Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby iindica211 » Mar 3, 2011 7:28 pm

Ok thank you guys very much for the help I am down to choosing from 2 packs now and i got 1 question to make that decision.

On the OR1 Heavy Duty Cave Pack it says "Cinch top allows for easy access without the need for zipers or velcro"
what the heck is a cinch top? lol Is it the little string thing that pulls it shut like on the Lost Creek Monster TAG Cave Pack? :crazy:
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby ct1 » Mar 3, 2011 9:57 pm

One thing to think about is the clips on the pack that hold the shoulder straps. OR1 uses heavy duty clips, Lost Creek packs use lighter weight clips. The heavy duty clips add extra weight to the pack so thing about that. Also the lighter clips could get you unstuck if you get trapped by your pack when it is attcahed to your ankle for that long crawl and you are the last in line and no way to get around you to help free you. I have one of each and have to say that I carry the Lost creek the most just becuase it it lighter empty. I spent of most of my time pushing or tossing the pack around not on my back.

Both the packs that I have have tops that have a string to pull the top of the pack closed like many backpacking packs do, then they role down to close.

As for keeping things dry I put everything in zip lock bags works pretty well but then I also do not do much river or really wet caving my caving.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby trogman » Mar 4, 2011 10:18 am

I have had a Lost Creek TAG pack for many years. It is beat up pretty bad, but still very much usable. Back when I bought it, there was an option available to get it coated with PVC, which made it very water-resistant. Not waterproof, but close to it. I think it only cost something like $5 more or so. I bought a Monster TAG pack about a year ago, thinking I needed more room, but so far I have yet to use it.
BTW, the customer service at Lost Creek is excellent!

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Amocholes » Mar 4, 2011 10:44 am

I have a LC Tag pack as well. I've used it for over 10 years and it is getting a bit beat up as well.
Last year I bought the Monster and found it to be too big for my needs. I'm still using the Tag pack.
When facts are few and far between, hypothesis defies all logic, as to how an individual came to the conclusion, that the point that they are trying to make, is indeed true and not just the fabrications of a deluded mind.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 4, 2011 11:12 am

YuccaPatrol wrote:
derekbristol wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would need the Monster TAG as an everyday pack.


It's hardly monstrous in size despite the name. The average school-kid's book backpack is probably larger. It holds my basic items plus either my camera gear or vertical gear. And when it is not full the closure rolls down far enough that it is really no larger than the regular TAG when it comes to crawls/squeezes/etc


The Monster is 1375 cu.in, which is 56% larger than the TAG (880 cu.in) and 160% larger than the Flint Ridge (530 cu.in). There's a human tendency to expand to fill the space we occupy. One of the beauties of a small pack is it forces you to think more efficiently. When you're trying to decide whether or not to bring that 50' of 1" tubular webbing for a horizontal cave you might think "well... what if we do need it, and I have plenty of space, so yeah lets bring it", but with a small pack you are forced to bring only what you need. Just rolling it down tighter doesn't exactly make it the same size as a smaller pack. The Flint Ridge has a very small cross section so I can wear it through much tighter squeezes than I can the TAG. Keeping the pack on saves a lot of time and energy in caves with lots of squeezes and belly crawls.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby scrambler » Mar 4, 2011 1:12 pm

I have a Lost Creek TAG as well as a slightly smaller one (custom made) from Lost Creek. I use the smaller one as a fanny pack when leading newbies around or when I'm just bee-bopping in and out. The TAG is WONDERFUL! As was mentioned in someone else's post, it really makes me think about what I'm packing. I've had it crammed full of stuff for a 16+ hour trip (and was well fed, hydrated, warm, and able to carry all my frog vertical gear). It's tough and durable and has kept up w/ the abuse I've put it through. I've carried it as a backpack, side pack, drug it through long virgin crawlways, dropped it down inclines and climbdowns and used it as something to sit on while resting. My TAG has a few holes in it, but they came from putting pointy objects in them and dropping them from a height of at least 10 feet and not from the normal wear and tear of the fabric. In the beginning, it as my only pack and while doing shorter trips, it rolls down nicely when you don't need it's full size. The two inch webbing is also more comfortable to wear on my shoulders than one inch (especially when packed full).

I know a lot of people who have monster TAG packs and I've even had the pleasure of caving w/ one once when I thought I needed more room. The pack is the same design, has more room, but one thing I had a lot of trouble w/ is that I made it too heavy for effective caving (most of it was on my belly, not on my feet) and it ended up being bigger around than me. The holes I could easily slither into, was a huge pain in the butt to get the pack in and out of. Part of it was strength and the angle of how you can wiggle the thing through. It was possible to do. I went in, worked on our project and came back out, but it was definately more of a workout than what I normally would do. As has been mentioned before, it all depends on the type of caving you do and how much of a packrat you are. Some folks carry everything except the kitchen sink, I carry the most minimal stuff and have learned to pack really efficiently.

Good luck with your choice! If all fails, call Lost Creek and OnRope and talk w/ the folks who make the packs...they'll be able to help you find something that would work best for you.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby iindica211 » Mar 4, 2011 3:08 pm

I wanna say :thanks: to everyone. I have decided to go with the lost creek tag.

I like to move fast through a cave and didnt want a big pack slowing me down. My last few trips I have put my water and extra head lamp in a buddys pack and carry d everything else in my cargo pockets since i cave in army pants.

So i figured if I can carry it on me then I will have no problem with a small pack for now. I plan on buying a big pack later on so I will have it when I need it and wont have to use it on every trip.I got a trip coming up the 19th if my pack is here I will let everyone know what I think about it and how it worked for my needs. :cavingrocks:

Thank you all so much for the help and all the great thought you guys had on each pack it really was a big help.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby eversdl » Jun 16, 2011 7:02 am

The above mentioned packs are excellent choices. Please also consider the variety of military surplus packs. I'm an extremely cheap guy. These durable cotton duck/cordura packs perform well and can often be found at prices that are less than one-third of the designer bags. What guy wouldn't rather look tough than pretty? Avoid those that are "military style" because they are cheap knockoffs. Avoid retail surplus stores that treat customer like thieves, smell like mold and charge too much. I go to the internet. Avoid any internet product that is less than new or at least "excellent" condition. The butt packs and top loading duffel bags with shoulder straps are my favorites.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Rodney Tennyson » Jul 10, 2011 8:37 pm

All these custom made cave packs are okay, but for durability, variety,practicality and price; you will never beat the Pig.
Made from a pair of bleach jugs, plasitc gas cans, kitty litter containers, anitfreeze bottles, just about any plastic bottle that has a loop handle can be made into a pig.

Just remove the bottoms, and nest them together, we used to use a bungee to keep them shut, but any more we make the shoulder straps long enough to wrap through the handles. They make the ultimate pack for dragging through crawls, by either a chicken loop on your ankle or short strap to a belt. Being plastic, they do not decay, unless left too long in the sun, they can be sanatized without damage from most chemicals. A simple webbing harness makes them easily carried across the chest, where when approaching a short crawl, one end can be unclipped to allow you to move it to the side so you can slither through, letting it drag beside you.
With a dry bag inside, the pig becomes waterproof, and a passable floation device. A new pig will keep the worst slime off your gear. No zippers, strings or snaps to gum up at the wrong place or time.
If anyone wants, I will send an illustrated guide to building your own.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby NZcaver » Jul 10, 2011 9:53 pm

Rodney Tennyson wrote:All these custom made cave packs are okay, but for durability, variety, practicality and price; you will never beat the Pig.

If you don't mind caving with a pig, I guess. :laughing: Certainly one of the cheapest options, but I can think of several pack designs which work better as regular caving packs. To each his own. :shrug:
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Jon » Jul 11, 2011 12:14 am

Ok a bit off your picks but I have and still love a Lost Creek Flint Ridge pack. Holds enough for a horizontal trip but goes anywhere. I also use a "med" Tag pack from Lost Creek/ Holds about 60% more in other words some vert gear. I like smaller packs. Seems I make good choices on what to carry. And the more good choices I carry the less my caving pals seem to carry. Oh they might have a set of points for a 52 Studebaker but no spare batteries for their light, or worse no pee bottle and after using mine, no way to carry it. If I have too much cave pack people start thinking I am Felix the Cat with the magic bag full of whatever THEY need. My cave packs are cleaned and left empty till the night before the trip, then I decide what to take and what to leave behind. I would like to add the other two Tag packs to my collection but thats a ways off. More than likely I'd add the Mini Tag (between my other packs in size) first.

I hate to say it but I'd go smaller first, wiser choices on carry items. Too much pack and it's easy to end up with a bunch of stuff you'd only need if you were the star of next Spelunker Movie. Later you learn to roll the pack down rather than fill the space. But for now go light, go wise, and go fun.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby NZcaver » Jul 11, 2011 12:44 am

Jon wrote:I hate to say it but I'd go smaller first, wiser choices on carry items. Too much pack and it's easy to end up with a bunch of stuff you'd only need if you were the star of next Spelunker Movie. Later you learn to roll the pack down rather than fill the space. But for now go light, go wise, and go fun.

Yeah, for most new cavers I agree. To a point. Of course what you carry can depend on the particular cave, what you're planning to do in it, and how much you live by the old Boy Scout motto.

Great Felix the Cat comment, by the way. :laughing:
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby jeffkruse » Jul 11, 2011 10:33 am

Chads93GT wrote:The swaygo really is tough, very tough, but you can tear holes in it dragging it across sharp rocks, or standing up into stalactites. My pack has about 20 or 25 holes in it that are patched with aquaseal. Swaygo's are great because they don't absorb water and they can be used as a flotation in river caves. Great in crawling caves where you can just clip it to your foot and drag it behind you. I wouldnt do that with a lost creek or the on rope packs (I have both and i prefer on rope packs, many more features that make it much more user freindly). Both have their pros and cons. Swaygo's have 1" webbing for straps. On rope packs/lost creek have 2" webbing, but the onrope style is extremely easy to adjust, unlike the lost creeks.

I have the Swaygo Sink and have used it on over 50 trips. Yes ive popped holes in it, but thats the nature of the cave. ive done dozens of trips with the lost creek/onrope style pack as well and I love them for caves where I am not swimming, which is few and far between. Weigh your options and make your choice.


Wow, 25 holes in 50 trips? That doesnt sound very durable. Bummer. I was thinking about getting one but not now. I don't want to have to worry about my pack the whole trip.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Scott McCrea » Jul 11, 2011 10:44 am

jeffkruse wrote:Wow, 25 holes in 50 trips? That doesnt sound very durable. Bummer. I was thinking about getting one but not now. I don't want to have to worry about my pack the whole trip.

I've seen people put 25 holes in a Swaygo pack on one trip. Then again, I have been using a pack for years, over 100 trips, and have only gotten two holes in it. There are many factors that affect durability. The easiest way is to keep the pack on your back. It is very well protected back there. Next, is how you pack it. If you have hard things (camera cases, water bottles, drill batteries, etc) in your pack they need to be padded. Outward pressure from something hard in a pack, that rubs against the cave, will create a hole in any material. Cave softly, literally, and your pack will last years.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby self-deleted_user » Jul 11, 2011 4:17 pm

I just got the med size pack from OR1 that has the outside 'map pocket' and a place for the rack. I like it because I could fit my normal stuff and vertical stuff in it minus my seat harness (but mine is comfy I would cave with it on if a through trip or whatever, being the fully padded means it takes up space but to me, worth for comfort!) but it rolls down tight so I usually use it at 1/4 or 1/3 compacity and I pack for the trip I'm going on I tend to have extra stuff but meh never know. I still try and pack small and light 'cause I hate lugging weight on my back or a large pack. One thing I love about the OR1 pack is that the straps can be worn quite a few ways - around waist, like a normal backpack, like a backpack but with same center point like Swaygos at the top, across the chest (forget what that's called, diaganol across the body), and drags for crawls. It's cordura so not waterproof but if you're not literally swimming it's not gonna really take on water horribly that i've noticed anyway, and I keep my camera & batteries in a Pelican case anyway.
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