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Cheap Packs- Are they ok?

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Cheap Packs- Are they ok?

Postby Tornadoman » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:02 pm

Has anyone ever purchased a 'cheap day pack' and how did it work out? I was in walmart today, and saw some day packs made by Outdoor Products. The two that stuck out at me were the 'Morph' which has 2,300 cu in. capacity, and the 'Vortex' which has 2,600 cu. inches. The cost of the Morph was something like $16, while the Vortex was at $21. I looked for these packs online, and can't seem to find them, otherwise, I would post a link for more details. They did have at least a couple decent compartments and were hydration compatible though.

Does anyone have any experience with these packs or any similar to them and know of any reason why I shouldn't save money and buy 2 of these, (one for me and one for wife), rather than buy more expensive packs? In case it's relevant we will be mainly using these on easy/moderate hikes, and probably no more than 3 or so per year.

Thanks for the help.

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Postby Presto » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:35 pm

I think your relevant point of 3 times a year for hiking is pertinent. Maybe you don't want to spend the $$$ when you don't know if you're going to "catch the hiking bug". The lower cost packs are certainly not going to withstand the punishment (i.e., have the durability over a period of years) that a more expensive, better constructed pack could handle. However, I would not necessarily be averse to buying the cheaper pack to start out. A lot of us started out with less than stellar equipment and then worked up the $$$ level when buying new equipment. Especially if you find that hiking and backpacking become a passion for you and your wife.
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Postby MountainHiker » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:36 pm

I owned a couple cheap packs before springing for a better one. One of them still serves as a stow sack but not a pack. I don’t know these particular packs but I’ve seen people pitch “Walmart” tents that didn’t hold up. After looking over these packs go to REI and look over a similar size pack (which could cost 3 or 5 times more). Feel the back, is it padded? Is there an ice axe loop and places for extra straps? What do the zippers seem like? Is the belt strap something that will help the pack ride on your hips? Is there a chest strap? Are there compression straps? Is there a clip or an extra small compartment for securing your keys? Does the bottom have thicker material for wear? If you do much hiking and your pack doesn’t measure up you’ll ended up replacing it. You might have an extra stow sack that didn’t cost a lot of money!

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Postby Falcon3 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:20 pm

Zippers and suspension are the things that will set bags at that level apart. If the zippers feel beefy and they will hold when you cram way too much stuff in, and the backing feels like stuff won't be jabbing you in the back when you climb, why not try it? If it doesn't work, give it to the Salvation Army for some little kid as a school backpack and then you're only out 20 bucks. I still do a lot of hiking with a 10 year old pack with barely any padding and no hip belt or chest strap.

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Postby xpda » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:23 pm

I've used cheap packs and more expensive ones. Usually the biggest difference for me is comfort and durability. (although you can get some really light, higher priced packs that are a bit short on comfort.)

If you want to save money, you can hike just fine with a heavier, uncomfortable pack, and some of the Warlmart packs are not that bad. You should know whether a cheap pack is water proof. If not, put everything that matters in trash bags.

If you hike a lot, it may be worth paying more for something lighter and/or more comfy.

For weight, I think I'll started tying helium balloons onto my pack. :-)

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Postby Turd Fergason » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:52 pm

xpda wrote:For weight, I think I'll started tying helium balloons onto my pack. :-)


BRILLIANT!!!! :D

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Postby ADKben » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:20 am

or you can just wait another 2 weeks until GoLite has their warehouse sale in Longmont and get a truly good pack for the same price as that walmart crap and you'll save yourself from having to go into a walmart. It's really a win-win. The stuff at the warehouse sale is usually 60+% off.

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Postby KentonB » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:54 am

Here's the Vortex: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Outdoor+products%22+backpack+morph+vortex&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

...and here's the Morph: http://www.edirectory.co.uk/pf/880/mia/d/outdoor+products+morph+range+day+pack+bag+emerald/pid/3455904

I bought an Outdoor Products day pack a few years ago (I don't recall the model, and there's no label indicating the model). I've used it on all 8 of the 14ers I've done and many other hikes in the Pikes Peak region. While I can't say I'm thrilled with it, it was certainly a good deal for the price. My biggest complaint is comfort. With no waist or chest strap, all the weight is sluggishly on the shoulders. For hikes of about 6 hours or less it isn't noticeable, but on longer hikes (with proportionally more water in the pack), it becomes quite uncomfortable for my shoulders and back. At the same time, I've never tried a better pack, so I can't really compare it to anything else.

As for durability, I have no complaints! I've stuffed mine full and never had a zipper or strap break, nor have I torn a hole in it. I've carried 150 oz of water, extra clothes, trekking poles, and food with no problem. It's been on about 16 trips so far and other than a bit of ground in dirt, it looks great! Even made a wonderful pillow this summer while coming down from a Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans hike.

In short, its been a good deal for me. At the same time, my "ever aging" body would probably like the comfort of a better designed pack, so once I wear this one out, I'll be upgrading.

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Postby Tornadoman » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:40 am

ADKben wrote:or you can just wait another 2 weeks until GoLite has their warehouse sale in Longmont and get a truly good pack for the same price as that walmart crap and you'll save yourself from having to go into a walmart. It's really a win-win. The stuff at the warehouse sale is usually 60+% off.


I don't think that I'll be making it to Longmont, as I am in Wichita, Kansas. Otherwise, I would definitely have to check it out.

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Postby Tornadoman » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:47 am

53_Peaks wrote:Here's the Vortex: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Outdoor+products%22+backpack+morph+vortex&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

...and here's the Morph: http://www.edirectory.co.uk/pf/880/mia/d/outdoor+products+morph+range+day+pack+bag+emerald/pid/3455904

I bought an Outdoor Products day pack a few years ago (I don't recall the model, and there's no label indicating the model). I've used it on all 8 of the 14ers I've done and many other hikes in the Pikes Peak region. While I can't say I'm thrilled with it, it was certainly a good deal for the price. My biggest complaint is comfort. With no waist or chest strap, all the weight is sluggishly on the shoulders. For hikes of about 6 hours or less it isn't noticeable, but on longer hikes (with proportionally more water in the pack), it becomes quite uncomfortable for my shoulders and back. At the same time, I've never tried a better pack, so I can't really compare it to anything else.

As for durability, I have no complaints! I've stuffed mine full and never had a zipper or strap break, nor have I torn a hole in it. I've carried 150 oz of water, extra clothes, trekking poles, and food with no problem. It's been on about 16 trips so far and other than a bit of ground in dirt, it looks great! Even made a wonderful pillow this summer while coming down from a Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans hike.

In short, its been a good deal for me. At the same time, my "ever aging" body would probably like the comfort of a better designed pack, so once I wear this one out, I'll be upgrading.


I think durability is my biggest concern. I don't want anything that falls apart after 1 use. I'm glad to see that you've found it to be a durable product.

I am currently using a great big oversized LLBean bag, (it's like a oversized weeklong camping pack). It was very uncomfortable on Bierstadt due to all the weight. (The bag itself weighs SEVERAL pounds and then I was carrying all of my wife's and my gear since it was our only pack). It must have weighed close to 25 pounds total. I figure smaller packs will be much more convenient, and I'm sure they'll be more comfortable than my super-sized pack.

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Postby icenrock » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:01 am

YUCK! Never go cheep, maybe cost effective, but not cheep! You can turn a trip into a death-march! The wrong cheep, even low cast pack can be missing too many features to make it worth what ya saved buying it ti begain with. Plus what are you going to do with it after you realize it dont preform the way you expected it to?
"hummmm... is that ice screw suppossed to do that....

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Postby gb » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:20 am

I used an LLBean schoolpack on my first 25 or so 14ers way back in HS. I even sewed a sock onto the back to put my ice axe in. I would laugh if I saw someone on the trail now with that set-up, but hey, it worked.

Check ebay for a quality used pack. i sold a BCA pack last year for not much more than that (~$30), it just didn't fit me very well. Otherwise, for 3 hikes a year, those walmart pack might be just fine.

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