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The best backpack for caching

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I asked a similar question in the Midwest forums here. I think it's the kind of question that's going to be regionally specific and specific to the kind of cacher you are (5/5 hiker or preferring the quick 1/1's...or somewhere in between).


Ask the other cachers in the area what they're using then go from there.


Me, I just went cheap...so far so good. icon_wink.gif




"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.

When a man found it, he hid it again." Mt. 13:44

CYBret's Geocaching Page

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A hydration pack with some storage might be ideal for you. Check out the Camelbak packs for example. Aside from carrying your water, they can carry your other essential items like first aid, compass, trade items, etc. I have a Camelbak M.U.L.E. that I also use for mountain biking. Sometimes, I wish I bought the Blowfish instead.

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I agree with ChiefPig on his thoughts on using a Camelback hydration system. You can buy them in several sizes to suit the type and length of trips you take. The Mule is an excellent choice if you plan on taking any extended day hikes in hot weather. It has plenty of room for extra gear, food, and the rest of the 10 essentials as well as all those cache items we need to carry. It has a bladder that holds 100 ozs. which gets me through most day hikes. The best part of using a bladder system is that it is easy to drink without taking off your pack which means you are more likely to drink and stay hydrated. We have used many different styles of bladders and prefer the Camelback for their reliability and their great bite valves with shut off's that don't leak.

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I just use a Gap pack. Light wieght, comfortable. It's the one with the one strap that goes over one shoulder and across your chest. Lots of room, fits an ammo box, a couple of bottle of water, tons of trade items, Plus, it has a nifty little cell phone pocket on the strape that fits my Megellan Sport track perfectly. For 1/1 to 3/3 I think it's all you need. But it is comfartable enough for longer hikes as well. I do like the idea of the camelbac, but out of the 145 caches i've found I haven't needed that much water on any of them. I guess I would invest in the MULE if I was going on a very long hike.


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Because now I am Lost.

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It depends on your needs. For urban, or suburan caches, a fanny pack is probably all you need. If you're going after caches that involve longer hikes, then a good daypack is required. Look for one that accomodates an internal hydration bladder. These allow you to drink without taking off your pack and fishing for water bottles (great for hot days).


I just purchased a Moutainsmith Guide. It has a lot of nice features, including a internal pocket for a PDA, an organizer inside that holds pens, small flashlight, notepad, etc...internal sleeve for a hydration system (I use a Platypus bladder) and port hole for the hose, mesh outside pockets (good for camera, GPS, extra water bottles or to CITO smaller items...who wants someones beer can dripping on the inside of your pack?), an internal clip for your car keys and at 2,400 ci, room for lunch, 1st aid kit and extra clothing, trade items and a raincoat with plenty of room to spare. Compression straps on the side can be used to collapse the pack if it isn't full.




I also use an Arc'Teryx Spear 24. It has an internal hydration sleeve, waterproof zippers, mesh side pockets and other nice features. It's smaller than the Guide (1,700 ci), so it's better for shorter hikes, or hikes in warm weather where you don't have to carry as much.




My wife uses a Lowe Slick Rock. It has a hydration bladder and at 720 ci, room for a spare sweater and lunch. It's good for short trips, or for when you have a significant other to carry everything else.




"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm


[This message was edited by BrianSnat on October 18, 2003 at 04:36 AM.]

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I'm in full agreement about the hydration packs. I have one that's a knock-off of the Camelback M.U.L.E. and am grateful I have it. Plenty of storage and a large enough pocket to allow the larger Camelback Omega reservoirs.


Thankfully, this one can be found it Target for $18-$20 if I remember correctly. Much easier on the budget. Outdoor Trails makes them.


I've compared mine to the Camelback and have seen little difference between them. Same stitching, same configuration, same fit. Just the padding on the back seems different. Not necessarily better, though. Mine has already seen a good bit of abuse in bad weather and some nasty thickets, and I've taken a couple of falls on it, but so far it has shrugged off the abuse. And the compartments have kept the contents dry, even in the rain.


Just my $.02. Your mileage may vary. No purchase necessary. Details inside.




Mark (S-4-C)


I KNOW I'll find it if I just keep LOOKING!

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I have a Camelbak HAWG and it has worked out very well in terms of size. Nice big water reservoir. In the pack, there's a nice front pocket where I can carry GPS, compass, headlight, flashlights, mini binoculars. The roomy "main" compartment is big enough for my trade goods box, battery box, extra shirt, gloves, and a small (7.62mm) ammo box cache. The pack is designed so that it collapses down with elastic and snug straps so that it's still comfortable and tight when I carry less.


The shoulder straps have loops and extra webbing where you can clip things that need to be close at hand. I keep my Rino clipped to my right shoulder strap with the antenna at shoulder level, and it maintains lock very well in that position.


I'm sure the MULE is just as good, but when I looked at it it seemed too small.


If you have the extra cash I would go for the military version (Team Shuey was offering a reasonable deal at one time) ... tougher stitching, tougher material, more compartments.



Scott Johnson (ScottJ)

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Originally posted by ScottJ:

If you have the extra cash I would go for the military version (Team Shuey was offering a reasonable deal at one time) ... tougher stitching, tougher material, more compartments.


I'll second the MULE. With you being in GA, you'll need the hydration if you do any decent length hikes in the summer.


Joel (joefrog)


"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for ye are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"

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The MULE looks awesome to me. I don't have one, but I saw a few at our last event and they were the right size. Hydration is nice too. Lots of pockets and really durable.


I bought a $20 timex expedition satchel thingy from Meijer (local everything store). I love it. It's perfect for me, but water is an issue. I wouldn't mind having a MULE for the marathon runs, but for the everyday cache trips I stick to my timex. It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' too icon_wink.gif



trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Assimilating golf balls - one geocache at a time.

Michigan Geocaching Organization Homepage

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I own one of the original 100 oz. Camelbaks, and I have a Blowfish on the way in the mail.


Couple of Camelbak points to consider. I received as a gift -- and promptly returned -- a Fox brand hydration pack. The fill hole was about the size of the opening on a standard water bottle. With CB's Omega line, the opening is huge, enough to get into the bladder and clean things out. After a bit of use you WILL want to clean the thing out. The CB bladder material imparts no taste, and is supposedly antimicrobial, so weird things are disinclined to set up shop there. They are well insulated so things stay cold.


The Blowfish fit my needs to a T. It has an expandable compartment, and with it open, its capacity falls between the Mule and the Hawg, I believe. But when I don't need to carry a lot of extra clothing, it's quite compact, easily holding my usual kit: trade goods, gps, compass, batteries, flashlight, nylon cord, knife, first aid kit, bug repellant, bandanna, hat -- the usual.


It's around here somewhere...

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I just purchased a new pack about 4 weeks ago. Previously, I had an old Eastpak that I had been using for several years for carrying manuals and whatnot back & forth to work. It's held up quite well, but is too simplistic, imho, for geocaching (just one big compartment plus the usual single smaller storage compartmant - stuff just ends up all over the place in the compartment.) Plus, it ended up not being very comfortable to wear for long periods.


I would recommend maybe looking at some packs in a store to see what features you like and what ones you feel would irk you.


Things in a new pack that I knew I wanted:


- At least three compartments: the usual large one, then two smaller ones with at least one of those having an 'organizer' for pens, cell phone, misc small items, etc.

- Mesh external pocket(s) for water bottles, or GPSr, etc.

- Descently padded straps and none of that 'anti-slip' rubber on the straps you sometimes see on packs. imho, that antislip stuff just makes the pack harder to take on and off quickly as it tends to want to 'cling' to your shirt and wants rip the shirt off your back when you take the pack off.

- No waste belt, or at least a waist belt that was non-obtrusive or even removable.

- No useless "media" compartmants meant for putting a CD player in

- Waterproof for if (when) I got caught in the rain. (didn't care about zippers so much as at least the material.)


Looking around at packs at local stores, I had a hard time finding anything I was interested in. Unfortunately most daypacks seem to be geared more towards school or college than towards day hikes: they have special compartments for CD players, or an extra compartment and/or padding for carrying a laptop, or a big thick heavy handle on top for carrying at the airport, etc. It seemed that if I encountered a pack that I actually liked, there was something about it, though, that made me pass on it... some big waist belt system that would do nothing but get in my way, etc.


I remember seeing a couple packs online that interested me, but I was hesitant to buy them without being able to seem them first. Therefore I tried to stick to local stores, only.


In the end, I settled on a Northface "Yavapai" pack. It does have waste straps that I don't really care about nor use. But they're small enough that they don't get in the way and at least they're there if I ever *do* want to use them. It also has three compartments, compression straps on either side that can be used when the pack isn't full, and one of the compartments also has a nice organizer inside where I can stick a pen, small maglight, compass, keys, etc. It's *very* comfortable - I can where it all day long on my shoulders and I forget about it. The padding that goes against my back has 'channels' in it to let some air in. It did cost a little more than I originally wanted to pay ($59), but in the end I'm very happy with it.


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I'm fairly new to geocaching but am no stranger to the woods. I found the Coleman xponent lumbar pack to be sufficient for most outings. If I need to take more H2O, I slip on my camelback knock off . I can expand or reduce my gear toting requirements as needed.





• 600 cubic inches

• Pack weight 1.1 lbs.

• Hip belt fits 26" - 36"

• Panel loading with 3 pockets

• Hip belt with moisture management polyester mesh on interior surfaces

• Can be worn as a lumbar pack or shoulder bag

• 420D high density ripstop nylon and oxford weave nylon with polyurethane coating

• 210D oxford weave nylon and 900D high density oxford weave polyester with polyurethane coating

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I bought one a couple months ago at target for like $25. It's a knock off of the camelbaks. It has the water bladder and a storage section. If you don't want to use the water bladder then you can pull it out and have more storage...very inexpensive. Haven't had any problems except I need a new mouth piece for the bladder. i let my son wear on an outing and he chewed the in two and it will drip some. But, if you are worried about it getting messed up or anything then you won't be out too much money, considering the price of camelbak of similar size and feature.





My Stats

Found: 70

Hidden: 2

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I have a large Gregory internal frame pack for serious hiking, but for short hikes to do geocaching, I really like a smaller pack I bought about three years ago (still looks like new, despite considerable use) -- it is a Mountainsmith 'Caldera.' Just the right size for a rainjacket, trading items, a liter water bottle, and other misc. items. Don't even know if they make these anymore.

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I like my Mountainsmith Passage lumbar pack. It stays out of the way, but I can slide it around to the front when needed. It has adjustments which keep it from riding down and all the weight is in the correct spot (hips). It can hold a terrific load (with optional suspenders if necessary). Also there are two water bottle pockets that hold plent of water. I like bottles over the bladder because being lazy, I would rather put new bottles in each time instead of cleaning and drying a bladder.


I like lumbar packs because I find them much cooler than any pack against my back in hot weather. I have packed for lite overnight trips in the Grand Gulch area of Utah with this pack. I also find it perfect for Geocaching and day-hiking in the NorthEast.


- juliamark

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Well, I guess I am a Camelbak fanatic. I have 3 and just gave my M.U.L.E. model to a friend. I just bought a BFM military or Maximum Gear model in desert camo.See picture below. I plan several excursions into the desert the next 12 months and this pack is perfect. I bought it from Team Shuey, great prices and service. Team Shuey supports Geocaching and has a thread in the garage sale area.

The other 2 are a 2 liter Thermobak I use for yard work and fitness walks and a Motherlode that I now use around town.

There are some great threads about whats in your pack or backpack. Search with the find tool. Good suggestions for what others see as necessary. I have added a couple items after reading these threads. Good luck!


Geocachers do it with coordinates!


[This message was edited by AGREATSCOT on October 18, 2003 at 04:46 AM.]


[This message was edited by AGREATSCOT on October 18, 2003 at 04:47 AM.]

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I like to use a "Dakine Poacher" Top-loading Pack that was originally designed for snowboarders but it's amazing for Geo-hiking.


The size is just perfect, not too big, not too small (2000ci) that's why it works great as a backpack/daypack.


The best feature is the back access zipper, designed to get at the main compartment without having to take off the pack. This Back access also has a mesh organizer pockets perfect for holding a compass ,nutrition bars.. On the sides has quick-draw holsters great for hiking poles.


The top cover includes a Map pocket with clear window and the belt has a removable hip stash pocket for small valuables.

It is also camelbak compatible and I use it in combination with a 3 litter hydration system.



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I just won a Mule at a recent geocaching event!! They had a "quiz" on geocaching information and facts and I knew the most of the 25-30 something people present. Thank you Team Shuey for donating it for the contest. He actually donated 3 which were given away!!


I owe it all to the forums...

How about that something positive from the forums for a change!! icon_razz.gif


Free your mind and the rest will follow 30296_400.gif

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Wow! Post a question, then go away for a couple of days and look at all the help! Thanks for all the input.


Some of these look like great packs! When I was younger and had a lot more free time, I used to hike and camp a lot. Back then, I had a tubular pack (I think it was an Everest) that I had to carry everything in; tent, sleeping bag, food, clothes, etc. Its been years since I've done any hiking/camping of that sort and it now seems that my mom must've sold the old pack at a yard sale.


Anyway, I got to looking around and although the Camelbak's and others are very appealing, I wasn't sure that I'd get the use for the money out of them. Plus, I've spent a ton recently on this new hobby of mine and I think my wife would blow a gasket if I came home with a $50+ backpack.


So, for the time being I settled for something just to get me by for very short excursions. Target had most of their school packs on sale and I got a pretty nice one for $9.99 plus tax. It'll do for now, but I'll sure look back at this thread when I get ready to "upgrade."


Thanks for all the input and I'm sure there are others that will get some help from this thread as well.


Matthew 5:1-11

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Something I'd like to recommend for the taller Cacher is the JanSport Goshawk 40.



I'm 6'9" and it fits my long torso pretty well. And of course, it holds everything we could need and then some.


I use it in conjunction with a Platypus Water Tank 6. Yep, thats right... I carry up to 6 liters of water. We like to go all day, and I definitely drink it. Also, its nice to have backup for the puppy.


I used to go with a Camelbak TransAlp


There were three issues I had with the pack.

1) It was a bit to small in the torso area.

2) The pocket layout just didn't seem to make sense.

3) When the reservoir was full, much of the cargo area was taken up.


My wife uses the Camelbak Hawk


She loves it. It fits her perfectly and carries just enough.


CacheCreatures are spreading... They can hide, but they can't run!

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Here's my requirements for choosing a daypack:

-well-padded shoulder strap that doesn't pinch

-with a sternum strap

-hip belt with adjustments

-ample storage space without being too bulky when full

-outside pockets

-sturdy material



Its really a matter of personal preference and you will have to try on a dozen (or more) packs before you decide on one.

I have a bit of a pack fetish and that accounts to my 6 backpacks.


Have GPS, Will Travel.

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As I admitted in this thread I'm really really cheap. Besides that, I have very little experience with backpacks and don't want to spend a lot of money on something only to later find out that it's not what I want.


Having said that, my really really cheap backpack seems to work very well. I'm curious if those of you who are backpack aficionados could tell me what this cheap Wal-mart backpack is a knock off of. Is there a more expensive (more to the point, something that's probably durable/dependable) model out there that this is a knock off of?




That's my daughter modeling it for me. The pack is pretty small, but it's about all I'll ever need in the badlands of Central Illinois.




"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.

When a man found it, he hid it again." Mt. 13:44

CYBret's Geocaching Page

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I've taken a close look and side by side comparison of a Target http://www.outdoorproducts.com/proddetail.aspx?sku=4308OP camelbak knockoff (Ripcord) and a Camelbak M.U.L.E. http://camelbak.com/rec/cb_prod.cfm?catid=6&product_id=201 They both fit and carry alike. Same material, and basic construction. Pockets are the same. Similar buckles zippers and pulls. The only differences are the Camelbak bladder is 3 liters while the Ripcord is 2, and the ripcord has about 200 cu in more cargospace, and the price. Camelbak M.U.L.E. $80, Outdoor Products Ripcord $24.95 Even the colors are the same.


"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"

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I just bought a BFM military or Maximum Gear model in desert camo.See picture below. I plan several excursions into the desert the next 12 months and this pack is perfect. I bought it from Team Shuey, great prices and service.


I use a Medium ALICE pack without the frame. It's great for geocaching, but I sure like the looks of this one the guy above posted... very cool.


If it isn't hard, it isn't worth doing right?

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I got a military-grade HAWG from this guy.


One question I had was space. Come to find out, by removing a few items not needed for a short hike, I was able to put two (!) regular-sized .30 cal ammo cans in it! We found this out because we were placing three caches--Sissy carried one and I carried two.


For general caching, I keep one can in the pack with supplies and cache repair items just in case a container is in need of replacing. (Controversial, yes, I know.) The point is, the military-grade HAWG can carry a lot of stuff and is very rugged.


...and it can carry a fair amount of water to boot! (Only not a full bladder with 2 .30 cal cans in it.)


Hope this helps!




~sheesh~ Need to proof read more!


[This message was edited by Sissy-n-CR on October 27, 2003 at 06:03 PM.]

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I Use a StanSport Waist Pack I got from Big 5 for about $20. loads of compartments for trades, TBs, etc and 2 Waterbottles. It's also got loads of straps for my camera, palm, gpsr pouches etc. It also hides nicely under a long coat for urban caching & doesn't take too much space in my work van for slacker caching (geocaching when I'm supposed to be working)


If I ever get time to go long trail caching, I'll add a small back pack for my food etc.

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