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BWCA1313
 
01/31/2020 03:09PM  
Hi,

Any suggestions for packs that can carry quite a bit of weight, be comfortable on long portages (or hiking in general), and can sit on the bottom of a canoe and not get waterlogged? The pvc Sealine packs obviously meet the latter, but are quite horrible for carrying gear comfortably. Z Pack makes some nice ultralight water-resistant packs, built for backpacking, but they still recommend dry bags for all the gear inside that can get wet, which is fine if that’s whats needed. A little extra weight is better than waterlogged gear weight. Thanks
 
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schweady
distinguished member(7462)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/31/2020 03:30PM  
Any pack lined with contractor clean-up 3-mil trash bags will keep everything inside perfectly dry. In fact, when canvas gets wet, the threads expand and tighten up the spaces in the weave, reducing water intrusion to a minimum. Place the pack flap side down in the canoe and the portion on your back will be relatively dry. Depending on how hard it is pouring rain, of course... :-)
 
01/31/2020 03:47PM  
Cooke Custom Sewing packs are thoughtfully designed, very comfortable and available in many sizes. They will customize if you need it.

Warning: once you get hooked on the quality of his packs you're going to want a tarp. That's how it starts...
 
01/31/2020 03:47PM  
Yeah a pack liner is the way to go. I would also recommend using dry bags on the odds and ends to keep things dry and sorted anyways. I've never had an issue with my gear getting soaked but with portaging and trying to dry foot as much as possible, not much water tends to accumulate at the bottom of the canoe.

That said, I love my CCS hybrid pack. I went with the pioneer size. It is large enough that I would never want to fill it anyways. Maybe someday I might wish I had the guide so I could pack for my kids too, but at that point a second pack would be easier.
 
01/31/2020 03:49PM  
CCS or Kondos packs with a liner. There's a reason why so many go this route
 
AirPrex
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
 
01/31/2020 04:07PM  
For our group of 4 we use two (one per canoe, shared with those 2 guys) Granite Gear Traditional #4 for all the bulky things like sleeping bags, clothes, hammocks, tarps. A Kondos Trail pack for all of the shared equipment like axe, saw, cook kit, dishes, etc.. And a blue barrel w/ harness for food.

The #4's get lined with 42 gallon 3 mil contractor bags and the trail pack with an 18 gallon 2.5mil trash compactor bag. All packs have hip belts and are comfortable on portages with the liner bags making them waterproof.

Canoe carriers take the lighter #4's and the other guys take the food barrel and heavier equipment pack. Fishing poles and paddles get strapped to the canoes with BDB's. Makes for an easy and organized single portage.
 
MReid
distinguished member (332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/31/2020 04:56PM  
You've brought up two extremes in packs--a Seal Line dry pack and a ZPack pack designed for ultralight backpacking. You can certainly use backpacking packs with liners for canoeing, and many do. The CCS packs mentioned are well executed canoe packs (and they need liners, too). A backpacking pack will carry better for longer hikes, and a canoe pack (e.g. CCS or Seal Line) are more effective for canoeing, but less comfortable for long hiking. Also, Seal Line makes dry packs which suck for hiking or long portages (the Boundary line), and they make some that are more comfortable (e.g. the Pros). I've done multi-mile portages with the Seal Line Pro pack (full, all 115l of it, and stuff on top!) and it works fine. But it's not a backpacking pack. Just about any lined hiking/backpacking pack will work for canoeing, but perhaps not ideal. Using canoe packs for backpacking or long distance hiking sucks.
 
MossBack
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
01/31/2020 08:16PM  
I bought two of CCS's hybrid packs for my last two trips. They are great. Comfortable and carry well.

If Dan could also make them smell like my old canvas and leather packs they would be perfect.

MB
 
01/31/2020 08:26PM  
I trip with a Gossamer Gear Mariposa...I take it backpacking, too.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1669)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/31/2020 09:51PM  
It starts with one CCS product, then two, then three... it's an addiction. Money well spent. Very comfortable, well designed, and durable. Overall the products are a very good value.
 
GearGuy
distinguished member (131)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/31/2020 11:07PM  
There's just nothing better than a CCS Pioneer pack with a $5.00 plastic pack liner. Your stuff will stay bone dry inside that pack liner, dry bag or not. The CCS pack will get wet, but it'll dry out. Don't buy an expensive dyneema bag for the BWCA, ultralight backpacks are meant for ultralight purposes. BWCA doesn't call for Ultralight material in my opinion, buy something like a CCS pack that will get at least 30 years of use, and you can swap out new pack liners when necessary for a negligible cost.
 
countrybois
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
02/01/2020 06:29AM  
SealLine's new pro packs have a proper harness system. Even with the old system, I put them miles above the heavy canvas packs. I don't understand the draw to a pack that absorbs water, making it heavier, and requires additional waterproofing to keep your gear inside dry. Makes no sense to me. I took a Hyperlite Mountain Gear pack last year and it worked very well too. The external pockets were nice for easy access to items that didn't need to be kept dry. (Chair, tarp, etc)

.
 
02/01/2020 09:04AM  
Portage packs are shaped differently than backpacking packs. Portage packs are wider, less tall and designed to fit better when placed in the canoe and sit lower on your back so they don't interfere with a portaged canoe. As others have said, the CCS Pioneer pack is awesome. I pair it with a 70L Sea to Summit ultra-sil pack liner. but you can use a contractor grade garbage bag for a pack liner as well.
 
02/01/2020 01:58PM  
Comfortable, heavy load, hiking, waterproofing. I'm not big on recommending specific items but in this case I will. Closeout Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 60-70-85 L sizes, very comfortable and adjustable I use a 60 L myself. Pair up with Sea to Summit Pack Liner.
I know most on this forum prefer portage packs, I never found them comfortable. Add in the backpacking and this is what I use. Picked mine and others up right at the factory in Two Harbors MN. Good folks and great service.
Dan at CCS makes a bunch of fine gear and I own more than my share but his packs never fit me the way I like.

butthead
 
scramble4a5
distinguished member(571)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/01/2020 07:21PM  
I have a Granite Gear Quetico pack. Carries quite comfortably and is about 85 liters if I recall correctly. Add a pack liner and it’s good to go.
 
YetiJedi
member (10)member
 
02/02/2020 04:53PM  
butthead: "Comfortable, heavy load, hiking, waterproofing. I'm not big on recommending specific items but in this case I will. Closeout Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 60-70-85 L sizes, very comfortable and adjustable I use a 60 L myself. Pair up with Sea to Summit Pack Liner.
I know most on this forum prefer portage packs, I never found them comfortable. Add in the backpacking and this is what I use. Picked mine and others up right at the factory in Two Harbors MN. Good folks and great service.
Dan at CCS makes a bunch of fine gear and I own more than my share but his packs never fit me the way I like.


butthead"


x2 on the Granite Gear Nimbus. As a former backpacker turned canoe addict, I like the ability to access the contents of my pack from the top or the bottom, especially on longer paddling/portaging days or if the weather is changing frequently. I line with two separate 3 or 4 mm contractor sacks and gear stays dry.
 
bombinbrian
distinguished member (291)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/03/2020 04:18PM  
My answer isn't a popular one. I've used portage packs before but I only use the Molle ll ACU packs. I have two large and a medium, with frames. I have pack liners designed to fit those packs. They sit great in the canoe, you can carry way more than you should, in both weight and volume. And they are pretty cheap to get.

That's just me, nobody will change my mind, but to each their own.
 
02/04/2020 10:14AM  
One more vote for CCS. However, I don't use a liner in the pack. I use waterproof stuff sacks for clothes and pillows. I realize I'm running a risk with the sleeping bags, but the stuff sacks for those are water resistant and unless we completely dump a pack (which has happened only once in 21 trips), then I've never had any issues. Own multiples of the Pioneer and the Explorer with no regrets along with the barrel packs Dan makes.
 
Tomcat
distinguished member (463)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/04/2020 10:32AM  
bombinbrian: "My answer isn't a popular one. I've used portage packs before but I only use the Molle ll ACU packs. I have two large and a medium, with frames. I have pack liners designed to fit those packs. They sit great in the canoe, you can carry way more than you should, in both weight and volume. And they are pretty cheap to get.


That's just me, nobody will change my mind, but to each their own."


My friend has been using a medium ALICE pack since early 1970.



September 2018

 
backpackingZombie
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
02/05/2020 09:12AM  
BWCA1313: "Hi,

Any suggestions for packs that can carry quite a bit of weight, be comfortable on long portages (or hiking in general), and can sit on the bottom of a canoe and not get waterlogged? The pvc Sealine packs obviously meet the latter, but are quite horrible for carrying gear comfortably. Z Pack makes some nice ultralight water-resistant packs, built for backpacking, but they still recommend dry bags for all the gear inside that can get wet, which is fine if that’s whats needed. A little extra weight is better than waterlogged gear weight. Thanks"


My vote goes for
Granite Gear Superior One. It's comfortable for portaging and lays well in the canoe, because that's what it's meant for. My normal canoeing buddies have seen me with it for a few trips now and are jealous. This year I think one of them is buying one. I do have a friend that uses a Sealine pack and it works fine, I just like this more.
 
mrballast
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
 
02/06/2020 06:53AM  
I like the granite gear portage packs. I have one of each. Gives me options for whi I am with and trip demand, but if I had to pick one it would probably be the quetico.

Watch for them on sale at sierra trading post.
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2020 07:21AM  
I have switched to the Seal Line Pro pack. Period.
I have 70L and 120L.
They are built like a tank. The amazingly adjustable harness also has a semi-rigid "frame" for support.
And they're water proof.

Seal Line Pro Pack
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2020 07:28AM  
countrybois: "SealLine's new pro packs have a proper harness system. Even with the old system, I put them miles above the heavy canvas packs. I don't understand the draw to a pack that absorbs water, making it heavier, and requires additional waterproofing to keep your gear inside dry. Makes no sense to me. I took a Hyperlite Mountain Gear pack last year and it worked very well too. The external pockets were nice for easy access to items that didn't need to be kept dry. (Chair, tarp, etc)


."


I agree 100%
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1261)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2020 11:47PM  
KarlBAndersen1: "I have switched to the Seal Line Pro pack. Period.
I have 70L and 120L.
They are built like a tank. The amazingly adjustable harness also has a semi-rigid "frame" for support.
And they're water proof.


Seal Line Pro Pack "

+1
 
02/07/2020 12:26AM  
One more thing to mention, after you get a pack you really aren't going to notice most of the differences. Without a side by side comparison, you just get used to what you have. Just get something that can get in and out of the canoe easily enough and has the appropriate straps for securing the load and hauling. That and durability is all you need.

I like the CCS packs because they were designed specifically with the Boundary Waters in mind and a local shop, but Duluth pack, Granite Gear, Sealine are all good brands too, just not ones I am familiar with personally. So don't stress too much about what you get, just get something you won't constantly second guess.
 
02/25/2020 01:38PM  
I loved my Hyperlight Mountain Gear Porter 4400 in Algonquin last year. Totally dry gear all week. It gets abused canoeing. My SealLine Pro packs are my go-to bag. I think this year I'll either go with Cooke or Granite Gear. My HMG gotta last me a few more years hiking.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(906)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/25/2020 01:59PM  


I don't know why Battle Lake packs don't get more press. We have two Grand Portage packs. They are simply the best packs I have ever used in the BWCA. They are huge (problematic for some) but sturdy, stout, with superior craftsmanship. They have fully adjustable straps, to include straps that will bring the top of the pack closer to your back once the pack is one. Waist belt that is also multiple adjustable, as well as a sternum strap. I haven't yet figured out how to destroy on.

Minnesota made. I highly recommend them.

Battle Lake Grand Portage pack

Mike
 
ssava
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
02/26/2020 11:08AM  
I would skip all the waterproof PVC bags. The BWCA is brutal on gear. These are just not durable enough. The only thing I really care about getting wet is my down sleeping bag and down jacket. I throw that in a PVC stuff sack. Food is primarily all in ziplocs of sorts.
For full on waterproof, I also reccommend simply putting everything in durable plastic bags, contractor style.
 
02/28/2020 08:02AM  
MikeinMpls: "


I don't know why Battle Lake packs don't get more press. We have two Grand Portage packs. They are simply the best packs I have ever used in the BWCA. They are huge (problematic for some) but sturdy, stout, with superior craftsmanship. They have fully adjustable straps, to include straps that will bring the top of the pack closer to your back once the pack is one. Waist belt that is also multiple adjustable, as well as a sternum strap. I haven't yet figured out how to destroy on.


Minnesota made. I highly recommend them.

Battle Lake Grand Portage pack

Mike"
I wasn't aware of this company. I checked them out. They have a lot more than just Portage packs as well. Thanks for the link
 
02/28/2020 09:56AM  

Two CCS Pioneer packs for the Sherpa children, one CCS Traditional #3.5 for dad. Both have served us well.

 
Blackdogyak
member (28)member
 
10/14/2021 06:21AM  
NRS hasn't been mentioned so far, but the Bill's Bag is a portage pack that has many fans going back for years.
 
PeaceFrog
distinguished member (134)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 06:43AM  
Blatz: "MikeinMpls: "

I don't know why Battle Lake packs don't get more press. We have two Grand Portage packs. They are simply the best packs I have ever used in the BWCA. They are huge (problematic for some) but sturdy, stout, with superior craftsmanship. They have fully adjustable straps, to include straps that will bring the top of the pack closer to your back once the pack is one. Waist belt that is also multiple adjustable, as well as a sternum strap. I haven't yet figured out how to destroy on.

Minnesota made. I highly recommend them.

Battle Lake Grand Portage pack

+1

Mike"

I wasn't aware of this company. I checked them out. They have a lot more than just Portage packs as well. Thanks for the link.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2947)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 06:46AM  
This is what I purchased in 60L : Mier Dry Bag. I used it once this season and I like it. Previously, I used commercial-grade trash liners in my pack(s).
 
mschi772
distinguished member(706)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 11:32AM  
Blatz: "MikeinMpls: "



I don't know why Battle Lake packs don't get more press. We have two Grand Portage packs. They are simply the best packs I have ever used in the BWCA. They are huge (problematic for some) but sturdy, stout, with superior craftsmanship. They have fully adjustable straps, to include straps that will bring the top of the pack closer to your back once the pack is one. Waist belt that is also multiple adjustable, as well as a sternum strap. I haven't yet figured out how to destroy on.



Minnesota made. I highly recommend them.


Battle Lake Grand Portage pack


Mike"
I wasn't aware of this company. I checked them out. They have a lot more than just Portage packs as well. Thanks for the link"


I only just learned about them as well. They clearly need to improve their marketing. And their website. Oh my is that website bad. Especially with how many different products they have, they really need to update it to be more efficient to navigate and see decent photos of their products. Good products can speak for themselves, but for them to do that you need to get them in the hands of enough people first, and to do that, people need to even know you exist in the first place. Sure, CCS has a pretty rough website as well, but he doesn't have nearly so many products to sort through, and he's already gained enough awareness and reputation to make-up for it.
 
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