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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Coleman Chinkapin X65 Backpack > Test Report by Tim Coughlin


 Chinkapin X65 Backpack


Product Information



Tester Biography

Initial Report

Field Report

Long Term Report 


3 October 2007

Available approximately 2 months after Initial Report

Available approximately 4 months after Initial Report



Tester Biographical Information

Name: Tim Coughlin
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.8 m)
Weight: 190 lb (82 kg)
Age: 45
Email: TCoug7<at>yahoo<dot>com
Test Location: Western New York, Northern Pennsylvania, Adirondack Mountains
State: New York
Country: United States

Backpacking Background:

I have been an active backpacker for 29 years, with experience hiking in many parts of the continental United States and Canada. Most of my time is spent in the Northeast, especially the Adirondack region of New York State. I practice lightweight and ultralight philosophies when backpacking. Iím a seasoned veteran to three-season backpacking, and have been expanding my experience outdoors to include winter backpacking. I am an avid four-season dayhiker. 

Product Information

Name: Chinkapin X65 
Model Number: 8540-601
Manufacturer: Coleman
Web Site:

Date of Manufacture: 2007
Type: Internal Frame Backpack
Listed Volume Capacity:

2947 - 4440 cu in (48 - 73 L)

Listed Pack Weight:

4 lb 2 oz (1.87 kg)

Measured Pack Weight:

4 lb 3 oz (1.90 kg)

Color: Monochromatic (Black and White with bright Lime Green Highlights)

* Lifetime (see below)

MSRP: $169.00 - US currency
* "The Coleman Company, Inc ("Coleman") warrants the original retail purchaser that for the period you own this product, it will be free from defects in materials and workmanship.  Coleman, at its option, will repair or replace this product or any component of the product found to be defective during the warranty period.  Replacement will be made with a new or remanufactured product or component.  If the product is no longer available, replacement may be made with a similar product of equal or greater value.  This is your exclusive warranty." - from the Coleman hangtag booklet that came attached to the pack.

Other Options Available



Gender Available










    • HDPE (plastic) framesheet with two Type 6061 aluminum stays
    • Closed cell foam used in key places - shoulder straps, hip belt, back padding
    • 3D Spacer Mesh on all body contact areas
    • Pack Body - 210 Denier diamond ripstop, pu coated with silicone finish
    • High Wear Areas - 410 Denier nylon packcloth
    • Pack Bottom - 1000 Denier nylon
    • Hypalon Inserts and Overlays - slide on sternum strap
    • Stretch Mesh Side Water Pockets
    • Waterproof Zippers
    • Men's and Women's shoulder harness available for any model pack
    • Removable hipbelt comes in three sizes
    • Removable top lid - along with hipbelt converts to lumbar pack
    • Pack is waterproof
    • Adjustable harness system allows continuous lumbar adjustment over range from 14 - 21 in ( cm)
    • Huge front kangaroo pouch with internal mesh pockets
    • Internal hydration bladder pouch with tube exit port over wearer's right shoulder
    • Two ice ax loops along pack bottom
    • Two hook-n-loop closure "keepers" located high on pack sides
    • Map pocket on left side of hipbelt
    • Removable Framesheet
    • Removable/adjustable aluminum stays
    • Separate sleeping bag compartment


Denier is a unit of measure used in the garment industry to define the diameter or fineness for a continuous or filament fiber, such as silk, or a man-made fiber, like the various types nylons used in the Chinkapin X65.  It is based on a standard mass per length of 1 gram per 9,000 meters of fiber. The higher the number, the thicker the fiber.  For reference, fine silk fiber has a denier of 8 and the human hair has a denier of 20. 

Description of Chinkapin X65:

The Chinkapin X65 Backpack is an internal framed pack that is fully adjustable to each user.  Custom fit is obtained through three different sized hipbelts available and different shoulder pad/yoke assemblies for men and women.  Note: the pack is shipped with a Medium sized hipbelt.  If another size is desired, it can be exchanged by contacting Coleman.  Shipping and handling charges may apply.  The removable hipbelt can be teamed up with the removable top lid for a truly supportive lumbar pack.  

Initial Report

The Setting

The test series begins in the middle of the fall season.  Temperatures are in slow but steady decline.  Currently, average daily temperatures are around 70 F (21 C) during the day, with lows of 25 F (-4 C) at night.  The beginning two months of this test series tend to be dry as compared to the latter half, where the weather can include any form of precipitation and tends to include all of them at one time or another.  The test will continue through the winter months.   Based on treks already confirmed, testing will include treks in and around Western New York and tentatively to the Adirondack Mountains.  Expected temperature extremes will vary from the current highs of 70 F (21 C) to lows around -10 F (-23 C).  

The Arrival

The Coleman Chinkapin X65 Backpack arrived in 'new' condition without any discernible flaws.  The pack's style is very much what I expected from my research of the Coleman website.  What really surprised me was the excellent materials, workmanship and thought that went into the design of this pack.  I'm very pleased.

My Impressions

My initial impressions of the Chinkapin X65 are that I'm very pleasantly surprised.  This appears to be a well thought-out pack.  There are many "extras" that further enhance the Chinkapin X65.  There is a booklet attached to the pack, like a hangtag.  This booklet is chock full of information on virtually everything to do with the pack.  It very clearly describes how to measure torso length, how to wear and fit the hipbelt correctly, how to put on and adjust the pack for optimal fit, how to adjust the torso length on the pack, how to pack the backpack, and how to transform the lumbar pack.  There is a graphic showing the proper ranges for the different packs Coleman has to offer.  The Chinkapin X65 is described as the solution for extended backpacking and expedition treks with loads from 45 lb (20 kg) to 65 lb (30 kg).

There are also care instructions for the pack.  "Hand wash with mild detergent.  Stubborn grime might require a light scrubbing.  Rinse well in clean water and air dry with all zippers and compartments open.  Be sure your pack is completely dry before storing.  Store in a cool, dry place."

Pack Description

The pack will be described first from the outside and then the inside.  The back of the pack shall be defined in this report as the part of the pack against the wearer's back when the pack is worn.  The front is the part of the pack opposite the back; it is the section of the Chinkapin X65 that contains the kangaroo pocket. 




The front of the pack contains the kangaroo pocket on the upper half, and the half-moon zippered access for the sleeping bag compartment below.  The kangaroo pocket is truly huge.  Its volume is very difficult to measure, so I will try to define it more by what I can store in it.  I will be including this information in the Field Report section after I gain some experience.  On the inside of the kangaroo pocket are two mesh pockets running horizontally on top of each other.  Each pocket has an elasticized top to secure items.  Both pockets run the width of the kangaroo pocket.  Below the kangaroo pocket is the zippered entrance to the sleeping bag section.  The zipper is all waterproof and easy to operate.  Each half of the zipper contains a pull.  I have worked the zippers several times already and have had no snags or jams.  They operate very easily.

Running up from the bottom of the pack are two compression straps that secure via quick disconnect clips just above the sleeping bag section access zipper.  Not only do these zippers provide compression, they allow an easy place to lash on "other stuff" such as a ground cloth, rain gear, a sleeping pad, a tent, etc.  Along the bottom of the front are two ice ax loops.






Each side is a mirror image of the other.  Along the bottom is an elasticized mesh bottle holder.  Each holder can accommodate a 1L (32 oz) Nalgene.  There are two compression straps as well.  Both straps run in the horizontal direction.  One is just above the mesh bottle holder and the other is near the top.  Adjacent to the top compression strap is a nylon loop with hook-n-loop closure.  This is referred to as a "keeper" in the literature. 







The top of the pack is covered with a removable tip lid.  This lid contains a zipper access.   It is secured at the top of the back of the pack by two quick clips.  The front of the lid is connected by straps that run vertically down the front of the pack along the sides of the kangaroo pocket and secure via adjustable quick clips just below the kangaroo pocket.  By removing any two of the clips (I tend to unclip the front two) the top of the pack can be seen.  There is a 7 in ( 18 cm) extension collar at the top.  This extension collar has its own drawstring, as does the top proper.  Coming over the top is another compression strap that is sewn in on the back of the pack and terminates in the front via a quick clip. It is totally adjustable with the height of the extension collar.






The back of the pack is defined by the large padded mesh back panel extending from the bottom all the way to the top where the shoulder straps are secured.  The shoulder straps are padded with a high -density foam, allowing them to be thin.  The top of each shoulder strap has a load lifting strap.  Across the shoulder straps is the sternum strap.  The sternum strap slides effortlessly up and down along Hypalon slides on each shoulder strap.  Both straps terminate at the top at the yoke.




yoke assy





The yoke is an integral part of the torso adjustment system.  I found the adjustment process quick and easy.  To adjust, first remove the top strap to the mesh back panel and run it through the several loops.  Then slip a hand down under where the yoke attaches to the pack body via a large patch of hook-n-loop fastener material and release it from the hook-n-loop.  The yoke can now be easily set anywhere along the Velcro patch, allowing a continuous torso setting anywhere from minimum to maximum. 







The hipbelt is removed in a similar manner, although the backpanel does not need to be adjusted as it did for the shoulder yoke.  To remove the hipbelt, first undo the side adjustment straps connecting the hipbelt to the pack.  Then, simply slide a hand into the pocket where the hipbelt passes, and separate the two hook-n-loop mating surfaces.  Once separated, the hipbelt can be slid free from the pack.







The hipbelt contains a map pocket on the left side of the wearer's hip.  This pocket measures 3 X 5 in (76 X 127 mm).  The foam in the hipbelt is high density, thereby reducing the overall bulkiness of the belt.






To convert the lumbar pack, first remove the hipbelt and the top lid.  Slide the hipbelt into the loop located on the underside of the lid.  There is a Velcro patch on the inside of the loop.  Simply press the surface on the hipbelt to its mate on the lid.  There are two clips that wrap around the hipbelt and connect on each side of the lid.  Stick the dangling straps on the hipbelt (used for adjustment on the pack, but not needed in the lumbar pack configuration) under the loop.  Make sure the access zipper on the lid is facing in the same direction as the zipper on the map pocket to ensure orientation is correct.




To custom fit the pack to any individual within the listed torso range, Coleman provides three different hipbelts.  The table below defines each size:

Waist Belt Fit


Range (in)

Range (cm)


28 - 36

71 - 91


32 - 40

81 - 101


36 - 44

91 - 111

To customize the fit according to gender, a "female in mind"-designed shoulder strap and yoke assembly is available.  Therefore, and pack can be converted into a female pack, or simply order one in red that has different model numbers for the men's and women's versions.

framesheetstayoutThe inside of the pack contains two areas: the main body and the sleeping bag area.  Between the sections runs a separator, made of nylon with a pull closure like those found at the top of the pack and extension collar,  that can be easily opened up to create one large storage volume if desired.  Along the back of the inside is a pocket centered in the middle for a hydration bladder.  The hydration pocket measures 6 X 9 in (152 X 229 mm).  Along the top is a fold over of material that is secured closed by a hook-n-loop fastener running along the whole edge.  By separating the fastener and folding back the material, the HDPE frame sheet can be removed.  Slightly flexing the plastic frame sheet helps in removing it.  The two aluminum stays will come with the frame sheet, as they are contained in their own individual "pockets" secured on one side of the frame sheet.  Each stay can be removed by undoing the hook-n-loop fastener along the top and extracting the stay.  The stays can be "custom" formed to the wearer's curvature by forming each stay the same when they are removed from the frame sheet.  When they have reached the desired shape, simply reinsert into the pockets on the frame sheet and reinsert the frame sheet into the pocket along the back of the inside of the pack.

Test Strategy

The test series will occur over the fall and winter months.  At 4,440 cu in (65 L) it's not a really big pack for the type of weather I will be experiencing.  The layout of the Chinkapin is what made me interested in it, since it seems to lend itself well to a variety of packing options.  This is important because of the gear I need to bring.  I have trips planned for October, November and January.  These are all 2 or 3 day weekend treks.  I will also be doing a multitude of dayhiking; all wearing the pack.  I have decided to swap the Medium sized hipbelt for a Large to accommodate my winter layers comfortably.

Some specific questions I will be investigating include:

  • How well does the Chinkapin X65 pack?
  • Can I strap on my extras - snowshoes, crampons, etc.
  • How well does the pack carry?  Is there a weight where the pack is "maxed-out"?
  • Are there any issues? 
  • Does the waterproofing work?


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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Coleman Chinkapin X65 Backpack > Test Report by Tim Coughlin

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