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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Tarne 36 > Owner Review by Mark Thompson

OWNER REVIEW - GREGORY TARNE 36 PACK
BY MARK THOMPSON
OWNER REVIEW
December 28, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mark Thompson
EMAIL: markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Castle Rock, CO
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)

Outdoor adventures started for me at a very early age, undoubtedly the result of adventurous parents. Over the years, my passions have bounced from sport to sport, but being in the mountains has always made me feel at home, whether it's the Sierras, Rockies, Adirondacks or the Alps, I am always planning my next adventure. After a 24 year separation, I am finally back home in the Rockies. My near term goals include climbing the Colorado 14ers (8 down, 46 to go) and increasing my climbing skill level (presently comfortable to Class 3, but need/want to get to 5.0).

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gregorypacks.com
MSRP: n/a
Listed Weight: 3 lb 5 oz (1.50 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 6 oz (1.53 kg)
Other details:
Pack size: Large, 2319 cu in, (38 L)
Pack Color: Obsidian

IMAGE 1
Photo courtesy of Gregory Mountain Products


Description:
The Gregory Tarne 36 is a panel-loading, hydration compatible pack designed for the longer day hike and specifically marketed towards winter sports. Its weight is healthy, but lends to its significant support system and comfort.

The Tarne 36 has one main zippered compartment (with hydration bladder sleeve), two smaller zippered compartments, two non-zippered mesh pockets (designed for water bottles) and a small zippered compartment on the waist belt. To improve load stability, the pack has four compression straps with two small guide loops, and to increase versatility, the pack has four gear loops (two for ice axe or similar equipment and one on each side below the mesh pockets).

The hydration sleeve is designed to accommodate a variety of bladders, and includes two hooks (for Hydrapak style) and a single center loop (for CamelBak style). There is a central exit point between the shoulder straps for the tube.

The uppermost compartment makes for easy access and I have designated it to carry my first-aid kit, map and compass and the 11th essential. The second smaller compartment runs along the back of the pack and provides easy access, unless I am attaching additional gear to the outside of the pack. Since I use this pack for winter hiking, I tend to attach a fair amount of gear to the outside, thus, this compartment becomes a vital storage compartment for the 10 essentials and gear that requires infrequent access. The upper two compression straps are paired with elastic shock cords to aid in affixing gear to the outside of the pack. The two small guide loops accommodating these straps (large enough to hold a carabiner) provide a place to attach additional gear such as snowshoes or trekking poles.

Gregory's Load Transfer Suspension called "Fusion LTS" focuses on transferring the pack load evenly to the hips while eliminating localized (small) contact areas. The shoulder harness is especially well designed, incorporating an interesting adjustment method. Adjusting the length of the shoulder harness is accomplished using a separate strap that slides though a loop in the shoulder harness which significantly improves load control, comfort and maneuverability. Additionally, a chest strap connects the two shoulder straps, keeping it all together. Bringing it all together is a superbly designed framesheet and padded waistbelt which ensures comfort while evenly distributing the load. The pack framesheet is covered with a solid foam backpanel (vice mesh) which prevents snow accumulation. The bottom of the pack features a reinforced bottom (for all the times the pack is set down in the dirt).

FIELD USE

I purchased this pack in the Fall of 2010, with the intention that it would serve as my winter day pack. I was specifically looking for the following features: hydration compatible (I drink a lot of water), sufficient storage for extra clothes, ability to carry an ice axe, trekking poles and snowshoes. The most important factor, though, was comfort, it absolutely had to fit! My experience is that this is a well designed and manufactured pack. With a long torso, I tend to have difficulty finding equipment that fits properly, this pack is exceptionally comfortable due to its superb suspension system.

I have used the pack on every excursion I have taken since purchase and have accumulated over 100 trail miles (161 km) on 7 - 10 trips in winter weather conditions on several different trails with varying terrain, including:

- day hike in the foothills of Colorado's Front Range:
- elevation: began and ended at approximately 5,500' (1,676 m)
- max elevation: 6,500' (1,981 m)
- distance: 15 miles (24 km)
- elevation gain: 2,000' (610 m)
- weather: sunny, cold and breezy
- temperature: 34 deg F (1 deg C)
- winds: calm to 18 mph (29 km/h)
- precipitation: none
- trail conditions: snow and snow pack

- day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park:
- elevation: began and ended at 9,465' (2,885 m)
- max elevation: 12,000' (3,658 m)
- distance: 6 miles (9.6 km)
- elevation gain: 2,600' (792 m)
- weather: sunny turning cloudy with incoming storm front
- temperature range: 22 to 34 deg F (-6 to 1 deg C)
- winds: calm to 25 mph (40 km/h), above timberline - gusts to 35 mph (56 km/h)
- precipitation: light snow
- trail conditions: snow pack turning to soft deep snow below timberline, hard snow and ice above timberline

One notable trip is summarized below:

After two failed attempts to summit Mt. Sherman (kept off the mountain due to weather), I finally had the opportunity to use the pack on the Colorado Trail. I started my hike at Kenosha Pass (elev. 10,000'/3,048 m) and headed west. The route covered 10 miles (16.1 km) and approximately 1,000' (304 m) of elevation change. The temperature was 28 deg F (-2 deg C) with 4 - 6 inches (10 - 15 cm) of snow on the ground. The pack was loaded internally with a 100 oz (3.0 L) bladder, the 10 essentials and lots of extra clothes. Externally, I attached an ice axe, trekking poles and snowshoes.

Other than repeated stops to remove layers due to overheating, the first 4 miles (6.4 km) of the hike were calm and quiet. The next six miles (9.7 km) showed that mother-nature was still in control, the winds picked up (10-15 mph / 16 - 24 km/h) and snow began to fall significantly (over 1"/2.5 cm per hour). With the snow depth increasing along the trail (aided by the ongoing precipitation) I reluctantly donned the snowshoes, removed another layer (down to my base now) and added my shell. The expanding main compartment easily took in all of my additional clothing with room to spare. The ice axe and trekking poles attached conveniently using the compression straps, but I did have some difficulty removing and attaching snowshoes to the pack due to the limited number of attaching points.

Throughout the blowing snow and multiple trips to the ground (while I was removing layers and packing them away) the pack provided comfort, stability, weight distribution and excellent resistance to the elements. There was no noticeable weather penetration into the pack (although, it was below freezing so no water) and the snow brushed easily off the exterior.

SUMMARY


I have been quite pleased with the pack, especially its comfort and stability.

Things I like:
- It fits! Being a rather difficult person to fit, this is huge!
- The design and utilization of the 4 straps comprising the external compression system work very well and keep the pack load firmly in place.
- Suspension system (shoulder straps and waist belt) provide superb comfort and make the pack easily adjustable.
- Hydration compatible. I tend to drink about 2 - 3 times the amount of water consumed by friends during the same trip. This becomes a big factor when selecting gear.
- Reinforced bottom. The "ballistic" bottom sewn to the bottom of the pack eases concerns over setting the pack down in the back-country.



Things I don't like (or things I feel need improvement):
- The pack could certainly benefit from the addition of more external attaching points for gear. The pack is marketed as a winter pack for hiking, skiing etc. I had to use the same mounting points for all my gear. I was able to attach carabiners to the mounting points, effectively increasing their size, and making it possible for me to attach all of my gear. This being said, I was able to make it work, but Gregory Mountain Products certainly could add more attaching points with little cost or weight penalty.
- The mesh pockets located on the side of the pack (presumably for water bottles) may be of use to some folks, but I would certainly approve of changing these to standard zippered pockets. Since the pack is marketed for winter use, I am not clear as how these would function to hold water bottles as they are not large enough for insulated bottles and certainly do not offer any insulating properties.

SIGNATURE

Mark Thompson
markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
"Mark242" on cmc dot org
"CDR242" on 14ers dot com
"Horse" on bikejournal dot com

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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