Bag recommendations (both kinds :))


Would a 40-50l pack be sufficient for what we plan to do?

-Otter trail (no need to pack tent/sleeping pad)
-KNP wilderness trails
-Overnight Berg hikes (1 or 2 nights)
-Wherever our wallets can take us in the future

I don’t want to be encumbered with too much gear just because we have the space to pack it. I also want to splurge on one pack rather than buying 2. Would we manage the above with a medium pack and would that same pack not be overkill for day hikes in the future?

For the other bag, what temperature rating is sufficient for Southern Africa?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and sharing your thoughts <3

I have an osprey mutant 38. Very versatile - can be loaded like a packdonkey but also converts to a smaller pack of with the profile of a 25L pack. But it is expensive (probably 2500 by now).

That said, you need good quality (read: compact) gear to pull off a 40L pack for multi days. Down jacket, small sleeping bag, compact stove, compact food. I also have a 60L, and for most multi days i opt for the bigger pack to minimise the tetris-style packing thats needed for the 40L.

The osprey exos 48 might also be a good option.

The more affordable packs (like Kway) might not have the same convertible functionality of the osprey packs (maybe their new ranges do) . So a 50L kway might feel bulky om a day hike. But for the price of one osprey, you can buy a 40L and a 60L from kway.

Regarding sleeping bags, look at First Ascent amplify (900 or 1500) or the Kway eco range. I think the male one is called Zermatt 950. If you sleep in a hut and dont hike mid winter, a sleeping bag with a 5 to 8 degree comfort level should be fine for most hikes. A lot of my friends push these types of bags down to frosty weather and still survive. Doesnt work for me though, i like the comfort of a warm down bag year round.

Hope this helped.

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That helped tremendously thank you!

Yeah I can see why a 40L will be a squeeze on longer hikes and I may have to strap a bit more stuff to the outside. According to almost everyone Osprey is the way to go so I won’t even look at K-way. Their Archeon 45 also looks very tempting but I don’t see any local retailers stocking it yet.

You have put my mind at rest and I think 40-50L will be fine for us. Down bag as well!

I have a very similar pack to Gerrienel, bought it because it can actually almost handle (structurally) as much weight as most 55-60L packs, and it’s technically only 40L. As per your plan I have used it on 6day hikes (Tsitsikamma trail, hutted) and a few day hikes., worked fine. Size can become a slight issue when tents and sleeping mats are involved, but Gerrie covered this.

The only other thing I will add is that with a smaller pack if one of you gets injured the other will have to help carry their kit, and here small will let you down. Worth keeping in mind.

Also, not all 40L are created equal, my pack, an Osprey Variant 37 (large = 40L) could swallow more stuff and carry more than my mate’s Osprey Talon 44…point being, test them thoroughly in store by loading with sleeping bags, climbing rope, anything.

If you want to know the full Osprey range in SA look at Adventure Inc, they’re the importer.

man those EE items are seductive.
hope it works out…love colour selection too!!

Okay I will do more research but I will definitely not be looking at 60-75L packs anymore regardless of what countless otter trail blogs say! Considering so many hikes we want to do will be hutted or just over a weekend. Thank you for your input!

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“…I will definitely not be looking at 60-75L packs anymore regardless of what countless otter trail blogs say!”

Hahaaha. They’re probably carrying papsaks of chablis and 3m of sausage. Hilarious. Like having a baboon strapped to your back.

PAPSAK! You can see you are a seasoned hiker looking to save weight! We were going to bring bottles!

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Would say 50L is probably the most flexible size. I run a 40L pack which has done me well for most 3-5 day trips. But carrying 3-4 liters of water plus 5 days food can be a squeeze.

The Osprey packs deserve their reputation. An Exos 58 is a great combination of light weight plus volume, my only issue with the Exos is that for some reason they stripped off the hipbelt pockets in the latest models. Would irritate me, but also something you could add back on.

Have to say unless I was doing some long hauls in serious cold weather, I’m not sure what I would do with more than 50L. I would guess be tempted to bring more stuff along I would then regret half way up a mountain :sweat_smile:

The big thing for freeing up pack space for me has been moving to a down quilt. Way more compressible than synthetic. The advice I often see is buy your gear first, then a pack to fit it all. But a tough thing to pull off if you just want to get hiking, as you can often borrow bits and pieces but need a pack.

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Oh, also dig into the pack specs with this. There isn’t a standardized way of measuring this. Often the companies are mixing and matching measurements, sometimes it is only the main pack volume, other times they are measuring pack plus external pockets.

You can find Osprey spec here…

Your post has got me thinking about packs available locally again and poking around :sweat_smile:

It might be a little tight in terms of size, and I would definitely want to look at it in person to get a sense of size. But the Osprey Talon 44 is standing out of the stuff available. It’s 1 KG, has a frame, a full set of pockets including a shoulder pocket. Smartly lets you access your hydration sack externally if that’s thing you use.

Feels a lot like the Exos but a bit more flexibility in terms of the storage. Interesting that it doesn’t seem to be mentioned much.

Gregory Optic might also be worth a look now that they are retailing here.

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@Jaxz (talon44) It’s a nice pack, for sure. My cousin has one and just did Tsitsikamma with him, he’s happy with it. General opinion online (and his) is it won’t handle more than 13kg very well. but then who wants to carry more than that. Features are nice, geared towards a 'fast ‘n light’ mindset, often used by trail runners. Criticism of the ‘external hydration access’ is that it creates a bulge into the back. Pack also sits very flush with your back, for some this means “sweaty in summer” or “cold in winter”, for others this means “stability and a good working-with-you ride”. It’s very light, consequently not for folks rough with their kit as fabrics are thin.
I actually compared it closely with the Exos when I bought my pack and would have to say it is the better choice. Exos hipbelts/support seemed very insubstantial to me.

As an aside, I read recently Ghaznavid did a DGT with Talon33, here:

I also looked at the Mammut Lithium Crest 50+7 at City Rock like last week, was on sale for about R2000, light-ish, medium-haul bag with nice detailed features. I only felt the shoulder straps were a bit measly, and I don’t need a pack.

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I will go look at shops and see what’s what. I have no gear at the moment so i’m building up from nothing and that 'fast ‘n light’ mindset makes so much sense. I am there to enjoy the walking part of it first and foremost so that will be my priority. There are lots of other days I can go glamping. I also really enjoy the prepping aspect and this provides a bit more fun (challenge?) in that area as well.

My dream pack as it stands is the Hyperlite mountain gear 2400. WOW. Just incredible design, I love the simplicity of it coupled with the techy fabric.

Locally I want to look at:
Gregory Optic 48
Osprey Archeon 45
Osprey Levity 45
Osprey Exos 48

I know that all of these are great, just up to personal preference at this stage. I’m also in no rush whatsoever which helps.

My attempted GT last year was with a 26 litre Mountain Hardwear pack that weighs 600g empty. The reason for bailing was that my teammate got sick around Champagne Castle, so we bailed down Grays. Pack performed very well.

Bear in mind I have a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer -7c bag that weighs 900g and folds up very small, and a Thermorest X-lite 4ft air mat that weighs 230g and also folds very small. I also don’t take a change of clothes or a tent* - so a 26 litre pack is actually fine, it is just a bit full at the start.

  • I do carry a bivy bag, so I do have some cover in an emergency.

Have had the experience of getting back into hiking after it not being a thing in my life since I was younger, but has meant that I don’t really have much legacy gear lying around and have tried to go light from the get go.

I suggested a friend pick up the Eja which she seems to love, has now told me very politely that I can shut up about the Talon haha. Apparently second guessing is not appreciated when the purchase has been made :sweat_smile:

I’d like to grow a nice pelt? Wire-haired terrier style, one thick gorse-like outer over a soft comfy finer body hugger.

What are you eating man? Dust? Basotho goats? :rofl:

But yes, to go all Japanese and miniscule one must behave Japanese. Can just imagine a 26L filled to the brim with the tried and trusty First Ascent Ass Breaker.

Was going to ask about that, caves I thought.

No but seriously, what do you eat? To keep going like that. Share a link if you like, I’d be happy to read on.

Same here.
I do still have some kit from the 80’s tho, engineered from elephant hide and diesel.

Since years I carry only a 50l Lowe Alpine for up to 6 days nonstop on the mountain filled with everything from good food (fresh, not just dehydrated) to clothes, pot & stove, one (or two) man MSR tent, first aid kit, communication and 10V solar panel and 3l of water. If it does not fit inside the bag (!) leave it at home! Enjoy your hikes!!!

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@_Dieter in response to your post on the various packs. The best option is really to go into the shop and feel which one sits better on your back. I went to Drifters wanting an Exos, but after fitting it I rather went with the Mutant which is actually a climbing pack. This means it doesnt have suspension but sits flush against the back. Doesnt ventilate as well, but is GREAT for climbing / scrambling / bushwacking. A bit of a weird choice but it worked in the shop and now I am in love. That said, I also have the big cushy pack and nothing beats a good suspension setup for long days and comfort.

If you are starting out - aim for the lightest gear possible, but dont get too caught up in this “fast and light” trend. There is either some kind of sacrifice being made (heat, food, comfort), or the fast and light person is an investment banker and his gear collection is worth more than a small car.

Most of the people punting fast and light are people that have earned it, i.e. they have put in the hard yards and likely know the areas that they travel in like the back of their hand. You can get caught with your pants down if you dont know what you are doing. I have done missions “fastpack” style, but only if I have been on the route before and know exactly what to expect.

Mostly, I way prefer having sufficient warm clothing to actually enjoy being outside at night. For example, on a recent offtrail 7-day hike, the “fast and light” fanboy had a 13kg pack, but he was in his tent by 6pm every day, eating his military food rations in solitude. The rest of us were in the 18-22kg range, and we happily sat outside every night until 9pm, having tea, eating together and enjoying the stars. In line with this, you gauge your preparedness with the rest of the group.

I hope this doesnt get interpreted as a rant, just trying to give some perspective. it is very easy on the internet to get inspired by mountaineers that have earned their keep over many years of mistakes, only to realise that you are in over your head when the shit hits the fan. The shit doesnt hit the fan often but if it does, it can be a sordid display of real and uncontrollable horror that one does not want to repeat.

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