SUBPOP packs

The name Subpop refers to a simple bag without hardware - just daisy chains and side-seam loops to add cord for occasional compression. The LBPs on other pages have a removeable compression strap system that leaves looploc plastic buckles remaining on the pack that can be used to create zig-zag cord systems or use your imagination...... Subpops have evoved to this system so there is no longer any distinction between the packs. This page has been left in place to simply show variety in pack feature combinations.

Packs can be made with fabrics like 210 X Grid, 140 Spectra grid, 420HT pack cloth, full Spectra......

With all the new fabrics hitting the market, add-on prices for UHMWPE is in flux. We tend to dye these fabrics and that adds dollars, but the prices are now much lower than during our 'Spectra laminated to DCF' days. DCF is 'CubenFiber' or Non-Woven Dyneema. Base price includes all regular fabrics and Spectra 'Grid' fabrics.



Circumference profile: any circumference is available.


A Trail Runs Through It: Everyone has heard of the PCT. The POP in Subpop is meant to stand for Pacific Ocean Park as another way of celebrating the entire Beautiful West Coast of the USA rather than just the trail that runs through it.

For 2008 we brought in a new size series called Little Big Packs. These are straight tapered packs like the Chasm but considerably smaller like the LBP 36 below. 36 refers to it's circumference of 36" which makes it easy to figure it's volume to the top of the stays as 2,500 cu in. approximately. Click image for larger image.

This 36" Circ pack lies right on the border of still being able to carry relatively normal 'trad' gear and packbelow is actually stuffed with an Integral Designs MK XL tent w/poles, Western Versalite sleeping bag, an Ursac half full of food, full raingear (not UL), med weight Lowe fleece pullover, and an Integral synthetic belay coat. The LBP theme also means that when you do carry UL gear the pack has the weight carrying capacity to really go out for long trips. With the twin Q-Bayo 7075-T6 stays it can handle 40 lbs with ease.

As with all of our packs, versatility is the theme. Be very aware of companies that say their 12 oz pack can carry 20 lbs. You decide: do you want a wimpy 20 lb. load to feel like hell or to feel like it's not there? That's a tough decision! Below: A subpop/chasm with an Expedition utility pocket and 2 layer summit flap attached. Click image for blowup. Attaching accessories to our lightest packs is as easy as the larger packs.

Guide Harness - Our unique 'off the shoulder' harnesses are part of what makes these packs better. External frames were once made this way before load-lifter straps were added to packs. Guide harnesses work very well on lighter internal frame loads. We have been using the Guide Harness for 20 years and is part of the reasons these packs are so well accepted. Click on Guide Harness photos below.

Add any of our accessories. A very lightweight rear pocket can still be added to this pack. Many aftermarket items fit the practical wide daisy chains. Even a more advanced top pocket can be added. Click image below. The side pockets can be mounted lower than shown or higher to accommodate water bottle pockets.

Volume: The LBP 35 volume is the base volume of this simple design. Subpop refers to the compression-strap-less design; see Windsauk and Popcan. For such small packs as 35, compression straps are not really needed and are redundant with roll-top compression straps and light internal frames. Even our lightest stays provide far more reliable support than a compression system without a frame can provide, and with a more flexible softer feel. Be smart, always chose a frame over a compression system if one is going to be eliminated. As you run out of food, simply let your clothes fill more space and roll-top straps work well.

Longer shoulder pads - All of our anatomical shoulder pads are long enough that they don't end in/at the arm-pit and they keep the adjustment buckle off the ribs!


See Pack Volumes Page.


See our original Grid Subpop below - click image for blow-up.

See the Summit Flap Bladder & Cannister Holder Page

Below: a 4,000 cu. in. Subpop/Chasm

Below: The harness side showing smaller lighter Duraflex belt buckles, simple non bypass and non P&G harness.......

Below: A side shot of the Subpop with Side pockets. Our side pockets connect to each other across the rear of the pack for maximum stability. The lower strap can be seen running across the center utility pocket.










I predicted that the companies from about the mid 90s making soft frameless packs would have to start adding frames to their packs if they wanted to survive as viable companies. It was an easy prediction to make because I saw the same process happen in the 1980s and 1970s. Now I would like to see the idea of carrying 20 lb. loads in sub 16 oz. frameless packs and the advocacy of it considered as simply bad advice - because it is bad advice for anyone that needs advice, and people should be warned that there is no such thing as a comfortable 20 lb. load in most light frameless packs. It is simply amounts to the dumbing down of the pack industry.

It makes little sense to carry 20 lbs in a 1 lb. pack and be shit-faced miserable all day long when another lb. would solve the problem, and also have the capability to carry even more weight when needed. When I started making packs back in the 70s I was asked to put frames in many of the frameless packs of the time, including Rivendales, Ultima-Thules, YakPaks...this list goes on, and I did! The newest crop of frameless packs would benefit greatly from more support. Weight is not the only thing that creates fatigue - mental as well as physical misery causes it.

Call it what it is; misery. I have to laugh when I read in chatrooms that such and such a pack is comfortable with 20 lbs but can't handle 25 lbs. If you see a review like that, run the other way laughing! What they really mean is that it is less miserable with only 20 lbs.!!! 20 lbs in one of our packs is like carrying a Zero weight load in comparison. Stop wasting your time and your trips.

Dan McHale