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[pct-l] RE: Mountainlight 5200

I've a Mountainlight 5200. Used it on only a few short overnight trips so
far since I bought it.


1) Extremely light -- it actually weighs about 57 oz (on my weight scale)
with aluminum stays as the company literature states.

2) I had originally been trying to buy a Mountainlight 4000 thinking I could
get my winter gear into 4000 -- turns out I don't yet have enough discipline
to get my pack contents to a 4000 ci level for wintertime. Thus, the 5200
worked out well -- a bit large for my summertime trips, just about right,
size-wise, for my winter trips.

3) You can get carbon fiber stays to replace the aluminum stays and reduce
the pack to about 50oz. You can easily cut off about another 2 ozs of straps
and extra length of strap on the pack. So far I haven't hand any problems
with the carbon fiber stays.

4) Will carry up to 35lbs adequately.

5) Top pouch removes for use as a lumbar pack -- say if you're peak bagging
someplace. Note you'll need the pouch on the pack to use the pack normally.
Otherwise you'd just have a pull string closing the top.


A) After several test trips, I've come to the conclusion the *maximum*
weight for this pack is 35 lbs (total pack weight). I'm not kidding -- this
pack is no Terraplane frame-wise. if you attempt to take more than 35 lbs
the load leveler straps are going to kink as well as the hip belt doing a
Jerry Lewis on you. Not a good idea to be out in the bush in that condition.
I'm glad I gave it a series of tests so I knew this weight limit ahead of

B) The pack surface marrs easily and the material doesn''t seem to be as
durable as say a normal pack surface. So you have to be careful in how to
handle the pack when you take it off and put it down, rub it against things
and lean against trees. 

C) At $295 for the Mountainlight 5200 and $60 more for the carbon fiber
stays, the pack is a little expensive. Plus the pack is in short or
non-existent supply. Not to many other packs in this weight class though so
it's a tradeoff. For me, it works out fine.

D) The pack is tall and "thin" in design (kidney shaped when viewed from
behind the human), so scrambling over boulders makes the pack rock back and
forth a bit. Nothing too outrageous but still noticeably more than most
other "heavy-weight" packs.


If a person was already at say 35lbs total pack weight including 4 days of
food and 32 oz of water, then this is a terrific pack and works well. If
another person was at 45lbs trying to get to 40 lbs, then this isn't the
pack to use. 

PS -- if you're the kind that likes pockets, you can add on several types of
Mountainlight and/or Mountainsmith external pockets and bottle holders that
custom fit the existing connections on the Mountainlight pack. The
Mountainlight 5200 Tramp Pocket actually weighs about 3 oz (on my scale) and
a 1.8 liter platypus water system fits inside (so does a Gregory Mirage
Hydrocell water system at 110 oz).


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Peter Haskell [SMTP:pchaskell@hotmail.com]
> Sent:	Saturday, July 25, 1998 12:04 PM
> To:	pct-l@saffron.hack.net
> Subject:	
> This may be an old-hat topic, so you may wish to contact me directly 
> rather than post replies.  I was a rabid backpacker until about 1981, 
> when I pretty much stopped to make room for my cosmopolitan fiancee (now 
> wife), who had no interest in hiking.  The last pack I owned was a Kelty 
> external frame pack I bought in 1966.  Now the bug has bitten me again 
> and I'm entertaining the outrageous notion of thru-walking the PCT in 
> 1999 or 2000.  I've started training and I'm reading everything I can 
> get my hands on, as well as wallowing in the "gear" phase.  Which brings 
> me to my questions.
> What reflections can any of you share regarding a pack?  I'm 5'7", very 
> light (122 lbs.)and I'm near 60.  I read reviews that say that, like the 
> Dana Terraplane is so terrific its additional heft is offset by how 
> comfortable it is.  Ray Jardine's advice makes a lot of sense (I recall 
> the work of carrying a 75-pound pack in a NOLS course, years ago, so 
> this is a new tack for me), but I wonder if there are commercially 
> available packs that are in harmony with his advice. I read conflicting 
> reports re the Mountainlite 5200 and 4000; the 4000 seems to come 
> closest to his criteria, but I wonder about the design and the lack of 
> external pockets; the 5200 looks like a good compromise.
> Are these fabric hiking shoes an improvement over running shoes?  How 
> viable are they for the PCT?
> Any thoughts on a very light bag?  And tent?  
> I'll get over the gear insanity soon, but I'd appreciate it if, in the 
> meantime, those of you with experience and insight would indulge me!
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