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Cabela's Ultralight XPG Pack Series Field Test  at Cabela's

Cabela's Ultralight XPG Pack Series Field Test

Author: Frank Ross

Common sense dictates that the lighter the pack, the lighter the overall load once you hit the trail. Although, as Will Rogers observed, "common sense ain't common," the designers of Cabela's Ultralight XPG pack used it abundantly.

The daypack has a capacity of 2000 cubic inches, which is more than adequate for any outing, as long as you're prudent in packing.
Pack designers are constantly searching for ways to make packs lighter, stronger and more durable and here's how they did it. To begin, they cut the weight of the fabric in half by using 210-denier nylon rip-stop instead of the standard 420. Now that's a pretty light fabric, so they added a silicone coating to provide the same durability and abrasion resistance that you get with the heavier 420-denier fabric. While adding the revolutionary silicone-based coating is an extra step, the overall weight reduction makes it worthwhile, because there is a lot of fabric involved in a pack with this many compartments.

The daypack has a capacity of 2000 cubic inches, which is more than adequate for any outing, as long as you're prudent in packing. Once full, the pack is easily shouldered and secured with the handy sternum straps that hold the shoulder straps in place. Another important feature of the shoulder and hip straps is the addition of highly breathable Brock™ foam. When you carry a pack for a long time, the foam helps cushion the strain but also seems cooler to me than simple web material. Thumb straps are added for quickly adjusting the shoulder straps.

I especially liked the extra wide waist strap. Having the additional width on the hips makes it a lot more comfortable on extended hikes. In my experience, narrow straps tend to rub the hipbones badly because they ride up over the top. With the extra padding, the XPG belt was hardly noticeable.

With the extensive features, capacity and quality of these two packs, you'll never find a comparable value at a price anywhere close to the XPG.
Hydration packs are one of the greatest ideas that have come along in a while, and the XPG accommodates them as well as providing 2 additional pockets for water bottles, for those extra long excursions or really hot days. For convenience, snaps are provided on the shoulder straps, to keep the hydration pack's hose handy for grabbing a quick sip without having to stop.

Cap off, or more appropriately, bottom it off with a heavy-duty nylon fabric to resist wear and throw in Hypalon® accents and you've got one rugged pack. Hypalon® is a chlorosulfonated polyethylene that offers strong protection in the presence of extreme heat and/or oxidizing chemicals. Hypalon® has developed a reputation of maintaining a long life in various harsh environments.

All enclosures are secured by water resistant YKK® zippers, which are the industries best quality.

For more serious expeditions, take all of the above-mentioned features, quality and attention to detail, double the size, and you've got the XPG 4000 (4000 cubic inches of space) internal frame pack. A couple of features on this model are worth noting.

One of the most practical concepts is the use of a large J-zipper, which allows easy access to the front of the pack.
One of the most practical concepts is the use of a large J-zipper, which allows easy access to the front of the pack. It's hard to load items and remove them from a deep pack, but the J-zipper eliminates that problem. The pack can be loaded from the top, if you choose to, but it's nice to have the option of total access.

In addition to the spacious interior compartments, the 4000 has numerous loops for attaching additional items with snaps or securing them onto the pack with the onboard bands. For quick access, these are ideal for attaching rain gear or a light jacket or anything you don't want to have to dig for.

Very few things are more uncomfortable than hiking with a pack that doesn't fit your torso. Pressure on the lower back and neck can cause muscle strain at the very least. To remedy that problem, the 4000 features a fully adjustable torso length from 15" to 21", so you can accommodate your own body height for a more comfortable fit. This fully tricked-out pack only weighs less than five pounds.

With the extensive features, capacity and quality of these two packs, you'll never find a comparable value at a price anywhere close to the XPG. Each is designed for a specific application, and together they cover the gamut of backpacking situations for any adventure. In fact, it just makes sense, uncommon sense, to own both.

Cabela's XPG™ 5000 Ultralight Internal Frame Pack
Now, take the 4000, kick it up a notch, and you've got the ultimate XPG for major expeditions - the XPG 5000 Ultralight Internal Frame Pack. The 5000 is made with the same weight-saving fabrics, pockets, zippers, features and accents, with an additional 1000 cu. in. of cargo space. With a total of 5,000 cu. in. of space, you'll be able to you'll be able to take everything except the proverbial kitchen sink, but who does dishes on a hike!

Click this link to purchase the XPG 2000, XPG 4000 or XPG 5000 packs.