Well, it has finally happened. The old Kelty backpack lasted 25 years with various repairs, patches, hand-sewn additions, etc. But while I was napping a friend placed it too close to a fire thinking it would reflect light and heat and, well, let’s just say the waist belt and bag melted and burned beyond all hope of recovery. The external frame is warped, looks a bit melted in one spot, and I do not trust it anymore. And the stench ….

My friend is very apologetic but I need a new, or at least new to me, backpack. I have been looking on-line and the variety and prices of the “new” stuff are a bit dazzling. My buddy is going to buy the replacement but I am not going to stick him with a $300 plus tab. He insists on buying a replacement though I told him the value of the old pack couldn't be more than $50.

I have no experience with the military stuff but it is intriguing. I am a many-pockets not a one-big-sack guy. The fire experience also makes me wonder if different materials are in order. I like the system packs for which I can get various add-on pouches, etc. beyond the initial $200-250 setup my friend is going to cough up. Never had a camelback and it is not a requirement but I can see the advantages.

So, assuming: a price under $250 and a base capacity of at least 2000 cubic inches, what would you recommend?

Edited by dweste (02/21/08 12:52 PM)