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[pct-l] Packs

> Mountainsmith - Auspex, Ghost

I have used the older versions of these packs for two Appalachian Trail
thruhikes.  Although Mountainsmith continues to improve these packs each
year, these packs seem to have either durability (design) problems or
manufacturing (poor stitching) problems.

I used the Mountainlight 3500 (forerunner to the Auspex) last year on a
thruhike.  It was much improved in durability, but I had to constantly fix
the stitching.

I prefer a pack with metal stays.  Unfortunately, I don't know if a
lightweight pack can handle metal stays.  (Carbon fiber may be worse since
the ends of the fibers may eat through the stay pockets.)

The poor performance of the MS packs on the AT is somewhat acceptable since
they have excellent customer support.  In 1998 they replaced my
MountainLight pack twice (carbon fiber stays ate through the stay pockets).
This would probably not be acceptable on PCT.

I bought a Kelty Flight 4500 from Campmor for this year's PCT hike.
Stripped down to my minimum requirements (stays, hipbelt, main bag) it
weighs just under 3 pounds.

Terry Norton