Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

A Backpack For Your Backpack

I saw post at Trailcraft today about the idea of taking a daypack along on your pack trips. This is not as wacky an idea as it might seem, at least if you take a few layover days and explore the surrounding terrain.

I used to carry pretty heavy “old school” internal frame packs. (Before that I used to carry really old school external frame packs, but that ancient history is a story for another time.) My favorite from that era was my gigantic Mountainsmith Crestone II – a capacious single compartment pack that was excellent in every way… except that it weighed around seven pounds. One nice feature of this pack – a brilliant feature, actually – was that the large top pocket converted into a functional fanny pack that could be used to haul just enough gear on most day trips away from base camp.

After I finally “saw the lite” and began to move to lighter equipment I picked up my current favorite pack, the Mountainsmith Auspex. Although not a true ultralight pack, it is about half the weight of the Crestone II. Its capacity is smaller, but sufficient for multi-day trips. Much of the weight savings comes from simplification (no side pockets, etc.) and lighter materials, but it still has an excellent, fully padded suspension system. When pressed, it can handle significantly more weight than the lightest ultra-light packs.

This pack is easily roomy enough for a 5+ day trip, but beyond that things get tight. Fortunately, Mountainsmith produce a small, attachable companion pack, the Boogeyman. It weighs in at only 1 pound, has a minimal but decent set of shoulder straps, and attaches nicely to the back of the Auspex. It is truly a minimal pack, though made of decently sturdy material matching the Auspex – there are not pockets whatsoever and a no stiffeners. But it is sufficient for summer day hikes away from camp since it can handle extra clothes, food and water, and a few other essentials.

It attaches to the back of the Auspex in a somewhat cumbersome manner, but it nicely extends the capacity of the pack such that I’ve done trips of up to 9 days with this setup and I think I could go longer. (I’ll find out this summer on a 10-12 day trip in the southern Sierra.)

Unfortunately, the Boogeyman pack is no longer made, and I’m not sure that the Auspex is around any longer either. But there are other similar options out there that work more or less the same way, and I can report that it is a good strategy for both extending the range of your lightweight backpack and for carrying gear away from base camp.


June 11, 2007 - Posted by | Equipment

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