Backpack

Hi, I’m looking for recommendations on multiday backpacks, I have been looking at the FA Jupiter online, unfortunately I am not able to find one in store. I’m 1.83m tall and want to buy one backpack that I will be using for the Fishriver as well as 3 day hikes. Please any recommendations regarding manufacturer and size?

In terms of size for your body that will vary a lot between manufacturers. I would do your measurements based on the manufacturers recommendations.

Though this is a great guide that’s fairly general.

Volume depends a lot on the other gear you own and goes up based on winter clothing a fair amount. I would say 50L is a good volume for most people doing multiday hikes with average gear. More than that and I would start looking at if you actually need what you are bringing. Also check how they are measuring, this can be sneaky. You probably want around 50L internal, not including pockets.

The general suggestion is to buy your pack last. Squeeze all your gear into a cardboard box and calculate the volume from there. Just not always very possible.

I would definitely recommend trying on packs if you can and putting some load in them at the store. Amazing how personal they can be. Just fiddly in SA particularly at the moment. If you are in CT/Joburg I would say Drifters is a good bet, Sportsmans Warehouse can also be decent.

Some general rules I’ve tried to stick with.

  • Don’t assume it is going to wear in and get more comfy.
  • Adjustable one size fit’s all fit no one, they just have loads of slop. Careful if they don’t offer sizes.
  • Less is actually more, don’t waste your time looking through a thousand pockets for that headlamp.
  • But hipbelt/shoulder pockets are vital, no one wants to take a pack off to eat a snack or check their gps.
  • All rain covers are horrible, heavy, inconvenient and noisy. Just stick a trash bag inside the pack and roll the top over.

In terms of manufacturers we can get hold of here I would personally start with Osprey (Quality, fit and warranty), then give Gregory and Deuter a look. Followed by Nature Hike and probably Cape Storm.

If you are unsure and want to test the waters the starter pack I like here is Capestorm Overland 55. Cheapish, not too heavy, not too large and adjustable enough that it can become a loaner pack if you upgrade. Nothing great about it to be honest, but just enough right that it will handle most trips without too much frustration.

I appreciate FA in terms of local support, but can’t say anything in their pack line stand out. At the price point it doesn’t feel a huge step to jump to something from Osprey. Their packs are generally quite heavy, overly complex and unisex/single size.

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Just to reiterate what Jaxz said above, Osprey deserves an honourable mention as they have a lifetime warranty. I have had holes in mine fixed via a retailer, no questions asked. I noticed that they have a new entry level pack, called the Rook (male) and Renn (female) which comes in both 50 and 65 (I didnt see a 50 in SA yet). Price R2800 for the 65. The Volt 60 used to be their entry level pack and it is also awesome, hard to distinguish between the Volt 60 and more expensive models like the Aether AG 60 that I have. Price for the Volt is 3700.

There is also nothing wrong with Kway, especially their “expedition series”. They have a decent returns policy - if your pack breaks they will either fix it or replace it. I have had an air mattress refunded in full, after the valve broke due to wear and tear over 3 years!

Regarding pack size - 60L seems to be the happy medium, but you cant really go wrong with a 50L or a 70L either. I would say bigger is better if you are starting out, as you wont have your packing figured out that well yet. The counter argument, of course, is that a smaller pack encourages you to pack wisely.

Lastly, as was mentioned above as well, go to the shop and fit on the pack you like (with weight inside). The right pack will speak to you.

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If you want to test the size with weight, put a sleeping back in the bottom of the rucksack, put it on tightly then have someone sit on the the sleeping back piggy back style, in a matter of seconds you’ll feel where the rucksack is uncomfortable

I was incredibly lucky and managed to buy a mis-priced Osprey Volt 60l for my wife from Sportsmans Warehouse - its amazing how much better it is than most other packs in its (normal) price range.
Its light and straps itself tightly closed when not full, has a “square” frame and good pockets for water bottles and snacks.
I have a Deuter 70 air travel pack, which is heavy at 3kg but is really durable and suited to off trail tight bushveld hiking. I don’t regret it, but I’d buy the Osprey over it.
My good hiking buddy has the First Ascent Jupiter (was the same price as the mispriced Volt!) his mesh stash pockets broke and were replaced quickly by FA here in Cape Town, F.A. service is great and Ive experienced this with my tent that I damaged
The Jupiter is a floppy pack unless full, but its huge much more volume than the same sized Osprey.
F.A. do the 55l+10l Venus ii - Ive not found it anywhere in Green, but that would make an awesome pack, (if a little heavy for only 55l) but might not work for you.

the Cheaper Cape Storm Overland is a reasonable pack, but honestly from what Ive seen on a long term ownership their stitching quality is not suited to a heavy rucksack I use my large pack about twice a month and my day pack twice a week.
My 30l day pack has lasted since 2012, but has more or less had its day and Im now at the point of repairing the repairs! so that’s due for replacement.

My last advice is take everything that you’re planning to carry and pack it into he rucksack and see what works for you. Strangely my external pockets are crap for water bottles, but the Osprey is brilliant. This was an unknown entity when buying.

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My favorites have always been Lowe Alpine backpacks - they invented the modern adjustable carry system and are simple in the top slot. I personally carry a 55l Low Alpine Latok on all my hikes, scrambles and even Alpine climbs up to 6 days unsupported. At ±R3000.00 you get the Kulu 55:65l

The new local guy on the block is Capestorm’s Overland II 55L at a very good price of ±R1500.00

All in all don’t go over 55l I’ve been doing up to 8 days unsupported with tent, stove & food etc with a 55l

Where does one grab a Lowe Alpine?

I got mine every time (2 over the last 30 years) in Switzerland… www.transa.ch or www.baechli-bergsport.ch stock them… The Lowe Alpine brand is new under RAB… who also has no distribution here in SA :frowning: I guess best bet is google it.

Hey JG, I recently got into hiking with my partner and he has a Jupiter hiking pack ( 65 + 10L) from First Ascent. He is 1.92m tall and this pack sits comfortably on him. He bought his online, perhaps the below link helps?