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Reviews > Packs > Pack Accessories > Backcountry Solutions Geek Pocket > Test Report by Edwin Morse

BACKCOUNTRY SOLUTIONS GEEK POCKET
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 05, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 74
LOCATION: Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)
TORSO 18 in (46 cm)
CHEST 35 in (89 cm)
WAIST 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I have made one- and two-week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. Now my pack weighs between 22 and 32 lb (10 and 15 kg). I'm slowly learning what lighter gear works.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Backcountry Solutions, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.backcountrysolutions.com
MSRP: US$22.95
Listed Weight: NA
Measured Weight: 1.6 oz (45.4 g)
Listed approximate Dimensions: 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 approximate Dimensions: 1.5 in (3.8 cm) deep x 3.0 in (7.6 cm) wide x 6.75 in (17.2 cm) high to front edge (7.5 in (19.1 cm) high to back)

Other details: The Geek Pocket is an open top pouch of what feels like canvas sewn to a flat back of the same material. The material is described on the website as "durable waterproof canvas exterior and Polartec® WindPro® water-resistant fleece lining." Here is a picture I copied from the website.
copied from website
front and back

Centered at the top front of the pocket is sewn a piece of hook-and-loop tape 1 in (2.5 cm) wide and 3.5 in (8.9 cm) long. Sewn at the top of the back is a matching hook-and-loop tape 5.25 in (13.34 cm) long with a 0.75 in (1.91 cm) finger tab at the end.

There is, on the back of the Pocket, a 1 in (2.5 cm) wide piece of webbing sewn at the bottom, top and 1.75 in (4.45 cm) down from the top. There are two plastic clips, called Annex Clips™ on the website, looped on the webbing. The top clip can be moved from the top down about 0.75 in (1.91 cm) to where the webbing is sewn. The bottom clip can be moved from the bottom up to where the webbing is sewn across, a distance of about 5.5 in (14.0 cm).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My first thoughts were: why is it waterproof with the top open, and there is no way to fasten it to my pack straps. OK, so my first impression is wrong at least part of the time. The material is waterproof canvas with a fleece lining. I have to wonder if the waterproof pocket – with an open top – will just collect water when I hike for a few hours in the rain. Perhaps drain holes in the bottom would eliminate the possibility.

The construction is mostly very good. There is a tape (bias tape according to my wife) sewn all around the outside. Even with the magnifying glass I needed to see all the stitching I only found two flaws. Looking at the back, near the upper right corner a piece of thread was left hanging. At the lower left corner two or three stitches missed the bias tape on the backside. The bias tape and the clips can be seen in this picture of the pocket, showing the back side.
back showing clips
back side

Features:
The pocket has a durable waterproof canvas exterior and Polartec® WindPro® water-resistant fleece lining.
Two easy to attach and remove Annex Clips - one is secure, while the other is adjustable to fit various strap lengths/configurations.
Fleece lining protects lens surfaces.
Large finger tab for easy access for use with and without gloves.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I found no care instructions. There were directions on the hang tag for using the clips.
“Squeeze clips on back of Geek Pocket to open. Place free ends behind webbing strap and snap clip securely to lock pocket to straps. Bottom clip position is adjustable for added convenience. Put Geek stuff inside pocket and secure with front strap. Ready to use.”

TRYING IT OUT

I first put my DeLorme PN-40 GPS in the Geek Pocket since this is what I would mostly carry. The GPS fit into the pocket with room to spare. My camera, a Panasonic Lumix, is the same width but shorter and thinner. There was even more room for the camera. My cell phone also easily fit in the pocket.

I then checked the two daypacks I use most often. With the DaKine pack I can attach the pocket in two ways. I can attach it to the shoulder strap as below left.
Geek Pocket on shoulder strap
daypack shoulder strap

Pocket clipped to sternum strap
on sternum strap

easy place to clip Pocket
pack strap

I did fasten the pocket on the short diagonal webbing with just the top clip. I think I can see a way to use both clips and fasten the pocket lower on the shoulder strap.
IMAGE 6
another way

SUMMARY

I don’t really like to attach anything to my sternum strap since I only use the sternum strap about half the time. It will require some imagination and experimentation to find ways to attach the pocket to all my packs. I am looking forward to testing and experimenting on both day hikes and backpacking.

I’m not concerned about the open top of the waterproof Geek Pocket. My camera and cell phone are both waterproof. My GPS has survived several hard rainstorms and still operates.

This concludes my Initial Report.
There will be no Field Report in this test series, the next part will be the Long Term Report.
I would like to thank Backcountry Solutions and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test this interesting piece of gear.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

There is no Field Report since this is a two part test.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I almost always carry my GPS when hiking, mostly because I like to know how far I hike. I did several solo day-hikes in the last four months. I did not like any of the pictures I took while alone. I took the opportunity for a group hike, mostly along 22 Mile Creek, and asked another hiker to take a few pictures for me. Here I've refilled my filter bottle from the creek. The Geek Pocket is just visible after I stand up.
GPS stays put in Geek Pocket
replacing filter and cap

Here is another picture on the same hike.
on a group hike
on my left shoulder

This day started with a light rain, which soon cleared away and the temperature rose to 87 F (31 C) by the time we finished the eight mile (13 km) hike. This area appears to have never been logged with many large pine and cedar trees along the creek and steep hills.

I did four overnight hikes while using the Geek Pocket this summer. The terrain was much the same for these hikes, mostly flat with a few hills. The forest was primarily oak and maple hardwoods with some pines mixed in and stands of red or white pine. One of my projects with the Grand Traverse Hiking Club (GTHC) is to create a list of short overnight hikes to help people get started backpacking. So this year I'm doing several short overnight hikes.

June 4 & 5, 2012, in the Pere Marquette State Forest, south of the village of Williamsburg, Michigan. This hike was on the North Country Trail from Highbanks Rollway, above the Manistee River, west 6.6 miles (10.6 km) to Anderson Creek. While I was hiking the high temperature was about 65 F (18 C). It continued to get warmer while I was setting up camp, eventually up to 74 F (23 C). There was bright moonlight most of the night. With clear skies the temperature dropped to 40 F (4 C) just before sunrise.

June 16 & 17, 2012 starting five miles (8 km) south of Williamsburg, Michigan, continued my long-standing tradition of a Father's Day hike and added to my list of easy overnight hikes. My son, his wife and daughter hiked with me on a four-mile (6 km) section of the North Country Trail. The destination was selected for my nine year old granddaughter. She likes most when we end the day where she can play in the water. The hike started bright, sunny and 75 F (24 C). It was up to 80 F (27 C) by the time we got to Dollar Lake. A storm moved through sometime during the night. It stayed fairly warm with a low of only 55 F (13 C).

June 18 & 19, 2012, starting 10 miles (16 km) south of Traverse City began at the Conservation Education building . One of my hiking buddies is on a committee to create a 45 mile (72 km) loop trail, starting and ending at the library in Traverse City, Michigan. He had asked two of us GPS users to hike with him to help create a proposed trail map of an area that had not yet been trail mapped. We hiked nine miles (14 km) to Jaxon Creek where we camped for the night. The early evening storm became the hardest wind and rainstorm I've ever seen while backpacking in Michigan. The high temperature was 87 F (31 C) with an early morning low of 61 F (16 C). The terrain was generally level since we mostly followed the Boardman River.

June 23 & 24, 2012 in the Manistee National Forest southwest of the village of Mesick, Michigan. It was 55 F (13 C), partly cloudy and windy when we started hiking. It was 78 F (26 C) when we reached Sawdust Hole Camp Ground (CG) after hiking 12 miles (19 km). The low when I woke at 5 AM was 55 F (13 C). My friend continued on but I only had two days for the hike. I got rained on for about an hour on the way back to my Jeep. I did the 12 mile walk back in four hours, a bit faster than I normally hike when backpacking. I paid with aching legs the next morning.

I started a four-night hike on July 4. The first day I started hiking at 9 AM and 75 F (24 C). I planned to camp at the Pine Grove CG but it was only 2:15 when I got there, after hiking 12 miles (19 km). I refilled my water containers from the spring pipe. Then I made the big mistake and continued on hiking. The weather was clear with a high of 88 F (31 C) at 3:00. I got to McLavey Lake campsite at 7 PM and a total of 22 miles (35 km). This was too far for me on the first day of a hike. I got the hammock set up and ready for night. Before I get in the hammock for the night I put all extra stuff in the backpack and the backpack in a large trash bag and lay this under the hammock. Here is a picture of my campsite at McLavey Lake.
nearly ready for night
camp at McLavey Lake

Late the second day, after hiking 10 miles (16 km) mostly in a hard rain, I decided I had to cut the hike short. My right foot was too painful to consider hiking on poorly maintained trails. I took a short cut the third day and hiked eight miles (13 km) to a state park. There I arranged for a ride back to my Jeep for the next day. In this picture I'm looking for the shortest and easiest way back to my Jeep. The Geek Pocket is visible on the right shoulder strap of my backpack.
Geek Pocket on right strap
checking options

The Geek Pocket made it easy to get the GPS out as soon as I realized I had lost the trail. While I was out the weather varied form a warm 92 F (33 C) and sunny to a cooler 52 F (11 C) and hard rain. I lost the trail four times on the second day, using map, compass and GPS to eventually find the trail again. The terrain varied from high hardwood forest to swamp, cedar trees and thick brush.

The longest hike I did during the long term period was 12 days and 105 miles (169 KM) of backpacking on Isle Royale National Park which is located in western Lake Superior but still in the state of Michigan. The weather varied from bright and sunny to heavy clouds and hard driving rain. The temperature ranged from a low one morning of 44 F (7 C) to a warm 76 F (24 C) the sunny morning I boarded the Ranger III ferry for the ride back to Houghton, Michigan. I hiked in steady rain for over two hours on three different days. In between there were a few nice sunsets.
The fourth night I was at Siskiwit Bay in a shelter. I was thinking mostly about scenery and people so I only got one picture of the Geek Pocket as I used it on this hike. Here I had the camera set up on a table and used the timer to get myself in the picture.
posed at Siskiwit Bay
playing with the camera


Here is a view from my tent at Todd Harbor. I always hope for pictures like this every evening when back packing.
sunset at Todd Harbor
Todd Harbor sunset

The trails were never the same for any great distance. Some areas of the trails were fist size rocks and bare roots, some areas were climbs up and over large bare rock, with a few areas of open footpath through the forest. Several areas of trail were overgrown with brush or ferns so it was difficult to even see the trail. All wet areas were crossed on narrow boardwalks.
trail in wet area
narrow boardwalk


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've noticed that with my daypacks I prefer to attach the Geek pocket to the left shoulder strap. Then I fasten my weather watch to the right strap. When I'm backpacking I always attach the Geek Pocket to right shoulder pack strap. Then I put a folding knife in the small pocket on the left shoulder strap and attach the weather watch near the bottom of the pocket. I carry my camera in a hip belt pocket when using a pack with hip belt pockets. Otherwise I add a small nylon pocket to the opposite shoulder strap.

Either way the Geek Pocket works very well. Early in the testing period, at different times, I carried my camera, my cell phone and my GPS in the Geek Pocket. When I carry the cell phone I prefer it inside the pack. I like to have both the camera and the GPS easy to reach and use. I have developed the habit of using the Geek Pocket to carry my GPS. Perhaps this is because I use the GPS more frequently than either the cell phone or camera.

I am very pleased with the Geek Pocket. It is easy to attach to nearly any pack I own. I often don't use the top hook-and-loop strap since the GPS fits snug enough to stay in the Pocket. When I've been hiking in the rain the GPS gets much harder to pull out of the Geek Pocket.

SUMMARY

I find the Backcountry Geek Pocket easy to attach to the three daypacks and two backpacks that I use most often. It is even easier to use than to attach to a pack. I have developed a preference to carry my GPS in the Geek Pocket. I tend to use the GPS more often while hiking than either the cell phone or my camera. I like to loop the GPS lanyard around the pack strap so there is no way it can be lost. The lanyard also makes it easier to pull the GPS out of the Geek Pocket when the pocket has gotten wet from rain.

My DeLorme GPS fits snuggly in the Geek Pocket. When both are wet from rain it would be very difficult to get the GPS out without the lanyard attached to the GPS. I will continue to use the Geek Pocket but I will experiment with a way to cover the Geek Pocket to keep rain out.

This concludes my Long Term Report Report.
I would like to thank Backcountry Solutions and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test this interesting piece of gear.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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