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Long Term Report - Eastern Mountain Sports Ridgeline Backpack - Men's - Scott Downard - February 2, 2006

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Reviewer
Name: Scott Downard
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft (1.83 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Email address: rookthepagan@verizon.net
City, State, Country: Apple Valley, California, U.S.



Backpacking Background

    I hike in the local mountains and desert areas.  I hike mostly in the spring and fall in moderate weather.  Some rain is encountered.  I primarily do day hiking and short term (i.e. one to four nights) backpacking excursions with some five day trips.  I like to keep my pack weight under 30 lbs (13 kg) on multi-day trips.  I use a TarpTent and prefer to use trail runners over traditional boots on nice trails.  I have recently switched to using an alcohol or esbit stove for heating water.



Product Information
Manufacturer: Eastern Mountain Sports
Manufacturer URL: http://www.ems.com/
Year of Manufacture: 2005
MSRP: $89.00 USD
Country of Manufacture: Vietnam
Color: Cobalt and Black
Listed weight: 3 lb 7 oz (1.56 kg)
Actual weight: 3 lb 8 oz (1.59 kg)
Volume: 2200 cu in (36 L)
Quoted Dimensions: 25 x 10.5 x 6 in (64 x 27 x 15 cm)
Materials Used: 330-denier double ripstop nylon with Hypalon accents and a 1000-denier Kodra nylon bottom




Product Overview
:
See my Initial Report for more details.
    The Ridgeline pack from EMS, in my opinion, is a great day pack.  It's a little on the heavy side for a day pack, but it rides very comfortably.  The internal stays provide a ridge frame on which virtually all weight was transfered to my hips.  The shoulder straps can be left loose while on maintained trail and cinched down when balance is important.  Speaking of straps, this pack does have a lot of them, but they allow great flexibility in carrying items that don't fit inside the pack and keeping the contents of the pack from moving around.  Some of the straps like to snag branches, but I resolved this by tucking the straps under themselves.
    The pack is very narrow and does not ride high on my back.  I like this because it reduces the chance of catching the pack on low hanging branches when I have to duck under them.
      



Field Information and Testing Conditions:
    The Ridgeline pack came with me on the 2005/2006 New Year's weekend trip to the Mojave National Preserve.  The pack followed me on my back for three different hikes over the weekend.  Temperatures ranged from 35 F (2 C) to 60 F (15 C) during these hikes.  One hike involved some icy, wind driven rain.  The pack itself got wet on the outside, but nothing on the inside of the pack had any moisture on it after 30 minutes of light rain exposure.
    All three of the hikes were in desert terrain.  The trail included narrow "canyons" that were composed of large boulders that flanked the trail.  Some of this trail required me to squeeze through some of these "canyons".  The result was the Ridgeline pack being dragged against the rocks.  The only damage sustained was some scratches on the plastic buckles holding the lid down.
    The maximum load I started with was almost 25 lbs (11 kg).  This included  4 qts (4 l) of water, fleece beanie, fleece pullover, full zip wind breaker, gloves, rain jacket and pants, a 20 oz (600 ml) Gatorade, digital camera, binoculars, GPS unit, umbrella, first aid kit, compass, map, headlamp, and food for a full day and evening of desert hiking.  The water, fleece beanie, fleece pullover,  camera, binoculars, first aid kit, compass, map, headlamp, and food all fit inside the pack.  The Gatorade, GPS unit, umbrella, rain jacket and pants, wind breaker, and gloves all fit into the Shove It Pocket and the side pockets.  I found this arrangement handled all of my equipment very well.  I actually had available space inside the pack.
   




Things I  observed:
  1. How well will the pack material withstand continued desert hiking and the abundance of rocks to scramble across, up and down?  There are many thorny plants that like to catch clothing and packs while I am heading cross country in the desert.
    • What can I say about the durability of this pack?  It's fantastic!  This pack has been tossed and dragged over rocks and boulders, scrapped and grabbed at by many an overhanging tree limb, and even survived rain.
  2. Will this pack be of sufficient size for a one night, lightweight backpacking trip?  Will all the external tie out points allow me to secure extra gear that won't fit inside?  I am hoping to test this during the Long Term Testing period.
    • I was not able to use this pack for an overnight backpacking trip.  I just haven't attained the ultralight status yet.
  3. What is the maximum comfortable load for me?
    • The maximum load I have started with was almost 25 lbs (11 kg) and was very comfortable.  I believe I could have hauled a few more pounds (kilograms) and still been comfortable.
  4. Is the hip padding sufficient when this pack is weighted down?  So far it is sufficient, but will this change under different conditions?
    • The hip padding seemed sufficient for me during all of my outings.  My hips were not sore once.


Things I like:
  1. Very durable material
  2. Great load transfer
  3. Comfortable
Things I dislike:
    I do not have any negative comments on this pack at this time.



Summary:

    This pack is a great choice for longer day hikes where the extra volume and weight of water and gear are essential.  I have found the durability to be fantastic.  The frame sheet may add weight to the pack, but in my opinion the load transfer of the frame sheet is worth it.  This will be my primary day hiking pack from now on.
    I really do not have any negative comments about this pack.




Read more reviews of EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) gear
Read more gear reviews by Scott Downard

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Eastern Mountain Sports Ridgeline > Scott Downard > Long Term Report



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