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5/9/2014 9:43 AM
 

 All,

I used to run a external frame pack for a while before switching to an internal and then a Duplex frame.  Recently, I've considered switching to an external (or at the least, give one a try again) to see if I can resolve some comfort and load management issues.  

Top contenders appear to be:  Dana/K2 Long Bed, Paradox, and Barney's  

I've also noted the HPG is looking to come out with one at some point.  

Does anyone have some recommendations as to some externals to look at or are the above noted what I should concentrate on?  I did notice the Dana Longbed/HPG Belt adapter that was recently posted which intrigues me as well but I don't have the skillset or the time at the moment to work out something like that (even though that might be the best approach).

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks

 
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5/9/2014 2:47 PM
 

Your comfort issues are probably due to the fact that you're using a Duplex which tends to be the worst of both worlds.

If you are a pretty skinny dude, your comfort issues might be resolved with the suspended belt design of a Barney's or Paradox. Otherwise, you want the Dana or check out a Vargo (of titanium fame) pack. Both of the latter have a supported lumbar area. Our design does too, but better than either the Dana or the Vargo.

As far as load control is concerned, the Paradox will not be your choice if you want external-like load control. Its independently rotating uprights that taper to a very narrow width at the top are designed to support a pack bag at a minimal frame weight, not give you a frame to bind a load to like most exernals would. Any of the others mentioned will give you a stout surface to bind a load to.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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5/9/2014 4:55 PM
 

 While I value Evan's opinion and extertise, I would respectfully disagree with his assement. There have been plenty of instances of a Paradox, without a bag, carrying on odd load. If you search, you cna find a compelte whitetail, sans inards, a tire, a kayak and all sorts of other odd items. If you can carry it, and compress it there is no reason it will not carry it. 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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5/14/2014 9:14 AM
 
Gentlemen - Thank you for the feedback. It helps alot! It sounds like I probably want to look into a Barney's or Paradox given that I have closer to an athletic build. From looking at both, it seems the Paradox provides greater versatility at a lower starting weight which I like alot. Keeping starting weight low is important to me as long as load bearing ability and carry comfort aren't sacrificed.

Question on the Paradox: Is it better to go taller frame or can I use a shorter frame with the extensions to give myself added versatility?
Thanks agai
 
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5/14/2014 9:48 AM
 

What I don't understand about the Paradox pack, and granted I have only messed with one hands on, and not used one, is how it provides the same rigidity as a traditional "rectangular", for lack of a better term, frame. Based on my understanding it is a "U" shape that narrows at the top and pivots in the bottom center.  From a structural stand point I just don't see how an open top with bottom pivot provides the same rigid frame that a closed top and non-pivot design does.  In addition, the narrower top will also provide less stabilization for wider objects than a non-taper.  If I am carrying an external frame I am doing it to carry heavier and non-traditional loads.  I don't see why I would compromise the whole reason I am carrying that style of pack. Just because someone has doesn't mean someone should.  


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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5/14/2014 11:21 AM
 

 It has the vertical rigidity of an external, and limited movement fonrt to back. The front to back movement is confined, and as the pack is further loaded or compressed it lessens, thus load responsive. There is a free floating spreader the keeps the top distance apart. While the top is more narrow than a traditional external, it is not really any more narrow than many internals. This system, IMO, provides the load hauling capability of big external, with the low load comfort od a lightly framed pack. Imagine the freedom of movement of a lightly framed pack, but the heavy load capabiltiy of a big pack. It's the best of both worlds IMO, and simply a better way to approach a heavy load capable , multiple use pack. If you have any more questions, regarding the Paradox specifically, feel free to ask on our forum 

 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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5/14/2014 11:58 AM
 

 The Paradox does very well with awkward loads.  

[img]http://paradoxpacks.com/?p=850[/img]

[img]http://paradoxpacks.com/?p=726[/img]

 

I've used externals a lot as well, and think you generally need a ratchet strap on an external to match the ease of use and security of our compression. 

 
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5/15/2014 8:29 AM
 

evanhill wrote

.....a Duplex which tends to be the worst of both worlds.....



Why?

 
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5/15/2014 3:14 PM
 

stoutside wrote
Gentlemen - Thank you for the feedback. It helps alot! It sounds like I probably want to look into a Barney's or Paradox given that I have closer to an athletic build. From looking at both, it seems the Paradox provides greater versatility at a lower starting weight which I like alot. Keeping starting weight low is important to me as long as load bearing ability and carry comfort aren't sacrificed.

Question on the Paradox: Is it better to go taller frame or can I use a shorter frame with the extensions to give myself added versatility?
Thanks agai

I suppose I have an "athletic" build (thin, bony hips, no butt), and the Paradox belt has been a revelation.  Every other pack has caused bruising when I went over 40 pounds.  With the Paradox I can do that for a week straight with no issues.

Frame height will depend on your torso length and what you want to do with the pack.  I've got a 20.5" torso.  The 24 inch frame was good to 45-50 pounds.  The 28 inch frame is nice at massive weights, but kind of a nuisance otherwise.  That level of shoulder lift with a 30 pound load just feels odd.  26", which I've only had for a little while, seems like a good all-around compromise.

 
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5/15/2014 4:26 PM
 

Exploriment wrote

 evanhill wrote

 

.....a Duplex which tends to be the worst of both worlds.....

 



Why?

The duplex attempts to use extra thick stays and HDPE sheeting to mimic the performance of an external in an internal configuration. However, it is still somewhat flexible and quite narrow (11" tapering to 9" at bottom) compared to real externals (which are 14" for entire height). So you don't really get much load control and there is only so wide you can go with your load. This is why big loads on duplexes look like a barreled out sausage and also quickly go above the frame and start slopping one way or the other. You'll see that sausage effect on other narrow framed packs as well.

But at least the duplex has internal like comfort, right? Negative. The stays which have been made extra thick to try to act like an external are now too stiff to give you the benefits of an internal. Instead of conforming to your body under dynamic load and acting like a spring to absorb shock, the stays force your back to conform to them. That's why hitting the load lifters on your duplex forces your shoulders back and it feels like you've just been strapped to a back board.

 


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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5/15/2014 7:29 PM
 

RockChucker – I’m plenty familiar with the Paradox compression since it is a variant of the system we’ve been using all along. I agree that it is better than what comes on most packs. 

Kevin – We'll just have to agree to disagree. To me, the point is obvious:


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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5/16/2014 7:59 AM
 

I can attest to the fact that the duplex feels like being strapped to a board.  It is honestly nothing I didn't expect given the size of those stays.  Additionally, it's nothing I wouldn't expect from another pack that has similar load carriage abilities.

Evan - What is the pack on the right?

Thanks again

 
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5/16/2014 8:41 AM
 
Actually, looks like the one on the right is a Barney's after looking up a few comparison pictures.
 
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5/16/2014 10:25 AM
 

 Evan, agreed we can agree to disagree. Vastly different looking packs, but with some similarities (Barney's / Paradox) and some similar capabilities. The Barney's is definately a well regarded pack, if you need a heavy pack, and only carry big loads, in terrain where a true external works well. 

 

However,, the Paradox carries a heavy load very well. If a girl, that has has spine surgery , can carry 90 - 95 lbs and keep the load off her shoulders, then it is more than capable (she had a rear quarter, obvious bone in and hide, with backstraps, some other meat and day gear). Granted, she was on a day hunt,  instead of being far in the backcountry on a multi day but still IMO impressive. 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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5/16/2014 4:30 PM
 

http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!

I don't have the experience to add anything technical to this coversation, but I just had to say: that sig is a classy move, Mr. Hill.

 
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6/5/2014 8:24 AM
 
I got the rundown on the Jansport vs Dana/K2 frame and can see where the Jansport may be lacking so I started looking at other vintage externals. I noted that there are numerous vintage Kelty external packs for a few bucks and which appear to have a subjectively more robust frame. Anyone have any thoughts/experience on those?

Thanks
 
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6/5/2014 10:17 AM
 

My thoughts and experience is that unless you are routinely carrying over 60lbs you are better off with just about any good internal, and definitely better off with a purpose built pack than something cobbled together. I have a Dana, and last Elk Season I took my Ute, and was glad I did. I didn't get an animal so I never needed the extra carrying capacity of an external and had the more comfortable internal for the entire trip.  The only time I potentially need the extra capacity of an external is hunting, which is a very very small part of what I do outdoors or when I wear a pack.  It used to be different when Evan's girls were smaller, but now they can mostly carry their own stuff.  Hunting is probably less than 2% of the time I am out and about with a pack on, and I don't really have a use for an external as a result. Our external might change my mind since it fixes key issues with every external currently or historically on the market, but until then the Ute is my pack.  Might not be want you want to hear, but those are my thoughts on the matter.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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6/6/2014 8:50 AM
 
Scot -

Firstly, as always I appreciate the honesty. Sugarcoating something never really got anyone anywhere other than making that person feel good about a bad choice.

Anyhow, the low likelihood of me needing the carrying capacity of an external (as compared to an internal) is exactly why I am considering a vintage external with upgrades. I have a Ute already so am considering buying a good frame and adding the HPG harness and belt in the event I need the external. I could take or leave a pack bag, load sling, etc. as necessary. The low entry cost is something I appreciate given the low likelihood of usage. Still, the other choice I come back to is the SO/Paradox Evolution. It might not completely take over for every single scenario I could need it for but no pack does - i.e. I have a Tara which is my small pack and I'm not an Alaskan guide so don't see a point in something as massive as a Barney's (the price for entry into that is way too high given the low likelihood of me actually needing it). The reviews seem to state it has a very wide range of usage and more so than any other pack I have seen so far. The only hump I need to get over (which is a common problem across all markets so nothing against SO/Paradox at all!) is that I can't try before I buy. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't feel good about returning it (very lightly) used and so I'm out again.

Back to my other question though, assuming I properly execute the upgrades, any thoughts on whether the Kelty frame will meet the need?
 
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