard to get stuff out. So I need something bigger, but not much bigger.

Problem seems to be that the mens sacks (which I tend to prefer the design of) have backs which are too long for me, but women's sacks are uncomfortable (heavily passed waistbelts don't work for me as they ride up above my hips) and manufacturers seem to add an extra half kilo of weight on!

Anyone got any suggestions of bags I may be able to find in London to try on (I say this because most of the bags I'd researched weren't available in the shops I looked in!)?? Generally prefer a fairly simple design, but not too fussed - fit is most important.
Denni on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:

My wife has an Osprey Ariel 65 that she used for a month in tha Himalayas and loved it. Heavier than your Macpac but it is really comfy.


Bad/creepy video alert!

Jordon Fleming - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: i got a black diamond speed 55l which i would swear by ! an amazing ruck sack well worth a look into for her.
Ali - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Denni: I tried the Ariel - it really wasn't comfy - the back dug in and the waistbelt wasn't comfy which was a shame as I was near the top of my try list!
Ali - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Jordon Fleming: Hmmm that does look quite good...How big a 55 is it? Does it have an extension bit?
beth_may - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: I've had the same problem, but just bought the podsac alpine 50L. Not sure if it's quite what you're looking for, but the top rolls down like a dry bag and it's got a removable/floating lid.
I swear it's miles bigger than my 65+5 bag.

I'm 5ft.6 and the back size is perfect for me. (size A, that is)

Welsh Kate - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:

You say you spent today trying on loads of rucksacks - it would be useful to know what, and whether you tried any men's fits as well as women's.

Deuter's larger packs have adjustable back lengths and I found this very helpful when I was looking for a 50-60 litre pack a few years ago. It was heavier than I wanted, indeed the heaviest pack I tried, but it was by a long way the most comfortable, and as a result doesn't feel as heavy as many of the lighter packs I tried.
SAF - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to beth_may: Podsacs look interesting and I see on there larger volume bags they do 3 different sizes rather than Male or Female bags. I've got a very short back length for my height and also had a very unsuccesful time when I went trying on female specific bags.
Ali - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Welsh Kate: I didn't try any Deutor ones...but did try mens and womens including:

Lowe Alpine - can't remember which one but the waist belt doesn't fit me at all
Osprey Ariel 65
Osprey Kestral 50 (they didn't have small back)
Osprey Exos 47 - this nearly fitted ok, but I'm not sure if the 58 version would be a diff back size or big enough
Osprey Variant 52 - would have been nice except back is too long
Ayachucho Womens Tenere
Crux 57 (they didn't have any small back sizes in stock)
Arteryx one

Maybe one or two others - most of the shops has similar stock in though unfotunately
Ali - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to beth_may: That looks like what I'm used to - and like! If it is big enough... But it is very similar to my Macpac
hfac - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: As far as London goes I think Covent Garden has a pretty big range of shops, Ellis Brighams seems to have the most rucksacks but if you've spent time trying stuff on I suspect you've already been there.

Lowe alpine seems like it might fit your bill. I'm not a lady but I do have a back length problem being a bit of a shortie. I've found Lowe alpine fits me quite well and they do very good sacs and are very cost effective

If you want easy access to stuff then you might want something with a zip down the middle, in that case then Grivel is good, I had one for a while and it's very convenient to get stuff out. Only problem is the Grivel alpine 55 is really hard to come by nowadays.

Last bet might be Aiguille Alpine, small company based in the Lakes, they do a ladies back specifically but you'll have to order it online, try it on and perhaps refund if you don't get along with it.

Good luck!
In reply to Ali:
large,light and comfy are almost impossible to combine , add many features and durability and you are definitely asking for the impossible.

most mens and womens technical packs are essentially the same(features etc) but made with different dimensions so that should not be an issue.

most womens specific packs will be lighter due to them being a slightly smaller size overall so that should not be an issue.

seems like you are expecting too much , simple solution would be to carry less so you can stick with your existing pack (heavy but durable) or be a little less fussy and settle for most but not all of the features that you perceive are attainable.
both will save you a lot of time , effort and disapointment in the long run

Welsh Kate - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:
I'd persevere!

See if you can try the Crux in the small back size, and it may be worth trying the larger Osprey as well. It took me 6 weeks or so to find the pack for me when I bought that Deuter, it was really a case of looking around and being patient.
Captain Gear - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:

Try an Aiguille Alpine Zephur in a short back length.


Nice simple, lightweight design. Very hard wearing too.

Made to order in the UK, so they can be customized to an extent.

I'd recommend giving them a ring and discussing your needs over the phone. Aiguille don't really do emails and you'll get your bag quicker that way.

Harry Ellis - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: Am surprised no-one has suggested a macpac ascent. New ones are less bell bottomed so easier to get stuff in and out of.
Very comfy and bombproof.
Jordon Fleming - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:

The black diamond speed is an alpine sack, and really swallows your gear. I can get 2 half ropes, large rack, harness, shoes & chalk, down jacket, water proof jacket, helmet, sleeping bag, roll matt, jetbaoil, tent if i strap a rope to the outside rope holder. so a fair bit haha i would say it was a big 55
The Ex-Engineer - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: If I couldn't fit everything I needed in something like a MacPac Pursuit my first thought would be that I had too much kit, or what I had was too heavy/bulky.

Not knowing where you are going or what you are doing, it is hard to comment further. For some trips having everything inside your rucsac is essential but for many activities, some equipment can easily be carried externally.

On numerous expeditions, I have coped with significantly smaller rucsacs than others and that is without going over the top in terms of weight saving. Even with the 'decent' kit I already own, for pretty much any activity I could still significantly cut down bulk/weight by careful selection of the most appropriate equipment and clothing.

I currently have a POD Alpine 50 which I've found excellent but being on the lightweight side the harness system is fairly limited if you are looking for a sack suited to carrying c.20kg over long distances for multiple days.
Ali - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Thanks for the suggestions guys. Just to clarify - I am not fussed about features (if it has em it does, if it doesn't it doesn't). What I am concerned with is the fit and rough capacity to suit my needs - I don't actually think that's too much to ask for in a rucksack!

I need to fit in: sleeping bag, stove/pan/gas cannister, trainers (I'm wearing walking boots), rock shoes, flip flops, basic clothing, enough warm clothes for a cold person in new zealand (admittedly in summer/autumn), waterproofs basic first aid kit, wash kit, hairbrush, camera lens, few misc bits and bobs.

I managed to just about squeeze that into my Macpac Pursuit leaving just my waterproof, SLR camera and day to day bits (passport, wallet, kindle etc) out for a day pack. But the sack was totally rammed, so no room (for example) to add anything extra I want to bring back from the trip, or to swop my walking boots for trainers when I'm out there. Plus to get unpack and repack would take rather a long time to complete the tetris model! Hence why I'm looking for something a little bigger.

If I left my rock shoes and camera behind then I may manage but I'd rather not. I'm planning to do some walking when I'm out there, hence needing the sleeping bag/stove/pan etc.
Carolyn - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali:

I'd second trying the Macpac Ascent - without the lid extension up, it isn't much bigger than the Pursuit, but has option to for much more in. I'd also try Pod for simple, straightforward sacs - can't remember what their ranges are called.

Re: waist belts - I think most women tend to end up with belt fairly high on waist because of their shape. Macpac's solution to this was to allow "float" in the waist belt attachments, so rucsac can sit low at back, but front of belt can come up to waist level. Seems to be what works for me, along with back bar systems that flare apart at the bottom rather than stay parallel. But I do have particularly small waist (or large bum, depending on how you look at it!)

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