Minnesotans (and the rest of the world) have a large abundance of outdoor activities, with backpacking having a huge following amongst many an explorer. Setting the theme for winter and I conducted some research on technical packs during winter.
I began with a few interviews with people whom i found to be experienced backpackers:
I met Liz, a hard working server and avid traveler during her free time. The following interview explains how she enjoys traveling on one backpack alone, that everyone should eventually have this experience for themselves. Liz has never backpacked during winter but had a few key points she addressed that caught my attention: backpack, called technical packs, come in different sizes for gender, and can be confusing to adjust to your body. eventually Liz said that she had to get a foldable roller when she stopped in Denmark during her eastern Europe journey because she couldn't handle the pressure on her shoulders, even with a waist belt.
My second interview came from Jonathan whom i ran into in uptown with this large backpack on him. Intrigued by this bag, I had few questions I wanted to ask him.
Jonathan is an avid bike commuter and has camped a lot. the backpack he had on him apparently was not suited for long periods of time, for expedition. however he does say that he bag he had on him was treated with wether proof canvas material but when he bikes rain can sometimes seep through the seams. another thing he added was the problem of weight shifting in the bag. depending on where things were placed the weight can be affected on your body. he mentioned that his bag was too wide and that having a vertical style bag would be best for weight distribution.
I went into midwest mountaineering later that day to get a more in depth look at different technical packs.
There wasn't much in the way of customers in the camping section, but it was there I met Dan, a sales associate and knowledgeable camper.
during the interview he suggested the best backpack would be one that would fit all seasons, be 'submersive' in water (including finding a way to protect the seams, he says that even though things are advertised as waterproof, it isn't completely a preventative way to get water (or melted snow) away from he seams of the bag. Apparently 'submersive' and waterproof are different levels of protection.
he also mentioned that lash points are great way to attach outside equipment to your pack, like adding lash points or daisy chains so you can attach skis or snowshoes. Dan also added that vertical packs are a good way to distribute weight, but to be careful in adding too much gear;the backpack should be lightweight for your body, waist belts and comfy straps would be a plus and that one should practice wearing a backpack before trekking somewhere.
Later on i decided to test out the backpacks i had at home to test our the weight issue.
I took on two of my bags: A north face base camp duffel and a chrome barrage cargo (for my everyday backpack i thought it would store a lot for packing light and traveling)
I stuffed as many heavy and useful things I could into the backpacks to see how it felt at max capacity.
The north face bag felt like it could hold so much, but it only had one area to store items, so quick access was going to be a bit tricky
there were only the to simple backpack straps which began to dig on me after a longer period of time wearing them. it might have been better to attach extra straps to see how weight distribution would have changed.
So i went on to the chrome backpack.
This one has extra straps for when I usually bike commute to school and i carry large amounts of stuff in tit and i personally have had to shift weight around to feel more comfortable.
i also added a hip pouch to the strap since there weren't many outside pockets for easy access on 'go-to' items. the pouch looks obnoxious, but seemed handy. i might even use this as a n actual pocket from now on...
A dry-sack was added to the cargo net on the backpack to see if more storage could be added without the affect of the backpack weight.
The weight felt a little heavier, with nothing really uncomfortable. perhaps i should add more stuff into the bags.
After messing around a few more times i went to brainstorm and took a cue from the post it not masters and organized main topics to look into for winter technical packs.
so the thoughts went from here...
to my wall...
and after a few more times rearranging the topics...
Finally! i was able to cut these topics into a few categories of what a winter pack might need to be more useful.