Cathedral Area Contour Circuit: Sept 2013.

26 Sep 2013 08:38 #58578 by ruthtbl
Thanks so much for the awesome report! If you are looking into getting a different pack for your wife, I can highly recommend the Deuter Air Contact 50+10 SL. Here is link to the pack on CUM's site:

www.capeunionmart.co.za/deuter-air-contact-50-10-sl

I hiked with it up Mweni Pass and down Rockeries Pass last weekend and it made a world of difference. What I particularly like about this pack is that it works well for people with shorter torso's and narrower shoulders. It also rained during our hike this weekend, and the raincover attached to this pack worked perfectly and kept my gear bone-dry. I was a little worried about the capacity of the pack at first, as the previous pack I had been borrowing was much larger. But I managed to fit all of my gear inside the Deuter pack without a problem, except for the tent which my husband was carrying. I might have had to strap the tent to the outside of the pack if I had been carrying it myself, although I did have some extra space inside the pack (definitely enough space to fit the flysheet or poles if we had split the tent up). I anyway think that having a slightly smaller pack forces you to leave most of the unnecessaries behind :)

The only downside of this pack is the price, which CUM lists as R1750 :(

Still a worthwhile investment in my opinion, especially if you are planning to do overnight hiking fairly often. I'm so glad your wife enjoyed the experience!

:)

'Please accept the stimulation'
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26 Sep 2013 10:56 #58579 by ASL
FYI... at this price level you get into packs that have pivoting hip belts. Deuter has a couple of these designs and I highly recommend them after my recent switch to a Black Diamond bag with pivot belt and a harness that moves with you.

It's a real comfort revolution and allows you to be much more agile over rocky terrain. The other thing to watch is pack weight. Packs can weigh close to 3.5kg but as little as 1kg. My approach is to try for between 1.5 and 2.5kg as in this range you get a balance of features, comfort and durability.

Good luck choosing! :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: hasamatt, ruthtbl

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26 Sep 2013 11:16 #58580 by hasamatt
All your comments thus far are most helpful! Thanks.

Yes, I do agree that the Kway backpack was not ideal. The ergonomics of the design have not been thought through properly. Truth be told, that is actually my cragging backpack that my ropes and trad rack lives in. For a day's trip to the crags, it is ideal; for multi-day hiking trips, it was clearly not. For me, my backpacker Boulder 75 is far more comfortable than the Kway pack - even given its old-school design. I will definitely be shopping more intentionally when it comes to backpacks in the future.

On our way down, we were discussing what we would do differently for future hikes. Definitely on top of our list is a good pair of boots for my wife. Hi-Tec fabric boots have never, and will never cut it in comparison to stiffer leather boots... On this hike, I think she was the only person besides Jesus to have walked on water! My La Sportiva Vajolet's held up nicely. I am thrilled with that purchase! So boots for her, would be in the region of 2 to 2.5K.

Secondly, we need better sleeping bags. We used Backpacker Benedorm hollowfibre sleeping bags, that we zipped together to form a double bed. They are hopelessly too bulky and heavy - though they are warm(ish). You can see how ancient some of our kit is.

I need to be much more disciplined in what odds and ends I pack as well. It all adds up, and I believe that my pack was way too heavy to begin with, although I managed fine with additional weight. The hike wasn't that demanding.

Lightweight rain trousers are a definite must on our list too. And with that, we would need to get a waterproof jacket for her.

So as you can see, we will be embarking on gear purchases for the foreseeable future. Not a cheap exercise.

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26 Sep 2013 11:42 #58581 by ruthtbl
@ASL I very unfortunately read your other comments about packs with pivoting hip belts the day after I purchased my pack :( Otherwise I definitely would have looked into this option - it sounds great!

'Please accept the stimulation'

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26 Sep 2013 13:01 #58583 by DeonS
I still have my Backpacker bags – when I started hiking there were not much to choose from – Karrimor and Backpacker were the most plentiful unless you had a stacks of cash, but the Deuter bags is in my opinion far more comfortable and cooler due to air flow, than a Backpacker ever were, but the choice of a bag is much of a personal preference and then of course you budget. I found that the extra send on a quality bag makes up in comfort in the long run.

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14 Jul 2014 19:50 #61286 by intrepid
Subsequent discussion on packs moved here .

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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