Reviewed by Ruben from South Texas on Tuesday, November 4, 2014
The pack rides well on the waist alleviating the strain that is commonly placed on the shoulders. Since the shoulders aren't strained, backaches are not present. More importantly is having a well balanced load since any shift in weight will be felt further ahead in the form of aches of unknown origin. It is a good pack and all the straps and such can be used to secure all kind of things.
It is somewhat bulky, but what wouldn't with 50lbs of things stuffed in it. I had bought a similar bag before that lasted through 3-5 trips before the stitching started to give. The stitching appears firmer and all the straps make for a more tightly supported bundle. I don't know but do hope that this bag will last more than the previous.
Reviewed by ogg from Southern California on Friday, May 30, 2014
This pack isn't for everyone. For one thing, its heavy. Its made out of a heavy duty, highly water resistant canvas material that is very similar to that used in my hand-sewn Springbar canvas tent. I happen to be really impressed with this fabric. Water beads right off of it and it will clearly stand up to abuse. The frame and suspension system is quite substantial. This pack carries heavy loads just as well as my external frame pack and with even better stability than the lighter loads I would sometimes carry with my 60L internal frame pack. This pack is the best of both worlds for carrying large, heavy loads.
So far, I've used this pack on one overnight trip in the Eastern Sierra, on mostly well constructed trail but there was also some mild cross-country and rough use-trail hiking involved and short bit of rough travel through an overgrown area. I carried a full sized bear canister and a bulky, heavy 2 person tent which, along with all my other gear took up the entire space of the pack. I had some luxury items with me- a chair, book, couple of beers, etc- so my load was pretty heavy for an overnighter, roughly 45 lbs. I really like the single large sack format and being able to quickly pack larger items into it. The front pocket is cavernous and good for smaller items if they are not too thick. I really like having two pockets in the lid. In the lower internal pocket I can stash keys, wallet and cell phone and then forget about them. The upper, outer lid pocket is just large enough for the things I might need on the trail.
On the first day, I would have rated this pack a 5, it carried so well. On the second day, I began to notice some pain in the top front of my thighs, caused by the waistbelt. Though the waistbelt is quite thick, most of that thickness comes from a solid semi-flexible material that is at least 1/4-3/8" thick. There is also a lot of padding, however the padding does not wrap around the edges of the rigid material. It was this hard edge that was causing the discomfort. Eventually, I recalled reading the Macpac designed the fit of this pack such that the waistbelt rides quite high, above the hip bones. My waistbelt was riding over the hipbones. Shortening the torso length a bit helped alleviate the discomfort but there was more weight on my shoulders and the shoulder straps were extended to their maximum length. The waistbelt was still riding low. After I returned home, I download Macpac's fitment guide for the Liberator Suspension system. This should be included with pack. Following Macpac's guidelines, I put a full heavy load into the pack and again adjusted the torso length shorter. This now allows the waistbelt to be positioned where Macpac says it should be when I put the pack on, which is above the iliac crest of the hip bones. It seems that I can still manipulate the shoulder straps and load lifter straps to move the load off the back of the shoulders in conjunction with the stabilizer straps on the waistbelt. I am a little puzzled by this as I have a 19" torso, which it seems to me should require the torso length adjustment being more at the longer end of the range given that Macpac specifies a range of 16.5-19.25" inches for this size pack (S3). I'm not going to worry about that for now. Only time- and another hike- will tell if the hip belt stays in place. I have some concerns about that as I have a few extra pounds around my waist and belly. Also, the foam on the waistbelt is quite soft. It seems to me that the waistbelt would function better if the foam was firmer, or if there was dual density foam. My six other backpacks all have firmer foam.
Macpacs Liberator suspension fitment instructions can be downloaded here: www.macpac.co.nz/files/attachments/Liberator_Fitting_Instructions.pdf
I highly recommend that anyone purchasing this pack download them and get the pack adjusted properly before heading out on the trail.
Cosmetic Blems or Irregulars. Minor cosmetic blemishes or slight irregularities
which do not affect the fit, performance, or longevity of the item. Label is
usually clipped or marked by the manufacturer. A small flaw means big savings.
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