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Reviews > Gear Storage > Organizers > GearStash 1.25 > Test Report by Richard Lyon


GearStash 1.25 Storage System
Test Series by Richard Lyon

Initial Report May 14, 2016
Field Report July 18, 2016
Long Term Report September 14, 2016


PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 70 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 205 lb (91 kg)
Shoe size: Men's 13 (US); 47 (Europe)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies.  I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I usually include my favorite camp conveniences.  I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Summer adventures are often centered on flyfishing opportunities; winter on ski or ski touring.

Of particular relevance to this Test Series – When I moved to Montana four years ago, I downsized, moving to a home about half the size of the one I left, and with no attic and a smaller garage. My first renovation here was to convert a previously unused basement room to a family room/spare bedroom. Consequently storage space is at a premium, an everyday issue for a pack rat gear collector such as this writer.

INITIAL REPORT - May 11, 2016

THE PRODUCTcomponents

 GearStash Storage Systems Corporation, www.GearStorageSystems.com, offers three hanging storage systems; the 1.25 tested here is the smallest. It consists of the following components:

    - A wall hanging unit or "backer" (GearStash's word), made of Cordura-type fabric with two rows of top-to-bottom sewn-in daisy chain loops. Listed at 15 x 76 in [38 x  193 cm], measured 13 x 70 in [33 x 178 cm]. 35 loops per side. There is a middle loop at the top to which may be attached an All-Purpose Hang Strap "for skis, climbing gear, scuba gear, paddles, fishing poles, and other difficult to store sporting goods." Listed and measured 45 x 1 in [114 x 2.5 cm].

    - Three mesh bags, listed at 12, 17, 20 in [30, 43, 51 cm] square, measured 10 x 11 in [25 x 28 cm], 15 in [39 cm] square, 19 in [48 cm] square. Each has a D-ring in a stitched loop at the top center, a 5-in [13 cm] fabric loop at one corner, and a toggle closure. Intended for "boots, helmets, clothing, pedals, shoes, skates, fins, tools, rackets, bats, balls, and other gear."

    An All-Purpose Hang Strap (also GearStash's term), a 39-inch [99 cm] adjustable loop, as shown in the photo.

    Ten J-hooks for use with the daisy chains.j-hooks

    For hanging the GearStash, a one-inch [2.5 cm] diameter, 18-in [47 cm] long hanging bar made of metal [aluminum, I think] with a rubber tip at each end; and an Attachment kit with two heavy-duty screw hooks.

    An exceptionally helpful Owner's Manual with instructions for installation, warranty, and recommended capacities for the hanging components: 40 lb [18 kg] per hanging loop, 75 lb [35 kg] per hanging strip. These capacities apply to a GearStash properly attached to wall studs.

GearStash warrants its products as free of manufacturing defects and will repair or replace a defective product when returned to it in Colorado.

My GearStash has bright yellow and red strips of daisy chain loops; the company offers two other more subdued color choices. MSRP: $85 US.

SETTING IT UP

Installation requires hammer and nail, tape measure and pencil, an electric drill, and pliers to turn the hooks.  This model, the 1.25, requires wall space 7 ft [2 m] or higher and 18 in [47 cm] wide.

I attached the screws to a 4-inch [10 cm] thick wooden beam in my garage, as the only spots along the garage walls that are free are inconveniently located and made of cement, making installation much more difficult for this mechanically challenged reviewer.  I drilled two holes 15 inches [38 cm] apart, using pushpins and string (included with the product) to ensure a level placement. Then I screwed in the screw hooks, threaded the bar through the loop at the top of the backer, and clipped the Hang Strap to the center loop on the backer.  This process took perhaps five minutes.

(Note that GearStash anticipates wall hanging, stressing the need to locate wall studs for the screws.  Perhaps obvious but a very good warning nonetheless.)  

snowshoes Now the fun starts. There's no shortage of loose gear in my garage; the challenge was choosing which went onto the GearStash. I have a ski rack in my garage that accommodates all my many (too many!) skis, but with no room left over for snowshoes. So that's what goes on the Hang Strap, by means of a J-hook on which the Strap is hung, then tightened around the top of the shoes. This is one example where the Owner's Manual really helps, by illustrating the cinch at the top to hold the article in place.

Next came the mesh bags. My selections turned in part upon the placement of the GearStash next to the post from which my fishing waders hang, as visible in the photo. The largest mesh bag holds flyfishing gear: the two reels I use most frequently, a spare box for the flies of the day, my necklace with nippers and forceps, bifocal sunglasses, spare lines, spare tippet, and a lightweight rain jacket that's used strictly for fishing.  The middle-sized bag now holds things for day hikes: bear spray, a couple of energy bars, spare water bottle, gloves. The smallest holds items I own in abundance but often leave behind when leaving for an adventure: bug spray, sunblock, and lip balm, plus a second canister of bear spray.  The idea is to be able to grab a bag off the GearStash and toss it into the car, avoiding looking hither and yon for various items on the day's punch list.  Only the small bag is full; I'm sure I'll think of additional items for the first two.

There remain dozens of daisy chain loops and ample room remaining for adding gear and clothing for other items. I'm going to experiment a bit, but expect to hang some lighter-weight garments such as a jacket and rain pants and maybe another bag for trips with my dog.

WHAT I LIKE

The general idea of an organizer, especially one that can easily moved if necessary or convenient. Every other wall storage system that I've seen has required permanent or semi-permanent mounting.

The Mesh Bags, for grouping small items related to a particular outing, such as fishing, cross-country skiing or day hiking.

An Owner's Manual that is truly helpful, with easy-to-understand non-technical prose and very informative illustrations. Such a refreshing change!

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT

Can't think of anything just now.

FIELD REPORT - July 18, 2016

USAGE

I can't use the standard "Field Conditions" for this Report, as the GearStash hasn't moved from my garage since setting it up two months ago. But despite this sedentary existence the product has received ample use as I've progressed in my rehab from knee surgery.  As noted in my Initial Report I stocked each GearStash bags with items to be used for particular activities - fishing, skiing, and day hiking. The ski gear of course hasn't been touched except occasionally to wipe away accumulated garage dust. (I live on a dirt road with a dirt driveway, so there's plenty of that.) But as I have resumed moderate day hiking I regularly grab the medium-sized mesh bag, checking only to be sure that the water bottle is filled, something I try to do upon my return.

The larger bag has been used a few times, as I'm now permitted to fly-fish from a boat. Whichever bag I need, I simply toss it into the back of the car and do any sorting at the trailhead or fishing put in point. Very convenient indeed!

I've added two more hooks, one for a small Zpacks frameless pack that I've been using for day hikes, and a second for a flexi-leash used for daily walks with one of Montana's most spoiled Golden Retrievers.  The GearStash is stationed just inside the garage door that's opened to drive out or to start a dog walk, and its bright colors make it difficult to miss upon my return. That's a very useful reminder to a very absent-minded person both to re-hang the bag and to replace items used during the jaunt - energy bars, water, fishing tackle.

There are no signs of wear and tear on any part of this product, including the mesh bags. Cleaning (an overstatement) has been nothing more than occasional dusting.

My only other activity relating to the GearStash has been actively seeking out a place or two for additional GearStash backers. That's more difficult than it might seem.  My pack rat tendencies have meant installation of shelves in all my closets, and the garage has shelves, hooks, wall benches, even a bookcase. Some rearranging will be necessary, but I'll do it. I consider the GearStash a terrific storage system.

LONG TERM REPORT - September 14, 2016

Nothing striking or even very new to report after two more months.  Use has been of a similar nature but more frequent as my knee has improved to the point of allowing wade fishing and longer hikes, and the late summer has been glorious here in Montana. I am getting used to the GearStash. Now I routinely head for it to grab the proper bag, rather than search for items and then remember that I'd pre-organized.  I haven't added any new hooks but I do not believe the GearStash is at or near its capacity. For my own interest I've tried hanging skis, larger packs, my kitchen-sink fishing vest, and fishing waders, and nothing was too heavy. The only problem arose with my bulky telemark ski boots, and the problem was that they skewed the backer slightly to one side. If centered on the backer the hook held the boots easily.

The fabric is stout, the hooks and bar firmly anchored, and after four months of almost daily use (even non-activity days include walking the dog) I cannot find one loose thread or bit of fraying. The only problem was self-inflicted, as for a day or two I couldn't recall where I had stashed the extra hooks. I solved that however and to prevent a recurrence
now store them on a shelf adjacent to the GearStash.

Though the product (or most of it at least) hasn't gone into the backcountry and isn't intended to, I have enjoyed this test and this product immensely. Certainly the product suits me and my every-which-way storage style perfectly; this is something I really needed. There's more to it than that, though. I'm hoping that our test of the GearStash will provoke similar tests of niche products that you, our readers, might never discover yet might find as helpful as I have found the GearStash.

WHAT I LIKE

My first Like from my Initial Report bears repeating - The general idea of an organizer, especially one that can easily moved if necessary or convenient. Every other wall storage system that I've seen has required permanent or semi-permanent mounting.

The mesh bags are great. I can see what's inside, they stretch to accommodate odd-shaped items, and they have survived intact after frequent snags on the car, on the occasional piece of gear, and on the occasional puppy claw.

Ability to use the product to store just about anything, from lightweight telemark knee pads to snowshoes to skis.

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT

I'm hoping GearStash will consider offering a shorter version. Most of my closets already have built-in shelves or cubicles, limiting space for a six-foot plus (almost two meters) backer. That's the only reason I haven't already purchased two or three more of these ingenious storage systems.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

My Test Report ends here, with my enthusiasm for the GearStash unabated.  My thanks to GearStash Storage Systems Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.



Read more reviews of Gear Storage Systems gear
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Reviews > Gear Storage > Organizers > GearStash 1.25 > Test Report by Richard Lyon



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