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Being balanced: How to turn an ultralight daypack into a comfortable trail rucksack

Why I choose the Naturehike Ultralight Waterproof Daypack over the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack and how I modified it to enhance carrying comfort and balance.

In spring 2018, I went on a beautiful ultra-light 3-day tour with friends and took the opportunity to see the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack under real UL hiking conditions.

And as much as I liked the cut of the backpack, there were also reasons to choose a different pack for my purposes:

  1. The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack has a mesh outer pocket on one side only. If you transport there – like my hiking friend – a water bottle, the backpack hangs because of the uneven weight distribution quite one-sided on the back.

  2. The small compartment is as a hanging bag constructions from the top into the backpack. Thus, it does not provide extra space, but is – depending on the degree of filling of the backpack – very narrow.

  3. The straps of the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack are quite slim. In addition, they are made of stretchable mesh fabric. Under (ultralight) load, the straps stretch and got round and narrow and thus, no longer carried comfortable.

After good experiences with other products of the company, I opted for the Naturehike Ultralight Waterproof Daypack with (according to the manufacturer) 18 liter volume at 98 g pack weight.

The following video will show the modifications I applied to the pack and my over all impressions:

I have implemented the following modifications:

  • Separating the sewn-in pack sack.
  • Inserting a key hook in the small compartment, made from the removed material.
  • Sewing on a medium, 15-millimeter wide load transfer strap on both shoulder straps.
  • Sewing on a little spreader strap, which simultaneously holds the bottle clips for PET bottles up to 2 × 1 liter.
  • Shortening the lower shoulder straps.
  • Sewing a sternum strap from the removed material of the shoulder straps.

After a couple of short trips and day trips, I am very satisfied, because in the modified pack solves the points 1. to 3. (mentioned above) very well for my purposes.

  1. The Naturehike Ultralight Waterproof Daypack is perfectly balanced both on the side (with two symmetric mesh pockets) and in the direction of hinking du to the bottle clips.

  2. The small compartment sits as a generous front pocket with its own volume and a large opening on the backpack. It’s well available even if the pack is full.

  3. The shoulder straps of the Naturehike are significantly wider than those of the Osprey but still share its peculiarity to contract. However, the greater width allows for the modification (adding load transfer straps) and thus they are now very comfortable.

  4. In addition, the backpack has waterproof zippers, that, in conjunction with a subsequent seam seal, make the backpack quite weatherproof.

Only one problem remains and can not be solved with a minimalist pack like this: The pack remains a “sweaty back-pack” without ventilation. But a trampoline style back panel would result in a pack weight of ovr 500 gram. And that's not compatible with the minimalism of such a pack.

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Copyright 2019 Peter Reinhardt 1280×   2018-11-09 17:05

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