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Eyetarisi
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 4:26 am 
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For awhile now I've been considering the purchase of an ultra light pack to replace my MHM Divide 65, a pack I love but which is very heavy relative to most other packs. I'm curious about how they hold up in Winter though. I've read much about the durability of Dyneema and GridStop but I'm curious how that translates to having snow shoes strapped to it, spikes in the side pockets, etc. etc. If I am ever going to solo overnight for Winter I need to do some serious weight shaving across the board so I'm looking at my pack, tent and sleeping bag (all of which are pretty heavy). I intend to use the pack year round but it is Winter use that particularly concerns me.

If anyone is using such a pack, particularly in Winter, I'd be curious to get some feedback on how it's held up, regrets, things you would do differently if you bought another one, etc, etc. The model I'm thinking about most right now is the ZPacks Arc Haul Zip. It is very similar in design and capacity to my Divide 65 but is nearly 3.5 lbs lighter. It also appears to have a lot of adjustments that other ultralight packs don't have without a real weight penalty and from what I've read is much more comfortable than other brands.

And one more question but it's off topic. I currently have a flip over type shelter like this https://under-the-open-sky.com/best-ice-fishing-shelter and am moving over to a pop up type this season. I'm going to go with a 3-4 man size in order to comfortably hold two people and on the odd occasion, three. I see that some brands offer the "insulated" versions which of course add a lot of weight. I also notice that some brands have a thicker material for the shell. Eskimo seems to be the most popular but spec wise seems more $ than other comparable brands. So my question is what are you guys using and what are the pro's and con's of your set ups?

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Grannyhiker
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 8:56 am 
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Advice from one who's been there, done that:  The pack is best left  to be the last major item in your lightening up process.  While you can put lighter gear into a big/heavy pack, it will be quite uncomfortable to try to carry your present heavier gear in a lighter, less supportive pack.  I suggest you lighten up the other major items before you start looking for a lighter pack.  Have all your other items on hand before ordering the pack. When the new pack arrives, leave the tags on, make sure the new pack will hold all your winter gear (and the equivalent in weight/bulk of several days' food)  and do a "hike" around the house to make sure the pack supports the weight and that it's comfortable for you.  If not, you want to be able to return it.
You may find that your current pack does better for your winter gear.

I was given the above advice when I started lightening up 15 years ago, and IMHO it's the best advice I've ever gotten.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 9:27 am 
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I usually use a winter ski pack like that used by ski patrol and rescue organizations. Yes it is heavier but it holds all necessary gear and is tougher designed to survive an avalanche. Weight is not a big thing for AT. In a dedicated Nordic area you can get away with a fanny pack if you are fast due to warming huts. I am not fast smile.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Grannyhiker
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 8:42 pm 
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You can also do some butchering (or, to sound less drastic,     "creative trimming") on your current pack, which of course ruins any resale value that it might have.  You can probably remove at least a pound without ruining how well the pack  supports the load.  This might be a better solution for winter.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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Eric Hansen
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 8:56 pm 
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+1 on Grannyhiker's advice on holding onto the heavier/sturdier pack. Not sure of your mode of travel but for myself I'd question the light pack's ability to handle the abuse of falls while skiing. I've done multiple spring ski trips with a pack that weighed 20 oz. empty but I was pretty darn cautious on the downhills.
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InFlight
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PostThu Dec 19, 2019 10:39 pm 
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Big difference between day outings, and overnight during the winter.

I easily use a 48 liter bag for three seasons.

I break out the 85 liter monster for winter.  Zero degree bag, bivy, extra ground insulation, winter tent, extra warmer layers all takes volume.

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...  ― Henry David Thoreau
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Dec 19, 2019 10:50 pm 
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up.gif For overnight winter in snow we use old Dead Bird Boras 75 to 80 li. with 4 season tents -20 bags thick pads. Expedition down parkas and heavy duty rain suits. White  gas stoves etc. Full Avery gear shovels probes and beacons. You need a big pack to carry all that.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Bernardo
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PostFri Dec 20, 2019 6:57 pm 
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I would tend to agree that weight shouldn't be a big factor in winter normally.  However, I have an Arc Hall and I believe it would hold up fine if you keep your weight within the advertised range.  Part of this issue is they are not designed to carry heavy loads including snowshoes.   You could probably get the gear in and on the pack, but it might not be comfortable which would defeat the purpose.  If I'm not going long distances in hot weather, I'd rather go with a heavy pack that can carry the kitchen sinks of winter gear.  Also, the margin for failure is so much lower in winter.  It's nice to have an extra margin of safety.  Have you thought about pulling a sled?  Maybe someone has ecperience with this.  I've hiked modest distances pulling my daughter.  It was fun!  The end of trail was a cabin where we could make a fire.  That was nice.
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