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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > GoLite Odyssey Pack > Test Report by Ralph DittonUpdated: 15th July, 2007
GoLite Odyssey Pack
Review by: Ralph Ditton
Date: 19th March, 2007
Name: Ralph Ditton
Height: 1. 76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 71 kg (156.5 lb)
Email: rdassetts at optusnet dot com dot au
City: Perth. Western Australia. Australia
My playgrounds are the Bibbulmun Track and the Coastal Plain Trail. I am to become an end-to-end walker of the Bibbulmun Track. I am nearly there as it is 964 km (603 mi) long. My pack weight including food and water tends to hover around 18 kg (40 lb) but I am trying to get lighter. My trips range from overnighters to five days duration.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's website: http://www.golite.com
Colour: Tempest, but also comes in Crimson
Listed weight: 1,590 g (3 lb 8 oz)
My measured weight: 1,566 g (3 lb 7¼oz)
Volume: 90 l (5,492 cu in)
Compact volume: 26.2 l (1,600 cu in)
Material: Super-durable polyurethane-coated nylon with durable water repellent coating.
Maximum comfortable carrying capacity: 23 kg (50 lb)
Torso fit range for Medium size: 44.45 cm - 49.5 cm (17.5 in - 19.5 in) [From the 7th Vertebra to top of hip crest].
7th Vertebra is located in line with the top of the shoulders.
Warranty: GoLite will replace any gear with a manufacturing defect for the lifetime of the product, free of charge.
Made in : Vietnam
MSRP: USD $200
Odyssey Pack (Courtesy of GoLite)
The GoLite Odyssey pack (hereinafter known as the pack) is the medium sized pack that best fits my frame according to the measurements chart set out by GoLite on the web site.
The pack that I received is Tempest (Blue) in colour with grey trim for the extension collar, front pocket and sleeping bag compartment. The photo above shows the grey areas. The base of the top pocket is black as is most of the interior of the pack. I find that this colour makes objects difficult to find when scratching around inside the pack looking for an item. The only parts not black are the bottom pocket for the sleeping bag and the sides which are a nice Tempest.
I will examine each aspect of the pack.
The pack is constructed from ultra-durable Velocity fabric and has a mouldable frame sheet with two adjustable aluminium stays. It feels very slippery in the hand and is supposed to be water repellent.
The belts are made of a webbing material and are grey in colour. The clips are a nylon/plastic type made by Nifco for GoLite. I have not been able to find any defect in the workmanship of the pack. All threads are intact without any trailing threads and the stitching is very even The haul loop has multiple stitching at the anchor points to give it added strength for the future work it will have to do when I lift heavy loads.
The buckles are very tiny in comparison to my own pack and what I have seen on other packs. The largest buckle is the hip belt buckle which stands to reason as it does most of the work and is used the most. It is 48 mm (1.9 in) wide. The four side compression buckles are 30 mm (1.2 in) wide. The remainder are 22 mm (0.9 in) wide. It naturally follows that the webbing is relative to the buckle with the thinnest being 15 mm (0.6 in) for the strap over the top of the main body of the pack to cinch down and inwards before attaching the top pocket. The widest belt is the hip belt at 38 mm (1.5 in). As can be seen by the measurements, the belts are on the skinny side.
The top pocket is detachable as it is attached by a belt and buckle system and not sewn to the main body which is a bonus.This will allow me to adjust the top pocket upwards and backwards when I fill up the main body and it should not invade my head space by leaning forward like the style that is stitched to the main body just behind my head. There is a single zipper with a loop of elastic material and a plastic shaped dog bone for a better word, that I can grip to operate the zipper. The zipper is of a watertight design according to the manufacture. On appearances it does look like it will be watertight. There are no additional hidden side pockets in the top pocket like my MacPac. What you see is what you get, one good size top pocket that in my estimation can accommodate approximately 3 l (183 cu in). The top pocket cannot be worn as a waist pack by itself, but it is totally removable should I so desire to cut down on weight which is unlikely as I like to carry my camera, maps, toilet paper, glasses, GPS and trowel in the top pocket.
The extension collar at the top of the main body in my estimation adds about 10 l (610 cu in) to the main body. It is secured by a draw cord that runs around the top of the collar and can be closed tight by a spring loaded cord lock. The collar extends from the main body by 22 cm - 23 cm (8.6 in - 9 in) due to the overall cut of the main body. This slightly odd base oval shape gives an even height at the top of the pack. The extension collar is grey in colour.
Inside the Pack
At the top of the pack proper there is a 10 cm (4 in) length of webbing that has a clip at the end for the attachment of keys/LED lights or whatever might take my fancy. Just below the clip, some 10 cm (4 in) there is a pocket for a water bottle such as a flexi flask or camelback type water container that has a hose outlet to suck on. There are two vents, one on either side for the water hose to pass through depending on the preference of the wearer. I tend to use the right hand side so I would use the right hand side vent to pass the hose through.
Towards the bottom of the pack but above the sleeping bag compartment is a detachable shelf that is shaped to allow tent poles, tent, sleeping mat etc to pass along either side of into the bottom of the pack. I favour a single pack as opposed to a two section pack so I always unclip/unzip the bottom shelf so that I can load the pack without worrying about the entry from the bottom. I have my packing system and know what is at the bottom of the pack so in my opinion, the sleeping bag compartment zipper entry is superfluous and only adds another potential water point of entry. The shelf is held in position by four straps and buckle system which is very easy to operate to disconnect.
The front pocket appears to be able to hold about 4 l (244 cu in) and is opened/closed by two zippers. The zipper is a No. 5 of the watertight design. I do have a problem with the two zipper arrangement. When the two zippers "kiss" there is a gap between and around them of 2 mm (0.002 in) which is a potential source of entry for water when it rains should a pack cover not be used. There is the same set up for the zippers with the elastic cord and the dog bones to grip to operate the zippers. On the front of the front pocket are two elastic loops which catch onto a plastic/nylon clip. The elastic is easily removed from the clip and can be threaded through say a pair of sandal type footwear and re clipped, attaching the footwear to the rear of the pack.
Sleeping Bag Compartment
Below the front pocket is the sleeping bag compartment with two larger No. 8 YKK zippers and there is the same problem as the front pocket. When the two zippers "kiss" there is a gap between and around them of 2.5 mm (0.0025 in) which is another potential source of water entry. In my opinion, the manufacturer should only have one zipper for both pockets just like the top pocket because that zipper fits neatly into an end giving a good seal without any gap showing. This entry point allows a walker to access the sleeping gear when in camp quickly. I believe it comes down to an individual likes if an entry point there is required. For me it is totally unnecessary. The space inside for a sleeping bag is quite generous. From appearances, it could accommodate a bag with a diameter of 20 cm (7.8 in) and 36 cm (14 in) long.
In front of the bottom compartment are two straps, one on either side of the compartment. These straps are designed to hold excess gear that won't fit inside the pack such as a tent or a closed cell mat. I would not place a self inflating mat on the outside due to the risk of punctures from the bush. The straps are adjustable through the male buckles. On either side of the front pocket are two adjustable straps that clip onto the top pocket to keep it in place. On either side of the pack are two compression adjustable straps with a good spacing between them. See the above photo for the position of the straps. On the back of the pack at shoulder level are two more straps which adjust the angle of the shoulder straps/harness. They are also very handy to hang onto when going up an incline as I do not use walking poles. There is a top compression strap that goes over the top of the cord lock on the extension collar to secure the top closure.
At the base of the pack there is a hook and loop system that allows for the base to be concertinaed to reduce the interior volume of the pack. The manufactures states that the volume is reduced down to 26.2 l (1,600 cu in). I do not envisage using this system on multi day hikes, but I can see the benefits for the pack to be used as a day pack which I will be trying out.
The loop goes inside the clip. I have just shown the position of the two features that make up the system.
At the base of the pack are two loops used to house tools such as a little axe, ice picks or hang an empty billy off.
The two wings of the hip belt feel as if they have a somewht stiff foam insert which can take a good squeeze with the fingers to try and compress, so it is not too soft which is good. There is an excellent feature on the hip belt. There are two bellowed mesh pockets with YKK zippers to secure such items as trail nibblies, sunglasses or a camera and any other odds and ends that I may want to hand during a hike.
angled view showing hip belt
The Nifco hip buckle is very easy to operate and the webbing that passes through the male and female parts of the buckle are also very easy to tighten or loosen. The hip belts are attached to the main body of the pack so it is not a floating hip belt that is independent of the pack.
There is an angled mesh side pocket with an elastic top binding on each side of the pack. They are quite generous in the amount of space created by these pockets. The pockets extend from the front to the rear of the pack and the above photo shows my flexi flask in one of the pockets. In the rear corner, nearest the hip belt, there is a hole. I guess that is for the pointy end of a walking pole to poke through when being carried.
The back panel is shaped by the use of an insert Frame sheet that has two adjustable aluminium stays. I will leave the stays at the factory setting for my first walk to see if I need to do any adjustment. The padding is quite squishy as it compresses very easily when squeezed by my fingers. From the hip belt up, the fabric is a Space mesh with Brock foam padding. I do not know what type of padding is used in the last 16 cm (6 in) of the back panel but it is a bit firmer than the Space mesh. The Frame sheet is very stiff, dark grey in colour and wavy to fit the contour of a back.
Frame sheet and aluminium stays
The tops of the aluminium stays can be seen in the photo as I have uncovered them by pulling back the covers. The stays run the length of the Frame sheet down each side and are housed in a pocket.
The contoured shoulder straps are also made of Brock foam covered by Space mesh. Attached to the top of the shoulder straps are two adjustment straps which when tightened pull the top of the pack closer to the head. Conversely, when loosened, the pack moves away from the head. Just below these straps are a GoLite logo reflective hydration tube guide on each shoulder strap. The straps at the bottom of the shoulder straps called load lifters by the manufacturer, move the pack down onto my shoulders to make the pack snug against my back.
At the top of the pack and in between the shoulder straps is a very thin haulage loop created by folding a 15 mm (0.5 in) piece of webbing in half and stitching the two sides together for most of its length. Where the haulage loop anchors onto the pack, the full 15 mm (0.5 in) is multi stitched for strength. Pulling the two shoulder straps into position on my chest is an adjustable sternum strap that has an innovative whistle incorporated into the male buckle.
Whistle in sternum buckle
A big thank you to GoLite for the opportunity for BGT to test this pack and I am especially honoured for being selected as it appears to be full of potential.
This concluded 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.
Date: 17th May, 2007
In preparation for my first backpacking trip to the Giants and Frankland River campsites on the Bibbulmun Track located within the Walpole - Nornalup National Park in the South West corner of Western Australia, one evening I packed the GoLite Odyssey Pack with my gear, as one would. I inserted a Camelback water bladder into the interior sleeve provided. After being diverted from the process of completing the packing of the backpack I returned to the task at hand after about 20 minutes. I noticed that there was a wet spot on the floor tile against the hipbelt. I felt the hip belt and back padding attaching to the hipbelt. They were very wet. I quickly unpacked the pack and to my horror found that the water bladder had sprung a very small leak around the hose outlet. With the gear pressing against the full bladder, the pressure opened up the minute fracture and allowed water to escape into the base of the pack and out through the base of the back panel and through a section of the hipbelt. Fortunately I had a day to go before going on my trip so I was able to dry the pack in the sun the following day.
This disaster forced a rethink on my water carrying options. I opted for the two outside pockets situated on each side of the pack with a Flexiflask that can hold 2 l (4.2 pint) and a plastic commercial screw top water bottle brought from a supermarket that contains 600 ml (1.3 pint). One went into each pocket. I am happy to say that I suffered no further leaking of water containers during my trip.
My first trip with the pack was a two night and two day exercise. A group of us walked into the Giants camp in the dark using our head torches. The conditions were around 18 C (64 F) during the night walk and the pack weighed 17 kg (37.4 lb). There was a bit of uphill and a lot of downhill into the camp. The elevation ranged from 110 m to 200 m (361 ft to 656 ft). At the start of the walk I used the haul loop to lift the pack onto my right knee (my preferred knee for pack lifting) then I proceeded to lift it higher and thrust my right arm through the shoulder strap. I found this a bit awkward as the pack wanted to keep moving away from me and tilt downwards as I hauled it up and away from me so that I could swing into the right hand shoulder strap. I then tried putting my arm through the shoulder strap whilst the pack was sitting on my knee. It worked but it felt very awkward trying to get the weight up onto my shoulder so that I could place the other arm into place in the opposite shoulder strap. In fact, over the whole trip I never really found a good way of lifting a dead weight from the ground up onto my shoulders. The only success I had was to sit the pack on a log or table that was high up and back into it with both arms going through the shoulder straps whilst crouching or sitting. Once my arms were through it was just a matter of standing up and doing up the appropriate belts and buckles.
The pack was very full with a load of 17 kg (37.4 lb) so I would be very loath to go to the recommended maximum comfortable load of 23 kg (48.6 lb) with this pack. I feel that I would have great difficulties in trying to get the pack onto my back by using my knee method.
During the night walk after tightening all the appropriate belts and buckles, I found that I could walk reasonably upright. As there were uphills I tend to lean forward negotiating these. On the few flat spots I had to make a conscious decision to stand upright as I got so used to leaning forward going uphill. The pack felt comfortable when I was upright. Over the course of the night walk I did not experience any sore shoulders or any ache between my shoulder blades. The next day was a mixture of on and off Bibbulmun Track walking totaling 19 km (11.8 mi). The terrain was hilly with elevations ranging from a starting point of 119 m (390 ft) to a maximum of 200 m ( 656 ft) down to a low of 38 m (125 ft). The temperature ranged from a low of 21 C (69 F) to a high of 32 C (90 F) during the hike and humidity ranged from 60% to 80% according to my Kestrel Meter. I reached camp with just a half cup of water left after starting out with 2.6 l (5.5 pint). Some of the group had none left by the last 2 km (1.2 mi). My shoulders and back were fine from carrying the pack. By the time I reached camp I estimate that the pack weighed 14 kg (31 lb) after consuming the bulk of the water and food for breakfast and lunch. The next day we returned back along the Bibbulmun Track without any deviation offtrack, to where our vehicles were, some 11.6 km (7.2 mi). It was during this walk that I had to resort to using the whistle in the sternum buckle as we were a bit spread out in thick bush. I could not see the others in front of me and the person behind me was the last in line. She wanted to have a nature call break so I used the whistle by giving two blast to alert the other three in the group to stop. They all heard the whistle and stopped. I caught up with them within about 20 seconds and told them the situation. The whistle sounded very loud amongst the tall trees and vegetation, nothing at all like in loudness when I tried it at home. I was able to maintain an upright stance where the terrain allowed but I did develop an ache between my shoulder blades with about 5 km (3.1 mi) to go and it remained with me until we reached our destination.
Wearing the pack at Sappers Bridge
The pack weight at the morning start weighed by my estimation was about 16 kg (33.8 lb) because I had only got through about l kg (2.2 lb) of food and 1 l (2.1 pint) of wine. I refilled the wine container with water the next morning so I was carrying 3.6 l (7.6 pint) of water as the temperature ranged from 19 C to a high of 33 C (66 F to 91 F). The bulk of the trip was walked in temperatures around the low 30's C (86 F+) and the humidity ranged from a low of 63% to a high of 86%. The humidity was in the high 70's and low 80's for most of the trip. I arrived back at the car park with about ½ l (1 pint) of water. Perspiration covered my back and the seat of my trousers and this also was absorbed by the back mesh panel of the backpack and the rear part of the hipbelt.
On all days I had a pair of shoes attached to the rear of the pack by the two elastic loops. I also used the mesh pockets on the hipbelt to carry my sunglasses when in shade amongst the trees and my trail mix of nuts in the other. I found that I could easily reach behind me to retrieve my water bottle from the side pocket without taking the pack off. However, it was a different story with the Flexiflask and Sigg beverage bottle.
Water bottles in side pocket
I had to stop and take the pack off to retrieve the containers. To get around stopping too often, I transferred water from the two bigger containers into the 600 ml (1.2 pint) when the small bottle ran dry or when we had a rest break I topped it up.
During the two days and one night walking with the pack I had no problems with the wearing of my hat from the top pocket of the pack as I was able to angle it away from my full brim hat.
No interference from the pack for my hat
My next outing was a day hike from the base of Mt. Cook and return. The distance was 12 km (7.5 mi) with the highest point on Mt. Cook of 582 m (1,909 ft). The weather was sunny with patches of overcast with the temperature reaching 24 C (75 F) and a humidity of 46% as measured by my Kestrel 3500 Pocket Weather Meter. In preparation for this day hike, I used the ComPacktor system that the pack features. I stretched the two elastic loops through the two little black clips at the base of the pack and I filled it with food, a rain jacket as there was a potential for rain, GPS, map, compass, camera and the Kestrel 3500. In the side pockets were 3 l (6.3 pint) of water, 2 l (4.2 pint) in one side pocket and 1 l (2.1 pint) in the other side pocket. All up the weight, including the pack, on my back, was 7 kg (15.4 lb). I did try to remove the top pocket at home but I was unable to get the end of the strap where it is doubled over and stitched together through the first slot in the buckle and I put a fair bit of pressure on it trying to pull it through. My recommendation is to use a clip on buckle system for the top pocket at the rear, just like what is on the front of the pack for the top pocket. The only difference being that the female part of the buckle be attached where the current buckle is and the male part with the adjustable strap be attached to the pocket. The pack performed very well on the hike, especially when climbing up and down Mt. Cook. The pack sat comfortably in the small of my back and there was no element of feeling out of balance when climbing up the rock face and rock hopping. On the flat top of the mountain I was able to walk very comfortably in an upright position. Prior to climbing Mt. Cook, a small group of us went off track following a compass bearing to join up with the Bibbulmun Track from a reference tree, a distance of about 800 m (875 yd). This was very tight bush where we had to barge through head high bushes that had branches intermingled together and it very difficult to take a compass bearing on a feature such as a tall tree. I am pleased to report that the pack suffered no damage from the branches and the water bottles were not ripped out from the outside pockets. Having said that, one of my walking companions had his GPS ripped off his wife's waist by the bush and was lost. By the time we reached the vehicles, my pack weight I estimate was down to 4 kg (8.8 lb) after drinking 2 l (4.2 pint) of water and food for morning tea and lunch.
using the ComPactor system
My next outing was a two day hike along the Coastal Plain Trail. The initial pack weight was 18 kg (40 lb). I was unable to store all of my gear inside the pack, so I strapped the tent, groundsheet and self-inflating mat, all wrapped together, to the outside of the pack. In all honesty, the pack felt awkward as there seemed to be a dead weight at the bottom of the pack. It would appear that I incorrectly loaded the pack with all of the heavy gear towards the bottom instead of trying to get the heavy gear in the centre of the pack closest to my back. As I used up the consumerables, I was able to get the tent and sleeping mat inside the pack. At the end of the hike I estimate that the pack weight was about 13 kg (28.6 lb) and this was a comfortable load. I did not get sore shoulders thankfully. The terrain was mostly flat but very sandy. The sand was bone dry and loose in many places which made walking hard going. The temperature over the two days reached a maximum of 34 C (93 F) with a humidity of up to 80%.
My next backpack was a two day and two night event in late April with average daytime temperatures of 23 C (73 F) and overnight mean average of 13 C (55 F). The area was Mt. Pingerup in the D'Entrecasteaux National Park with elevations ranging from 170 m (558 ft) to a low of 5 m (16 ft). Total distance walked over the two days was 35 km (20 mi) of which some 6 km (3.7 mi) was offtrack through some very daunting scrub. We got down to the dizzy speed of ¼ km (0.15 mph) through the extremely thick bush which was about 2 km (1.2 mi) in total. The photo below was taken around 11 am and it was brilliant sunshine above the scrub, but dark in the scrub.
in very tight bush
I am pleased to report that the backpack stood up to the very close bush without suffering any damage. The hood and front pocket got dirty from brushing against the blackened bark of trees. However, the pack did suffer some damage when the group of us had to slide down a granite rock face on Mt. Pingerup for about 30 metres (98 ft) with a gradient of around 55 degrees on our bottoms using our hands and feet as brakes. The base of the pack suffered two tiny holes just behind one of the loops near the ComPactor system and an abrasion on the sleeping bag compartment. Listening to the noise whilst sliding I thought that the ComPactor clips were being worn down. They only got shaved a bit. But there was a bit of an abrasion behind both of the plastic clips. The pack does not like being slid down a granite rock face.
abrasion on front pocket
abrasion holes on base of pack
Mt. Pingerup (Courtesy of Google Earth)
How did the pack perform over the two days? To answer the question, I started the walk with a total pack weight of 18 kg (40 lb) and at the end of the first day before the evening meal, I estimate that the pack weight was down to about 15.5 kg (34 lb). Most of this lost weight was water and a little food eaten for morning and afternoon tea and lunch. During the first day I started to develop an ache between my shoulder blades when I tried to walk in an upright position and to relieve this pain I bent slightly forward when walking. The pain seemed to dissipate when this happened. It would take only a few minutes for the pain to appear when I tried the upright walking style. On the following day I refilled my water bottles totaling 3 litres (6 pints) adding 3 kg (6.6 lb) to the pack. I estimated that my pack started off weighing around 16 kg (35 lb) after consuming my evening meal, wine the previous evening and breakfast. Again I developed an ache between my shoulder blades when I tried to walk in an upright manner. I had to place a pack cover on the backpack as it rained for part of the walk. No water found its way inside the pack. During both days I did not have to tighten any straps during the walks due to slippage through the buckles. Whatever position I pulled the straps into, that is where they stayed. The hip buckle was the only one that I would adjust prior to removing my pack as it made it easy to unclip when loosened. The hip bet cups my hips very well and at no stage did I feel the hip belt trying to slide down off my hips. On this trip I had nothing hanging off the back of the pack. Apart from my two water containers that sat in the side pockets, everything else was inside the pack due to the vegetation that we went through. At the end of the journey I estimated that the pack weighed about 14 kg (31 lb). Most of this lost weight was water that I drank during the walk. The only food that I had was an apple and an energy bar.
This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be completed by the 24th July 2007. Please check back then for further information.
LONG TERM REPORT
DATE: 15th July, 2007
My first trip in this phase was to Moore River, located at S 31° 21.180, E 115° 30.060 which is about an hours drive north from Perth on the coast. The trip was for three days and two nights and the pack was used as a day pack using the ComPacktor system. I did not remove the top pocket as I am still unable to get the doubled over end of the two belts through the buckles. With the straps being doubled over and stitched into place, they are too thick for the available space between the centre bar and outside bar of the buckle. The only way around this is to unpick the stitching on both straps so that the straps are no longer doubled over. That way the straps will pass through the buckles.
The weather was wet and windy with daytime average temperatures of 15 C (59 F). The average wind speed from the ocean (west) during the three days was 10 knots. Between rain squalls, our group explored the area on foot along the tracks and I used the pack to carry my GPS for geocaching, tradeable items for the geocaches, camera, money, food, water and a jacket. The weight of the pack was around 4 kilos (9 lb). It was a delight to wear at this weight as I hardly noticed it. I did not use a pack cover and when the pack was rained on, no moisture found its way inside. The rain was either of the drizzle type or just light showers. I did not use the pockets on the hip belt as the sides of the pockets got wet through.
My next outing was a day walk geocaching at Piesse Brook in the Kalamunda National Park on the outskirts of Perth. The general area is located around the following co-ordinates: S 31° 57.439, E 116° 04.051.
The weather was fine but cool. The wind blew from the east and during the walk went from a high of 11 knots down to 8 knots when we left for the day. The temperature at the start of the walk was 10.5 C (51 F) and rose to 16 C (60 F) when we finished. At the start of the walk my pack weighed 7 kilos (15 lb) as I was carrying food, water, jumper, tradeable items, camera, compass, GPS and maps. Again I used the pack in the day pack configuration. The terrain was very hilly and I did perspire along my spine where the pack rested. I did use the side pockets on the hip belt to carry my reading glasses, geocaching notes and a photocopy of a map of the area.
There was a lot off track walking to the various cache sites where we had to scramble up hills through scratchy scrub. I am happy to report that the pack did not suffer any damage.
off track walking
My next field test in this phase of the test was an overnighter to the Mt. Cook campsite on the Bibbulmun Track in late June. It is located at S 32° 24.1583, E 116° 17.708 and sits at an elevation of 380 metres (1,246 ft).
The weather was very wet on Saturday with occasional showers on Sunday. On Saturday and return journey on Sunday, our group climbed Mt. Cooke which has an elevation of 582 metres (1,909 ft) in the rain with water running down the granite rock track covered in lichens and moss. This made for an interesting climb and descent as the pack weighed 18 kg (40 lb) on Saturday and about 14 kg (31 lb) on Sunday. I halved my water as there was plenty laying about on the ground and in rock pools. We all slipped and skidded on the rock but fortunately we did not come to grief and hit the deck. I had a pack liner inside the pack and a pack cover over the outside to protect the contents. No rain water got inside the pack, top pocket or front pocket. However, the padding resting against my back got wet from the rain as did the pockets on the hip belt. I foresaw this problem and put my GPS and sweets into clip lock bags for protection from the rain. I had nothing hanging off the back of the pack as we did some off track bushbashing getting thoroughly soaked in the trousers from the heavily laden wet vegetation. The pack stood up to this test very well without any damage. I had to use the extension collar of the pack to fit everything inside the pack, so it reached well above my head when wearing it.
One particular pleasing thing that I noticed this time was that I did not develop an ache between my shoulder blades when carrying 18 kg (40 lb). It could be that the distance travelled was only around 7 km (4.3 mi) but it did take us over two and a half hours to complete due to the wet conditions and walking the last half hour in the dark with our headlamps down the mountain.
The final field test was a four day, three night hike on the Coastal Plain Trail from Ridges campsite, S 31° 32.832, E 115° 44.286 to Prickly Bark S 31° 42.800, E 115° 56.981 during July, our winter period. The daytime temperatures were on average a pleasant 17 C (63 F) and the elevation ranged from 60 m to 80 m (197 ft to 263 ft). Wind speed ranged between 5 km to 8 km per hour (3 mph to 5 mph). The track was very sandy which was not at all firm. In fact it was very tough going. It was like walking on the loose sand around the sand dunes on a beach. Normally the track would be fine this time of year due to the traditional rainfall but the rains fell far short of their normal average so the sand was not compacted. There is very little traffic along this trail as it is not well known.
As this was a four day trip, the initial weight of the pack on my back, including food and water was 22 kg (48.5 lb). The hardest part was lifting a dead weight onto my shoulders as the haulage loop is too thin for my liking for these heavier weights. I had to use the shoulder strap and lift the pack up in stages. The first stop was to my bent right leg near my knee, then the final heave onto my back by thrusting my right arm through the shoulder strap and then search for the left hand shoulder strap with my left hand and put it through it. Once onto my back and the buckles all done up the weight was not too much of a worry to carry. I did not feel uncomfortable carrying the weight on the first day but I did feel tired from walking through loose sand.
Due to the amount of gear that I had to carry I found that the 90 l (5,492 cu in) size of the pack was inadequate and I used the extension collar. I had to strap my self -inflating mat on the side of the pack in a vertical position and camera case off a shoulder strap. I did not do any off track walking with the pack on this trip. On the last day I was able to place the self-inflating mat on the inside of the pack as the consumable's disappeared and I did not have to use the extension collar. The camera case was left on the shoulder strap in case I saw something worthwhile to photograph. I estimate that my final pack weight on my back on the last day was around 12 kg (26 lb). One thing that became apparent was that the fabric absorbs campfire smoke as it clings to the pack. I have had the pack airing on the clothes line at home after a good wipe down with warm water to remove the dust from the limestone that also coated the pack when I rested it on the ground and when the pack fell over into the sandy limestone dirt. The limestone dust came off with the water but the sour smell has still lingered.
Overall, the pack is very good at what it is designed to do, carry big volumes relatively comfortable without the need for pivoting hip belts as the pack stays vertical when walking. The pockets on the sides are large and can swallow a few water bottles into each pocket. However, they are not very useful for tall flexiflask type water bottles to replace when the pack is on me. I have to take the pack off or get a walking companion to replace the water bottle. I have no trouble replacing 600 ml (20 fl oz) soft drink bottles used to carry water, but if I have to try and put the bottom compression strap over a larger size bottle then the pack has to come off or I get assistance.
I particularly like the ComPactor system for day hikes but the manufacturer needs to rethink the buckles for the top pocket as I cannot remove it due to the doubling over of the straps. They will not pass through the buckles.
Consideration should also be given to a larger haulage loop, perhaps a doubling in width at infinitesimal weight gain.
The pockets on the hip belt were a big hit with me as I carried trail nibbles' in one and my GPS in the other.
Perhaps the manufacturer could look at a stronger base material that will not wear through when the pack is slid down granite rock or similar when being worn.
For on-track walking the pack is very well suited as it should not be exposed to harsh treatment that is encountered in off-track walking. I love the weight compared to my canvas pack of similar size.
Apart from the damage the pack incurred in the Field Report stage, no further damage has been suffered by the pack and the stitching is still good and male buckle parts still functioning as they should.
Thank you GoLite for making this pack available to test and I feel honoured in testing it.
This concluded my Long Term Report.
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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > GoLite Odyssey Pack > Test Report by Ralph Ditton
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