GOBI GEAR HOBOROLL
TEST SERIES BY JUSTIN POTTS
September 17, 2012
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Sapulpa, Oklahoma, USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
180 lb (81.60 kg)
When introduced to the backpacking community I immediately fell in love with it, and I fell hard! Not a weekend goes by that I am not out in the wilderness somewhere. I have roughly 2,000 mi (3220 km) of hiking/backpacking experience mostly in Oklahoma's Wichita Wildlife Refuge. I like to pack light, with a base weight of 15 lbs (6.8 kg) but I also like to be comfortable. I hike hard and fast to reach a destination, and explore after I make camp. I shall see what this turns into as I keep backpacking.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Gobi Gear
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.mygobigear.com
MSRP: 28.00 USD
Listed Weight: 6 oz (175 g)
Measured Weight: 6 oz (175 g)
Volume: 1160 cu in (19 L)
Length: 15 in (38 cm)
Diameter: 10 in (25 cm)
Note: The listed weight on the manufacturer's website is 3.5 oz (100 g). In the hang tag the listed weight is 6 oz (175 g), which is also what it weighs on my scale.
The Gobi Gear Hoboroll (hereafter referred to as the Hoboroll or sack) is an interesting product to say the least... Gobi Gear designed this sack with organization in mind by taking a simple stuff sack to the next level by adding five divided pockets that run the length of the sack, and by closing each end with a drawstring to give quick and easy access to gear. The Hoboroll also sports a single nylon strap (1 in (2.54 cm)) that forms two compression straps across the sack. After pulling the compression straps tight the excess forms a shoulder strap so that the Hoboroll can be carried by itself as a daypack.
The first thing I noticed about the Hoboroll was the thick, rough 840D nylon exterior which feels very durable. The inside lining is a different much thinner smooth nylon. The nylon compression strap is double stitched at stress points but it is very thin thread. I packed a few things in it to try out the compression and as I cinched it down there was immediately some creaking and popping sounds indicating to me that it may be starting to give way. I will be keeping a close eye on this while testing and report my findings.
One of my favorite design features on the Hoboroll so far is definitely the shoulder strap. I absolutely hate things that serve no purpose (i.e. excess material on cinch straps). Gobi Gear took care of this problem for me. Instead of just leaving the straps dangling, they used one nylon strap for the compression strap, and the loop between the buckles creates a handy shoulder strap. I will be testing the strap for use as an adventure/summit pack, because I like to set up camp and go exploring. I think the Hoboroll will likely serve this purpose well, and this way it could also serve another purpose when it is not being used as a daypack.
As mentioned previously, the sack is divided into five triangular compartments (pictured below). The sides of each triangle measure 5 in (13 cm) and the base of each one is about 6 in (15 cm) giving each compartment an area of 225 cu in (3.7 L). For perspective, I took a typical towel (like a bath towel, not a pack towel) folded it to the length of the Hoboroll, rolled it into a cylinder and stuffed it into one compartment. The towel completely filled one compartment. I was a bit surprised at how much each compartment actually holds, and will be testing it to organize and stow personal gear (e.g. toiletries and clothing) and larger bulky items such as camp shoes for longer trips.
On the hang tags, it says it has a "Tool Loop - to strap items to the exterior or to clip the Hoboroll to your pack." The Tool Loop has been fabricated with the same material as the compression straps, folded it in half to make it one half inch (1.27 cm) wide, and stitched it together. They then used this material to create a daisy chain down the length of the Hoboroll.
So, inside the minimal packaging was a card (pictured) with 4 steps and drawings to describe how to use the Hoboroll. They read like this:
1) Open unit, gather clothes, even nonflexible items such as shoes, etc.
2) Stuff unit using compartments to organize items.
3) Compress unit using straps.
4) Put in bag or wear solo. Has tool loop for attaching extra items.
So, in summary, I will be testing the ability, and durability of the Hoboroll as a stuff sack to organize personal gear. I also am going to see if I can use it to pack my tent (body, footprint, fly, stakes, and poles), or hammock set up (hammock, fly, cords, and clips) depending on which setup I take for a given trip. And finally, since Gobi Gear did design this product to be used solo, I will be testing the comfort and practicality of using it as a summit sack.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
My first trip was a two-night hiking/climbing trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. The distance traveled per day was undetermined.
My second outing was a three-night backpacking trip in the Wichita Wildlife Refuge in late spring. We covered 15-20 mi (24-32 km) per day. It was fairly warm, so packs were light. The terrain was relatively flat in the backpacking area compared to other parts of the Wildlife Refuge.
And lastly, a four-night hiking/climbing trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. The distance traveled per day was again, undetermined.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Throughout these four months of testing, the Hoboroll has proved itself useful at times, and an outright pain in the rear at other times. The Hoboroll is an interesting idea, but seems to lack a few features that would be nice. I often found myself needing one of the pockets slightly bigger, but there is no way to adjust the individual pockets. The other bad thing about the pockets I did not care for is that when one pocket is extremely full it takes space away from the pockets on either side. This encroachment sometimes made the two surrounding pockets almost unusable.
Another thing that would be nice is some sort of way to tame the excessive amount of cords and straps that accrued after cinching everything down on the roll. Nearly every time the roll went in or came out of my pack it got tangled on something, somehow, someway. Eventually by the last trip I figured out how to pack it just right so that it would not get caught on anything. Even though it was no longer tangled, the Hoboroll is still fairly bulky and hard to place in a good spot inside my pack.
Finally my last little nit pick is on the material used to make the strap/compression straps. It is just a piece of nylon webbing, but it is stiff and rough. I found that this tended to cut/dig into my neck when worn over the shoulder. I worked with the material enough that it finally softened up to where I had no problems with it anymore.
Enough of the bad, on to the good. The Hoboroll while being a sub-par stuff sack excels at what it was designed for... Organization that is. I used it backpacking to organize small little things, such as my U-Dig-It, camp soap, water treatment, and whatnot, that would otherwise be lost to the bottom of my bag. I even found a better use on my climbing trips. First I used it to organize everything on my trad rack in my pack, then before climbing I would reorganize to have only what I would need to build an anchor left in the Hoboroll. Then I was able to throw it over my shoulder using the excess compression strap and climb freely.
All in all, I found that the Hoboroll is more hassle than not for use in backpacking. It excels in organization, and is pretty useful as a lightweight daypack. It is more suited as a luggage accessory, and that is what the manufacturer lists it as being.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
I will continue to use it as an organization tool for my climbing trips, but my new Black Diamond pack has ample internal organization pockets making the Hoboroll an obsolete tool for organization while backpacking.
I have really enjoyed testing this piece of gear and that being said, this concludes my Long Term Report for the Hoboroll. I'd like to thank Gobi Gear and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
Read more reviews of Gobi Gear gear
Read more gear reviews by Justin Potts