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Water Dog30
senior member (63)senior membersenior member
 
04/26/2011 06:19AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Chest Packs – A brief review
There has been a bit of discussion on some of the threads about carrying a front pack in addition to a large portage pack on your back. For those of us using multiple packs, a front/back carry is tempting, but I am just not big enough or strong enough to do it. I have seen some people in the BW loaded up with incredible assortments of packs and bags and coolers and if they are enjoying themselves, more power to them. The nice thing about chest packs is they are great for that last bit of overflow gear or things you want to reach quickly, but they are easy to carry and I do not find that they obstruct my forward vision. I have toppled over a couple of times carrying the boat, but I have yet to do a face plant just carrying the portage pack with the chest pack in front.

I bought my first canoe specific portage packs in 1991 that consisted of a Granite Gear Superior One and a “Kawnipi” chest pack that clipped onto D-rings on the front straps of the large pack. Back in those days I took real cameras on my trips and the camera gear was packed into a Pelican Case that fitted perfectly into the chest pack. This was a good system for me – all my food and camping gear went into the large pack, fishing tackle in a “Navigator” thwart bag, and camera gear in the chest pack. (Note the “Made in USA” label on the Granite Gear bags. All the GG bags were sewn in Two Harbors, MN in the distant past. Sigh….) Granite Gear also offered a “ Traveler” chest pack for a few years but I don’t think anyone but Duluth Pack is marketing a specific chest pack at present. It is also easy to carry the thwart bag as a chest pack if you don’t want to leave it on the canoe.

Mice chewed up my old GG pack a few years ago and I switched over to a Duluth Timber Cruiser with the attachment kit for the Front Portage Pack and their thwart bag for fishing tackle. My measurements of the packs and my calculated volumes (lower than those given by the manufactures) are:

GG Kawnipi 11 x 6 x 10 660 cu in
GG Navigator 15 x 4 x 8 512 cu in
DP Front pack 13 x 6 x 10 780 cu in

All three of these bags have small front pockets that I have not included in the bag volume.

As an aside about calculating pack volumes, soft-sided packs can obviously expand or change shape a bit as they are packed. A simple width times height times depth calculation will tend to underestimate the usable volume of these packs. Using this formula, the envelope style packs would have zero volume because they have zero depth. I think years ago the Dana Design pack people claimed they calculated the volume of their packs based on how many ping pong balls the pack would hold. This would be a good project for a really compulsive member of our forum....
 
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Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14174)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
04/26/2011 07:12AM  
I have the Duluth pack front portage pack for my small gear and camera. Works good for me. The only downside is that it does restrict your vision or the trail and it does bounce against you as you walk. The trade off of another portage back is worth it.
 
strom2127
distinguished member(687)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 09:44AM  
I saw this in Backpacker a few months back. Looks like a pretty good system for portaging too.

Ribz
 
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/26/2011 10:15AM  
I like wearing a chest pack. I clip my day pack to the shoulder strap D rings with 'biners. It somehow balances out the load on my back and rarely (not never, but rarely) bothers me with my footing. I find a look ahead at what I will step on and get pretty good at judging it all.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1999)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 10:59AM  
quote BWPaddler: "I like wearing a chest pack. I clip my day pack to the shoulder strap D rings with 'biners. It somehow balances out the load on my back and rarely (not never, but rarely) bothers me with my footing. I find a look ahead at what I will step on and get pretty good at judging it all."

Exactly what I was thinking. As long as I can still see a few inches in front of my toes, no problem with stumbling while carrying a front pack. The real benefit is balancing the load and relieving stress on the shoulders, back and hips. FWIW, my large pack runs about 60 pounds and the front pack about 20 lbs.
 
612er
distinguished member (270)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 01:35PM  
I'll carry a small school backpack as a chest pack while carrying the canoe, but not seeing all of your steps can lead to more ankle twists and mis-steps.
 
Woods Walker
distinguished member(829)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 03:13PM  
I have carried a #4 on my back with a #3 on the front many times... I sometimes find it easier, because the front pack offsets the back ones weight, it is hard to see footing with a bulky pack on front, but I will just turn sidways or if its too rugged drop the front pack & come back for it... but can do this on probably 80% of the portages.
 
wifishncanoe
distinguished member (187)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 05:05PM  
That Ribz pack looks great. I've been looking for something like that for awhile. Will also work great while carrying my treestand.
 
04/26/2011 05:15PM  
I throw the chest pack up on top...easy to see, just don't put breakables in there.;-)
 
04/26/2011 05:53PM  
In my college years we would take one full and heavy backpack and add a full but lighter chest pack all in the name of single portaging. Fast forward 20 years of wear & tear...I will consider a day pack up front in addition to a backpack and only for a short distance. The days of the overloaded pack mule are gone I'm afraid.
 
jeroldharter
distinguished member(1531)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2011 06:37PM  
Front packs are part of this backpack design:

Aarn
 
04/27/2011 08:55AM  
quote strom2127: "I saw this in Backpacker a few months back. Looks like a pretty good system for portaging too.


Ribz "


That looks intriguing - I like the fact that it isn't dependent on having a backpack as well, is lower than a chest pack, and is probably easier to access than a chest pack. I can think of a number of uses I could put this to - fishing tackle, bow hunting, day pack, photography...

In fact I just ordered one in camo.
 
BPD
member (23)member
 
01/05/2021 10:39AM  
I came across this thread while searching for a Granite Gear chest pack on eBay. Never found a pack but was inspired by the post to create one using a Mountainsmith lumbar pack.

If you're interested, it's a very simple DIY project that isn't terribly expensive.



Link to the project is here:

Mountainsmith Day Pack as Chest Pack

Thanks to the forum for the inspiration.

Brian
 
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