12 mi (19 km) day hike, Washington Cascades 4000 ft (1200 m)
2 geocaching trips & a 3 hr sea kayak trip while vacationing, Central California Coast
4-5 geocaching trips in town and parks in and around Yakima Washington
[The geocaching trips each consisted of 2-4 short hikes of less than 1 mile (1.5 km)]
manufacturer’s description of this bag is in my opinion right on the
mark. This is without a doubt a hydration pack designed for carrying
minimal gear. I took the pack on a day hike in the Cascades. I stuffed
the pack with essentials, lunch, 2 L (68 oz) of water, an extra fleece layer
and rain pants. The pack did not fit well at all. It bulged and rode
high on my back, rubbing uncomfortably in places. It did however do a
fine job of shedding the light rain I was in and out of…all day! By the
time I returned to my vehicle the outside of the pack was wet, I was
soaked, but the contents of my pack remained dry.
During the other
trips, I carried a minimal amount of gear; 1-2 L (34-68 oz) of water, first aid
kit and basic safety gear, and maybe a light jacket and snacks. For
this the pack performed admirably, it was comfortable and did not shift
even while bending and twisting when I was looking for geocaches.
our vacation to Central California I used the pack as a carry-on while
traveling. For most of the trip it worked well and I liked it. However
at one point it got turned upside down in the back of the car and a few
of the smaller items I had in the main compartment slipped out despite
having the lid snapped in place. As a result I chose not to use this
pack for snowboarding. While its size should be about ideal, all too
often I end up going head over heels and I would not want to lose any
of the items from my pack (like wallet or car keys) in the snow.
my schedule and the poor weather have conspired to prevent me from
using my bike since the start of this test, I am looking forward to
using it for this purpose. One key reason is its distinctive coloration
and bright reflective details. Since receiving the pack, the reflective
parts of the pack have caught my eye a number of times. They seem to
catch light well and are quite noticeable in low light conditions. Some
of our geocaching trips occurred in the evening and I appreciated the
extra visibility the pack provided (at least it made me feel a bit more
The waist belt is removable and I like that. I often
don’t use a waist belt for light day hikes and I like that when I don’t
need it, I can simply leave it home. I have only used the waist belt on
two trips, the long rainy hike and one of the Geocaching trips.
hydration pouch has worked flawlessly. I have had no trouble filling
it, and I have not detected any off tastes (even after leaving water in
it for over a week). Initially I was unsure how well the top closure
would work, and if it would leak. So far, I have no complaints, and
like that I can get my hand into the pouch to dry it out. I really like
The hydration pack when full takes up most of the
usable space in the pack, if there was one thing I would change with
this pack it would be to add side water bottle pockets for times when I
wish to carry bulky items.
summary, this is not what I would call a ‘do everything’ pack. This is
a hydration pack for when I want to carry water and a minimal amount of
gear (first aid kit, basic tools and/or safety gear, light windbreaker
or lunch). This pack is not suitable for when I snowshoe or snowboard,
but when packed properly allows me to comfortably, visibly, and I might
add fashionably, carry water and some basic essentials. I am kind of
disappointed in the poor weather, I really think I would get much more
use out of this pack during the summer months.
The pack material and construction appear to be sturdy and durable
Durable, fashionable, functional, removable waist belt.
The only thing close to an issue with this pack is the ability for small items to slip out of the pack even when closed.