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[pct-l] Lightweight Packs

In California one must carry a bear canister. This is a large plastic [or
aluminum] cylinder that is used to store food. I have a friend that uses a
small internal frame pack like the varieties discussed and simply straps
the bear canister to the top. To make this work, however, he had to beef up
the hip belt and shoulder straps. The result is an 15-20 pound pack plus a
bear canister that weighs 20 pounds full [10-15 days food] or 2 3/4 pounds

In most cases, however, a backpacker would do well to use an external pack
like a Jansport. The bear canister would be carried much higher and more
over the hikers center of gravity. I hiked several days with a 43 pound
pack where the pack load was carefully designed to place the bear canister
in the upper pocket right acrosss the shoulders. You can accomplish the
same thing with a top loading pack like a Kelty. After 4 hiking days my
canister was open, food was eaten, and the weight dropped. For the first
couple of days the pack seemed heavier even though it was lighter. I had
unbalenced the pack and it pulled back -- just like an internal frame pack.

I have yet to see the logic of not carrying a stove. My stove weighs 3.5
ounces. One canister weighs 12 ounces and a pot less than 1/2 pound making
the total weight less than a pound and a half. What I gain back is that I
can carry food that must be reconstituted in hot water, like rice. This
saves far more than the pound and a half and makes getting more days into a
bear canister far easier.

Ray Jardine did not carry a bear canister. Things were different then.

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