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Reviews > Packs > Pack Accessories > Backcountry Solutions Geek Pocket > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Backcountry Solutions Geek Pocket
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - June 13, 2012
Long Term Report - October 15, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 27
Location: Elkford & Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent two months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2 to 3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.


Initial Report – June 13, 2012

Image Courtesy of Backcountry Solutions
Geek Pocket

Product Information

Manufacturer: Backcountry Solutions, LLC
Manufacturer's URL: www.backcountrysolutions.com
Year of Manufacture: 2012
MSRP: US $22.95
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 45 g (1.6 oz)
Listed Approximate Size: 1.5 in (3.8 cm) deep x 2.75 in (7.0 cm) wide x 6.5 in (16.5 cm) high to front edge,
7.5 in (19.1 cm) high to back
Measured Approx Size: 1.5 in (3.8 cm) deep x 3.5 in (8.9 cm) wide x 7.0 in (17.8 cm) high to front edge,
7.75 in (19.7 cm) high to back

Description & Initial Impressions

Annex Clips
back of Geek Pocket
The Geek Pocket is an accessory pouch with two clips on the back to attach it to packs, harnesses, etc. The manufacturer describes the material as “durable waterproof canvas exterior and Polartec WindPro water-resistant fleece lining”. The exterior does feel like it’s made from canvas, and the lining is soft and a bit fuzzy, to protect screens and lenses. It seems strange to me to advertise water-resistant features in an open-top pouch, since the contents are going to get wet if it rains anyway. A 1.0 in (2.5 cm) wide strap comes from the back of the Geek pocket and attaches to the front with a hook-and-loop closure, with the loops being on the front of the pocket and the hooks on the strap. The strap has a loop sewn in the end of it as a finger tab. On the strap is sewn the Geek Pocket label, with the manufacturers website. The back of the Geek Pocket has a 1.0 in (2.5 cm) wide piece of nylon webbing which is sewn at the top and bottom, as well as 1.5 in (3.8 cm ) down from the top. On this piece of webbing are the two Annex Clips. The top clip is between the stitching at the top and partway down, and so is fixed in position. The bottom clip can be positioned anywhere between the mid-stitching and the bottom. The Annex clips open by squeezing them, and snap closed. The Pocket appears to be well constructed, with just the odd end of a thread showing.

Trying It Out

First off, I tried a whole bunch of objects inside the Geek Pocket. My GPS receiver is an extremely roomy fit in every direction, and my camera is snug in width and depth, but the Pocket is much longer than my camera. My bearspray is an excellent fit, though I can’t put the strap over the top of the trigger; it has to go through the finger hole. I see that the website shows bearspray in the pouch exactly in this way. I went for a hike with the bearspray in the Pocket and it worked great – no slop and I tried a quick deployment a couple of times with success. I’m looking forward to trying a radio in the pouch during Search and Rescue activities.

Second, I tried the Geek Pocket with my three packs. My daypack has enough webbing on the shoulder straps to make it work. I carried the bearspray with a compression strap wound under the webbing on the back of the pocket and that worked well. My most common overnight pack has limited webbing on the shoulder straps; I tried the Pocket there and it has to go quite low, where it brushes my arm. I will have to see what I think of that while I’m hiking. I might be able to do something with it attached to the waist belt. I also tried my biggest pack, and it has no webbing on the shoulder straps so I’m limited to fiddling with the waist belt there too. Stay tuned for more on how these fared...

Awkward Picture Taking

Summary

I think the Geek Pocket is going to be an excellent addition to my kit. So far it’s out-performing my current bearspray carrier. I am looking forward to figuring out the best way to use it on all of my packs.

Long Term Report – October 15, 2012

Field Conditions

During the testing stage, I used the Geek Pocket on two overnight backpacking trips, one three-day backpacking trip, eight day hikes, and for five Search & Rescue practices. All of these activities occurred in the Southern Canadian Rockies, in conditions ranging from sun to snow, at temperatures from freezing to about 30 C (86 F).

Observations

Floppy Camera Case
Floppy Camera Case
Contents:
  • Camera: I got a new (to me, anyway) camera during the testing phase, and it’s even smaller than my old one, so it fit in the pocket with tons of room to spare. A little too much, actually, it felt floppy and it was hard to dig the camera back out.
  • GPS: I also got a new GPS, and it is also a roomy fit in the Geek Pocket and hard to get back out.
  • Bearspray: my bearspray continues to fit very nicely inside the Geek Pocket. This is what I carried most often in the Pocket.
  • Radio: the radios that we use for Search and Rescue fit snugly into the Geek Pocket up to where the microphone attaches, and then the radio is too wide. Unfortunately, at this point it’s a challenge to get the strap on the Geek Pocket over the top of the radio to hold it in place. This will likely be what I use the Geek Pocket for in winter months when I’m not carrying bearspray.

Pack Attachments:
  • Daypack: I tried carrying the Geek Pocket attached to my shoulder strap and found that it rubbed my arm uncomfortably. I eventually resorted to attaching it to the compression straps at the back of the pack, as I tried for the Initial Report.
  • Overnight/Search & Rescue pack: I carried the Geek Pocket with bearspray in it on one of the side compression straps, with the strap through the webbing on the back of the Pocket. I used an elastic strap on the pack to try and keep the Pocket from swinging, but it did have a tendency to tilt.
  • Biggest pack: This pack was a little harder to find a place, since the compression straps are way too high for me to be able to reach the pocket with the pack on. I eventually unthreaded one of the webbing straps for adjusting the waistbelt from its buckle, put that strap through the webbing on the back of the Pocket, and re-threaded the buckle. That worked but it was inconvenient to change if I wanted to use the Pocket for something else.
  • Climbing harness: A harness was mentioned on the Geek Pocket website, so I figured I’d try it. I attached the Pocket to the haul loop on the back of my harness using the Annex Clips. I had to have the clips quite close together to get them on the haul loop, and attaching them with the harness already on was difficult (the haul loop is at the back). Actually, I broke one of the clips while I was doing that...more about that later. Once attached the Pocket was just fine there, but it was a bit floppy with just a camera inside and tended to swing around with a radio inside.
Overall, most of my use was with a strap on my pack threaded through the webbing on the back of the Geek Pocket. The Annex Clips just weren’t facing the right direction most of the time, though it was nice to have the option of attaching them to something vertical. An improvement (in my opinion) would be to have some way to detach the webbing strap at the bottom (a snap or other attachment) so that the Pocket could be more easily attached to a horizontal fixed strap (rather than having to thread it through).

Testing the Geek Pocket


Broken Annex Clip
broken Annex Clip
Water Resistance:
I didn’t get the opportunity to hike in the rain with the Geek Pocket, but I did take it on a creek crossing. After crossing, the Pocket and contents were wet, but the Pocket wasn’t holding water. It dried out by the next morning.

Durability & Customer Service:
One of the Annex Clips broke while I was trying to attach it to my climbing harness. It was the top, fixed-in-place clip that broke. I contacted Backcountry Solutions and they very rapidly offered to look into it. After speaking with the manufacturer of the clips to see if a simple self-repair was possible (no), they sent me a replacement clip that slides onto the webbing. I was very pleased with the response and the service.

Summary

The Backcountry Solutions Geek Pocket is an excellent holder for gear of all types, within a certain size range. It perfectly fit my needs for a bearspray holder.

Thumbs Up:
Securely holds items
Options to attach to vertical straps or to put horizontal strap through the Pocket webbing
Doesn’t hold water
Excellent customer service

Thumbs Down:
Annex Clip broke
Have to thread a horizontal strap through webbing on Pocket (no quick attachment)

Thanks to Backcountry Solutions and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this gear pocket! I am happy to say that it has earned a place in my kit as a bearspray and radio holder.


Read more reviews of Bakcountry Solutions gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Packs > Pack Accessories > Backcountry Solutions Geek Pocket > Test Report by Andrea Murland



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