Discussions

A big plus for simple “technical” (or preferably, hiking) packs for me is actually the comfort. Something that works for expeditions also works well for situations, if you expect to carry pretty heavy survival gear, food and water for weeks in the wilderness on your back. Few points: 1) Carrying system. Deuter, Arcteryx and other good expedition style packs are way above any tactical packs in how much better distribute the weight over your body. Even much better than most GI army packs (the old Arcteryx would be an exception). Even in 30-liter size the carrying system makes a big difference and most of the tactical packs in that size are awful compared to their civilian counterparts. 2) Front opening. I tend to disagree. It’s a common failure point. Any big front opening zipper is bound to fail and impossible to repair in the field. At most, some (Deuter Guide and others) have a simple side zipper that allows easier access inside the pack or a separate front compartment for commonly used light items. I put my first aid kit near the zipper, and I could get it out in seconds the last time I had to treat a wounded friend during a mountaineering accident. The rest is all about good organisation of your stuff. 3) A good compromise could be some of the high end army packs, Arcteryx tactical range, Tasmanian Tiger (Tatonka), Deuter Guide tactical and the cottage industry ones. But only the bigger ones that inherit their civilian carrying systems. Maxpedition, 5.11 – no. While tacticool, carrying one a whole day will hurt your back. 4) Mind the difference between types of “technical” hiking packs. Some are are ultralight and made for one purpose (climbing, UL thru-hiking, etc.). The expedition style ones are more universal, without MOLLE or PALS but plenty of strong attachment points nevertheless.

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A big plus for simple “technical” (or preferably, hiking) packs for me is actually the comfort. Something that works for expeditions also works well for situations, if you expect to carry pretty heavy survival gear, food and water for weeks in the wilderness on your back. Few points: 1) Carrying system. Deuter, Arcteryx and other good expedition style packs are way above any tactical packs in how much better distribute the weight over your body. Even much better than most GI army packs (the old Arcteryx would be an exception). Even in 30-liter size the carrying system makes a big difference and most of the tactical packs in that size are awful compared to their civilian counterparts. 2) Front opening. I tend to disagree. It’s a common failure point. Any big front opening zipper is bound to fail and impossible to repair in the field. At most, some (Deuter Guide and others) have a simple side zipper that allows easier access inside the pack or a separate front compartment for commonly used light items. I put my first aid kit near the zipper, and I could get it out in seconds the last time I had to treat a wounded friend during a mountaineering accident. The rest is all about good organisation of your stuff. 3) A good compromise could be some of the high end army packs, Arcteryx tactical range, Tasmanian Tiger (Tatonka), Deuter Guide tactical and the cottage industry ones. But only the bigger ones that inherit their civilian carrying systems. Maxpedition, 5.11 – no. While tacticool, carrying one a whole day will hurt your back. 4) Mind the difference between types of “technical” hiking packs. Some are are ultralight and made for one purpose (climbing, UL thru-hiking, etc.). The expedition style ones are more universal, without MOLLE or PALS but plenty of strong attachment points nevertheless.