Your Favorite Pack........Post it up and tell us why.


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Feb 7, 2013 - 10:03am PT
My new ULA Circuit pack in Barney purple, of course. It'll be coming on the PCT with me this year.

Credit: SofCookay
paul roehl

Boulder climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:24am PT
I've been looking and looking for a red canvas ruck sac with a leather bottom and leather straps like the one pictured on this thread. Love to know where I might buy one! Anyone know?
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:29am PT

Those are some special packs indeed. I understand how they've acquired special meaning and bring the memories back. Memories of adventure and discovery. That's beautiful.

Uncomfortable as hell, not waterproof, carried like crap ...

-- ihateplastic

^^^^ Agreed: Creature comforts are not THE defining characteristics of my 'favorite pack' either. Or is it a haul baggie? Pack, day pack, haul baggie, piglet, whateva...I've had no buyer's remorse with this one.

I'm a FISH addict and absolutely adore the simplicity and functionality of the Atom Smasher (Deluxe), pictured above fresh out-of-the-box the day I received it.

I looked like an absolute n00b the first month I used it, and, well...I was.

Credit: Bill Mc Kirgan

I quickly learned that if I load it with soft goods on the shoulder strap side I could protect my back and ribs and be comfortable hiking and scrambling with it fully loaded. Sometimes I use a runner to make a chest strap to keep the shoulder straps from spreading for long hikes.

If I load the thing in a hasty way, as I often do when our party moves to another route, I typically discover something jabbing into my back and then adjust the padded shoulder straps...sometimes just loosen it up and let the pack lie backwards hanging off the waste belt. If that doesn't help then I stop and take a little time to fix it.

Credit: Bill Mc Kirgan

After a few years of light use my Atom Smasher is starting to develop some character.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#217618

When I visited Devils Tower I was not too surprised to see this is the preferred pack of Frank Sanders (pictured below).

Credit: Bill Mc Kirgan

Look's like this one got sick and vomited gear and clothing. Poor piglet.

Credit: Bill Mc Kirgan

When I asked Mr. Sanders how long he's had his heavily worn-out-looking-wreckage of an Atom Smasher, he chuckled and said only a year or so. Said he was hoping to score a few more that summer so he would have a reserve supply.

I'm starting to see the wounds on mine now and plan on learning how to sew and mend this thing because as ugly-looking and uncomfortable as it can be it is my go-to pack for any adventure.

Of course the ASD has nothing on the Flextrek Whipsnake upthread...that unit rocks.

Trad climber
Flank of the Bighorns
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Last summer I was walking through the forest and sat down in a group of white bark pines to wait out a hopefully short rain shower. Reaching into my pack to grab some water and a snack and a map and some bug juice, it occurred to me that I LOVE MY PACK.

I think I bought it in 1987, I remember saving up for it. It may have been one of my first “big” purchases. I poured through brochures, walked around all the stores, tried them all on, it was, as Joe Biden put it, “A BIG fvcking deal!” It was one of the first times I made a conscious effort to buy local. A great number of my friends would wind up building them, certainly a prolific if not preferred employer in “6” county Montana.

Hikes to the ridge, up the Gallatin canyon, a winter trip to the Sphinx, Ross Peak, Crazy Peak, a failed attempt at Mt. Moran, across Froze-to-Death Plateau, up the Ramp, down the Smith River, the Great One, Flatirons, Yosemite, Bow Glacier… None of these places are overly crazy or extreme, just enough for the occasional dose of “The Fear”. Sometimes you need an ice axe, sometimes a shovel, maybe a rock hammer or skis, but always a pack.

20+ years of varied use and the pack is still living up to it’s no fail policy. I know this is starting to sound like a sales pitch, but it is too late for that. You can’t get this pack anymore, its not for sale. I’m sure there are lighter, higher tech, superman packs out there, but this one is simple, reliable and made at home. Thanks for the memories and here’s to many more my friend.

Bomb Pack
Bomb Pack
Credit: WyoRockMan

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Credit: hossjulia

The pack on my back! This old Camp Trails pack (Campmor) is a smallish women's specific that weighs 3 pounds. Carry's great, I think it was made to fit bear cans. I carried an average of 40 pounds with it on the JMT and it was maxed out. Could not have fit much else in it.

I need to replace it and shudder at what I'll need to spend, this one cost me $60 new about a dozen years ago.
David Knopp

Trad climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 03:42pm PT

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Feb 7, 2013 - 04:11pm PT
SofCookay, spot on! I love my ULA. Carried it 240 miles on the JMT (we did some extra)and it's a great pack. Light, comfortable rugged. Have a couple of friends who carried ULA on a PCT thruhike, the pack finished with barely any wear.

And I have friends who swear by Cold Cold World. I'll have to try one.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 7, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
Backcountry touring and snow camping...a love affair.
Backcountry touring and snow camping...a love affair.
Credit: SCseagoat

This pack, because it holds alot and rides well when on skis in the back country. Well holding alot is probably not a good thing because then I take more. But I've gotten so many winters out of this pack. At my age I will probably never have to give it up.


Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Feb 7, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
A Lowe somethingerrather.

Can't recall the model name, it's a 2nd or 3rd generation Lowe. One of the first with plastic buckles. I won pretty big at a poker game and the next day I went into a boutique gear store, slapped a wad of bills on the counter and said "I want that one".

The next day I pawned my old Kelty frame pack for about 15 bucks.

I lived out of that thing for a few years. Since gaining modern maturity, I've rediscovered joys backpacking, approach humping, and wallowing more than a few times under that pack.

It's got a big old stain on the back from "the Parkay incident".

Last year my wife offered up our IRS refund for a new super light, ultra big, all space-age materialed, neon polychrome uberpack. I said NFW, I want to be buried in that Lowe when I die.

Credit: TwistedCrank

some eastside hovel
Feb 7, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
WyoRockMan-That's awesome!!That is kind of mutt tho,yeah??Old school Bomb lid.Nice!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
A really heavy one that i can get someone to carry for me.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:36pm PT

BITD I had a 'Chuck Roast, Alpine sack' that I loved to death.
(Any body remember Chuck Roast' gear?)

Presently I most often schlep my schwag to the crag in a Fish 'Atom Smasher' that is now about in the same condition as the one shown upthread.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 11:45pm PT
Just got home from work.....selling packs among other things:D

LOVE all your pack stories. That's what I was hoping for.

I'm a newbie recreated into a second life in the outdoors. As I get ready for an adventure it seems my pack senses my vibes..... my thoughts and plans and hopes and trepidation's. It also counsels me to pack healthy snacks and my headlamp. That's the purple pack.

Oh man, what a pack :D

Now I have a new friend.

My latest pack, a Gregory. This coming summer working in the Eastern S...
My latest pack, a Gregory. This coming summer working in the Eastern Sierra I hope to finally begin packing into the beauty I have been entranced with the past several years.
Credit: LL LL

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Feb 7, 2013 - 11:56pm PT
CMy atomsmasher is my go to pack as well. I was there at its birth.
Like any parent I have photos of its gestation and birth. To be dug out presently.

I liked my chouinard ultima Thule mostly for the name.

I have other favorite packs.... Off to the archives......
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 12:07am PT
Jaybro Dude,

Get those archive's rolling. Miss you Dude and hope life is well. Will you be able to make it to Tuolumne this summer? If so we must get some of us together and christen lynnie climbing with yo the majors. Cheers, hugs and Peace

SC seagoat, awesome pic.

Sofcooky, we sell the ULA. I'd love to know what you think about it and why you chose the Circuit. What size did you get? Blessing to you on your grand adventure.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 8, 2013 - 12:10am PT
My old Sac Millet- untold summits in the Cascades. With the attached pockets it even served on quite a few winter multi-day trips. Hard to believe, but true. Zero padding, no suspension system, inch and a half wide straps; no pain-no gain, right?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 12:13am PT
Reilly, true.... some of the best loved have no padding, no suspension. They've been used for years before all the specialized stuff came out. Think the hip suspension for gals is a good thing....we will see when I test my Gregory in a couple weeks.

Julia and QITNL, great pics of packs and rat packs...smiles and good evening.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Feb 8, 2013 - 08:29am PT
My favorite pack is the On Rope 1 cave pack. It is very well made, and the removable straps can be rearranged so as to carry the pack in any configuration that you want: over both shoulder, over one shoulder, in front, a hydrid (one strap diagonally around the shoulder and the other strap around the waist, shown here), or even the straps wrapped around your ankle (so you can drag the pack while you crawl).

Sierra Ledge Rat in Friar's Hole
Sierra Ledge Rat in Friar's Hole
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

This photo was taken during a 12-hour trip in Friar's Hole to see the 2nd highest waterfall in West Virginia.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 8, 2013 - 08:51am PT
I haven't worn any of the newer model packs but bitd this thing was the shizz, a Gregory Big Wally. My favorite crag pack by far.
Big Wally
Big Wally
Credit: can't say
Credit: can't say
Credit: can't say

Feb 8, 2013 - 10:18am PT
Lynne, I know Nomad sells the ULA pack because I work at Nomad's (occasionally) in Joshua Tree. I don't know if you remember, but we met at this last Facelift. I left that Friday before all the partays kicked off (not one for big crowds). Anyway, I got that pack from the Nomad's in Idylwild and I chose it specifically for its functionality, durability, and weight (2 lbs 7 oz). The awesome purple color was just a bonus.
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