Originally Posted by baetis1
I disagree with parts of the article. If you want to learn the best items to use, look to the backpacking community. Down is hands down, much better than synthetics. It compacts to less than one third the size of synthetics, is warmer and with taffeta coatings, is virtually waterproof (not to mention, if you have a decent tent you are not getting it wet anyways). The extra space translates into room for other things, like emergency kits, food etc., extending the amount of time you can stay packed in. Likewise I would take an internal frame pack any day over an external. Internal frames routinely handle loads over 100 lbs and are much more comfortable and stable because they reside closer to your back. I have packed elk quarters and rib meet without issue and found the heavy loads much more comfortable.
I came to these conclusions fifteen years ago when I had a synthetic bag and external frame pack. A friend of mine had been a backpacker and he introduced me to synthetic underwear, down sleeping bags, Mountain Hardware tents and Osprey internal frame packs. You couldn't pay me enough to go back...
This is an old thread, I realize. I agree to look to the backpacking community for equipment choices etc. I started out hunting with a Gregory Robson Pro. I have worn external frame packs and IMO they are downright dangerous with heavy loads off trail. The weight is too far from your body and when a heavy load shifts it can cause a catastrophic fall.
The article mentions wool which is very important. There is an old saying in the high country, "cotton kills". Make sure your clothing is wool. There maybe some new fabrics now that insulate when wet. Those would work as well, if they exist.
I prefer down bags also. It is lighter and compacts smaller then synthetics. Keep in mind, down is useless when wet. Your tent MUST HAVE a FULL rain fly. These dome tents with a beannie cap rain fly won't cut it in the western mountains. If using a tent, do yourself a favor and get a legitimate 4-season backpacking tent. I rarely use a tent anymore, though. My old bones feel 100% better in the morning after a night in a Hennessy Hammock. Keep in mind that where the pressure points are, like your hip and shoulder, for instance, you are compressing the down and it will get very cold there. So, get the insulated hammock or do like I did and sew an extra piece of silnylon to the bottom of the hammock and fill with down that won't get compressed.
Lastly, whatever feels decent on your back when you throw your pack on at the vehicle will feel like 1000 lbs 5 miles from the trailhead. Pack light. Pay attention to the weight of every piece of equipment you choose. Of course, the lighter the backpacking piece of equipment is the more expensive. Weight savings costs money but believe me, it is worth it. Only take what is necessary for a safe trip. Food will likely be the most weight of all your items. You will be burning a lot of calories, so pay attention to the food you pack and take food with a high calorie content.
Those are some important things from my experience. Thanks to the author for writing the article.