Over the years, our backpacks have run the gambit from massive Jansport D2 external frame packs to our own home-made ultra-lite packs. One of our problems is finding packs that will fit the kids. The length of their backs are too short for the smallest sizes of packs made by most companies. All the gear companies make packs for adults, not children. Will has had a different pack every year for the last five years because they never fit correctly. The other problem we have had with packs for the kids is the belts. No one makes them small enough to fit their little waists. We have to put a coat around their waist so the pack would ride correctly. Gossamer Gear packs have fit the kids the best and we will continue using them. Joon had finally gotten big enough to fit into Gossamer Gears XS belt.
This Gossamer Gear packs comes small enough for Joon, the medium fits Ann and Will. After hiking the PCT we replaced everyone’s Gorilla packs with. . . Gorilla packs. If something is working, don’t change it. The aluminum stay in the pack helps prevent the pack from collapsing on the kids backs and it distributes the weight. Since we put our Z-Rest pads in the pocket against the back, we need to get a belt one size larger. This is because the pad takes up about 6″ of the belts length. Joon’s smaller volume does cause problems at times but we always make it work. Some year Will get big enough to fit into a large, but he still has some growing to do.
For many years I have carried the G4, but not this year. Now I will be using a Mariposa. This is not because I have given up on the G4. I like the G4’s! It is because Gossamer Gear is not making the G4. I talked with them and they are redesigning them. This is a good and bad thing. Every time Gossamer Gear redesigns a backpack it gets heavier.
This is the pack I have been using for years. It is a no frills, big tube. I like having a lot of space just in case I need it. Several years ago, on the John Muir Trail, I carried both tents and two sleeping bags. I still had room left over for same of the food. My pack looked huge, but it was the lightest. For the PCT, I used this pack without any space problems. It also had room for the big food drops and somewhere to pack all the water we needing in the dry sections. After 4000 miles of using it, it is still in good shape and I do not plan on replacing it.