TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
September 10, 2016
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: GearStash Storage Systems Corp.
|The entire package|
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gearstoragesystems.com
MSRP: $85 US
Custom Color: $16 US (additional)
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 3 lb (1.4 kg)
Listed Size: 15 in (38 cm) x 76 in (193 cm)
Measured Size: 13-1/4 in (34 cm) x 73-1/4 in (186 cm); rod is 18-1/4 in (46 cm)
Mesh Bag Sizes: 12 in (30 cm) x 12 in (30 cm); 17 in (43 cm) x 17 in (43 cm); 20 in (51 cm) x 20 in (51 cm)
Measured Sizes: 11 in (28 cm) x 10 in (25 cm); 16-1/2 in (42 cm) x 15 in (38 cm); 19-1/4 in (49 cm) square
Color Tested: White daisy chain/White webbing on White wall hanging with white mesh bags (not listed as standard color for GearStash 1.25 but shown on main page as a custom color)
Colors Available: Black/Black on Tan, Black/Black on Graphite and Red/Yellow on Black
Other Custom Colors: Silver/Silver on Silver, Camouflage, Blue/Yellow on White, White/White on Blue and Black/Yellow on Red
Standard colors come with black mesh bags. All custom colors have the option of black or white mesh bags.
Made in Colorado, USA
The GearStash 1.25 is a hanging gear storage and organizing solution which incorporates hooks and mesh bags which attach to a wall hanging unit using a daisy chain of webbing loops. The top of the wall hanging webbing is looped over an aluminum rod which hangs on the wall supported by two large hooks. These hooks are first installed into the wall studs according to the included hanging instructions. The GearStash can be hung in a closet along the side wall in front of the clothes rod, directly on a wall or with the optional hanger set it can hang on a door.
|Large hooks for hanging unit|
The wall hanging unit is made from a durable fabric which seems like a heavy nylon with a plasticized backing which is approximately 15 in (38 cm) wide by 76 in (193 cm) long. At the top is a rod which I can set into two hooks that I screw into the studs in my wall. The wall hanging unit is securely attached to this rod via three straps of webbing. It is capable of holding 150 lb (68 kg) total or 75 lb (34 kg) on either of the two webbing straps or 40 lb (18 kg) per webbing loop. There are 40 webbing loops per the website, but I counted a total of 73 loops on mine with 36 on each side and one loop on a center strap of webbing that is noted to be used for hanging skis or snowboard. Regardless, there are a lot of options for gear hanging.
The GearStash comes with 10 moveable gear hooks which attach to any of the webbing loops for a modular and customizable type of arrangement. It was quite easy to attach the hooks to the webbing by slipping it through. So, it will also be quite easy to move them around as-needed to arrange my gear.
|Moveable gear hooks|
It also comes with three mesh bags of varying sizes: one is 12 in (30 cm) by 12 in (30 cm), one is 17 in (43 cm) by 17 in (43 cm) and one is 20 in (51 cm) by 20 in (51 cm). The mesh itself doesn't seem to be stretchy but the design of the mesh with the open holes makes it flexible and moves in a manner which almost seems to stretch when I manipulate it. Each mesh bag has a plastic loop as well as a longer webbing loop attached to it for hanging options. There is a drawstring with a cord lock at the top of each mesh bag. Also included was one all-purpose hang strap which has a heavy-duty loop for hanging it on the unit and a rubberized backing to protect my gear. The strap itself is quite long and adjustable to loop around gear of varying sizes.
The unit came all packaged inside the medium mesh bag which fits nicely and is an innovative way to use the product itself as packaging thus eliminating any packaging waste at all.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My initial impression was how well-made and high-quality this unit is. It is a substantial unit although it is still quite light. The details show that it was thought out and is well-designed. My next impression was that the color wasn't what I had expected. I received a unit with white webbing on a white wall hanging with white mesh bags. This color combination wasn't shown as a standard option for the GearStash 1.25, but I did find it listed on the overview page as a custom color for closet organization. White seems like a great color for inside of a closet or in a corner which may not have the best lighting.
Upon reading the instruction, I saw that I need a location that is 1.5 ft (46 cm) wide by 7 ft (213 cm) high. I had expected to put the GearStash in my office closet since the website noted that it can fit in front of the clothes rod on the side wall. However, using my tape measure I found that my closet doesn't have an adequate width. So, I'm off to Plan B which will be to hang it on either the garage wall behind the house entry door or on the office wall behind the door.
I currently keep most of my outdoor gear in clear bins in the garage organized by activity. I have two bins of backpacking gear out there and store all of my shoes and boots on a shelf rack. The clear bins not only organize but also provide protection from dust, dirt and cobwebs. I also have many items that I prefer to store in the house such as sleeping bags, quilt, sleeping pads, backpacks, clothing and food in order to keep them better protected.
I haven't decided yet where I'll hang the GearStash but am leaning towards hanging it in the house in order to keep everything cleaner. The unit itself, being white, and my gear, being in the open or in mesh bags, would be nicer if not stored in the garage.
It will be fun to see exactly what I find useful to store with the GearStash. I may use it for my more frequently used items. For instance, maybe I'll get out all of my summer backpacking gear and store it together using the unit. It would make it easy to pack for a trip if everything that I needed was in one place. The ideas are swirling!
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The GearStash came with instructions that lay out step-by-step how to:
1) Attach the screw hooks to the wall (using a simple but nifty push pin technique)
2) Hang the bar and GearStash wall hanging onto the screw hooks
3) Attach the gear hooks to the wall hanging webbing loops
4) Hang gear from the gear hooks directly or by using the mesh bags or by using the hang strap
The GearStash 1.25 is an innovative gear organization solution.
Hope for organizing my gear
Good number of hooks, mesh bags and strap
NO packaging waste!
Made in the USA
White color hanging in my garage
Open mesh bags don't protect from dust and cobwebs
|Tools for the job|
My first priority was to get this unit installed and in use. I am mechanically inclined so it was fairly obvious what had to be done, but I tried to just follow exactly what the included instructions said. They are well-written and easy to follow. GearStash even offers to help with installation questions over the phone. I gathered the required tools which consisted of a pencil, tape measure, stud finder, cordless drill, drill bit and vise grips. I also used a chair to help me get a better view of what I was doing.
First I used the included handy-dandy string attached on either end to push pins which is a simple tool to ensure a level installation. I measured up from the floor 6-1/2 ft (2 m) in two locations on the wall. I pushed one pin in each location across my wall. Since I was hanging behind a door in a narrow wall area, I put one pin in each corner and had enough string to reach across the entire distance. I then looped the extra string around the pins to get the string tight. Then I had a nice level reference at the correct height for me to drill holes for the hooks.
Then I chose a 3/16 in (10 mm) drill bit based on my eyeball comparison of the screw hook minor diameter to the drill bit size. It seemed just right. It would be nice for the instructions to recommend a drill bit size, in my opinion, but I had no trouble finding one. Then I used a stud finder, although a light tap of a hammer can help to find wall studs as well, and using a pencil I marked on the wall along my level string the location of the center of the studs. This gave me the exact spot for where I would drill my two holes.
Trying to hold the drill as level as possible (being up on a chair helped), I drilled through the drywall and into the wall stud. I had estimated the depth that I'd need to drill based on the instructions which note that the screw hooks should penetrate the wall to the bend in the hook. Then I started screwing in the hook by hand and was able get it in about halfway before it was too hard to turn. So then I used vise grips to give me the leverage to finish the job.
With my hooks securely attached to the wall, I hung the GearStash rod on the hooks. It fit perfectly! The length is just right for the 16 inch on center standard wall stud spacing. It was noted in the instruction that the unit could be hung higher but I went with the 6-1/2 feet (2 m) recommended height. It seems just right. The unit is hanging up off of the floor with enough clearance that I can still hang something low and not have it hit the floor. Plus, hanging the unit higher seemed too high for me to comfortably reach the top items.
After vacuuming the carpet to pick up the drywall dust and sawdust generated from the installation, I was ready to start hanging gear!
PERFORMANCE IN USE
My plan was to load the GearStash with my summer backpacking gear which will be what I'm frequently using over the next several months. Rather than having everything scattered in several locations in my house and garage, I'm going to try to hold it all on the GearStash. This should make packing for and unpacking from trips as easy as possible.
|Ready for a trip|
With a backpacking trip planned for just two weeks away, I started loading up the GearStash with all of my most-used summer gear. It was a bit like a puzzle to figure out where to hang the ten gear hooks but I began by just spacing them out along the daisy chain webbing. Some gear ended up hanging too close or too far from other gear so after a little re-positioning of the gear hooks, I had it all arranged.
I put water containers in the medium bag, cooking gear/stoves/fuel in the small bag and lots of miscellaneous small items like first aid, toiletries, bucket and notepads in the large bag. Besides the bags, I hung the water filter, knife, sunbrella and watch from the gear hooks. I used a few of my own carabiners to hang additional items like rain kilts and head nets. I used the long middle gear strap for my bear canister. Lastly I hung sun hats from either side of the top rod. There is still room for more gear!
Packing for a backpacking trip was the next test. I already store backpacks and sleeping gear in the office closet, so with the GearStash behind the office door, that meant that the only thing NOT in the office was backpacking food, clothing, footwear and trekking poles.
My husband and I moved our packing area to the office and started to get ready. It was easier than ever to find everything we needed using the GearStash. Since I'd only stored our 'most-used-gear' in the unit, there wasn't a lot of sifting through things that we didn't need. And it helped to remind us of things we might want to take.
After the trip, I unpacked the laundry, trash and things that needed washing in the kitchen. After the wash-up, I re-loaded the GearStash as I had it originally. In fact rather than carrying all of the washed gear from the kitchen, I took the medium mesh bag to the kitchen to load up all of the water carriers, cinched the bag and simply returned it to the GearStash for hanging. Simple enough, but it's a change of thinking for me.
All-in-all the GearStash has made trip packing and unpacking easier than ever. I haven't yet made many tweaks to my original organization, but I'm keeping open to find even better ideas.
I continued to use the GearStash as during the Field Test and found it to work great. I love having most of my gear in one place. As I mentioned before, I'm not storing backpacking food, clothing, shoes or trekking poles on the unit. Those items are more appropriately stored in either the kitchen, bedroom or garage, respectively.
Using the GearStash makes packing and unpacking a breeze. It keeps things organized and readily available. I've started to pack in the office where the GearStash is located rather than dragging all of my gear into another room. And when I get home, I bring the mesh bags out to the kitchen to re-pack all of my gear as it gets washed like the cook set, water bottles and water filter. Then I simply hang them back on the GearStash ready for another trip.
Since I already was fairly organized, the surprise advantage for me has been that it helps to remind me of things that I may want to take on a trip. I only have my most-often-used gear held there, so I can decide for each trip if something is going or staying. It makes it very unlikely to forget some critical piece of gear. I haven't given up on my gear checklist yet, but I can see that it could be possible with the right use of the GearStash.
I thought that I'd want to re-arrange items, mesh bags, etc. but I've essentially kept them the way that I originally hung them. I've just added to it as more items appeared. Although I'm using every supplied hook, every mesh bag and the hang strap, there seems to always be more room to hang new items or to clip on a carabiner here or there.
The hooks and bags make the organization options endless. I've bought new gear that comes in a stuff sack so that is now hanging on a hook. If I find a small piece of gear that I may forget, I toss that in a mesh bag so that I will see if when I'm packing.
PERFORMANCE AND DURABILITY
Regarding durability, the unit has been impeccable. The GearStash looks as good as when I first received it. It has remained clean. The accessory bags, straps and the unit itself haven't shown a bit of wear. It is so overdesigned for the weight of my gear that it seems to hardly notice that anything is hanging on it.
My wall is completely intact with no signs of paint rubbing or scuffing. Of course I have two giants hooks screwed into the wall, but other than that, I can't tell that anything has ever hung there. Don't get me wrong. I have NO intention of taking the GearStash down. I just removed it in order to see how my wall was holding up.
The GearStash 1.25 is an easy-to-install and easy-to-use gear organization solution. It helps to keep my gear in one place while being convenient to use and discrete by hanging behind the door.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Easy to install
Plenty of hooks, mesh bags and strap
Can add my own hooks and bags
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to GearStash and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Gear Storage Systems gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith