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krole
member (19)member
 
02/11/2018 02:57PM
Are there any portage packs out there that I'm missing? I've done some research and this seems like most of the popular ones. We'd prefer some lighter ones, something like Granite Gear. Before purchasing want to know all the options.

Traditional canvas\leather - Duluth Pack, Frost River. heavy and expensive, not for us.

1000D Cordura - CCS and Kondos. Ok, getting better but could be lighter imo.

Waterproof - Sealline. Would prefer non waterproof and to use something like trash compactor bags. Weight seems similar to 1000D Cordura packs. There are some other generic branded ones out there, but would like to avoid these I think. We have Sealline dry bags for non portage trips anyways.

210D Cordura - Granite Gear. Now we're talking, however this is the only brand I'm seeing that offers something like this. Any others?

I also found a brand Chinook, but looks like questionable quality.
 
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02/11/2018 03:41PM
I own 3 different sizes of CCS portage packs and swear by them. I wouldn't buy anything else. I'm more interested in the toughness,comfort and features and less interested in the minimal weight savings.
HappyHuskies
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 04:38PM
In terms of lightweight portage packs the lightest I've been able to find is the Granite Gear 3.5. On my scale it weighs 18 ounces. The detachable hip belt is 5 ounces of that. So, if your willing to go with out the hip belt you're looking at ~13 ounces which I think is pretty light by most peoples standards. If your pack weight is relatively low the hip belt is probably redundant.

I have been using this pack for all of my solo trips for the last 5 or 6 seasons and have been reasonably happy with it. It carries as well as any portage pack I have used and weighs much less. The shoulder straps are well padded and nice and wide. They fit me well. The hip belt is also comfortable, I just find I don't need it for the load I carry on most trips. After many trips it does not show any signs of wear other than a little dirt. I expect to use it this season as well. Pack weight matters to me. As I've gotten older, I find I enjoy trips more if I carry less. Not saying anyone else should agree, just saying this is what works for me.

I do own two other portage packs. A Frost River Kitchen Pack and a Duluth Pack #3, but have not used either since buying the Granite Gear pack. The two canvas packs are really well built, attractive (I think), and very heavy. The main reason I don't use them currently is that I just don't need the large capacity of either pack anymore. Still, I can't bring myself to part with them. Took a lot of good trips with both of them. I should kick them to the curb, but they don't take up that much room in my gear closet and they still make me smile when I look at them.

I've never owned a CCS pack, but have looked at them, Really well constructed, elegant packs. I can see why they have a loyal following.

I've also never owned a Kondos pack but do own one of their sled bags and some of their harnesses and they make good, durable products. Dan and Vicki were/are some of the most gracious and helpful people you could ever deal with and the conversations I've had with the new owners lead me to believe they are really good people as well. I have bought from them in the past and would not hesitate to do so again.

Lots of different tripping styles on the site from lots of folks with tremendous experience, so I'm sure you'll get a lot of good opinions. I'll be following along to see if anyone knows of a traditional style portage pack that is well constructed and weighs less than the Granite Gear. If they do I may be tempted to give it a try.
02/11/2018 04:47PM
Can't go wrong with Kondos, CCS, or Granite Gear. Although my vote now is with Kondos and CCS both made in MN. I've owned a pack from all 3 of these companies and they would outlast most people . My Granite Gear Quetico was early 90s Two Harbors made.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/11/2018 05:02PM
awbrown: "I own 3 different sizes of CCS portage packs and swear by them. I wouldn't buy anything else. I'm more interested in the toughness,comfort and features and less interested in the minimal weight savings."

So is the Granite Gear prone to rips,tears, general failures? Is it not comfortable?
scramble4a5
distinguished member (438)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 05:08PM
krole: "awbrown: "I own 3 different sizes of CCS portage packs and swear by them. I wouldn't buy anything else. I'm more interested in the toughness,comfort and features and less interested in the minimal weight savings."
So is the Granite Gear prone to rips,tears, general failures? Is it not comfortable?"

I have a Granite Gear Quetico. I have taken it on two trips with no issues. It's comfortable as well unless you overload it.
02/11/2018 05:23PM
I am not a fan of Kondos simply due to their using metal buckles. I have a couple of Granite Gear packs and a number of CCS packs, and I can say without hesitation that the only packs I would buy from here forward are CCS packs.

Dan Cooke, the guy behind CCS, stands behind all of his gear, and if you ever have an issue, he will take care of you. That is not to say Granite Gear will not, but with Dan, you know exactly whom you are dealing with and the quality of his work is second to none.
thlipsis29
distinguished member(1102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 05:43PM
Owned Kondos, CCS and GG. The one area GG excels in is that I think they have the most comfortable harness of all of them. That said, I've become a loyal customer of CCS (I have two hybrid packs and three barrel packs plus a tarp). The overall quality of his product is second to none and his customer service is fantastic!
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(986)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 07:06PM
I have 3 CCS packs and love them, they are comfortable, well designed, and will outlast me. I have a Buscrafter, Explorer, and a Pioneer. My brother has a Guide.
OldFingers57
distinguished member(5358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/11/2018 09:12PM
Frenchy19: "I am not a fan of Kondos simply due to their using metal buckles. I have a couple of Granite Gear packs and a number of CCS packs, and I can say without hesitation that the only packs I would buy from here forward are CCS packs.

Dan Cooke, the guy behind CCS, stands behind all of his gear, and if you ever have an issue, he will take care of you. That is not to say Granite Gear will not, but with Dan, you know exactly whom you are dealing with and the quality of his work is second to none. "

I have several Kondos packs and none of them have metal buckles. They all have the black plastic buckles.
02/11/2018 09:27PM
OldFingers57: "Frenchy19: "I am not a fan of Kondos simply due to their using metal buckles. I have a couple of Granite Gear packs and a number of CCS packs, and I can say without hesitation that the only packs I would buy from here forward are CCS packs.



Dan Cooke, the guy behind CCS, stands behind all of his gear, and if you ever have an issue, he will take care of you. That is not to say Granite Gear will not, but with Dan, you know exactly whom you are dealing with and the quality of his work is second to none. "



I have several Kondos packs and none of them have metal buckles. They all have the black plastic buckles. "

Mine either
02/12/2018 07:45AM
You will not be unhappy with a Granite Gear pack; they are solid, well-made, comfortable packs that have been around for a while. They have been used as rental packs by outfitters.

Although you are not particularly interested in waterproof packs per se, there are other ones besides SealLine packs - Sea-to-Summit makes a series and Exped makes a couple of waterproof packs in the Torrent (?) series. Westwater (?) also makes some, I believe.

Other lightweight options would probably be the ultralight backpacks, although not specifically designed as portage packs for canoeing.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/12/2018 08:52AM
Thanks for the responses so far. It appears that I didn't miss a whole lot in my research, besides the few other waterproof ones.

I took a look at the ultralight backpacks but nothing stood out that would work well for our needs. I actually have a Zpacks Arc Haul Zip currently, but that would be too awkward both in a canoe and while portaging.

I thought about making my own, but I don't think I'll be able to make one good enough by the time we want to use it, plus the Granite Gear 3.5 is 18 oz which is pretty light.

As of now Granite Gear is at the top of our list, but haven't completely ruled out CCS or Kondos. I guess it'll depend on if we take the ultralight approach to canoe portaging or not.

02/12/2018 09:12AM
awbrown: "I own 3 different sizes of CCS portage packs and swear by them. I wouldn't buy anything else. I'm more interested in the toughness,comfort and features and less interested in the minimal weight savings."
+1.... I own several Duluth Packs and Frost River Packs, but have only used my CCS Packs the last few years. Very well made functional Packs.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/12/2018 09:40AM
Compare GG and CCS side-by-side. Both GG and Kondos make nice products, but IMO, CCS just stands out.

~The multiple grab handles.
~The quality stitching.
~Padded foam back is awesome.
~The padded waist belt and shoulder straps.
~The quality material.

~The feature I like best? The 500+ inch top flap pocket. We use this ALL THE TIME. Rain gear, first aid kit, multitool, headlamps... if we didn't have the top flap pocket, we'd have to dig into our pack each time.
Compare pricing... the Pioneer and Guide are nearly, if not exactly, the same price as the GG Quetico and Superior 1.

Throw in the fact that CCS products are made in Minnesota and all the other great products they make - tarps, lean-tos, thwart bags, etc.... and they're a winner.

I have to admit, I don't understand your concern about weight. A few ounces one way or the other... who cares?

Sorry to sound like I work for the company. I don't. But as you'll see in the pics below, I'm a happy owner of two CCS Pioneer packs.



krole
member (19)member
 
02/12/2018 09:58AM
Jackfish: "I have to admit, I don't understand your concern about weight. A few ounces one way or the other... who cares?
"


For the 3.5 pack, its not a few ounces its a pound. If I took this attitude with everything in my backpack, it would weigh 40 lbs, not 15 lbs (at least for backpacking not counting food or water).

I find it odd how so many people here will spend $3000 on a kevlar canoe, but won't take weight into consideration for anything else.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/12/2018 10:13AM
krole: "For the 3.5 pack, its not a few ounces its a pound. "
All the features I referenced above are on the Pioneer hybrid pack. The CCS 3.5 pack doesn't have a top flap pocket nor some of the other features mentioned.

And unless you're one who drills holes in your toothbrush handle, cooks over a beer can alcohol stove and sleeps in a hammock in order to lighten your load, the little weight difference is insignificant in the big picture of a canoe trip.

YMMV.
houseofspam
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2018 10:24AM
krole: "Jackfish: "I have to admit, I don't understand your concern about weight. A few ounces one way or the other... who cares?"
For the 3.5 pack, its not a few ounces its a pound. If I took this attitude with everything in my backpack, it would weigh 40 lbs, not 15 lbs (at least for backpacking not counting food or water).

I find it odd how so many people here will spend $3000 on a kevlar canoe, but won't take weight into consideration for anything else."

Backpacking and portaging aren't the same. You can alway make another trip across if you have more stuff than you can carry. Nobody is going to mind another 10 lbs when you're only walking a couple hundred yards.

The canoe is most likely the single heaviest item on the portage. It's also the most awkward to carry. Everything else can be split up into smaller groups to make lighter or smaller packs.
jwartman59
distinguished member(2994)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 10:42AM
I’ve always preferred canvas packs mostly because you can carry two packs, one on top of the other with minimal slipping. Nylon packs tend to be too slippery for this.

I have Duluth packs that are forty years old and see no reason I’ll ever have to replace them. For some reason I now have six Duluth packs, I’m not sure how that happened.
02/12/2018 11:30AM
krole: "I also found a brand Chinook, but looks like questionable quality."

The Chinook is a renamed Woods Mason portage pack. Been around for decades and a good inexpensive pack. Large capacity and a very adjustable suspension more like a dedicated full featured backpack. Used mine for years without problems. Sold it after reducing my pack loads.

Swallowed up a 60L barrel.

butthead
RackWrangler
senior member (78)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2018 11:41AM
Ok, so I'm kinda dumb when it comes to portage packs. I've used an ALICE pack with and without the frame, or a mil-surplus canvas duffle bag (each filled with smaller drybags to separate my gear) for the last 5 years, but I'm open to upgrade. Can someone explain to me why I should spend $$$ on a CCS or GG or ??? canvas pack that will sit in the bottom of my canoe and get wet? Why not get a waterproof bag? Is there something wrong with waterproof bags?

I'm not trying to be a troll or put anyone's product down. This is a serious question. I'm not a fan of "because that's how we've always done it" thinking, but I also recognize that somethings stay a certain way for a good reason. I also realize that many on this site have 10 times the experience that I have in canoe country. This is why I ask questions.

-RW
thebotanyguy
distinguished member(737)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 12:51PM
I have to go along with butthead on the Woods Mason/Chinook portage pack. I have owned one for 25 years, and it is still in good shape. Now, it has had relatively light duty over those years, but it is a great budget/starter pack. If one does 1-2 trips/year, the pack will last for years.

That said, it is not as robustly built as the CCS pack. I upgraded to a Pioneer about 10 years ago. This is a pack that will I will pass on to my heirs.

Bottom line is buy what fits your budget. If you can go top of the line right now, you will not regret a CCS or GG or Kondos pack. If you can only afford the Chinook, it will be perfectly fine and will last until you want to upgrade.
02/12/2018 01:04PM
RackWrangler: "Ok, so I'm kinda dumb when it comes to portage packs. I've used an ALICE pack with and without the frame, or a mil-surplus canvas duffle bag (each filled with smaller drybags to separate my gear) for the last 5 years, but I'm open to upgrade. Can someone explain to me why I should spend $$$ on a CCS or GG or ??? canvas pack that will sit in the bottom of my canoe and get wet? Why not get a waterproof bag? Is there something wrong with waterproof bags?


I'm not trying to be a troll or put anyone's product down. This is a serious question. I'm not a fan of "because that's how we've always done it" thinking, but I also recognize that somethings stay a certain way for a good reason. I also realize that many on this site have 10 times the experience that I have in canoe country. This is why I ask questions.


-RW"


The problem with water proof bags is that they are only water proof as long as they don't get punctured or torn, which by Murphy's law will happen sooner rather than later when canoe tripping.

A CCS or GG packs have comfort features that a traditional canvas portage pack does not have. They have padded shoulder straps, a back pad and a hip belt all of which make them much more comfy to wear. That being said, the distances that a canoe tripper has to carry a pack are relatively short so comfort isn't always a big concern. Some folks use duffel bags, some folks use 5 gallon buckets, etc.

A portage pack in general will be shaped to fit into a canoe better than a typical backpack, will have grab handles to make removal from the canoe easier and will hold a larger volume of gear than a back pack. Because you are carrying the pack over relatively short portages and not wearing it all day, most canoe trippers will carry more gear than they would if they were backpacking.

In my younger days, when money was a problem, I often had to consider price as my biggest concern. I started with a cheap canvas portage pack, then I moved up to CCS Traditional portage packs in two sizes and now that I have no kids in the house, graduated to CCS hybrid packs.

Most canoe trippers do not worry too much about a pound here or a pound there, but as we age, comfort and weight do become more important.
thebotanyguy
distinguished member(737)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 01:40PM
RackWrangler: "Ok, so I'm kinda dumb when it comes to portage packs. I've used an ALICE pack with and without the frame, or a mil-surplus canvas duffle bag (each filled with smaller drybags to separate my gear) for the last 5 years, but I'm open to upgrade. Can someone explain to me why I should spend $$$ on a CCS or GG or ??? canvas pack that will sit in the bottom of my canoe and get wet? Why not get a waterproof bag? Is there something wrong with waterproof bags?

-RW"


The modern portage pack is an evolution of design to accomplish several important tasks. Obviously, one needs to carry a sizable amount of gear, and a comfortable suspension system is preferable to one that is less comfortable. Padded straps, hip belts, and a padded back are all important in improving the comfort of carrying a heavy load. There are a lot of backpacks that can do the same task, so what sets the portage pack apart?

The canoe/portage pack should sit below the gunwales for proper weight distribution. The dimensions and soft shape help with this. Many backpacks will not rest low enough, or be a pain to load and unload at the portages. That brings up another point, sometimes a canoe is portaged while wearing a pack. A tall pack interferes with that function.

Your other question relates to waterproof vs. non-waterproof packs. You will find proponents of both types on this site, and each is correct for their particular style of tripping. My preference is for non-waterproof, and I will explain my rationale. Perhaps, a waterproof pack use will weigh in on their preference.

A waterproof pack is waterproof only as long as the outside membrane is intact. For many users, that can mean 20+ years of use before a leak develops. However, if you travel with a careless knucklehead, you might have a hole on the very first trip. The abrasive granite of the north-country is unforgiving. The shape of most (but not all) of these types of pack is tall and narrow, so it can be inconvenient to find something inside the pack. The quality of the suspension systems is highly variable: some very comfortable and well-constructed, others have been described as instruments of torture or falling apart during a trip.

As you know, a non-waterproof pack depends on a plastic liner for protecting the contents. As the liner is infinitely replaceable, the pack should be waterproof for as long as you own it. Also, the packs are relatively easy to dig into the bottom, and if one uses a clear plastic liner, one can see the contents easily.
02/12/2018 01:43PM
RackWrangler: " Can someone explain to me why I should spend $$$ on a CCS or GG or ??? canvas pack that will sit in the bottom of my canoe and get wet? Why not get a waterproof bag? Is there something wrong with waterproof bags?-RW"

And expect honest answers!
No reason to upgrade unless you decide you need to. Reasons could be carry capacity, comfort, worn item replacement, boredom, and I'm sure others. Waterproof bags, reasons can fit into the same categories.
Lots of ways to achieve content waterproofing, as well.
Cost concerns? Look at used sources, I get a large percentage of my gear that way.
CCS, Kondos, Granite Gear, Frost River, Duluth Pack, all make excellent stuff, that's not the only reason to buy though.

I use a backpack for more than just canoe portages so I choose to use an internal framed pack. I pack small so my pack is just 3200 cubic inch cap. I use a liner to save weight so no waterproof pack bag desired.
I'm old and lazy so size and weight are important to me as well as multi use.


butthead
HappyHuskies
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 02:42PM
butthead: "RackWrangler: " Can someone explain to me why I should spend $$$ on a CCS or GG or ??? canvas pack that will sit in the bottom of my canoe and get wet? Why not get a waterproof bag? Is there something wrong with waterproof bags?-RW"


And expect honest answers!
No reason to upgrade unless you decide you need to. Reasons could be carry capacity, comfort, worn item replacement, boredom, and I'm sure others. Waterproof bags, reasons can fit into the same categories.
Lots of ways to achieve content waterproofing, as well.
Cost concerns? Look at used sources, I get a large percentage of my gear that way.
CCS, Kondos, Granite Gear, Frost River, Duluth Pack, all make excellent stuff, that's not the only reason to buy though.


I use a backpack for more than just canoe portages so I choose to use an internal framed pack. I pack small so my pack is just 3200 cubic inch cap. I use a liner to save weight so no waterproof pack bag desired.
I'm old and lazy so size and weight are important to me as well as multi use.



butthead"


+1 on all of this.

Krole,

The people here are incredibly friendly and willing to help where they can. It's just a great bunch. The honest opinions you get here are based on real world experience, but reflect different tripping styles and what folks are looking to get out of their trips varies a lot. Then again It would be a pretty boring forum if we all agreed.

I think most here know that I do count ounces (but don't drill holes in my tooth brush and generally do not use a hammock). Most probably think I'm part of a "lunatic" fringe, but they generally tolerate me pretty well.

It looks like you're pretty new here, so let me say welcome and please stick around. It's a nice place!



andym
distinguished member(3994)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 03:19PM
I use a frame pack (the no longer available knupac) and like the waterproof bag because I put the pack into the canoe pack down with the frame up for ease in grabbing for loading and unloading. And everything in the pack stays dry and doesn't soak up any water from the bottom of the canoe. I'm careful with my gear and so haven't had any problems with wear on my packs.

However, as time goes by, I accept the wisdom of an outer pack that isn't waterproof and an inner, replaceable liner. As long as the outer doesn't absorb water, sounds good to me, too.

Our first trip, we borrowed the big seal line dry bags with straps. With no hip belt and basically a large, dark space to find stuff in, we hated them. I know there are some better big dry bags.

The knupac dry bags had a cool feature: side opening. That makes it much easier to find stuff than a top opening bag. It means that the roll is much wider and maybe wouldn't be as watertight for a pack that gets stuck in a class 4 rapid. But this is the BWCA and so seems fine to me.

If I was starting over with what is available now, I would probably get one of the hybrid packs from CCS or something similar from another company and then use a waterproof liner.
MReid
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2018 05:09PM
I'm a proponent of dry bags. I haven't use "canoe" packs, and have used climbing/backpacking packs, including frameless, external frame (blech) and internal frame. I have a large dry bag portage pack (discontinued NRS Paragon pack--not the frame-only option available now) which has a padded harness and thin aluminum stays. I've used it for close to 20 years, both for canoe trips as well as flying around in Alaska working in remote areas. With that I have a dry day pack (another discontinued model--Seattle Sports I think). It goes in the bow and suffers constant paddle splash (I'm a sit-and-switcher solo paddler). I have a multi-week trip planned for this summer, and I just ordered a GG Vapor backpack harness that'll allow me to portage my other dry bags I already own (NRS Bill's Bag--crappy shoulder straps on them).

I've abraded my portage pack a bit over the years, but I don't think it's ever leaked--the fabric is really tough, and they make whitewater rafts out of it. Just a piece of duct tape will patch them on a trip, and Aquaseal or Seamgrip gives you permanent patching at home.

Regardless of whether the packs are big dry bags or "canoe" packs, you still have to pack them properly--use some logic. They're both just big bags. Another thing to consider is how they fit in your boat--a narrow solo requires different packing than a tandem Prospector.
02/12/2018 05:59PM
Lots of great info here and we have our preferences but, to answer one question not answered. The GG packs have a heavy weight Cordura bottom and 210 denier in the main part of the pack to save weight.

IMO the pack weight does matter if we’re single portaging. If we’re double portaging I don’t care too much. That said, weigh an unloaded large heavy weight cordura pack. It will weigh 6# + depending on size with a poly liner more like 8#. In case anyone cares that’s 16% of a 50# pack. My empty 60l blue barrel and harness weighs 9.25# so yes the choice of packs and pack weight matters.

FWIW my favorite packs are GG Superior 1. Great harness carries a huge load comfortably. It will handle all the weight we can lift and carry.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/13/2018 08:25AM
BnD: "Lots of great info here and we have our preferences but, to answer one question not answered. The GG packs have a heavy weight Cordura bottom and 210 denier in the main part of the pack to save weight.


IMO the pack weight does matter if we’re single portaging. If we’re double portaging I don’t care too much. That said, weigh an unloaded large heavy weight cordura pack. It will weigh 6# + depending on size with a poly liner more like 8#. In case anyone cares that’s 16% of a 50# pack. My empty 60l blue barrel and harness weighs 9.25# so yes the choice of packs and pack weight matters.


FWIW my favorite packs are GG Superior 1. Great harness carries a huge load comfortably. It will handle all the weight we can lift and carry."


I assume the GG 3.5 has 210 all around and the Superior One and Quetico have 420 on the bottom and 210 on the main pack part? the 3.5 just says 210 and the other ones say 420 in the product specs.

HappyHuskies: "

+1 on all of this.

Krole,

The people here are incredibly friendly and willing to help where they can. It's just a great bunch. The honest opinions you get here are based on real world experience, but reflect different tripping styles and what folks are looking to get out of their trips varies a lot. Then again It would be a pretty boring forum if we all agreed.

I think most here know that I do count ounces (but don't drill holes in my tooth brush and generally do not use a hammock). Most probably think I'm part of a "lunatic" fringe, but they generally tolerate me pretty well.

It looks like you're pretty new here, so let me say welcome and please stick around. It's a nice place!

"


Hammocks are usually heavier than the ultralight tents ;)

We have a Zpacks Triplex, pretty sure thats lunatic fringe compared to others here. Although I think we'll take our REI Half Dome 2 Plus instead, not sure yet.

I'm still not sure what kind of trip we'll prefer, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss any options for portage packs. It appears that I didn't.

Still not sure which packs we'll get, but the GG look nice.

We already have our reservation and will post in the trip planning forum for more advice later.
HappyHuskies
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 08:53AM
My GG 3.5 is all the same material ... 210. I have found it to be durable enough. As mentioned above, after several trips it does not show any wear, just some dirt. I would guess that I have between 60 and 70 days of use on it. It has met my expectations and I would buy it again.

02/13/2018 09:01AM
Just use a canoe pack with a plastic inside liner. Then put your "have to stay Dry" items like sleeping bags and clothes in a water proof stuff sack. It's a tried and true method that works great. There's a reason the portage packs mentioned here remain prominent in canoe country. They're the most practice and efficient way to load,unload and portage your gear.
HappyHuskies
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 09:24AM
Hammocks are usually heavier than the ultralight tents ;)

We have a Zpacks Triplex, pretty sure thats lunatic fringe compared to others here. Although I think we'll take our REI Half Dome 2 Plus instead, not sure yet.

I'm still not sure what kind of trip we'll prefer, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss any options for portage packs. It appears that I didn't.

Still not sure which packs we'll get, but the GG look nice.

We already have our reservation and will post in the trip planning forum for more advice later.

Yep, at least in my case my hammock setup is heavier than my ground kit and a bit bulkier besides. I will readily admit that I have only tried the one hammock though, so am sure I could find lighter options than what I currently have. Mainly I'm a ground dweller.

The Triplex is a great tent. I'm jealous. My two and three person tents are tents I've had for a while and all weigh in between 4 and 6 pounds. I do a lot of solo trips in the BW and use a Zpacks Solo Plus tent and a Zpacks Solo Tarp. Mine are the older "beak" models so you know I've had them for a while. I like them both a lot.

I'm primarily using the GG 3.5 for solo trips and it is much bigger than I need, but it has worked out fine. I don't need or want a lot of features, just a basic, light, and reasonably durable pack. It rides low like most portage packs, so it is easy to single portage and has the typical large top flap that I like because I can tuck my PFD under it while portaging. I like it because it does what it needs to and is light. I've never gotten to the end of a portage yet wishing that my pack weighed more :)

Definitely post about your trip! I think you'll enjoy it a lot. I love winter in the BW, but by this time of the year am really starting to look forward to the paddling season. Then again, by the end of the paddling season I am looking forward to winter. It's all good!
02/13/2018 09:33AM
Keep in mind a 3 1/2 carries poorly if not filled. It is like a bag of potatoes that is not full flopping one way than the other. So your load must fill the pack whether Granite gear or CCS. This is not typically a problem as most folks like to bring a lot of stuff. But as you try to go lighter often the size of the load shrinks. If there was a perfect pack there would only be one pack made.

Triva; CCS was the first to make the 3 1/2 back in the early 80's.

Lighter weight packs have been a tough sell in the Canoe crowd- There is a far amount of abrasion that can occur from the bottom of resin boats that are not smooth and often have some grit present. Packs get slid along the bottom of the canoe as they are positioned to lift, and as they are layed down for travel. Personal packs fair better than rental for the most part.
CCS used to offer 500 d Cordura packs but they were 1% of the 1000d Cordura, not to likely to stock in a store if they do not move.

What Cordura Trade marked by Invista has changed over the years. It used to mean an air textured nylon where the texture would take the wearing better than a smooth nylon. Now
Cordura is just Invista nylon.
HappyHuskies
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02/13/2018 09:50AM
NM
krole
member (19)member
 
02/13/2018 10:16AM
Kondos Trailblazer is advertised at almost 45 liters, but with 1000D Cordura probably isn't any lighter than the GG 3.5.

What about a climbing pack? Something like this


This one seems a bit heavy, but there may be other similar options. https://www.rei.com/product/127479/black-diamond-crag-40-pack
TominMpls
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02/13/2018 10:19AM

Don't mind me, just fixing the quotes.
02/13/2018 10:20AM
"Hammocks are usually heavier than the ultralight tents ;)

We have a Zpacks Triplex, pretty sure thats lunatic fringe compared to others here. Although I think we'll take our REI Half Dome 2 Plus instead, not sure yet."

From those statements I'm guessing you are fairly experienced at backpacking/camping. If so why no just use your backpacks for (I'm assuming here), a first trip?
I know this runs contrary to popular opinion on this forum, but I'm not a big portage pack fan. I've use portage packs of several makes and have gone back to an internal framed backpack.
If you do any backpacking your loads are already smaller and lighter than the majority of canoe trippers.

I've used Coleman Peak One Ramflex framed, REI Ptarmigan Internal, Camp Trails Torrid 2, and now a GG Nimbus Trace Access 60 along with daypacks for extra comfort stuff. I double portage so main pack first crossing coming back for the canoe and daypack. Never had trouble fitting them in tandem or solo canoes.

butthead

krole
member (19)member
 
02/13/2018 10:57AM
butthead: ""Hammocks are usually heavier than the ultralight tents ;)


We have a Zpacks Triplex, pretty sure thats lunatic fringe compared to others here. Although I think we'll take our REI Half Dome 2 Plus instead, not sure yet."


From those statements I'm guessing you are fairly experienced at backpacking/camping. If so why no just use your backpacks for (I'm assuming here), a first trip?
I know this runs contrary to popular opinion on this forum, but I'm not a big portage pack fan. I've use portage packs of several makes and have gone back to an internal framed backpack.
If you do any backpacking your loads are already smaller and lighter than the majority of canoe trippers.

I've used Coleman Peak One Ramflex framed, REI Ptarmigan Internal, Camp Trails Torrid 2, and now a GG Nimbus Trace Access 60 along with daypacks for extra comfort stuff. I double portage so main pack first crossing coming back for the canoe and daypack. Never had trouble fitting them in tandem or solo canoes.

butthead


"


I thought about, but primarily mine has a mesh back that I was kind of worried might get torn if I wasn't too careful getting it in and out of the canoe after a lot of portages.

Link to picture on Zpacks website.

And the GG 3.5 is actually even lighter than this. I still might use my Zpacks backpack though, haven't fully decided.
HappyHuskies
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02/13/2018 11:06AM
krole: "Kondos Trailblazer is advertised at almost 45 liters, but with 1000D Cordura probably isn't any lighter than the GG 3.5.


What about a climbing pack? Something like this



This one seems a bit heavy, but there may be other similar options. https://www.rei.com/product/127479/black-diamond-crag-40-pack "


I really don't need any help looking for a reason to acquire more packs LOL!. Still you're right, something like the Trailblazer might work. The size is right. I suspect it is much heavier than I'd like. I wonder if they have any light material on hand that they'd be willing to make one out of? May have to stop in to take a look and see what they have to say.

I really, really have more packs than I can justify though. At last count I had 11, not counting day packs. I have packs from Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, Gossamer Gear, Katabatic, Granite Gear, Gregory, and even an old Wilderness Experience. And these don't include the handful of portage packs that. My wife is pretty understanding, but even she might start to ask about my "need" for another pack. Still, I really could use another portage pack, couldn't I?
LindenTree3
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02/13/2018 12:58PM
Anyone know what this pack weighs?
I called the company and they could not answer that question.

Chinook Chenum Portage Pack
02/13/2018 02:57PM
With all the discussion of pack weight, I did a little testing.

My CCS Pioneer Hybrid Portage pack weighed in at 4.4 lbs
My CCS #3 Traditional Portage pack weighed in at 1.9 lbs.

So if weight is your primary concern, go with the most simple design. You don't have the weight of the back pad, the more sophisticated adjustable shoulder straps, zippers, pocket in the top flap, side straps, side pockets, sternum strap, hip belt, etc.

I used my #3 Traditional for over 20 years and it's still in top condition, but my back appreciates the Pioneer Hybrid pack more. So even if it is a little more heavy, I'm sticking with the hybrid.
02/13/2018 03:42PM
LindenTree3: "Anyone know what this pack weighs?
I called the company and they could not answer that question.


Chinook Chenum Portage Pack "


Amazon list a shipping weight 3.6 pounds. I had one but did not weight it, seems right. It uses 2 form-able aluminum back stays and full suspension, loadlifters, belt stabilizers, sternum strap, but lighter weight nylon fabric. It is huge at 110 L.

butthead
OldFingers57
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02/14/2018 05:41AM
Another option for you is to buy used packs from one of the Outfitters. I purchased all of my Kondos packs from Voyageur North Outfitters and they have lasted quite awhile. Others have gotten used CCS packs from Piragis Outfitters.
mc2mens
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02/14/2018 06:48PM
I'm a pack rat. I have a GG Superior One, GG Quetico, CCS Rucksack, and a 30L Blue Barrel with Kondos harness. I also have an 85L and a 70L internal frame backpacks from REI, and a 40L internal frame pack from Osprey. I love all of them for different reasons. I've had the GG packs for 10-12 years now and they've been on dozens of trips. I think you'll be happy with a GG pack.
unshavenman
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02/15/2018 11:00AM
Just FYI, I believe Granite Gear portage packs are made in Vietnam. If you want to buy American go with Cooke Custom Sewing or Kondos.
jcavenagh
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02/15/2018 11:47AM
As a hiker and canoe camper I would like to point out that about the longest portage one would generally expect is 2 miles. Most portages are less than 1 mile. (I exclude the Grand Portage, of course.) When I hike, my shortest trip is 3 miles or so.
The few extra ounces in a large portage pack really make little difference.
But, on my solos I use a ZPacks Blast30 for my food/kitchen pack and a GG Crown60 as my gear/clothes pack. I do that because my big water proof bag is pretty uncomfortable.
Your research is well done and you won't be disappointed with any of the packs you are looking at.
Swampturtle
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02/15/2018 09:25PM
Chinook Chenum...

My experience...Bought this exact pack specifically for a BW trip 8 years ago, it was cheap & large. Note the terrible reviews on Amazon, we had the same problems. First trip half way thru 7 days, one shoulder strap ripped. I repaired it twice that trip with heavy duty thread. I used it for a few more trips in the Dacks until the stitching came undone on the other strap & I repaired it again mid-trip. I considered rehoming it, but realized it would be a burden to anyone since it looked like Frankenstein & was bound to fail again. It is a large pack, it hung low no matter how it was adjusted & sat on my dupa, was uncomfortable for me & others no matter the height or body type. It ended up being the pack no one wanted to carry. I bought a GG, which I have used for years & love it, would buy it again. It is well made & comfortable with the vapor harness. I expect years ago they made the Chinook well, now perhaps cheaply made, you get what you pay for as most of the reviews point out.
huntfun2
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02/16/2018 01:42PM
We have a couple of the GG Quetico's. I have been nothing but extremely satisfied with them. Sturdy, comfortable, the hip belts are really nice and being able to strap items on the side is also very, very useful. You can't go wrong with this pack.
thebotanyguy
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02/16/2018 02:44PM
Swampturtle: "Chinook Chenum...
. . . . I expect years ago they made the Chinook well, now perhaps cheaply made, you get what you pay for as most of the reviews point out. "


This is unfortunate and I'm sorry to hear that the successor to the Woods Mason pack is no longer a reasonable quality product. I never thought I would be "that guy" who looked back fondly on former times as the good old days, but I guess in some ways, they were.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/18/2018 01:45PM
Just curious, on the CCS Hybrid Packs, whats the standard torso sized for? For example Granite Gear has their listed as 18” -21”. I didn't see anything on the CCS website. I would assume it's probably the same. Figured I'd ask here, if no one knows then email him and report back.

Edit: FWIW I'm leaning towards the Granite Gear Quetico, looks pretty versatile plus it comes in at 1 lb 11 oz per REI.
thlipsis29
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02/18/2018 02:15PM
I owned a Quetico and it really was a nice pack. My biggest frustration with it was that it was just too small for all I wanted to pack and the Superior One was way too big. Hence I went to the CCS Pioneer. While I can't say anything bad about the Quetico, I would say that the Pioneer is a higher quality product for the same price.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/18/2018 02:24PM
thlipsis29: "I owned a Quetico and it really was a nice pack. My biggest frustration with it was that it was just too small for all I wanted to pack and the Superior One was way too big. Hence I went to the CCS Pioneer. While I can't say anything bad about the Quetico, I would say that the Pioneer is a higher quality product for the same price. "

That's odd. Pioneer is listed as 4700 cu. in. with 525 cu in top pocket. Quetico is listed as 5000 cu in. total capacity.

Better quality in what way? Thicker materials? That's a moot point to me.
thlipsis29
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02/18/2018 02:42PM
The dimensions of the Pioneer are bigger than the Quetico. Ignore the cubic inch measurement (there was a thread about calculating pack volume a few years back and GG and CCS use different methods to determine pack volume ). Simply multiply height x width x depth and you will see that the Pioneer is bigger (4,752 vs 2,978.6). If you're not concerned about the strength of the material, then much of this is a moot point. But I will say that the external flap pocket on the CCS is a nice feature and the quality of the stitching and overall construction is better on the CCS.
krole
member (19)member
 
02/18/2018 03:16PM
I figured the dimensions of the Quetico were when it was fully compressed and the 5000 was total capacity of it uncompressed and the top not fully rolled down.. Is that not the case?
thlipsis29
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02/18/2018 03:19PM
That's not exactly the case. Click on the hyperlink in my previous reply, and read through Dan Cooke's explanation of how different manufacturers determine pack volume. Admittedly, he has a vested interested in the discussion, but his explanation is accurate nonetheless.
02/18/2018 03:41PM

Frenchy19: "I am not a fan of Kondos simply due to their using metal buckles. I have a couple of Granite Gear packs and a number of CCS packs, and I can say without hesitation that the only packs I would buy from here forward are CCS packs.

Dan Cooke, the guy behind CCS, stands behind all of his gear, and if you ever have an issue, he will take care of you. That is not to say Granite Gear will not, but with Dan, you know exactly whom you are dealing with and the quality of his work is second to none. "


I agree with everything Frenchy 19 has said!

The CCS Quad Pocket Packs are the best in design and construction for the use with the 30L/60L Blue Barrels in my opinion. I use the Quad Pocket Packs when tripping in my solo and tandem canoes.

A few years years ago I replaced my old Grade VI pack with a Hybrid CCS Guide Pack for solo tripping. The CCS Guide Pack is fantastic with regards to design and construction, but its volume lends itself to over-packing. I've often had the CCS Guide Pack pushing the 100-pound mark. After talking to Dan at Canoecopia, I acquired a tumpline from him. The tumpline helps considerably with a heavily loaded Guide Pack.

Nevertheless, I plan to acquire a Pioneer Pack at Canoecopia this year in-order to lighten up my solo tripping load. I then intend to use the Guide Pack to replace my old #4 Duluth pack. My #4 Duluth has served me well over the years when tripping in my Wenonah Odyssey. That being said, the CCS Guide pack is far more comfortable and I won't be sacrificing much in the way of capacity over the #4 Duluth pack.

Hans Solo

billconner
distinguished member(6480)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/18/2018 03:52PM
thlipsis29: "The dimensions of the Pioneer are bigger than the Quetico. Ignore the cubic inch measurement (there was a thread about calculating pack volume a few years back and GG and CCS use different methods to determine pack volume ). Simply multiply height x width x depth and you will see that the Pioneer is bigger (4,752 vs 2,978.6). If you're not concerned about the strength of the material, then much of this is a moot point. But I will say that the external flap pocket on the CCS is a nice feature and the quality of the stitching and overall construction is better on the CCS. "

I love that flap pocket. First aid kit and rain gear, maybe a few other items. I do love my CCS Pioneer Pack. Rates up near best gear purchases (but below the CCS Deluxe Food pack with it's stuff sacks!)
 
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