2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2011
This pack is meant to carry less than 20 pounds. If you plan to carry 20 pounds or less, I think you'll find it very comfortable. If you plan on carrying more than 20 pounds, expect your shoulders to feel it! (The unpadded hip belt doesn't really allow you to transfer any weight off your shoulders.) I also have the Granite Gear Vapor Trail which I'd use if I was carrying more weight. A padded hip belt allows you to carry the weight on your hips which is much more comfortable once the pack weight climbs, however it weighs twice what the Virga weighs.
I've been moving toward ultra-light backpacking for a while and getting to the point where you can safely sleep in the woods for more than a couple of nights while carrying less than 20 pounds (that includes everything inc. food and water) is a little more complicated than you'd think. Most ultra-light packs, including this one, are frameless. That means you have to pack very carefully to get you gear to coalesce into an interlocked semi-formed whole. The easiest way is to use a rolled foam sleeping pad and stuff your gear inside the roll. If you don't carry this type of pad (I don't) you'll need to play with your packing order. Trust me, you don't want to carry a loosey-goosey frameless pack very far.
It's no-frills, you don't get frills with ultra-light, water resistant, but not water-proof (use a pack cover) and tough. Tough and ultra-light don't generally go together and that's why I chose the Virga, that AND the price, I paid $109 and I thought that was a very fair price. I've used it on two 3 day, 3 night trips and used it as a carry on on a series of flights cross country.
Soooo... 20 pounds or less. If you buy this pack and you don't know what your gear weighs, you're probably not going to be a happy camper. If you do know what your gear weighs, you're probably moving towards ultra-light backpacking and this could be the impetuous you'll need to shave those last ounces! If you're already an ultra-light backpacker then you're also a gear-head; this is the 25th gear review you've read today- don't you have other things you need to do?
on November 11, 2010
I own another pack by the same company and have taken it all over the world and overloaded it and I have never had a tear. This pack was a bit smaller than I had hoped and the waist strap was not padded like the shoulder straps, and it did not have a plastic frame, but with the top duffle design I think I can still get enough camping gear for a short two day trip. The design is great and it sits well, even with heavy loads.