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  1. #1

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    Frameless backpacks + no sleep pad with hammock gear??

    I am quite new to the world of hammocks and need some tips for packing up my gear. I've been exploring which hammock to invest in and then I started drifting toward all of the other gear that may accompany it: TQ, UQ, etc. I'm trying to keep as much of my old gear as possible from my ground dwelling days. And it got me thinking about my backpack set up.

    I have a Granite Gear Virga frameless backpack that is great for trips when I sleep on the ground because I take along an inflatable sleeping pad. I can roll the pad up and spread it out along the perimeter of the pack to create a frame before placing the rest of my gear inside.

    If I eventually move toward softer/compact gear like an UQ instead of a pad, I’m left without a “frame” for my frameless backpack (sounds funny, but that’s the best way I could think to put it).

    Does anyone out here at HF use a frameless backpack and NOT use a sleeping pad? If so, how do you pack your gear up to give you the most comfort, especially if the bulk of your gear is soft, like down or synthetic TQ/UQs?

    I’ve read a couple of older postings that guys use frameless packs (some with pads, some without), but I’m very interested in HOW you actually pack your frameless packs to make it the most comfortable: Tips, tricks, techniques.

    (I know this issue only indirectly related to hammocks, but the issue is caused by my moving toward the hammock world. So I'm hoping that's cool.)

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    SoCal Mike

  2. #2
    aboyd's Avatar
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    I use a piece of blue walmart foam pad cut to fit inside the pack, between my gear and my back. I have an older GoLite Gust pack and it had a piece of really thin foam in it (there is a pocket for it in the pack). I just swapped it for the ticker foam. Works pretty good, and I can use it as a sitting pad if I need to. You might be able to do something similar.
    "I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come." - Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Senior Member stefprez's Avatar
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    I can't speak from experience, and I had the exact thoughts as you did in my quest to go ultralight, but here are my thoughts. First off, if your pack weight is low enough (low enough to consider frameless backpacks) you probably are okay without a frame. The fact that ground dwellers usually have a CCF pad with them is kind of an added bonus in my mind, not a necessity. Either way, you could do a few things. What I've done is opted for a lightweight, framed pack (Osprey Exos 34, should arrive tomorrow.). I know there are lighter options out there, but I'm okay with it, as I know it will be a more comfortable carry than some of the UL packs. I know that might not be your viewpoint though. For the weight penalty of a couple ounces, you can always cut a small piece of foam as a sit pad/insulation for feet/backpack support. That's probably the best bet. If you do get an UQ, and it's not full length, you'll need something to insulate under your feet. They will freeze off if you don't. That small piece of foam can serve those many purposes, and still provide the pack structure you desire. Hope that helps!
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying."


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  4. #4
    Senior Member Pastorus's Avatar
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    I use frameless pack both with and without a pad.

    In cold weather when additional insulation is required for my feet, I pack the ccf or torso sized inflatable and it serves as a pack stiffener. A Backpacking Light article that just came out today addressed the debate about folding the ccf flat being better than stuffing the center of a rolled pad.

    When my UQ/TQ is all that is needed, and I want to set a new personal record for low weight, I just stuff the pack with my down UQ, TQ, and vest WITHOUT their individual stuff sacks. They fill my pack and stiffen it adequately. Some guys actually pre-load their pack with loose down items and slide in the hammock, food and other stuff where ever it fits. It looks like they just cram and go.

    The luxury of a cushioned seat around camp for me is worth the weight.
    "Well, you might be lazy, but if we were not all about comfort here this would be a tent forum!" - - Roadtorque

  5. #5

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    Frameless in SoCal

    Thanks, gentlemen. I was kicking around similar ideas, i.e. keeping weight down with a 3/4 length UQ and then covering my leg/feet area with WW CCF pad. Kills three birds with one stone: sit pad, frame for pack, warmth while sleeping. I think that if I get my pack weight low enough I'll also try going without the pad in warmer weather. Might just need to experiment. At least it's a fun experiment!

  6. #6
    Senior Member stefprez's Avatar
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    That it is! I'm actually headed out right now for a backyard summer insulation test. I've got enough insulation for probably 20* F with me, but I'll be starting minimal and adding as needed throughout the night. Different systems to try
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying."


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  7. #7
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    i use my frameless without a pad ... it's all on how you pack it
    my Conduit has a thin pad...but my MLD Newt does not..
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  8. #8

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    Frameless pack

    Quote Originally Posted by G.L.P. View Post
    i use my frameless without a pad ... it's all on how you pack it
    my Conduit has a thin pad...but my MLD Newt does not..
    G.L.P., This may be difficult to answer because everyone carries different gear, but do you have any tips based on how you pack? I assume you place heavier items closer to your back and in the middle, e.g. food and water. Lighter materials at the bottom? What works for you?

  9. #9
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    NEVER without a 1/4 inch ccf pad torso length.
    If you hang you will go down (to ground),took me almost 10 years to have a failure but the CCF was there.
    I'm in the ULA word (thanks to AngrySparrow!!) and will be using an OHM this weekend. I guess the OHM is a hybrid pack-kinda has a frame, well its got a delrin loop to transfer weight to the hips.
    Anyway, I've been hanging for 10 years now. Didn't matter if it was a custom Mithril backpack or its cousin from MLD which have no frame or if it was an Exos (I've use all three), I carry the CCF.
    The torso length ccf pad has too many uses, number one being insurance if you have to go to ground and it can boost your UQ 10-20F (depending on YOU).
    Other uses of ccf pad:
    sit pad
    insulation from the ground for your stove
    platform for spreading out stuff
    landing pad in winter for climbing out of hammock when wearing down socks
    emergency splint for broken whatever
    extra insulation for the UQ
    big *** windscreen
    more?
    flotation if going down river HA!
    Packing, the torso length ccf when placed in a framless pack or a semi like the OHM can go around inside the pack almost one time or close to it.
    Then stuff your stuff in the middle like normal.
    With a pad this size ---torso-- you can even fold it up and not use it as pack frame structure at all if you wish.
    With the Exos series I didn't find it necessary to 'pad' the back,,,wish it could have worked for the shoulder straps! So it was folded up and just stuffed in the pack near the top or in the large front pocket.
    At 3-4 ounces its like VISA, dont leave home without it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCal Mike View Post
    G.L.P., This may be difficult to answer because everyone carries different gear, but do you have any tips based on how you pack? I assume you place heavier items closer to your back and in the middle, e.g. food and water. Lighter materials at the bottom? What works for you?
    i put my quilts in the bottom of the pack.. then my hammock and some cloths... then food in the middle against my back and pack cloths and my ditty bag in from of that ... then my cooking kit and water if i use a bladder..
    if i'm using bottles they ride on the straps of my pack...
    i only use a bladder in the dead of summer when i know it will be dry and hot out ...

    once you get a system down for packing it's easy ... if i take a pad i don't use it against my back..i just put it on the outside of the pack.. since i'm so use to not using a pad and with a UL load a pad really isn't needed if you ask me
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

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