This is my first year as an entry level type II wild land fire fighter and i'm having trouble selecting a personal pack. The company I am working with this summer has recommended a 70L pack at minimum(typically the time spent out working a fire is a 14 day period). I'm looking for something that'll fit my sleeping gear(which is relatively small and packs down) and all my socks and shirts and hygiene stuff. Also that will protect from rain if that were to occur. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated.
@Mitchh231 not a firefighter myself, but I work with them. Knowing the conditions you'll be working in, I would emphasize durability over all else. There's lots of ultra-light gear out there that works great at first but it's built to withstand the constant abuse your rig will have to endure. I would recommend looking at reviews and warranties to find the pack that will last you for a while.
Beyond that, I don't have a specific recommendation. I use the very small but very reliable REI Co-op Ruckpack 28 for my field gear including GPS and other equipment, and it's been great over the years. Your needs will be different, of course.
@Mitchh231 Heartily second the above post on durability. Fire fighting is not easy on gear and you will appreciate items that are minimum maintenance.
This pack might work out: https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/162512/gregory-stout-75-pack-mens
I have no personal experience, but Gregory has been around a while and has a decent reputation.
Best wishes on your upcoming job. My first away from home job was fire fighting at Saguaro NP (AZ) many year ago and it was very rewarding and life changing, as well as lucrative ($2.50/hr - real money back then)
@hikermorIt's great to hear from someone that fought fire back in the day. Much respect💪🏽. Great pack recommendation also. I kept looking over this pack for the more expensive Baltoro version, but checking the specs and reviews this could be the pack.
@Mitchh231 thanks for reaching out! We have moved your post off the employee board because we have some really experienced community members who can likely provide great suggestions (you've got a few already!). We will also tag another community member, @Lightning_Girl, who definitely has experience with fire fighting! Finally, we'd recommend checking out these few packs as possible options:
Thank you for your work fighting fires, and hope this advice helps!
@Mitchh231 I was a USFS firefighter on the Mendocino National Forest. We were supplied with canvas knapsacks. They were durable that that's about all. Do you know if you will be wearing your pack on the lines or will they sit in fire camp? For my Search & Rescue 24 hour pack, I use an Osprey Aura which won't help you out but I'm completely taken by the AntiGravity suspension. I'm not sure about the durability but they have a very good guarantee. Good luck on your Firefighting career and be safe out there.