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Luggage Transfer Correos

Join the quest for the perfect panel loading camino pack?

2020 Camino Guides

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I don't know about you but I love a panel loader. Just arrive at your bunk, unzip and remove what you need without emptying the whole top loading bag crammed full of colour coordinated drybags you can't see the colour of until you have hoiked them into the light. I still have fond memories of my Osprey Aura 35, now discontinued, which was the perfect camino pack until it developed an annoying constant creak. This Sept/Oct I spent 43 glorious days walking from Estella to Finisterra with my top loading Talon 33, a comfortable carry but a pain to pack and unpack, and when I got home I decided to find the perfect panel loader.

The perfect panel loader should be 30-35 litres and ideally have a stash pocket at the back, side pockets I can reach without taking the pack off, a separate sleeping bag/wet gear compartment, ventilated back and some way to store and carry walking poles, preferably the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system (hence the Osprey centric short list), top compression straps to strap sandals to the outside and a decent hip belt with pockets. Such a beast is hard to find I can tell you.

I already own a Osprey Escapist 25L, which is comfortable enough but has no pole carry system (it's sold as a bike pack) or air gap ventilation. Other than that it works fine, a bit on the small side for my stuff, and I was on a quest for the perfect panel loader.

The Osprey Kestrel 32L would have been my first choice to try in real life but it isn't sold in the UK. It has everything but the ventilated back and looks like a very good pack. Unisex pack in black, green, orange.

The North Face Aleia/Litus 32L packs look really interesting too, but I have seen one in the flesh and the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh and has no sleeping bag compartment so I decided against it.

Next an Osprey Stratos 34L, unisex model (why is there no women's panel loaders over 24L?). It has the ventilated back, pole carrier, sleeping bag compartment and convenient side pockets but no stash pocket, just a shallow pocket with a vertical zip. I have to admit I found the colour choices very depressing - black, sludge green, dark blue or dark red.

And a Lowe Alpine Airzone Z Duo 30L, with everything a perfect panel loader should have, apart from the pole holders. Better colours too.

In the interest of public information I ordered the last two, packed my Escapist to the gills and then compared the volume and features by scientifically repacking each pack with the same stuff including sleeping bag, even though I sometimes walk without one. And surprisingly both the 30L and the 34L packs held less stuff than the supposedly 25L one! OK, so the 25L was a M/L and the 34L was a S/M so maybe that accounts for a few litres more or less, but still.

The smallest of the three was the 30L Lowe Alpine. It was very comfortable though and would make a very good daypack, just not a camino pack. I couldn't reach a water bottle in the side pocket but at least there was a choice of threading the lower compression inside or outside the pockets. Air gap ventilation looks very good and harness and belt nicely padded.

The Stratos was also very comfortable but I would have missed the stash pocket every day! I use it to stuff layers in as I shed them, or for a wet poncho between showers, to dry any washing without risking socks and undies falling off the pack, and to store bananas so they don't get squashed. A simple, tight, zippered pocket doesn't do any of that. Hard to reach water bottle in side pockets. Very good harness though and two smaller zipped pockets as well as the main compartment. Sleeping pad straps too.

At the moment it seems that the Escapist I already own is the best candidate; I can get a full camino kit into it, reach my water bottle and stash my wet stuff in the mesh pocket, the ridged mesh covered foam back is just as ventilated as my Talon, and I'll figure out a way to stow my poles on the go. Unless of course I find another Aura ...

Any other suggestions for contenders to the title Perfect Camino Panel Loader very welcome!
 
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Waka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
I don't know about you but I love a panel loader. Just arrive at your bunk, unzip and remove what you need without emptying the whole top loading bag crammed full of colour coordinated drybags you can't see the colour of until you have hoiked them into the light. I still have fond memories of my Osprey Aura 35, now discontinued, which was the perfect camino pack until it developed an annoying constant creak. This Sept/Oct I spent 43 glorious days walking from Estella to Finisterra with my top loading Talon 33, a comfortable carry but a pain to pack and unpack, and when I got home I decided to find the perfect panel loader.

The perfect panel loader should be 30-35 litres and ideally have a stash pocket at the back, side pockets I can reach without taking the pack off, a separate sleeping bag/wet gear compartment, ventilated back and some way to store and carry walking poles, preferably the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system (hence the Osprey centric short list), top compression straps to strap sandals to the outside and a decent hip belt with pockets. Such a beast is hard to find I can tell you.

I already own a Osprey Escapist 25L, which is comfortable enough but has no pole carry system (it's sold as a bike pack) or air gap ventilation. Other than that it works fine, a bit on the small side for my stuff, and I was on a quest for the *perfect* panel loader.

The Osprey Kestrel 32L would have been my first choice to try in real life but it isn't sold in the UK. It has everything but the ventilated back and looks like a very good pack. Unisex pack in black, green, orange.

The North Face Aleia/Litus 32L packs look really interesting too, but I have seen one in the flesh and the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh and has no sleeping bag compartment so I decided against it.

Next an Osprey Stratos 34L, unisex model (why is there no women's panel loaders over 24L?). It has the ventilated back, pole carrier, sleeping bag compartment and convenient side pockets but no stash pocket, just a shallow pocket with a vertical zip. I have to admit I found the colour choices very depressing - black, sludge green, dark blue or dark red.

And a Lowe Alpine Airzone Z Duo 30L, with everything a perfect panel loader should have, apart from the pole holders. Better colours too.

In the interest of public information I ordered the last two, packed my Escapist to the gills and then compared the volume and features by scientifically repacking each pack with the same stuff including sleeping bag, even though I sometimes walk without one. And surprisingly both the 30L and the 34L packs held less stuff than the supposedly 25L one! OK, so the 25L was a M/L and the 34L was a S/M so maybe that accounts for a few litres more or less, but still.

The smallest of the three was the 30L Lowe Alpine. It was very comfortable though and would make a very good daypack, just not a camino pack. I couldn't reach a water bottle in the side pocket but at least there was a choice of threading the lower compression inside or outside the pockets. Air gap ventilation looks very good and harness and belt nicely padded.

The Stratos was also very comfortable but I would have missed the stash pocket every day! I use it to stuff layers in as I shed them, or for a wet poncho between showers, to dry any washing without risking socks and undies falling off the pack, and to store bananas so they don't get squashed. A simple, tight, zippered pocket doesn't do any of that. Hard to reach water bottle in side pockets. Very good harness though and two smaller zipped pockets as well as the main compartment. Sleeping pad straps too.

At the moment it seems that the Eclipse I already own is the best candidate; I can get a full camino kit into it, reach my water bottle and stash my wet stuff in the mesh pocket, the ridged mesh covered foam back is just as ventilated as my Talon, and I'll figure out a way to stow my poles on the go. Unless of course I find another Aura ...

Any other suggestions for contenders to the title Perfect Camino Panel Loader very welcome!
I use the LA 35/45, never had to use the 45ltr section. It has panel loading which is invaluable, now I've never found a backpack that has everything on it that I like, so off I go to the shoe makers and have those extra bits added, now I think I have the pack that does everything for me. Now I've got there I'm thinking of going down the walking trailer route for the vdll in Feb, so the trusty backpack can sit this one out.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks for doing all this research, as I also am searching for the perfect Camino panel loading backpack, however my requirements aren't quite as stringent as yours. I don't care about a separate sleeping bag compartment, and I'm okay if the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh. I would like the backpack to weigh one kg or less, and be within the carry-on size dimensions of the strictest airlines like Ryanair.

I have the Marmot Graviton 36 which I carried on my first two Caminos, which I really like for the most part. However, it is a few cm too long to meet strict carry-on sizes, and can't be squished down in length. It only comes in one color, which isn't my favorite, and mine is looking a bit dingey. It weighs 1020 grams.

I also have the North Face Aleia 32, which is the perfect size and weight at 879 grams, but despite having an adjustable back length I found that it didn't carry as well as the Marmot. It often pulled at my shoulders.

I just bought a Thule Capstone 32, but I think that it's going back. I've only tried it on once, and the straps just didn't feel right to me. It's also the heaviest at 1134 grams.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Waka One of the reasons I am looking for a ready-made perfect pack is that I have a very low threshold for taking scissors to things! I finally found the Aura 35 when it came out brand new one week before I left for St Jean in 2012 and I loved it (both of them, though both eventually started creaking). Which is why I have more stringent demands than @trecile - I have already had the perfect one but it had a flaw and it was heavy-ish though carried beautifully. I agree I can do without the sleeping bag compartment - as long as I have a stretchy airy stash pocket - and I can do with a normal back system rather than an air gap one. I do like top compression straps for sandals, ponchos, other (I could happily use my Talon 44 but it is too big and needs compression). But not being able to reach my water bottle is a deal breaker and I really want a panel loader. The difference in volume was an eye opener though!

Soo ... anyone tried a Kestrel 32? :D
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
... or a Deuter Futura 28?
... or a Lowe Alpine Aeon 27?
 
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Swift3

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
Thanks for doing all this research, as I also am searching for the perfect Camino panel loading backpack, however my requirements aren't quite as stringent as yours. I don't care about a separate sleeping bag compartment, and I'm okay if the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh. I would like the backpack to weigh one kg or less, and be within the carry-on size dimensions of the strictest airlines like Ryanair.

I have the Marmot Graviton 36 which I carried on my first two Caminos, which I really like for the most part. However, it is a few cm too long to meet strict carry-on sizes, and can't be squished down in length. It only comes in one color, which isn't my favorite, and mine is looking a bit dingey. It weighs 1020 grams.

I also have the North Face Aleia 32, which is the perfect size and weight at 879 grams, but despite having an adjustable back length I found that it didn't carry as well as the Marmot. It often pulled at my shoulders.

I just bought a Thule Capstone 32, but I think that it's going back. I've only tried it on once, and the straps just didn't feel right to me. It's also the heaviest at 1134 grams.
Trecile, if you liked the Marmot Graviton 36, but found it slightly too long for carry-on, and you like your NF Aleia 32 and find its smaller volume workable, but were happier with the Marmot suspension, have you considered a smaller Graviton? Marmot makes a 34 liter Graviton, and in two colors you might like better, a blue and a citronelle/olive.
The dimensions aren't posted on the Marmot site, but I got them from the REI site:
Dimensions
26 X 12 x 10.5
It's, unfortunately, the same length as, but smaller width and depth than, the 36.

Here are the dimensions for the Graviton 36, same in length, but slightly larger in width and depth
Dimensions 26" x 12.5" x 11"

Take a look at the 34 here:
https://www.marmot.com/graviton-34/24660.html?dwvar_24660_size=0085ONE&dwvar_24660_color=4635&cgid=equipment_backpacks-and-luggage_backpacking-and-daypacks
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Trecile, if you liked the Marmot Graviton 36, but found it slightly too long for carry-on, and you like your NF Aleia 32 and find its smaller volume workable, but were happier with the Marmot suspension, have you considered a smaller Graviton? Marmot makes a 34 liter Graviton, and in two colors you might like better, a blue and a citronelle/olive.
The dimensions aren't posted on the Marmot site, but I got them from the REI site:
Dimensions
26 X 12 x 10.5
It's, unfortunately, the same length as, but smaller width and depth than, the 36.

Here are the dimensions for the Graviton 36, same in length, but slightly larger in width and depth
Dimensions 26" x 12.5" x 11"

Take a look at the 34 here:
https://www.marmot.com/graviton-34/24660.html?dwvar_24660_size=0085ONE&dwvar_24660_color=4635&cgid=equipment_backpacks-and-luggage_backpacking-and-daypacks
I have looked at the Graviton 34, and really like the colors better, but I found the straps are not as comfortable as the women specific straps on the Graviton 36.
 

Swift3

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
Thanks for doing all this research, as I also am searching for the perfect Camino panel loading backpack, however my requirements aren't quite as stringent as yours. I don't care about a separate sleeping bag compartment, and I'm okay if the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh. I would like the backpack to weigh one kg or less, and be within the carry-on size dimensions of the strictest airlines like Ryanair.

I have the Marmot Graviton 36 which I carried on my first two Caminos, which I really like for the most part. However, it is a few cm too long to meet strict carry-on sizes, and can't be squished down in length. It only comes in one color, which isn't my favorite, and mine is looking a bit dingey. It weighs 1020 grams.

I also have the North Face Aleia 32, which is the perfect size and weight at 879 grams, but despite having an adjustable back length I found that it didn't carry as well as the Marmot. It often pulled at my shoulders.

I just bought a Thule Capstone 32, but I think that it's going back. I've only tried it on once, and the straps just didn't feel right to me. It's also the heaviest at 1134 grams.
You should also take a look at the Gregory Jade packs. The Jade 38 has a length that is 21.5", so a cm or more shorter than the Gravitron 36. That should be plenty to meet strict carry on dimensions. [The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. ] Decent colors, and all the other features you want. But it's slightly heavier by a few ounces.

My daughter used the Jade 53 on the CP in April May of 2016 (she's 5'5") and she loved it (it was not by any means packed to capacity, but had room for food and gifts purchased along the way with room to spare). She said, once dialed in, it carried great. I think she also liked the included removable daypack/hydration bladder pocket, a pretty cool feature that needs to be considered when comparing total empty pack weights. I used the Gregory 55 and really liked it, but way more capacity than needed. It carried incredibly well though, has great adjustment, and all the other bells and whistles you want in a panel loader. But we checked both bags and had other carry on, so bag dimensions weren't a factor for us.

Currently, the Jade 38 is on sale at REI for about $120.
https://www.rei.com/product/895090/gregory-jade-38-pack-womens
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
You should also take a look at the Gregory Jade packs. The Jade 38 has a length that is 21.5", so a cm or more shorter than the Gravitron 36. That should be plenty to meet strict carry on dimensions. [The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. ] Decent colors, and all the other features you want. But it's slightly heavier by a few ounces.

My daughter used the Jade 53 on the CP in April May of 2016 (she's 5'5") and she loved it (it was not by any means packed to capacity, but had room for food and gifts purchased along the way with room to spare). She said, once dialed in, it carried great. I think she also liked the included removable daypack/hydration bladder pocket, a pretty cool feature that needs to be considered when comparing total empty pack weights. I used the Gregory 55 and really liked it, but way more capacity than needed. It carried incredibly well though, has great adjustment, and all the other bells and whistles you want in a panel loader. But we checked both bags and had other carry on, so bag dimensions weren't a factor for us.

Currently, the Jade 38 is on sale at REI for about $120.
https://www.rei.com/product/895090/gregory-jade-38-pack-womens
I've looked at the Jade 38. It's not a panel loader, and at 3 pounds it's too heavy for me. But thanks for the suggestion.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
My tiny daughter in law loved, loved the ultra lightweight Osprey Exos 48. I was envious of the great padding of the straps and the deep dark blue color. She never complained once about any discomfort in the 500 miles, and had never backpacked before. The top "brain" is removable, too, if dimensions do not meet airline requirements. She realy only needed the Exos 38, but wanted it to be multi use for future adventures.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@nidarosa my latest pack sounds like the one you want. It is one of those mystery packs that keeps on giving, with inventive and useful extras. Panel loader, 30 litres, carry on, very comfortable pack with a good waist belt, back ventilation, extremely adjustable harness system, reachable side pockets, zip open front panel with internal holders for folded trekking poles (as well as the usual outside pole carrying system), internal waterproof zip open large pocket for sleeping gear or wet stuff, stiffened internal top pocket that runs across the top - useful to carry delicate stuff like sunglasses, lots of ways of attaching stuff to the outside. Biggest problem - its an Aarn so expensive and difficult to find. Can be used with the Aarn front packs but fine without. Further information here.
 

Swift3

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
I've looked at the Jade 38. It's not a panel loader, and at 3 pounds it's too heavy for me. But thanks for the suggestion.
Actually, it does have an upside down U shaped zipper on the front side that allows you to operate the bag as a panel loader. But the bag can also be used as a traditional top loader via the draw string spindrift/roll down top too. But, yeah, I get it about the weight.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Thanks for suggestions, keep them coming! Seems there are some very clever panel loaders out there. The Gregory 28 looks good too, I'm sure one of our veteran members have downsized to it and was very happy with it, but I am still baffled at the differences in volume and have no idea if Gregory come up roomy or small.
 

Donaldclive

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata/Portuguese (2017)
Camino Sureste (2019)
Hope to do Portuguese from Tavira in 2020.
I use the LA 35/45, never had to use the 45ltr section. It has panel loading which is invaluable, now I've never found a backpack that has everything on it that I like, so off I go to the shoe makers and have those extra bits added, now I think I have the pack that does everything for me. Now I've got there I'm thinking of going down the walking trailer route for the vdll in Feb, so the trusty backpack can sit this one out.
What sort of thing can a shoe maker add to a pack? Does it spoil its water resistant integrity in any way?
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
I like the zpacks, Lots of caminos were I have used the same pack in the last 6 years.

Zpacks™ Arc Haul-Zip Backpack
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I like the zpacks, Lots of caminos were I have used the same pack in the last 6 years.

Zpacks™ Arc Haul-Zip Backpack
The Zpack has been very tempting to me. I'm not sure how I would like the straps though, as I find the women specific straps to be much more comfortable. I have also read that some people have trouble with the metal stays in the pack? And is it small enough to carry-on a plane?
Also, I know that I don't need to use all the volume of the Zpack, but I do wish that they made something a bit smaller.
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
I normally box the pack and poles and just check them in. That allows me to bring extra clothes. When I get to my starting point I send the box to the end point through the Spain mail system. Then I reverse going home.
My pack is a 52L I normally start with about 6 kilos by the end am up to 8 or 9 kilos and I have unrolled more of the top. In some towns I buy the artesanal bread and cheese and the extra space comes in handy. Mine is old and has no metal stays. The pack is tidy. My strategy is simple, I use (4) 2L waterproof dry sacks, Each one holds a different set of goodies : cold/rain stuff, clothes/socks/under, sleep bag/sleep clothes/shower wear and one with my ambulant pharmacy/misc/soaps. I also have a smaller sack for dirty clothes. Is nice to just pull one sack when you get to the albergue.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
I don't know about you but I love a panel loader. Just arrive at your bunk, unzip and remove what you need without emptying the whole top loading bag crammed full of colour coordinated drybags you can't see the colour of until you have hoiked them into the light. I still have fond memories of my Osprey Aura 35, now discontinued, which was the perfect camino pack until it developed an annoying constant creak. This Sept/Oct I spent 43 glorious days walking from Estella to Finisterra with my top loading Talon 33, a comfortable carry but a pain to pack and unpack, and when I got home I decided to find the perfect panel loader.

The perfect panel loader should be 30-35 litres and ideally have a stash pocket at the back, side pockets I can reach without taking the pack off, a separate sleeping bag/wet gear compartment, ventilated back and some way to store and carry walking poles, preferably the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system (hence the Osprey centric short list), top compression straps to strap sandals to the outside and a decent hip belt with pockets. Such a beast is hard to find I can tell you.

I already own a Osprey Escapist 25L, which is comfortable enough but has no pole carry system (it's sold as a bike pack) or air gap ventilation. Other than that it works fine, a bit on the small side for my stuff, and I was on a quest for the *perfect* panel loader.

The Osprey Kestrel 32L would have been my first choice to try in real life but it isn't sold in the UK. It has everything but the ventilated back and looks like a very good pack. Unisex pack in black, green, orange.

The North Face Aleia/Litus 32L packs look really interesting too, but I have seen one in the flesh and the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh and has no sleeping bag compartment so I decided against it.

Next an Osprey Stratos 34L, unisex model (why is there no women's panel loaders over 24L?). It has the ventilated back, pole carrier, sleeping bag compartment and convenient side pockets but no stash pocket, just a shallow pocket with a vertical zip. I have to admit I found the colour choices very depressing - black, sludge green, dark blue or dark red.

And a Lowe Alpine Airzone Z Duo 30L, with everything a perfect panel loader should have, apart from the pole holders. Better colours too.

In the interest of public information I ordered the last two, packed my Escapist to the gills and then compared the volume and features by scientifically repacking each pack with the same stuff including sleeping bag, even though I sometimes walk without one. And surprisingly both the 30L and the 34L packs held less stuff than the supposedly 25L one! OK, so the 25L was a M/L and the 34L was a S/M so maybe that accounts for a few litres more or less, but still.

The smallest of the three was the 30L Lowe Alpine. It was very comfortable though and would make a very good daypack, just not a camino pack. I couldn't reach a water bottle in the side pocket but at least there was a choice of threading the lower compression inside or outside the pockets. Air gap ventilation looks very good and harness and belt nicely padded.

The Stratos was also very comfortable but I would have missed the stash pocket every day! I use it to stuff layers in as I shed them, or for a wet poncho between showers, to dry any washing without risking socks and undies falling off the pack, and to store bananas so they don't get squashed. A simple, tight, zippered pocket doesn't do any of that. Hard to reach water bottle in side pockets. Very good harness though and two smaller zipped pockets as well as the main compartment. Sleeping pad straps too.

At the moment it seems that the Eclipse I already own is the best candidate; I can get a full camino kit into it, reach my water bottle and stash my wet stuff in the mesh pocket, the ridged mesh covered foam back is just as ventilated as my Talon, and I'll figure out a way to stow my poles on the go. Unless of course I find another Aura ...

Any other suggestions for contenders to the title Perfect Camino Panel Loader very welcome!
If you find the perfect one, please post. I have used the Osprey Talon 33 on my last 2 caminos and it has done well. The S/M fit me better than the women's equivalent Tempest series. My priority was lightweight pack without the heavyweight price of ultralight gear. My perfect pack, besides weight, would include reachable side pockets for water bottles, a mesh pocket on the shoulder straps big enough for something like a phone, small camera, small water bottle etc., dimensions to allow airplane carry-on. My first camino pack was a Go-lite Jam which was a top-loader (like the Talon) and held just as much as the Talon 33 although it was a 28 liter! Maybe we pilgrims need to contact a backpack manufacturer with our specs and our comments of current packs based on experience.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
My husband came by while I was studying the Aarn pack on my screen. He asked why I was looking at packs. I said it was for the same reason he watches endless tennis videos on YouTube.

In any case, I realized that I am more satisfied with the Osprey Talon 33 than almost any other piece of camino equipment, so it is silly for me to be looking at other packs. I will go back to the shoe thread.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
In any case, I realized that I am more satisfied with the Osprey Talon 33 than almost any other piece of camino equipment, so it is silly for me to be looking at other packs. I will go back to the shoe thread.
😂😂😂
Just like me still reading up about shoes after I decided that I prefer sandals.
 

Waka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
What sort of thing can a shoe maker add to a pack? Does it spoil its water resistant integrity in any way?
I’ve had extra loops for caribiners added to the shoulder straps, some extra quick release clips to the waist belt for attaching additional things. No I don’t think that it has interfered with the integrity of the pack because all additions are to the webbing of the pack.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Here are a couple I've seen:

Kelty Sira 45:
Although I'm not sure how waterproof it would be and the waist pockets look huge and very bulky.

MHM SALUTE 34 https://www.mhmgear.com/packs/salute-34/ or
I think this one is quite heavy but I like the idea of all the internal compartments.

I've had a roll top rucksack (super flexible for adding/removing volume) for so long that I can't imagine going back to a rucksack with a fixed volume but I love the idea of not have to excavate through the layers of my rucksack to find stuff!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
The Zpack has been very tempting to me. I'm not sure how I would like the straps though, as I find the women specific straps to be much more comfortable. I have also read that some people have trouble with the metal stays in the pack? And is it small enough to carry-on a plane?
Also, I know that I don't need to use all the volume of the Zpack, but I do wish that they made something a bit smaller.
I'm female and have a Z-Pack. It is the most comfortable pack I've ever had. It cinches down easily, I carried it on planes. I have not had issues with the metal stays. I carried it on the CF + Finisterre/Muxia 3 years ago and have used it extensively hiking as well. But we are all different and your mileage may vary.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
Like @Priscilla NC and others above I have used zPacks for the past four years in Europe (widely defined) and at home. About 5,000 km and still years of life ahead.

I tried a locally made "panel loader" but found it too fiddly for me.

With a zPacs "Arc Blast" 55 litre, the three outside pockets have my go to stuff during the day. Inside is sleeping bag, tent, ground sheet, poles, pegs and air pad. On top of that is a "kitchen sink", doubling as a carry all and as a foot bath. And for washing clothes. The attched photo shows. Behind is the small stuff carried in the carryall, plus rolled oats and universal USB adaptor/charger.
Like @Priscilla NC and others above I have used zPacks for the past four years in Europe (widely defined) and at home. About 5,000 km and still years of life ahead.

I tried a locally made "panel loader" but found it too fiddly for me.

With a zPacs "Arc Blast" 55 litre, the three outside pockets have my go to stuff during the day. Inside is sleeping bag, tent, ground sheet, poles, pegs and air pad.

On top of that is a "kitchen sink", doubling as a carry all and as a foot bath. And for washing clothes. In that is small stuff (meds etc, rolled oats and universal adaptor/charger for tablet and camera.

Side pocket left = water bottle and drinking tube
Side pocket right = bottles of wash liquid, sunscreen, moisturer
Back pocket = all clothes not worn, face cloth, toilet roll, trowel.
Front pocket slung between shoulder straps = tablet, gloves
Small shoulder strap pockets = camera, headlight
Top (strapped on) = rain coat / pack cover

The pack is waterproof and has a frame that arcs the sack way from the back. For air, car etc travel the "arc" is released. I ordered a dry sac with a carry handle that is inside the pack when walking and over the pack for check in''s.

Pack weighs 0.600 kg
All up weight is 6.9 kg, before fruit etc for lunch.
Without the tent, etc total weight is less than 6 kg.

So, @nidarosa , while not a panel loader in the technical sense, I think I have achieved a similar outcome.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
So, @nidarosa , while not a panel loader in the technical sense, I think I have achieved a similar outcome.
But, Zpacks does make two panel loaders - the Arc Zip, and the Arc Haul Zip.
I would like the Arc Haul Zip, if it was smaller, and had the mesh outside pocket instead of the outside zip pocket. Why can't someone make us the perfect backpack??!
 

Leigh Macklin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances {2016}, Portugese {2017}
I like the Gregory Miwok 18, but there is also a 24L available for around 750g (before any modification). It is a clam shell opening...so easier than a top loader, but not quite a panel loader. Nice suspension and straps. Not quite as good back ventilation as my top loading J28 but pretty good.
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
But, Zpacks does make two panel loaders - the Arc Zip, and the Arc Haul Zip.
I would like the Arc Haul Zip, if it was smaller, and had the mesh outside pocket instead of the outside zip pocket. Why can't someone make us the perfect backpack??!
For the same price range as z-packs you can go to Zimmerbuilt.com and customize the pack of your dreams. They specialize in lightweight, waterproof ones. They also have some stock items similar to the non-zip packs for less than the z-packs products.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
For the same price range as z-packs you can go to Zimmerbuilt.com and customize the pack of your dreams. They specialize in lightweight, waterproof ones. They also have some stock items similar to the non-zip packs for less than the z-packs products.
But I don't think that they do trampoline back or panel loaders.
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
A review that I saw about them stated that if you can imagine it they can make it. Why not send them a picture/description of what you're looking for and see what they say?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
A review that I saw about them stated that if you can imagine it they can make it. Why not send them a picture/description of what you're looking for and see what they say?
I wrote to them this afternoon. They don't do an arc type frame. 🙁
 

Nekodemus

Certified insane
Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
Take a look at the ULA Camino II - It's a travel backpack designed for use as carry-on with most airlines. It's a bit heavier than I normally prefer, but built to last.
 

Rover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
I don't know about you but I love a panel loader. Just arrive at your bunk, unzip and remove what you need without emptying the whole top loading bag crammed full of colour coordinated drybags you can't see the colour of until you have hoiked them into the light. I still have fond memories of my Osprey Aura 35, now discontinued, which was the perfect camino pack until it developed an annoying constant creak. This Sept/Oct I spent 43 glorious days walking from Estella to Finisterra with my top loading Talon 33, a comfortable carry but a pain to pack and unpack, and when I got home I decided to find the perfect panel loader.

The perfect panel loader should be 30-35 litres and ideally have a stash pocket at the back, side pockets I can reach without taking the pack off, a separate sleeping bag/wet gear compartment, ventilated back and some way to store and carry walking poles, preferably the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system (hence the Osprey centric short list), top compression straps to strap sandals to the outside and a decent hip belt with pockets. Such a beast is hard to find I can tell you.

I already own a Osprey Escapist 25L, which is comfortable enough but has no pole carry system (it's sold as a bike pack) or air gap ventilation. Other than that it works fine, a bit on the small side for my stuff, and I was on a quest for the *perfect* panel loader.

The Osprey Kestrel 32L would have been my first choice to try in real life but it isn't sold in the UK. It has everything but the ventilated back and looks like a very good pack. Unisex pack in black, green, orange.

The North Face Aleia/Litus 32L packs look really interesting too, but I have seen one in the flesh and the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh and has no sleeping bag compartment so I decided against it.

Next an Osprey Stratos 34L, unisex model (why is there no women's panel loaders over 24L?). It has the ventilated back, pole carrier, sleeping bag compartment and convenient side pockets but no stash pocket, just a shallow pocket with a vertical zip. I have to admit I found the colour choices very depressing - black, sludge green, dark blue or dark red.

And a Lowe Alpine Airzone Z Duo 30L, with everything a perfect panel loader should have, apart from the pole holders. Better colours too.

In the interest of public information I ordered the last two, packed my Escapist to the gills and then compared the volume and features by scientifically repacking each pack with the same stuff including sleeping bag, even though I sometimes walk without one. And surprisingly both the 30L and the 34L packs held less stuff than the supposedly 25L one! OK, so the 25L was a M/L and the 34L was a S/M so maybe that accounts for a few litres more or less, but still.

The smallest of the three was the 30L Lowe Alpine. It was very comfortable though and would make a very good daypack, just not a camino pack. I couldn't reach a water bottle in the side pocket but at least there was a choice of threading the lower compression inside or outside the pockets. Air gap ventilation looks very good and harness and belt nicely padded.

The Stratos was also very comfortable but I would have missed the stash pocket every day! I use it to stuff layers in as I shed them, or for a wet poncho between showers, to dry any washing without risking socks and undies falling off the pack, and to store bananas so they don't get squashed. A simple, tight, zippered pocket doesn't do any of that. Hard to reach water bottle in side pockets. Very good harness though and two smaller zipped pockets as well as the main compartment. Sleeping pad straps too.

At the moment it seems that the Eclipse I already own is the best candidate; I can get a full camino kit into it, reach my water bottle and stash my wet stuff in the mesh pocket, the ridged mesh covered foam back is just as ventilated as my Talon, and I'll figure out a way to stow my poles on the go. Unless of course I find another Aura ...

Any other suggestions for contenders to the title Perfect Camino Panel Loader very welcome!
For those of you who live in the USA and looking for a panel loader, you might want to confer the REI Trail 40. Lot's of pockets, comfortable and overall, did the job.
 

calmeg

Member
Hi guys. Osprey has two good models- the sirrus 36 and the kyte 36, both with female specific fits. We used the Sirrus on the Norte and primitivo. The Kyte was used by someone we met and has that mesh elastic area on the outside to stow maps or layers as they come off. Great packs both and a great size.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@calmeg But they are not panel loaders. A panel loader has a zip around most of the bag instead of a drawstring and lid. The Osprey Kestrel and Stratos are unisex versions of the women's specific Kyte and Sirrus, and the Stratos 34 and Kestrel 32 are both panel loaders (but the Kestrel 32 is not available in the UK).
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@trecile I don't blame them, I put 'perfect', 'camino' and 'pack' in the title and that is enough for many people, myself included, to get really enthusiastic! Still getting a lot of suggestions for good packs, which is always good.

In breaking news: I have found a new/used Aura 35 on Ebay! Just when I stopped looking ... (note to self, stop looking for things). She is the same size and colour as the two previous creaky ones and yes, I am aware that though she is bashfully silent at the moment she might turn out like the others, but she is magnificent and I am very excited. Though I still oddly keep my kit in the Escapist! Go figure. I really still think the Aura is the perfect panel loader and just wish Osprey would tweak and remake it, preferably in a Talon/Tempest version without a potentially creaky back frame.

Keep the suggestions coming though, we can't all find discontinued Auras!
 

calmeg

Member
Nidarosa- Our bags (stratos and sirrus) are 36L bags that have a draw string and a lid, AND also a zipper around the main compartment as a panel access. They can be used as top loaded or panel loaded bag. That is why we like them so much. But they do not have the mesh elastic to store layers and maps that the kyte has!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@calmeg Interesting, is that the recent or the previous model? Because as far as I know the only Osprey hiking panel loader in the 25-35 litre range right now is the Stratos 34 and the top loaders only have a single zip down? Could this be another discontinued jewel?
 

calmeg

Member
Nidarosa- I assume changes have been made since we bought ours in 2015. The company description now says they have a "Side panel zip access to main compartment" whereas ours have a complete zipper around the body! Oh well- we love ours- used on el norte, primitivo, portugues, Camino dos faros, Finisterre and Muxia, as well as throughout Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia. They have never given us any problems, and are accepted as carry on in every flight we have used. I guess we just got lucky!-
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
On my Camino I used a Deuter ACT Trail Pro 38 SL, a panel loader, which comes in smaller sizes (I definitely didn't need all 38 Liters of my bag; I just knew a smaller bag wouldn't be as useful to me after the Camino).

Deuters aren't the lightest but for me it was by FAR the most comfortable, with good hip, shoulder, and back padding, and it was the easiest to use as well. I can't stand the tiny buckles and toggles on Osprey packs; the toggles and buckles on Deuter packs are standard and chunky - easy for arthritic/numb/weak hands to operate. I also like the bright colorways available: I didn't like the in-season color of the packs I tried on at the store so went online and bought an older model that fit identically but was slightly larger and bright green: IMG_5213 - Version 2.JPG

It's VERY easy to access everything via the panel, which zips in a "U". The panel is also attached via buckles so if the zipper were to somehow fail, everything would stay in place. On the panel is a nice big kangaroo pouch (you can see my black socks sticking out to the right in the pic).

The pack is also accessible via the top, which cinches closed with a drawstring and the lid buckles down across the length of the back (the central strap in the picture). There is a mesh pocket on the right side for a water bottle, a long and flat pocket on the other side (I put my sandals in there), a big pocket and hole system for housing a water bladder, pockets on the top/outside and inside/bottom of the lid, and another small pocket on the outside of the kangaroo pouch. Oh, and small pockets on either side of the hip belt. It comes with a built-in rain cover that zips into its own pouch on the very underside which is removable if you don't want to use it/want to replace it/want to dry it separate from the pack.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@Keith H has just posted about a new panel loading pack from Gossamer Gear that looks great. It's called the Ranger.
Specs -
Weight Total - 33.93 oz / 962 g
Pack - 26.95 oz / 764 g
Frame - 6.98 oz / 198 g
Capacity 2135 c.i. (35 l.) total 1891 c.i. (31 l.) in main pack body xx lb maximum carry capacity, xx lbs for comfort.
Materials Main fabric: 100D Robic Diamond Rip Boot / accent fabric: 200D Robic velocity Darlington Mesh and Supreme Airmesh
Dimensions Height 19.5” / 49.53 cm Width 10.75” / 27.30 cm Depth 6" “ / 15.24 cm
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I've looked at the Jade 38. It's not a panel loader, and at 3 pounds it's too heavy for me. But thanks for the suggestion.
@trecile
I just bought a Jade 38, on sale. I am no longer sure what you mean about a panel loader, as it has a zipper that goes around three sides of the pack when it is lying flat. I bought it on sale for a very reasonable price, to be my new camino walking pack. The main reasons that I bought it are the size, which is both carry-on and just right for all my camino gear, and the comfort, as a pack designed for a woman's body and comfortable for me to wear. I had wanted a lighter bag, but this works for me for comfort, so I do not notice any extra weight.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Talk about coincidence, I just posted some stuff about the new Gossamer Gear Ranger 35. Here is a copy of that post:

I have noticed the preference some have stated for a mid-sized panel loading pack. I would like to present an offering from Gossamer Gear -- a high quality backpacking cottage manufacturer -- of a new 35 liter backpack which uses a panel loading system.
They are calling it the Ranger 35.

I learned of this just today when I received an email from their Products Manager asking if I would be interested in doing an extended gear test for the pack. As many of you know, when I am hired to gear test for a clothing, shoe, or gear manufacturer I am doing it for the purpose of specifically evaluating for faults, defects, and to provide suggestions on modifications or improvements. Gear testing is always a continuous process during that products inclusion in a company's inventory. Testing is done on the same model of product over the course of its existence; much of the reason for this is to keep comparing the old to the new in terms of absolute improvements and technology advances in materials and manufacturing techniques.

And yes, the Ranger 35 has already been tested for its usability, function, and performance. It is safe to consider as a purchase :)

I am excited about this new pack. it hits a big missing niche in Gossamer Gear's inventory. It will be popular, just as their Gorilla and Mariposa packs are now.

As for me, Gossamer Gear was informed of my health issues at the moment. They pushed back the current schedule for me and are now asking that I start formal testing this summer, which I am anticipating is very doable. :)

I will get the pack next week so that I can become very familiar with it, make sure the sizing is correct, and allow me to fine tune the fitting of the shoulder harness and belt. Usually I don't get extra time with a piece of gear to do this, I have to do it on the fly. This way, I don't have the distraction of my equipment observation that takes my attention to get things to fit as best they can; I can just jump right into all of the abuse, wear and tear, poking and prodding that the pack will have to endure.

Who knows... this might just become my new favorite mid-size pack. :)
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
Talk about coincidence, I just posted some stuff about the new Gossamer Gear Ranger 35. Here is a copy of that post:

I have noticed the preference some have stated for a mid-sized panel loading pack. I would like to present an offering from Gossamer Gear -- a high quality backpacking cottage manufacturer -- of a new 35 liter backpack which uses a panel loading system.
They are calling it the Ranger 35.

I learned of this just today when I received an email from their Products Manager asking if I would be interested in doing an extended gear test for the pack. As many of you know, when I am hired to gear test for a clothing, shoe, or gear manufacturer I am doing it for the purpose of specifically evaluating for faults, defects, and to provide suggestions on modifications or improvements. Gear testing is always a continuous process during that products inclusion in a company's inventory. Testing is done on the same model of product over the course of its existence; much of the reason for this is to keep comparing the old to the new in terms of absolute improvements and technology advances in materials and manufacturing techniques.

And yes, the Ranger 35 has already been tested for its usability, function, and performance. It is safe to consider as a purchase :)

I am excited about this new pack. it hits a big missing niche in Gossamer Gear's inventory. It will be popular, just as their Gorilla and Mariposa packs are now.

As for me, Gossamer Gear was informed of my health issues at the moment. They pushed back the current schedule for me and are now asking that I start formal testing this summer, which I am anticipating is very doable. :)

I will get the pack next week so that I can become very familiar with it, make sure the sizing is correct, and allow me to fine tune the fitting of the shoulder harness and belt. Usually I don't get extra time with a piece of gear to do this, I have to do it on the fly. This way, I don't have the distraction of my equipment observation that takes my attention to get things to fit as best they can; I can just jump right into all of the abuse, wear and tear, poking and prodding that the pack will have to endure.

Who knows... this might just become my new favorite mid-size pack. :)
Dave on my last camino I used a Granite Gear Lutsen 45 and I was quite happy with it had no aches or pains in my shoulder or back no issues except for the overall weight was 3lbs and it works harder on my knees since I already have to wear that heavy brace. I considered just removing the top cover/pocket and ditching the rain cover to save some weight since I use a Ferrino rain poncho Jacket. I was considering getting a Granite Gear Crown 2 but am now rethinking getting the convenience of a panel loader. What would you recommend I consider in terms of light weight panel and or rolltop..?.weight and comfort being the biggest factor. So should I just stick with what worked on my camino last year? O and I forgot one thing I decided to get a small Molle bag fromthe BX to attach to my shoulder strap instead of the traditional fanny pack for my passport and documents and daily money....what do you think its about a 7x5x1.5
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Dave on my last camino I used a Granite Gear Lutsen 45 and I was quite happy with it had no aches or pains in my shoulder or back no issues except for the overall weight was 3lbs and it works harder on my knees since I already have to wear that heavy brace. I considered just removing the top cover/pocket and ditching the rain cover to save some weight since I use a Ferrino rain poncho Jacket. I was considering getting a Granite Gear Crown 2 but am now rethinking getting the convenience of a panel loader. What would you recommend I consider in terms of light weight panel and or rolltop..?.weight and comfort being the biggest factor. So should I just stick with what worked on my camino last year? O and I forgot one thing I decided to get a small Molle bag fromthe BX to attach to my shoulder strap instead of the traditional fanny pack for my passport and documents and daily money....what do you think its about a 7x5x1.5
Have you looked at the Lutsen 35, which is a panel loading pack? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AX3CC18/?tag=casaivar02-20
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
Have you looked at the Lutsen 35, which is a panel loading pack? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AX3CC18/?tag=casaivar02-20
No I haven’t I didn’t know they made a panel I will check it out...Thank you !
Update: looked at it it weighs about the same as the 45 and the zipper only goes half way. I might as well keep the toploader in that case it won’t save me anything on the weight. Removing the top cover and ditching the rain cover will save me some oz. Thanks though it was worth a look I love everything else about my pack
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Dave on my last camino I used a Granite Gear Lutsen 45 and I was quite happy with it had no aches or pains in my shoulder or back no issues except for the overall weight was 3lbs and it works harder on my knees since I already have to wear that heavy brace. I considered just removing the top cover/pocket and ditching the rain cover to save some weight since I use a Ferrino rain poncho Jacket. I was considering getting a Granite Gear Crown 2 but am now rethinking getting the convenience of a panel loader. What would you recommend I consider in terms of light weight panel and or rolltop..?.weight and comfort being the biggest factor. So should I just stick with what worked on my camino last year? O and I forgot one thing I decided to get a small Molle bag fromthe BX to attach to my shoulder strap instead of the traditional fanny pack for my passport and documents and daily money....what do you think its about a 7x5x1.5
Bottom line: Keep it. You have a known quantity which works well for you.

I have only seen the Lutsen 45, looked at it, but have never tried it. There are some ways to drop some weight, the biggest being getting rid of the floating lid which you already noted. Trim straps and even lose any hardware or straps which aren't readily used.

From what I have seen, the harness and belt are top notch. There is a lot of customization and fine tuning to get an almost custom fit. I also like the fact that the shoulder harness employs an effective load lifter system, and that the belt allows the padding to resize to fit changes in waist sizes.

My personal bias is for a top loading pack, and a roll top closure system has some advantages especially in how it can discourage any rain from leaking thru the top. I have several backpacks, each of a varying capacity. My ULA Circuit is under two and a half pounds after some mods that I made to it, and is a great example of why I like the roll top closure. My Gossamer Gear Mariposa CAN be finagled to act as a roll top because of the size of the extension collar which forms a flap, but is not really designed as a roll top closure.

Backpacks do take time to break in, get to know, and to develop a symbiotic relationship with. Unless there is a massively good reason to change a backpack that you really like (much lighter models, yours is damaged past repair, new frame technologies, etc), do not give up your friend :).
 
Camino(s) past & future
😱
Talk about coincidence, I just posted some stuff about the new Gossamer Gear Ranger 35. Here is a copy of that post:

I have noticed the preference some have stated for a mid-sized panel loading pack. I would like to present an offering from Gossamer Gear -- a high quality backpacking cottage manufacturer -- of a new 35 liter backpack which uses a panel loading system.
They are calling it the Ranger 35.

I learned of this just today when I received an email from their Products Manager asking if I would be interested in doing an extended gear test for the pack. As many of you know, when I am hired to gear test for a clothing, shoe, or gear manufacturer I am doing it for the purpose of specifically evaluating for faults, defects, and to provide suggestions on modifications or improvements. Gear testing is always a continuous process during that products inclusion in a company's inventory. Testing is done on the same model of product over the course of its existence; much of the reason for this is to keep comparing the old to the new in terms of absolute improvements and technology advances in materials and manufacturing techniques.

And yes, the Ranger 35 has already been tested for its usability, function, and performance. It is safe to consider as a purchase :)

I am excited about this new pack. it hits a big missing niche in Gossamer Gear's inventory. It will be popular, just as their Gorilla and Mariposa packs are now.

As for me, Gossamer Gear was informed of my health issues at the moment. They pushed back the current schedule for me and are now asking that I start formal testing this summer, which I am anticipating is very doable. :)

I will get the pack next week so that I can become very familiar with it, make sure the sizing is correct, and allow me to fine tune the fitting of the shoulder harness and belt. Usually I don't get extra time with a piece of gear to do this, I have to do it on the fly. This way, I don't have the distraction of my equipment observation that takes my attention to get things to fit as best they can; I can just jump right into all of the abuse, wear and tear, poking and prodding that the pack will have to endure.

Who knows... this might just become my new favorite mid-size pack. :)
Really excited to hear your thoughts on this pack. I’ve just bought the Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 for the Camino and 2 day hiking trips but I’m contemplating the Ranger for travel.
 
Camino(s) past & future
😱
Dave on my last camino I used a Granite Gear Lutsen 45 and I was quite happy with it had no aches or pains in my shoulder or back no issues except for the overall weight was 3lbs and it works harder on my knees since I already have to wear that heavy brace. I considered just removing the top cover/pocket and ditching the rain cover to save some weight since I use a Ferrino rain poncho Jacket. I was considering getting a Granite Gear Crown 2 but am now rethinking getting the convenience of a panel loader. What would you recommend I consider in terms of light weight panel and or rolltop..?.weight and comfort being the biggest factor. So should I just stick with what worked on my camino last year? O and I forgot one thing I decided to get a small Molle bag fromthe BX to attach to my shoulder strap instead of the traditional fanny pack for my passport and documents and daily money....what do you think its about a 7x5x1.5
I have the Massdrop edition of the Crown 2 and I love it. Incredibly light (1kg or 2.2lbs) and has everything I want in a bag. The only downside is that it’s fairly large at 60+ litres. But as people have said on here before, that just means you can pack more easily each day as you’re not having to put together a puzzle each time.

But as @davebugg said, you already know what you know so that’s the safest option.
 

Leibniz

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
I've moved from a panel loader to another pack I really really love (Tempest) but I didn't realise how much I loved the side zip until I lost it. I can't justify getting a new pack now but panel loading will definitely be a requirement next time.
 

mai

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 18/4 Pamplona-S
CF 19/4 SJPP-S
Last year I took a 35L backpack. The bigger the bag the heavier it is. This year I change to Lowe alpine Aeon 27, only 850g with a front mesh bag.

I use 2 medium size compression plastic bags to store my clothes to reduce the volume n keep from rain or wet.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
Bottom line: Keep it. You have a known quantity which works well for you.

I have only seen the Lutsen 45, looked at it, but have never tried it. There are some ways to drop some weight, the biggest being getting rid of the floating lid which you already noted. Trim straps and even lose any hardware or straps which aren't readily used.

From what I have seen, the harness and belt are top notch. There is a lot of customization and fine tuning to get an almost custom fit. I also like the fact that the shoulder harness employs an effective load lifter system, and that the belt allows the padding to resize to fit changes in waist sizes.

My personal bias is for a top loading pack, and a roll top closure system has some advantages especially in how it can discourage any rain from leaking thru the top. I have several backpacks, each of a varying capacity. My ULA Circuit is under two and a half pounds after some mods that I made to it, and is a great example of why I like the roll top closure. My Gossamer Gear Mariposa CAN be finagled to act as a roll top because of the size of the extension collar which forms a flap, but is not really designed as a roll top closure.

Backpacks do take time to break in, get to know, and to develop a symbiotic relationship with. Unless there is a massively good reason to change a backpack that you really like (much lighter models, yours is damaged past repair, new frame technologies, etc), do not give up your friend :).
😊 Thank you. I like the way you think. I agree. It did me well on the Frances. Had no complaints... love this pack it was really comfortable. I will take the floating lid off and loose the rain cover as I dont really need it and as you suggested trim any excess straps..

My Ferrino rain gear covers my entire pack so no rain leakage and it covers my entire body. Best 65 Euros spent in St Jean. When not in use I just take my arms out of the rain gear and tie the sleeves under my arms and still overmy pack, until the next rain shower and thenslide my arms back inside lol 😂 . I used a mini Snyder water filter with the refit tube attached to 2 regular store bought 75cl (25oz) Evian water bottles in the outside pockets and they worked perfectly . This year I am trying 2 Snyder refillable 32oz flat bags bought on amazon...if that doesn’t work I will go back to the water bottles. Thanks again for the help
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
I have the Massdrop edition of the Crown 2 and I love it. Incredibly light (1kg or 2.2lbs) and has everything I want in a bag. The only downside is that it’s fairly large at 60+ litres. But as people have said on here before, that just means you can pack more easily each day as you’re not having to put together a puzzle each time.

But as @davebugg said, you already know what you know so that’s the safest option.
I was looking at this option. I thought there was a 38 lt crown 2 also ?
 
Last edited:

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
I don't know about you but I love a panel loader. Just arrive at your bunk, unzip and remove what you need without emptying the whole top loading bag crammed full of colour coordinated drybags you can't see the colour of until you have hoiked them into the light. I still have fond memories of my Osprey Aura 35, now discontinued, which was the perfect camino pack until it developed an annoying constant creak. This Sept/Oct I spent 43 glorious days walking from Estella to Finisterra with my top loading Talon 33, a comfortable carry but a pain to pack and unpack, and when I got home I decided to find the perfect panel loader.

The perfect panel loader should be 30-35 litres and ideally have a stash pocket at the back, side pockets I can reach without taking the pack off, a separate sleeping bag/wet gear compartment, ventilated back and some way to store and carry walking poles, preferably the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system (hence the Osprey centric short list), top compression straps to strap sandals to the outside and a decent hip belt with pockets. Such a beast is hard to find I can tell you.

I already own a Osprey Escapist 25L, which is comfortable enough but has no pole carry system (it's sold as a bike pack) or air gap ventilation. Other than that it works fine, a bit on the small side for my stuff, and I was on a quest for the *perfect* panel loader.

The Osprey Kestrel 32L would have been my first choice to try in real life but it isn't sold in the UK. It has everything but the ventilated back and looks like a very good pack. Unisex pack in black, green, orange.

The North Face Aleia/Litus 32L packs look really interesting too, but I have seen one in the flesh and the stash pocket isn't stretchy mesh and has no sleeping bag compartment so I decided against it.

Next an Osprey Stratos 34L, unisex model (why is there no women's panel loaders over 24L?). It has the ventilated back, pole carrier, sleeping bag compartment and convenient side pockets but no stash pocket, just a shallow pocket with a vertical zip. I have to admit I found the colour choices very depressing - black, sludge green, dark blue or dark red.

And a Lowe Alpine Airzone Z Duo 30L, with everything a perfect panel loader should have, apart from the pole holders. Better colours too.

In the interest of public information I ordered the last two, packed my Escapist to the gills and then compared the volume and features by scientifically repacking each pack with the same stuff including sleeping bag, even though I sometimes walk without one. And surprisingly both the 30L and the 34L packs held less stuff than the supposedly 25L one! OK, so the 25L was a M/L and the 34L was a S/M so maybe that accounts for a few litres more or less, but still.

The smallest of the three was the 30L Lowe Alpine. It was very comfortable though and would make a very good daypack, just not a camino pack. I couldn't reach a water bottle in the side pocket but at least there was a choice of threading the lower compression inside or outside the pockets. Air gap ventilation looks very good and harness and belt nicely padded.

The Stratos was also very comfortable but I would have missed the stash pocket every day! I use it to stuff layers in as I shed them, or for a wet poncho between showers, to dry any washing without risking socks and undies falling off the pack, and to store bananas so they don't get squashed. A simple, tight, zippered pocket doesn't do any of that. Hard to reach water bottle in side pockets. Very good harness though and two smaller zipped pockets as well as the main compartment. Sleeping pad straps too.

At the moment it seems that the Eclipse I already own is the best candidate; I can get a full camino kit into it, reach my water bottle and stash my wet stuff in the mesh pocket, the ridged mesh covered foam back is just as ventilated as my Talon, and I'll figure out a way to stow my poles on the go. Unless of course I find another Aura ...

Any other suggestions for contenders to the title Perfect Camino Panel Loader very welcome!
You said a water bottle holder is an absolute requirement. Have you considered Justin Anderson’s ultralight water bottle holder that affixes to your shoulder harness. The water stays right up where you can grab a sip without even a reach.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
A little more info on the Gregory Jade line - it looks like they have changed/improved the suspension on this series of packs. It looks very promising, even though they are heavier than the packs that I have, if they are more comfortable to carry the extra weight is worth it. They have also had a 33 liter bag in the past. I hope that it is included in the updated series.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
This sounds very interesting, trecile, and i am looking forward to seeing what Gregory has developed. :) Gregory was an innovator in pack design early on, and it looks like it may be going back to its roots in that regard.

The old Jansport external framed backpacks employed a flexing and pivoting lower suspension with its hipbelt a few decades ago, and it was a great idea which increased the feeling of wearing a pack that moved with you, rather than making you feel 'strapped in' to the pack. So I think that Gregory's concept could be significant.

It'll be nice to be able to actually see the new design once the packs are released for sale. I can't wait.
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
ULA Equipment in Logan Utah has a panel loader (CAMINO 2) : The dimensions are 22 x 14 x 9. It weighs about 52 oz. $260.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
ULA Equipment in Logan Utah has a panel loader (CAMINO 2) : The dimensions are 22 x 14 x 9. It weighs about 52 oz. $260.
I've seen that one, but at 3 pounds, 4 ounces it's quite heavy! Also about twice as big as needed for the Camino at 75 liters.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
ULA Equipment in Logan Utah has a panel loader (CAMINO 2) : The dimensions are 22 x 14 x 9. It weighs about 52 oz. $260.
What is interesting is that the Camino is the same backpack as my ULA Catalyst but modified to be a front panel bag. The modification for the ULA Camino adds a higher weight premium of about 6 ounces. I only use the Catalyst when on an extended deep wilderness trip where there are no re-supply points during a 14 day period.

As trecile said, it is a huge bag for only walking Camino. :)
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
What is interesting is that the Camino is the same backpack as my ULA Catalyst but modified to be a front panel bag. The modification for the ULA Camino adds a higher weight premium of about 6 ounces. I only use the Catalyst when on an extended deep wilderness trip where there are no re-supply points during a 14 day period.

As trecile said, it is a huge bag for only walking Camino. :)
I agree with you and trecile...way too big. I like the ULA Photon and CDT...but not sure I would be comfortable with a frameless pack. The Ohm 2.0 has a slight frame...but is a little larger. I like the idea of having a completely airline carry on pack that might even squish under a seat. That feature is more important to me than panel loading. In fact, after looking at packs during this discussion, I have given up on panel loading. My weight can be 9-11 pounds. I like the ultralight packs very much. Will try one on a hike and see how it feels.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think panel loaders sound like a great idea, but I'm kind of anal about trying to keep my pack clean in the albergues. Since they are not allowed on the beds, I load it in the morning sitting on my bunk with my top loading pack standing up between my legs. I notice people with panel loaders laying them on the floor trying to get their stuff in or out while they are bent over, "dusting" the floor in the process.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I agree with you and trecile...way too big. I like the ULA Photon and CDT...but not sure I would be comfortable with a frameless pack. The Ohm 2.0 has a slight frame...but is a little larger. I like the idea of having a completely airline carry on pack that might even squish under a seat. That feature is more important to me than panel loading. In fact, after looking at packs during this discussion, I have given up on panel loading. My weight can be 9-11 pounds. I like the ultralight packs very much. Will try one on a hike and see how it feels.
Check out the ULA Circuit for a light framed pack. With your weight load the CDT would work really well for you. I like it better than the Photon for comfort yet the CDT works nicely as a carry on.

On last Camino in October, I even met a German man with the CDT. I recognized the pack, and our conversation grew from there. He really loved it. He found a retailer in Germany 🙂
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I think panel loaders sound like a great idea, but I'm kind of anal about trying to keep my pack clean in the albergues. Since they are not allowed on the beds, I load it in the morning sitting on my bunk with my top loading pack standing up between my legs. I notice people with panel loaders laying them on the floor trying to get their stuff in or out while they are bent over, "dusting" the floor in the process.
I actually rarely open my panel loading pack all the way like a suitcase. I tend to open it at the top to load it. I do like being able to access just the middle or the bottom easily just by unzipping that particular section.
I think that the reason I don't like most top loaders is the multiple steps required to open and close them. Unstrap the lid, then there's usually another strap and buckle underneath, then undo the drawstring... So much easier to zip and unzip.
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
I think panel loaders sound like a great idea, but I'm kind of anal about trying to keep my pack clean in the albergues. Since they are not allowed on the beds, I load it in the morning sitting on my bunk with my top loading pack standing up between my legs. I notice people with panel loaders laying them on the floor trying to get their stuff in or out while they are bent over, "dusting" the floor in the process.
Good points!
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
Check out the ULA Circuit for a light framed pack. With your weight load the CDT would work really well for you. I like it better than the Photon for comfort yet the CDT works nicely as a carry on.

On last Camino in October, I even met a German man with the CDT. I recognized the pack, and our conversation grew from there. He really loved it. He found a retailer in Germany 🙂
I think I will test them out.....I guess a hip strap on the cdt would transfer some of the load to hips....and 10 pounds over all isn’t much.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I think I will test them out.....I guess a hip strap on the cdt would transfer some of the load to hips....and 10 pounds over all isn’t much.
The hipbelt and shoulder harness work really well for the intended load. The smallest ULA internal framed pack, the Ohm, will also work as a carry on. The Ohm also uses the same shoulder harness and hipbelt as its bigger brothers, which are excellent. 4 point adjustment on the hipbelt means that you get a finer adjustment to 'curve' over the hips, which can make the belt very comfortable to wear.

It is slightly heavier by 10 ounces, with a larger capacity than the CDT by about 9 liters, but it rides really well. So if you find that the CDT doesn't suit you, send it back and give the Ohm or the Circuit a try. :)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
On my Osprey Sirrus 36 I only unlook the two easy buckles, flip the brain back, and the drawstring to get to the interior is right there. Just two quick movements and wala!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Trecile, it only takes 10 seconds total to get to tbe interior...only 5 seconds more than a zipper. I'd call that a moot point. :)
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
The hipbelt and shoulder harness work really well for the intended load. The smallest ULA internal framed pack, the Ohm, will also work as a carry on. The Ohm also uses the same shoulder harness and hipbelt as its bigger brothers, which are excellent. 4 point adjustment on the hipbelt means that you get a finer adjustment to 'curve' over the hips, which can make the belt very comfortable to wear.

It is slightly heavier by 10 ounces, with a larger capacity than the CDT by about 9 liters, but it rides really well. So if you find that the CDT doesn't suit you, send it back and give the Ohm or the Circuit a try. :)
Thanks! I am so on the fence....like the idea of the 'freedom' of having no hipbelt....but worried that the weight would be too much on my shoulders...even at 10 pounds.....so, yeah...i need to try them and find out. will let you know.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks! I am so on the fence....like the idea of the 'freedom' of having no hipbelt....but worried that the weight would be too much on my shoulders...even at 10 pounds.....so, yeah...i need to try them and find out. will let you know.
I can't imagine what would be "freeing" about carrying all the weight on your shoulders!
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
I can't imagine what would be "freeing" about carrying all the weight on your shoulders!
Freeing because the hips aren't constrained. I do use packs like this around the AT....just not for such a long stretch of day after day...and not for so many hours....so I cannot say. I know that for shorter hikes, I like the freedom of no hip belt.
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
Thanks! I am so on the fence....like the idea of the 'freedom' of having no hipbelt....but worried that the weight would be too much on my shoulders...even at 10 pounds.....so, yeah...i need to try them and find out. will let you know.
DO the FRAMELESS packs...such as Photon or CDT....do they transfer weight to hips just by virtue of having a belt? or is a Frame also necessary?
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
DO the FRAMELESS packs...such as Photon or CDT....do they transfer weight to hips just by virtue of having a belt? or is a Frame also necessary?
The most efficient transfer is when the frame is in connection with the hipbelt. It is far more important if the backpack is carrying a heavier load. For the lighter loads of which a frameless pack will carry, the hipbelt still serves the same function of load transfer to the pelvic girdle.

As always, in a properly adjusted pack, the hipbelt should take up 85 to 95% of the weight, and the shoulder harness 5 to 10%. Adjustments to allow more or less weight support to either shoulders or hips can be done (and will be done) while walking to shift pressure points to a more comfortable position. This type of dynamic adjustment is done frequently and almost without thinking with those who are more experienced walking with a backpack, as I would imagine you know already :)
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2016
The most efficient transfer is when the frame is in connection with the hipbelt. It is far more important if the backpack is carrying a heavier load. For the lighter loads of which a frameless pack will carry, the hipbelt still serves the same function of load transfer to the pelvic girdle.

As always, in a properly adjusted pack, the hipbelt should take up 85 to 95% of the weight, and the shoulder harness 5 to 10%. Adjustments to allow more or less weight support to either shoulders or hips can be done (and will be done) while walking to shift pressure points to a more comfortable position. This type of dynamic adjustment is done frequently and almost without thinking with those who are more experienced walking with a backpack, as I would imagine you know already :)
Thank you!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
It looks like the newest Gregory Jade 38 will be both a panel loader and top loader. I saw it on the REI site, where they are taking pre-orders.
View attachment 50953
I went ahead and pre-ordered the new 2019 Jade 38, and it arrived today. It is a very nice pack, and the zipper opens up about 3/4 around the pack. I loaded it up with about 15 pounds, and it felt very nice, except that the mesh fabric on the shoulder straps rubbed the sides of my neck and was pretty irritating. I haven't had straps that rubbed my neck like that before. Perhaps I need to fine tune the fit.

Another negative for me is that it is almost 3 pounds, but ease of carrying could make up for the increase in weight.

That said, after I impulsively ordered this pack from REI I decided that I would really like to try the Zpack Arc Haul Zip, so I ordered that one too, and I will have it on Friday.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Oh, the joys of REI...a love affair for sure!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I went ahead and pre-ordered the new 2019 Jade 38, and it arrived today. It is a very nice pack, and the zipper opens up about 3/4 around the pack. I loaded it up with about 15 pounds, and it felt very nice, except that the mesh fabric on the shoulder straps rubbed the sides of my neck and was pretty irritating. I haven't had straps that rubbed my neck like that before. Perhaps I need to fine tune the fit.

Another negative for me is that it is almost 3 pounds, but ease of carrying could make up for the increase in weight.

That said, after I impulsively ordered this pack from REI I decided that I would really like to try the Zpack Arc Haul Zip, so I ordered that one too, and I will have it on Friday.
I had remembered thinking that the Jade 38/women had looked narrow between the straps when I looked at it on line and did a detailed look at the harness. I went back and looked again just now, and it looks to me like part of the problem is that the Jade's shoulder straps seem to have a more pronounced 'J' shape to them. That strikes me as odd, because in a woman-specific pack you would more likely give the straps an 'S' shape to allow for a fuller chest.

When you get the Arc Haul Zip, I think you will see what I mean because Zpacks makes the 'S' strap a sort of default harness shape. I am betting that if you find the other aspects of its fit comfortable, the Zpacks will stay and the Gregory will head back to the store. :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I had remembered thinking that the Jade 38/women had looked narrow between the straps when I looked at it on line and did a detailed look at the harness. I went back and looked again just now, and it looks to me like part of the problem is that the Jade's shoulder straps seem to have a more pronounced 'J' shape to them. That strikes me as odd, because in a woman-specific pack you would more likely give the straps an 'S' shape to allow for a fuller chest.

When you get the Arc Haul Zip, I think you will see what I mean because Zpacks makes the 'S' strap a sort of default harness shape. I am betting that if you find the other aspects of its fit comfortable, the Zpacks will stay and the Gregory will head back to the store. :)
Yes, it is very narrow between the shoulder straps.
I did notice though that although it has a trampoline suspension with a nice air gap it felt very snug and comfortable on my back.
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Finisterre (TBD)
Somebody mentioned the REI Trail 40 panel loader. I have this REI Trail 30 which is great in summer when I just take a mummy liner. It's a little heavy but everything is right where I want it and the hip belt and side pockets are great! (I don't hang my shoes anymore but that was my thing a couple of years ago ☺).
 

Attachments

DevereUx

Devereaux
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
Question on panel loaders. I tend not to cover in a light drizzle or I just put a quick cover on.
Do they leak at the zippers?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Question on panel loaders. I tend not to cover in a light drizzle or I just put a quick cover on.
Do they leak at the zippers?
They certainly could, but a pack cover would stop that.
The other panel loader that I've ordered, the Zpack, is supposed to be very water resistant, and has water resistant zippers.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
On my Escapist 25 two of the zips are covered by water resistant material, but the main one is not as that makes it fiddlier to open. I use an Altus or similar poncho though so it's not a problem.
 

El Mayordomo

#MyLongWalk2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Invierno) 2019
My Lowe Alpine Camino 30:40 has great front loading panel!
I think it is new for 2019

Seems really good - easy to pack and access!
 

tarasis

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan Camino Frances (May-June 2019)
My Lowe Alpine Camino 30:40 has great front loading panel!
I think it is new for 2019

Seems really good - easy to pack and access!
Was just looking at the AirZone Camino Trek 30:40 in a shop today, I quite liked it (shop didn’t have many options). Have you used it much yet? Have an opinion on it now?
 

Swift3

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
They certainly could, but a pack cover would stop that.
The other panel loader that I've ordered, the Zpack, is supposed to be very water resistant, and has water resistant zippers.
So, inquiring minds want to know... what did you think of the Z-Pack Arc Haul Zip in comparison? Both seem like great packs. Very different sizes and features. What extras did you add to the Z-Pack Zip, if any? Thanks.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Yes! Update please @trecile 😁
I ended up returning the Zpack. It was just too voluminous. After I cinched it down, the zipper - which was the reason I bought this backpack - was difficult to operate. I think that with a larger load it would zip more smoothly. It was very comfortable though. I ended up with the Gossamer Gear Ranger 35.
 
Camino(s) past & future
😱
I ended up returning the Zpack. It was just too voluminous. After I cinched it down, the zipper - which was the reason I bought this backpack - was difficult to operate. I think that with a larger load it would zip more smoothly. It was very comfortable though. I ended up with the Gossamer Gear Ranger 35.
That makes the Gossamer even more enticing! Darn it!
 

El Mayordomo

#MyLongWalk2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Invierno) 2019
Was just looking at the AirZone Camino Trek 30:40 in a shop today, I quite liked it (shop didn’t have many options). Have you used it much yet? Have an opinion on it now?
Have now done 5 x 20+km and 2 x 30km walks with it fully loaded and would say I barely notice it, comfortable and snug. Weight I have ended with is 6.8kg
 

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