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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > Hydrapak Streamline > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

HYDRAPAK STREAMLINE PACK
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 06, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and being a young Scout began my backpacking obsession. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I camp, hike or multi-day backpack through the Catskill or Adirondack Wilderness every weekend. As a mid-weight packer I'm always prepared and use a tent for overnighters. Being an aspirant of the Catskill 3500 Club and Adirondack 46ers, peak-bagging is now my favorite outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Hydrapak LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hydrapak.com
MSRP: US$52.99
Listed Weight: 15 oz (425 g)
Measured Weight: 16 oz (454 g)
Torso: 18 (0.41 m)
Waist: 32 (42 EU)


Other details:

Fluid capacity/Reservoir: 70 oz (2 L)
Gear Storage: 160 cu in (2.6 L)


Front-flap for easy reservoir access. Raised mesh panels create air flow between back and pack. Sternum strap and removable waist belt reduce pack movement.

*Above details taken from the product page on hydrapack.com

IMAGE 1
Image courtesy of hydrapak.com

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The pack was received on March 27, 2008 with one defect in the bladder pocket. A nylon strap located inside the bladder bag compartment was torn and completely frayed and threadbare. It seams that the end of the nylon wasn't melted to keep it from unraveling. This nylon strap is used to hold the bladder in place and helps to keep it from sagging to the bottom of the pack.
Customer service was eager to help with this issue. The person I spoke with was a pleasure to deal with and was very courteous. I was told to return it for a replacement. I was told they will send a check from Hydrapak to reimburse shipping costs.

The pack didn't meet my initial expectations when I first received it. I thought it was a bit smaller than compared to what I saw and read on the Hydrapak website. Now after thoroughly inspecting it I feel it will be perfect for short day hikes and mountain bike rides. As soon as I get the replacement pack I will size it up for long day trips. My big lunches will be a tight fit in this compact pack.

Besides the one defect I found all other seams look to be fully intact and constructed well. All stitching look good and all zippers run smoothly.

There are plenty of small pockets to organize and stash any small gear. The top outer pocket has a soft cushioning material lined in the inside. This will make a perfect sunglass pocket. The small lower outer pocket has two organizational sleeves inside and elastic strapping for stashing small items in as well as a key clip. On the outside of this pocket is a smaller pocket that fastens closed with a hook and loop closure. On the inside are two open elastic sleeves and one open main compartment for the bladder bag. I will be able to better explain the bladder in my Field Review when I have the replacement and can play with it when filled with water.

TRYING IT OUT

I didn't get to try out the pack since I wanted to keep the bladder parts sealed in the factory seals for an easy return for replacement. However, I did do a through examination of the pack and found no other flaws. Pockets look and seem to be easily accessible. Zippers and hook and loop closures are all intact. Hopefully all goes well with the replacement pack and I will thoroughly test the pack to provide quality assessments in my upcoming reviews.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will wear the Hydrapak Streamline on all my day trips mostly hiking to mountain summits. During the warmer months I do many car camping trips and will use the pack then when hiking from base camp for the day. I will also be taking many mountain bike rides where this pack will be perfect to use and test.

My wife and I do take some site seeing trips around some Adirondack and Vermont areas were this pack will also be of much use. This June we will be doing some site seeing in Las Vegas after our trade show. The pack will be used then as well.

SUMMARY

Aside from the one defect I found the pack looks pretty well built and constructed. I will report all of my findings, pros and cons in the next report for this test series.

Customer Service so far was a positive experience for me. It was a good second impression after a negative first from finding the defect. They seem to be a good company who cares about their consumers.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report . Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Field testing took place in the following areas:

Yucatan Peninsula - Coba, Mexico
The Streamline Pack was worn while exploring ancient Mayan Ruins. These ruins were spread throughout dense jungle with an elevation mostly at sea level, with the exception of climbing atop of the Great Mayan Pyramid. The pack was used while mountain biking and hiking to and throughout the ruin sites. Weather conditions were sunny and hot with temperatures around 82 F (28 C).

North/South Lake - Northeastern Catskill Park
Day hiked the Harding Road Trail to Inspiration Point. This was a moderate 5 mile (8.3 km) out and back trek. Weather was overcast and humid with temperatures around 73 F (23 C).

Blackhead Range - Northeastern Catskill Park
Day hiked the Acra Point and Burnt Knob Loop for 5.2 miles (8.4 km).
Acra Point summit elevation - 3100 ft (945 m)
Burnt Knob summit elevation - 3180 ft (970 m)
Weather was sunny and clear with temperatures around 60 F (15.56 C).

I have also worn the Streamline Pack during several short bushwhacks in the forest behind my home. The trek is mostly on an uphill/downhill rocky terrain with a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m).

The Hydrapak Streamline Pack has been used several times throughout this leg of the testing period. Above are 2 logged days when the pack was been used in Catskill Park and two days in the Mexican Jungle. The two days in Mexico were at the same location but one day was on mountain bike and the other on foot. The treks behind my home consisted of 3 short hikes. So far the pack was used for a total of 7 days in the field.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Unfortunately I wasn't able to test the Streamline Pack as much as I wanted during this testing period. This is due a two week delay in receiving my replacement pack. However Hydrapak did contact me immediately to inform me of this delay. Oh and I did receive a check from Hydrapak for reimbursement of shipping costs for the returned pack.

When I finally received the replacement pack I immediately put it through a thorough inspection. All looked good except for a minor thread pull on the Hydrapak logo where half of the k is missing. This however is not affecting and function of the pack.

During this leg of the test series my opinion of the Streamline has changed after some use. I found there is much less pocket space than expected after carrying a full reservoir. When carrying a full reservoir the two inner elastic pockets lose most of the expected usable space. This limited the pocket space to carry narrow and thin items. These two larger inner elastic pockets now only allow enough space to carry items such as power bars or a paperback book.

This has really limited use of the pack to be worn on short low mile hikes when not entering deep into the backcountry and while mountain biking which I believe is its most intended use. Since I now can't carry lunch, rain jacket and other hiking essentials the pack will not be used on my long day hikes. I will now use the streamline on treks less than 5 miles or as a mountain biking pack.

As a short low mile hike pack the Streamline proved to be perfect. I can easily stuff a few small essentials and snacks into the pack needed for the low miles. When taking short hikes in the past I always carried my larger day pack for use of the hydration system. Now with the Streamline I can eliminate much of that useless pack weight and space and still have a reliable hydration system.

The reservoir proved to be reliable thus far and can carry plenty of water for any day hike. I personally like the plug-N-play hose connector allowing me to carry the full reservoir without the hose dangling. This also makes for an easier refill and transporting of the reservoir. I feel the plug-N-play connector is worth the little extra weight it adds to the pack. Water has only been carried in the reservoir so a deep cleaning hasn't been necessary. However the reversible reservoir did speed up the drying process as I can easily wipe off any trapped moisture. I feel this will help avoid bacteria growth that can occur in other hydration systems with trapped moisture. When turning the reservoir inside out I do take much caution as I feel I may tear the skin with the little struggle of the reversing process.

I found the Hydrapak Streamline to be comfortable during my various trips. When I was touring the Mayan Ruins in the southern Mexico jungle I did have an issue with moisture on the back. In the middle over the back panel is a strip of nylon material that runs vertically down the middle. This nylon strip presses against the back when carrying a full reservoir. This causes sweat and moisture to build and makes for a wet back. When the reservoir is full it causes the back panel to become convex lifting the raised mesh off the back and pressing the center against the back. As the water level in the reservoir reduces the back panel becomes flush lifting the center off the back with the help of the raised mesh. The shoulder straps create moisture build up as well. It would be nice to have the same raised mesh back panels incorporated into the shoulder straps for added comfort and moisture wicking capabilities.

The pack always stayed snug to my body during my various activities. With the help of the waist belt the pack never shifted when climbing steep scrambles or steep Mayan Pyramids. When riding a mountain bike the back never shifted or flip-flopped on my back.

SUMMARY

Due to the decrease of the inner pockets size when carrying a full reservoir I was unable to carry my necessities deep into the backcountry on long day hikes. However I found the Streamline Pack to be perfect for short low mile hikes and site seeing trips. The pack work better as a mountain bike pack and always carried plenty of water for all activities. This is an excellent hydration system that offers little pocket space for when deep backcountry gear isn't needed.

Pros
Reduced weight and size from my long day hike pack
Soft padded top front pocket for stashing and protecting sunglasses
Plug-N-play hose connector
Raised cushioned back panel

Cons
Reduced size of the inner elastic pockets when reservoir is full
Center nylon on back panel against back when reservoir is full
No padding in shoulder straps

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to test the Hydrapak Streamline Pack on my short and low mile hike when mot entering deep into the backcountry. The pack will also be tested on some upcoming mountain bike trips as well as an overnight canoe trip where I will use it as a paddle pack.

Since my weekend pack is hydration compatible I will use the Hydrapak reservoir on my upcoming overnight backpack trips. I will also carry the Streamline Pack on an overnighter to use as a summit pack when climbing Catskill high peaks from base camp.

The Streamline will be used on my business trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. I will wear the pack when trekking in the desert heat while taking in the sites of the Vegas Strip as well as my visit to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead area. I am also planning on scenic drive through the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area where the pack will be ready for any last minute site seeing walks. Beside, I can't go wrong with carrying the extra water in the Streamline while driving in the desert.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report should be completed by 8-5-08. Please check back then for further information.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Field testing for the Hydrapak Streamline took place in the following locations:

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Elevation: 4771 ft (1445 m)
Weather: 106 F (41.11 C) Hot, clear and sunny desert conditions
Distance: 20 miles (32.20 km)
Activity: several short hikes within two days throughout conservation area

Las Vegas, Nevada
Weather: 105 F (40.56 C) Hot, clear and sunny desert conditions
Distance: about 10 miles a day for 3 days
Activity: Walking and site seeing

North/South Lake - Northeastern Catskills, New York State
Weather: 80 F (26.67 C) mostly sunny
Distance: Unknown (pack was worn for about 5 hours)
Activity: Canoeing

Catskill Scenic Trail
Elevation: 1500 ft (457 m)
Weather: 78 F (25.56 C) cloudy with light rain at times)
Distance: 20 miles (32.20 km) out and back
Activity: Mountain biking

Otsego County Fair - New York State
Weather: 80 F (26.67 C) with afternoon thunderstorm
Distance: Unknown (pack was worn for 4 hours)
Activity: Walking

I have also worn the Streamline Pack during several short bushwhack hikes in the forest behind my home. The trek is mostly on an uphill/downhill rocky terrain with a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m).

Above I have over ten days logged where the Hydrapak Streamline was used and tested during various activities, locations and conditions.




PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Hydrapak Streamline performed better than expected during this final leg of the testing period. It has proven to be durable with no big issues to slow me down. The pack still appears to be in new condition.

The size of the pack still gives me trouble with the unusable inside elastic pockets. As stated in the Field Report these pockets offer very little space when carrying a full reservoir. During this testing period I avoided carrying the pack on long day hikes due to the limited space provided.

Looking past the little amount of storage space offered the pack performed well on short treks, sight seeing trips and bike rides. I really enjoyed wearing the Streamline while canoe paddling. The narrow design allow for much freedom and movement. It always remained stabilized during all activities with the packs hipbelt. The pockets are perfect for stashing small items such as wallet, keys, sunglasses and a small snack. The upper pocket on the front has a fleece-like lining that work out great for stashing my sunglasses.

The reservoir offered plenty of water during all activities and treks. Having the quick release on the hose has been a valuable feature when refilling or when cleaning. I do however have a few complaints about this reservoir. Water has been the only fluid used in the reservoir so cleaning has been pretty easy. However I did find this reversing process (turning the reservoir inside out) to be a bit fussy. It seems to me that the reversing process adds to the wear and tear of the reservoir. Since I only use water I limit this process to every second or third cleaning.

Another issue I have with the reservoir is about the taste I get in my water. Throughout the day my water starts to get a plastic-like taste to it. I know with my other brand reservoir this bad taste is eliminated. It seems that the taste becomes more noticeable the longer the water remains in the reservoir. This leads me to believe the taste is coming from inside the reservoir and not just the hose.

During the hot days when hiking in the Nevada desert the pack helped to keep my water cool. I was surprised when I would get cool sips from in the pack hours later. It was a nice treat while trekking in the hot dry desert.

SUMMARY

Even with its limited pack space the Streamline has proven to be worthy and durable. I have always received comfort when carrying the pack with a full reservoir throughout the days. In my opinion I feel with an improved reservoir without the issue described above the Streamline could be superior in it class and size.

Pros
Comfort when carried
Narrow design for movability
Quick release hose

Cons
Difficulty when reversing the reservoir
Bad plastic-like taste in water
Small and limited pocket space

CONTINUED USE

The Hydrapak Streamline will continue to be used consistently on my short treks and various day trips. I enjoyed using the pack while paddling and biking so I will continue to use it during these activities as well. However I will probably swap out the reservoir for my other branded one strictly for the eliminated plastic-like taste in my water.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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