Heaphy track pack!
Hey all, I'm planning on walking the Heaphy track later on this year and am wondering what size pack I should be taking with me. If you've walked the Heaphy (or anything else of similar length), what size (litre) and brand pack did you use and what were the good and bad points about that pack? Thanks heaps!
For the Heaphy I'd recommend a pack of 50-65 litre capacity. I've got a 65L Arc'teryx Altra and it's perfect for 4-5 day trips. However, I've also loaded it for 8-9 days. When you get less than 50L you may find yourself making hard choices on equipment and food, which is less than ideal. It all depends on your style of tramping, fitness level, and the window of weather in which you'll be walking the track. In NZ I err on the side of caution when it comes to food/equipment; ya never know when you may be sheltering an extra day from bad weather. The track itself is fabulous with ever changing landscapes; long days, but easy walking.
I agree with the above;having a 9kg pack for 4-5 days,you`ll have ultralight tent,pack,raincoat,the works.Cuban fibre tents weigh little but will blow out if you are in an exposed site in strong winds.I err on the side of safety.Any trip over 14 days,I`ll get a food drop.Easier on my back.
It all comes down to the gear that you already own & your experience level. When I first started tramping, I would have struggled with a 65L pack for 5 days because all of my gear, clothing and food was big and heavy. Many years and a whole lot of money later, and I would have space left over in a 65L pack. The season you are planning to walk in will also affect the gear you take?. Work out your gear and clothing, take it with you to your local camping store, and see what size pack it fits in. Don't forget to make an allowance for food. Try on different packs with the weight that you will be carrying, and make your purchase based on the most comfortable. Cheers, Moh.
I would second what @Moh_Oz has said. Your pack size is going to be dependent on the quantity and quality of your gear (higher quality gear tending to be smaller and lighter). The best way to know what size pack you will need is to take the gear you are planning to use in to a shop and try loading packs to see what size works best. This also serves a second purpose of letting you know if the pack will be comfortable to wear as well and the team in store should be able to help with adjusting back heights etc to get a good, comfortable fit.
I use an Osprey pack, in fact I have two. One is the Kestrel which is 58 Litres and the other is an Atmos (large) which is 68 litres. I bought the larger one as I always found it a struggle to pack for the 4day+ trip in the winter with the 58 litre one. The extra space in the bigger one is great and being a newer pack it's more comfortable than the older smaller one. I like the pockets on the belt of the Osprey packs. Good for snacks and a camera. One thing to watch with these packs is the fact that they are made of light weight material and as a result have next to no waterproof qualities. Everyone always has a large plastic bag inside their pack I know but anything not packed in plastic bags in the outside pockets will get wet if it rains. A pack cover would help but sometimes they can be a nuisance in windy weather.If you do buy an Osprey make sure to use the measuring device the shops have to work out your correct size.
I guess it depends if you're camping or staying in huts, and how lightweight your gear is. Staying in huts 50ltrs should ample for the Heaphy. I used a Osprey Atmos 50ltr when did a few years back, that sacks since worn out, and I replaced it with Osprey Exos 48ltr rucksack that's got me round similar length tramps since, plus Stewart Island NW circuit. I'd agree with Mr Finch above, what attracts me to the Osprey sacks is pockets, particularly hip pockets. The newer Osprey Atmos still has the hip pockets but less overall, and the slightly lighterweight while same design was the reason for going for the Exos, it's also got handy pockets on the shoulder straps great for snack bars etc. I also think fitting for a hydration pack is pretty essential. Regarding waterproofing above, there's very few waterproof sacks, those that are will be ultra expensive and have few if any pockets. I like to pack the essentials in sealed dry bags, the rest in normal plastic bags - those these are not as prevalent these days. Also agree above above though, really depends on the volume and weight of your gear, for instance my sleeping quilt plus silk liner now must be at most 1/3 of the volume and weight of my first sleeping bag.
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