Packs? We don't need no stinking packs. Just get a large trash bag and fill that bad boy up. Want to be a professional? Toss that fucker in a shopping cart. Hell, then you can consider it a mobile home.
... but seriously read all of the posts that are before yours. There's a shit load of them all discussing the various aspects of different brands and sizes.
The best pack is the one that fits you well and has room for all the shit you need or want to carry.
A trash bag isn't gonna cut it for train hopping, tbh. You need something that can be thrown from a moving freight train into a thorn bush and survive.
Having never hopped a train before, but after doing some research, this is my personal list (someone please correct anything wrong):
Alice Pack to hold all the gear
Water Pouch or Bottles (1 gal. per day)
Backpacking Food (2 lbs. per day)
Plastic Bags (for waterproof storage)
Compressed Sleeping Bag
Hammock (for use off the track)
Durable Clothing (dark colors)
Cord or String
Solar Phone Charger (for posting my journey on StP)
NASCAR Scanner (not required, but useful for hearing train yard frequencies)
Notebook and Pens (for extra entertainment)
Respirator (also not required, but some people fear carbon monoxide buildup in train tunnels)
Personally, I would keep this stuff around at all times, because pretty much all of it can be used in general off-the-beaten-path travel. The durability of the Alice Pack makes it perfect for storing everything you'll need, regardless of where you're going. I hope this helps!
I have this SADF Pattern 83 "battle jacket" that I think will be perfect. It's not too big, the weight is distributed evenly around the front and back. Good kidney pads, Lots of pockets so I can grab and go, not have to dig through my whole pack for that one item.
Since Mad Max fury road came out (it's the one Tom Hardy wears at some point in the movie), the price on this more than doubled, I got mine for like 60 bucks a few years ago, now they are selling for $180, and thats used mil surplus. I might be better off selling it and getting the bag from the reddit r/vagabonds page dude recommends
I just don't see myself carrying around a huge camping back pack though. I have a kelty framed thing from when I was a scout, but it honestly just seems too big. Maybe I'm wrong.
The only issue is the pack makes me look kinda sketch cause it's so military.
My idea was to carry the pack and a smaller day pack with it that I can roll up and strap down when it's not in use. I like that it's small, so if it rains, I can just drape my raincoat over it. There's tons of straps which is good and bad.
I can strap my rolled up tarps and sleeping bag onto it, there's tons of loops for water or anything else, but I'm worried i'll catch on something when hopping trains and get dragged and shredded like that youtube dude Stobe the Hobo. (RIP) October 23, 1984 - November 8, 2017 https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/stobe-the-hobo-dath/
I dunno, the whole idea of freight hopping has me kinda sketched out anyways, so I'm not sure if I should even consider it in the equation for my pack choice.
If you plan on having it for a while it may be worth to invest in an osprey. It was a popular pack on the Appalachian Trail this year. I personally watched them replace many packs Fast, even upgrading some. Very good warranty (even bought 2nd hand) and customer service. If you are around a REi their garage sales are a good place to find them on the cheap.
Two things. One, they make those Osprey packs that have a detachable day pack in them, and they come in a variety of sizes, some of which you could easy stuff in a grainer hole. I think it's called the farpoint. I've never had one though so... Then thing two is buckets! Five gallon bucket with a lid dawg. You can sit on it, it's waterproof and it make's you look like a damn pro. Also, them gallon ziploc bags are a good idea.
I had a Jansport daypack that lasted for over 15 years. Wasn't on the road, but put it through the ringer; international travel and many dayhikes.
I stuff this fucker til it looks like the Gluttony victim from the movie 'SEVEN'.
Only recently did one of the zippers on the main compartment start failing (so confined to using the other zipper only).
Jansport and North Face are the same company. Most North Face equipment (packs, tents) carries a lifetime warranty.
THAT SAID, I'm somewhat envious of my buddy's pack he bought from Walmart. I hate those fuckin Waltons, but their superstores have unbeatable deals.
Put all your contents in the plastic bags you checked out with, and you're pretty much waterproofed!
Who cares what the exterior looks like cause you're gonna get filthy.
Hey y'all, I've been having a kind of Goldilocks effect with my bags. Essentially, I don't want anything too big or too small because I need all the necessary stuff for hopping (mostly clothing for dealing with weather and space for food/some camping and cooking gear/a few books), but I need to have a light enough capacity that it's easy to ninja around and walk long distances and so I really force myself to only put in what I need. Plus, it should be comfortable, and for some reason it's so hard to get a backpack that sits comfortably.
My biggest bag, a really nice Chrome messenger backpack, has a base weight that's already way heavy and seem to distribute weight only decently (better than other filled bags but still). Plus, the square shape makes it awkwardly bulky for hopping scenarios, and it's got way too many hanging straps that I would honestly like to cut off so they don't snag on a train and kill me. I think the bag is at least 60L but I've prob stuffed 70L of stuff there before. (The problem is there is no zipper, just a strap, so things can fall out.)
I also have a Brooklyn Industries bag, lifetime warranty and really good for what it is, but the capacity is so small that I can fill it with clothes and won't have enough space for my sleeping bag or propane, and I'd rather have stuff in my bag than clip things on and knock into shit. Est. 25-30L capacity is so small that it's only good for commuting, but I'm going cross-country.
The middle option would be the gray hiker-ish bag I bought from Walmart after I lost all my stuff in Sac, with around 40-ish Liter capacity, but one of the big straps there is starting to rip and will probably break with enough strain.
I guess what I'm looking for is a bag at/under 50 liters that has good back support and is good for train riding. If y'all can recommend similar as well as where to find good deals, I'd appreciate it, since I'd rather listen to y'all's experience than learn through my own trial and error. Every bag has its cons too, so make sure to explain any as well.
Make a bindle out of your sleeping gear? If your sleeping stuff isn't expensive you can stash it when you get into a town.
I usually look for a decent 40-45 ish liter pack too. And I usually just go with a cheap one from markdown stores or big 5. Otherwise I'd say shoot for something at rei.
5000 cubic inch/82 liter digital camo large molle II rucksack, military surplus. By no means the lightest of packs but indestructible af. Just my personal opinion, I'd rather have a heavier bag that can withstand a beating than a lightweight bag that'll need constant repairs if abused. It has two main compartments. The bottom fits my sleeping bag just crammed in there in a hurry, no rolling tight. The top fits all my other shit. It has a million places to attach molle pouches but I don't like em, they add weight and they catch on shit. 82 liters is already enough room. It also has a strong laced up slit that separates the top and bottom portion that you can open up to make it one giant compartment. It's a very wide pack but I'm a very broad shouldered guy. It feels like it was personally designed to fit my torso.
Hey all, just wanted to let everyone know I have combined @superphoenix 's thread with the one I mentioned above. Much easier for users to use the search feature to get answers to the same questions, without having to respond to multiple threads. Sooooo, please enjoy the prior responses above ^
Got it. I did some forum searching but couldn't find anything specific to what I felt like I wanted for my specific question about a mid-sized pack (or else the threads were from 2015 and earlier). Looks like a lot of people enjoy Ospreys.
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