Rated5out of5byTobySnowfromhitchhiking/trainhoppingGot this pack at a "REI Garage Sale" for a really good deal compared to the actual listing price. Damage was done to the pack therefore restocking it into the garage sale because of "zipper death", but a quick stich on the front pocket made it an open all-the-time pouch for snacks. Plan on taking it up through the West Coast and more this summer for a 3+ month excursion, but initial looks at this pack, it is ideal for what it is designed for. X brace is innovative probably helps center the weight over your lower lumbar, and the hip straps are large and comfortable offering only one zip pocket on one side and not both. Alternatively there is a section on the other side that looks able to fit a knife clip or canteen clip or cell phone if you travel like that.
Fit a 3L Platypus hydration kit inside the pack, and it centers nicely.
I also really liked how supported and attached the pack is in general to your upper torso, it doesn't bounce when I run or move in any way. It is as if up upper body and this pack are a unit which is impressive because the amount of gear this pack can hold. 5/5 stars, because if you complain about this pack in any way then maybe its the traveler and not the design. Sleeping bag compartment is enormous, main pocket super deep with double nylon draw cords for 2 layers of rain protection below the raisable hood. In addition the zippers are all waterproof probably under a light/medium rain. It even has a blaze orange emergency whistle clip that doubles as a latch for your chest clip, seriously kudos to the company.
Date published: 2013-04-27
Rated4out of5byHikerguy62fromWinter CampingI picked this up for the increase in size over my Ridgeline pack to accomate more gear for winter snow camping. I tend to pack heavy and prepare for extra days or adverse situations, and this pack handled the large load and weight well. I was not thrilled with the fit of the waist belt initially, but I am still breaking it in. Excellent room, access, and highly adjustable. I hate to say it but it really reminded my of my old Army ruck on steriods! I had looked at some of the other large capasity packs, but they did not compare as well as the XT 85. Great value, I would highly recommend it for extended trips.
Date published: 2013-01-23
Rated4out of5byMotoRPfromThis one is a winnerFor use as a Multi-day backpack, this pack performs very well. Sleeping bag access is large enough to accommodate a non-backpacking sleeping bag or even a double-wide sleeping bag. I have also found the lashing points to be quite useful. Padding in the hip/shoulder straps could be softer but then it probably wouldn't last as long. Overall, it is a great pack.
Date published: 2013-01-16
Rated4out of5byEagleSct10fromGo Anywhere PackI purchased this pack last December around Christmas. I used it on several multi-day trips throughout the year. However, the real test was using this pack for a two week trip to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness in the Adirondack Park. After that experience I can honestly say this is a great pack and now feel obligated to review it.
When I first told people that I purchased and 85 liter backpack everyone thought I was crazy and said it was too much weight, space and I would end up filling it with unnecessary gear. Let me tell you its better to have a large pack and have room left over rather than have a small pack where you will have to dangle gear off the back or have someone else carry your extra gear for you. Plus I assist on the backpacking trips that my college offers and we always get a kid that cant quite carry everything so it is good to have extra room so we can help them out.
Considering the large capacity the XT is actually a very lightweight pack only 5lbs unloaded and when it is empty it stores very compact. If you see this pack in the store empty at first glance it will not look like a large pack but it packs a punch once you play with the straps and what not.
This pack is super durable. The two weeks I spent in the ADKs was nothing but bushwhacking through red spruce and other nasty vegetation and not a single tear. The only break I have had on this pack was one of the buckles for a sleeping pad broke because I stepped on it which can be blamed on myself and not the quality of the manufacturing.
I did try the REI Mars 80 but decided on this one because of the comfort. The frame is contoured almost perfect with your back and works with you rather than inhibiting your movement. The hip belt is super thick and comfortable even with heavy loads.
I only have one complaint and this will apply to almost all large capacity packs. If you don't fill it it will feel very awkward. We did a coupe of day hikes during the trip and I always had to remove the brain because it would flop around and smack me in the head every time I ducked under a log or went over one. It also just felt strange so I would recommend either emptying the brain and leaving it on or taking it off all together. I also wish the brain converted to a lumbar pack.
All in all this is a fantastic pack! Other features I like are the bottle lock pockets and the side zipper is a lifesaver in the backcountry when you have had a long day and don't want to go digging through your pack.
Date published: 2012-11-02
Rated4out of5byDrKeithfromDid well on WhitneyI recently took this up the mountaineering route on Mt Whitney. I was very comfortable carrying 40 lbs.( I'm 5'7", 145 lbs...not a hulk!). I have no fat on my body and so a good hipbelt is essential to avoid pain.
There were many areas of rough granite and areas of brush to push through. I found no areas of abrasion or damage to the pack.
The pack was stable when climbing technical sections.
I particularly liked the pocket layout. I put my shell in the STUFF IT section. The 2 dorsal pockets were perfect for: 1. my personal kit bag of meds, toothbrush,comb,etc,and 2. the other held skull caps, bandana and balclav. The "head" held hats, keys,wallet.
The ice axe loops make great sense in a central location, not interfering with pockets or straps.
I often carry 50-65 lbs on multiday glacier ascents and I will be interested to test this pack at higher weight. It replaces an old, 9 lb bomb-proof Lowe, and I was glad to drop 5 or so lbs.
My one complaint was the chord keeper that closes the main body. It was an awkward design and quickly broke. I will replace it with a standard keeper from my spare parts kit, at minor expense.
I was a little wary of the "hybrid" nature of the frame, but I found it to be very comfortable and I'm glad I bought this pack.
Date published: 2012-10-10
Rated1out of5bymozillafromBad Construction3 different zippers on the pack blew out first time packing it up. 5 day trip, constant struggles with the zippers, even when pockets were empty. Bad construction and materials. Also, pack was delivered with two male buckles on the waist belt. Had to scramble to different stores to find a replacement buckle.
Date published: 2012-09-27
Rated2out of5bywolffiefromregrettably returning this packI love many things about this pack, but I am returning it after 2 years of use because of unrepairable structural failure. The frame stays have speared through the bottom of the pack; they need to be redesigned to terminate in a broad surface so they won't punch through the bottom. I have treated it carefully.
It carries beautifully. Every adjustment is easily made in the field, often without breaking stride (except for the hip belt, see below). The hip belt is nicely shaped. I have only praise for the suspension.
I've used it for day hikes, weekends, trips up to 10 days, including arid trips with heavy water loads. You don't often need this much volume, but there are times...
I initially scoffed at many features that I came to appreciate. The kangaroo pouch on the back is great, very handy, less exposed than I'd expected. The "cheese-grater" back seemed to soften and become less abrasive, although I think this elaborate feature is unnecessary and I would prefer a lighter, simpler, smooth surface. The hip-belt pocket is extremely handy, I just wish it was slightly larger. It's easy to rig a bear-spray holster and camera bag on the shoulder straps. The top flap pocket is really good; this is an essential feature for me and I've had few packs that were this easily-reachable and properly-sized. The compression/baggage straps on the bottom can be creatively used. The elastic side-pockets are highly useful for anything you can afford to lose or is tied-in, like dog leash, trail saw, handkerchief, DEET; I've lost 2 water bottles out of this pocket (hauling, glissading); you can reach these pockets in mid-stride. The pack compresses well for use with smaller loads.
Aforementioned structural frame failure. My attempted repair with epoxy glue and reinforcement fabric did not last.
It is about a pound too heavy.
All straps have abrasive mesh fabric on the side that contacts my bare skin and actually leaves impressions in my skin. The wisdom of this escapes me.
The 2 awkward back pockets need to be replaced with detachable side pockets, hung on the compressor straps. Where they are currently located, you always have to reach around the pack to get at them, very inconvenient, you want these reachable when you lean the pack against a tree or on the ground. They unbalance the pack and make it fall over, especially when you have your water in them, the obvious use. They make the front-to-back profile too wide to swing under logs or slip sideways through brush. The poorly designed pocket zippers are embarrassingly weak, and both failed in less than a year. REI generously paid for them to be replaced with old Kelty-style horizontal-zip pockets, so I still can use the pockets when (not if) the zipper fails (in good weather I often don't bother to zip them).
The fancy double-pulley hip belt buckles are very awkward and offer no improvement over the traditional design; nice idea, doesn't work. It is a 2-hand operation to loosen the belt(!) esp. with mitten. The long dangling straps are always in the way, a real nuisance.
The raised seams inside the pack make it quite difficult to stuff things into the bottom; always snagging. Flat felled seams would be better.
I have never used the bottom sleeping-bag zipper or side zipper; these add weight and vulnerability. Never buy a pack that depends upon a zipper for its structural integrity.
Here in the wet Pacific Northwest, you have a big plastic bag inside your top-loading pack in any case.
The hoisting loop looks strong, but is sewn into a seam, not any structural member (!). Mine pulled-out promptly (admittedly when a partner incorrectly rigged it for hauling); you can easily correct this by looping a cord around the nearby frame (why didn't the designers do this?).
I have no use for the water-bladder provision.
I have noted wear at the bottom; heavier fabric here might be worth the weight.
A bright color would be nice for hunter-safety (recent Washington fatality).
Generally, my recommendation is more emphasis on durability and less on fancy features.
When these defects are corrected, I will seriously consider buying another.
Date published: 2012-09-08
Rated5out of5byEagle Scout RyanfromAwsome Pack!This pack is awsome! I recently went to Philmont Scout Ranch and did a 73 mile hike in 10 days. This is the perfect pack for an extended trip or just a weekend outing. There are plenty of places to attach gear to the outside of this pack. Also there is plenty of room to put all your gear and extra meal bags. When this pack is adjusted properly it is very comfortable to hike for miles with.
The only thing bad with this pack is that it is a blackhole because you will put gear in it and then cannot find it the next day because the main compartment is huge.
Date published: 2012-09-02
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