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Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack

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avatar Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 26, 2011 04:19PM
Has anyone considered making a “front pack” style attachment to carry a bear canister? It seems to me this would be a very good solution. It would allow one to use a smaller main pack that should more than make up for the extra weight of the “front pack” (not including the weight of the bear canister, of course).

I’m thinking of giving this a try. Any thoughts?
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 26, 2011 04:25PM
Like a baby carrier?

I think it might get rather interesting trying to balance two different loads that will shift around as one moves. A fanny pack is one thing, but up to 12 lbs of food might get interesting as it moves around.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 26, 2011 04:45PM
Something more stable than that. There are pack manufacturers that make various types of front packs. I thought the bear canister would be a natural to more there. But, I'm wondering what everyone else thinks.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 26, 2011 05:17PM
Considering the size of even the smallest bear canisters currently available (and approved for use in Yosemite National Park) on the market, I don't think I would want any of them strapped on the front of me while I'm backpacking.

I think just strapping a bear canister securely to the back of your backpack should suffice.

On the other hand, maybe someone can come up with a lightweight mini-bear-resistant-canister or storage bottle that one can easily clip to the front of their backpack or utility belt. This would be to used for carrying small snacks while hiking during the day that can be easily accessed without having to take your backpack off. It also would prevent having people store daytime snacks in a fanny-pack that can be too easily comprised by marmots and other small animals when left unattended for even a few minutes out in the wilderness.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 09:41AM
It seems that no one thinks this would be a good idea (I posted the same question on backpackinglight). I guess a front pack with other "stuff" and the bear canister in the pack would be a better idea.

That is why I asked...
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 09:52AM
Quote
Hitech
It seems that no one thinks this would be a good idea (I posted the same question on backpackinglight). I guess a front pack with other "stuff" and the bear canister in the pack would be a better idea.

That is why I asked...

I put my sleeping bag in a loose stuff sack and then jam my bear can down horizontally on top of the sleeping bag which will cause it to conform to the shape of the can. All my other stuff goes on top of that. For longer trips I use a Garcia and for shorter trip I use the Bare Boxer 101. http://www.bareboxer.com/products.htm



Old Dude
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 10:15AM
Quote
Hitech
It seems that no one thinks this would be a good idea (I posted the same question on backpackinglight). I guess a front pack with other "stuff" and the bear canister in the pack would be a better idea.

That is why I asked...

If you can't fill all your schtuff into your backy pack... then buy a bigger pack...
(or don't bring so much schtuff) (or buy more lightweight / better schtuff)

* in other words u can count me as another that thinks the idea is bad



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 11:03AM
The Army and NATO have published a great deal of research on load carriage, including on front packs. Front packs move the center of gravity forward, which is a good thing since the backpack moves the COG backwards. By adding a front pack, you minimize the forward lean associated with even a well distributed backpack load. (If you get a neck ache from hiking, it may be from the need to hold the neck in an unnatural position to look forward when your torso is sloped forward to counter the weight shift associated with the backpack, especially if the weight is poorly distributed in the pack -- too low or too far back)

But in practice, the Army found that few people tolerated split packs (the combination of a backpack with a front pack). It interfered too much with the ability to see the ground in front and otherwise inhibited movement. (It also affected weapon use, though that presumably is not a problem for most of us).

I put some weight in front -- e.g., a 16 oz water bottle hung from a shoulder strap and a map, compass. sunscreen etc case on either front of hipbelt or from the sternum strap). But my own experiments with anything much bigger were not very successful due to the downward vision problem and either (1) the feeling that the front load flopped around too much or (2) heat from affixing a front load too tightly to my chest.

Other ways to deal with the weight distribution problem work better, IMHO, than frontpacks:

1) The most common approach is to pack stuff above shoulder level where even a minimal forward lean moves the COG forward. Many backpacks are designed to accomodate above neckline loading. I personally don't like this approach much because it also moves my COG upward and makes me feel less stable. I also enjoy being able to look over my shoulder. And when I tried to pack stuff high, as I did for years, the back of my head often pressed uncomfortably against my pack when I tried to look up at the sky or at a ridgeline. The high-pack unduly encouraged me to just look at the trail in front of me rather than enjoy the outdoors.

2) Pack stuff below neck level but concentrate the heavy stuff (usually the bearcan) as tight to the shoulders as possible and just below neck level. A slight forward lean then moves the COG forward and the slight forward lean doesn't seem to bother me. The Army's otherwise odd-looking main rucksack (MOLLE II backpack) includes a "radio pouch' which fits my bearcan well and keeps it right behind my back, centered and at the level I want.

What you want to avoid, of course, is stuff near or below waist level. As you lean forward, stuff packed there moves backward relative to the COG and counteracts the otherwise favorable effect of the forward lean.

I haven't tried adding links here before - hopefully the following will work. These are big files, and they will load slowly for most people, very slowly for some.

Army Load Carriage Monograph

NATO load carriage research collection

John Ladd (co-moderator JMT Group on Yahoo)
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 01:56PM
Thank you for that detailed report on pack balance. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my 10 lb camera gear bag for the labor day trip. At least it is a short walk...
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 02:02PM
Quote
Hitech
10 lb camera gear bag

What have you got in it?
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 02:20PM
Two video cameras, a go pro hero camera, a still/video camera, 25 dv tapes, 30 mini DVDs, batteries and a solar charger. Doesn't even include the two tripods.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2011 02:21PM by Hitech.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 02:37PM
Quote
Hitech
Two video cameras, a go pro hero camera, a still/video camera, 25 dv tapes, 30 mini DVDs, batteries and a solar charger. Doesn't even include the two tripods.

What? No 8x10 view camera?
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 05:57PM
Quote
eeek
What? No 8x10 view camera?

Don't own one, or maybe... winking smiley

This is a memorial trip for a friend that passed suddenly. I've been asked to shoot a video of the trip. Hopefully it will be something his son (now 10, I'm taking him with me) will enjoy later in life.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled jokes. winking smiley
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 06:08PM
In that case, I hope you are going to Table Lake.
(this is a regularly scheduled yoke)

(and boooooo to Meester Marmut for not going there!)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 02:35PM
Mine is similar weight. Domke bag with two primes, a tripod and some extra batteries. Half the time I don't even use the tripod or batteries. Or even the other lenses. Way too busy hauling gear around to stop and take photos.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 03:36PM
Quote
steelcup

Half the time I don't even use the tripod...

Why not?

If you're not going to use your tripod with your SLR for landscape photography, you might as well just bring along a smaller point & shoot camera instead and forget about the tripod, the SLR, and lenses, and enjoy the weight savings.
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 03:40PM
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 03:47PM
I was just going to buy a heavier tripod, but now you have me thinking that's not the best solution.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 04:09PM
Quote
steelcup

I was just going to buy a heavier tripod, but now you have me thinking that's not the best solution.

Why were you thinking about getting a heavier tripod? What lens were you going to support with it?

Generally speaking, the best tripods are the ones that you actually use. It doesn't matter how rock-steady a tripod is if you often end up not using it because it's too much of a hassle to use or to lug around.

Personally, I prefer lightweight carbon-fiber tripods. Not only are they far easier to lug around, they don't get as darn cold as aluminum tripods when it's cold outside (nor do they get as hot when it's hot).

If you photograph wildlife, you might also want to consider a lightweight carbon-fiber monopod.
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 04:16PM
I think you missed the jokes.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 28, 2011 05:11PM
I think I did. Embaressed
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 04:01PM
I have an Aarn body pack.

I have no problems with it. It is by far the most comfortable pack ever - when you get the adjustments dialed in, and you can adjust it 80 ways from sunday, pretty much anything can be adjusted on it. I put the empty bear canister in the top of the backpack and put all heavy items in the front packs. No issues with flopping around, visual contact with the feet, or any of the other issues mentioned.

You can get front packs designed for camera gear as an option - you buy the backpack in the size you want and add the front packs you choose. Get a friend to help you custom fit the pack to your back and you're set.

It's pretty cool how the weight is carried - and it's pretty nice to have all your stuff in front of you, where you can pull it out while walking.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2011 04:04PM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 04:48PM
Thanks for the info. Very Interesting.

Of course this comment
Quote
AlmostThere
It is by far the most comfortable pack ever
is a bit, uh, taking it too far... ???

Since the pack I use is by far the most comfortable pack ever!
tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 07:23PM
Quote
chick-on
Thanks for the info. Very Interesting.

Of course this comment
Quote
AlmostThere
It is by far the most comfortable pack ever
is a bit, uh, taking it too far... ???

Since the pack I use is by far the most comfortable pack ever!
tongue sticking out smiley

Should be fairly obvious that I am subjectively speaking. Tho I have indeed tried a multitude of packs - Osprey, Gregory, Granite Gear and North Face, Deuter and REI. I have bought, sold and borrowed. I still have a Granite Gear and Gregory. And now an Aarn.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 09:02PM
All gear is subjective. That's kinda what I was chiding about.
Get 20 people together and they'll all have stuff they love and it'll all be different.

Now for more on my thought (and you can ignore me or whatnut, that's ok, I'm outta here for a few days),
I'm just thinking why the heck would I want to take all the stuff out of my bear can
and put it on the outside of my pack? It just seems ridiculous.
I've seen some guy with a can dangling outside his pack. Maybe he likes it like that,
I dunno. For me, with the schtuff I do alot of ... that thing would be smacking me
in the noggin or getting yanked off every 5 minutes. I don't see me liking the front
thingading either.... but you never know. I can be convinced... (although I'm not the one
using the hammock... dis bird sleeps on da ground).

You never know... it may be the future. External used to be the norm... far from it now...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
September 01, 2011 04:36AM
I dunno, I backpacked with a traditional guy last weekend and met a couple others on the trail - external frame, 50+ lbs! Better them than me tho.

You want all the heavy stuff in the front because it puts your center of gravity much lower and balances your load. The bear can is still light enough that it belongs in back, with the shelter, insulation, clothing and usually my rain gear. I've strapped gear (shovel or snowshoes) to the back of the pack. The rest fits in the 12 liters of space in the two front packs.

If it were a case of a bigger bear can and more food, I'd sure share it out - keep a bunch of it in the can, put the rest in the front packs - coz it's about balance. The front packs have stays in them that are adjustable and are attached at the sides to the harness with shock cord - they do not bounce, fly, sway or do anything you do not want them to do. They are clipped at the shoulder and the bottom of the stay goes into a pocket on the front of the hip belt. The waterproof version of the front packs have roll tops and allow you to detach the bottoms to use them as flotation devices across rivers.

The only gripe I have is that the pack is very large volume-wise - I do not need 45+12 liters of space for less than 40 liters of gear - but I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter as it was given to me. Have thought of getting a smaller version, maybe when I am rich....
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
September 01, 2011 09:30AM
Which model of the Aarn body pack to you own?
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
September 01, 2011 10:11AM
Peak Aspiration - it's the waterproof model.
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 09:49PM
Come on, we all know GoLite packs are the most comfortable out there!
avatar Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 06:23PM
Interesting. The first proponent of the front pack. I'm going to try and carry some weight in a simple front "pack" (really just straps holding gear) tomorrow. If it doesn't work I'll probably be carrying them in my hands. At least the walk is short. smiling smiley
Re: Bear Canister in a Front Pack
August 31, 2011 07:24PM
I'm not the only proponent - probably one of the few on this particular forum tho.

You can read some reviews of Aarn packs online. There are some at backpackgeartest.org.
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