BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 05, 2009
White Lake, Michigan USA
5' 4" (1.63 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.mountainsmith.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 6 oz (170 g)
Colors Available: Black
Other details: (from Mountainsmith website)
"This handy shoulder harness converts classic and recycled lumbar packs as well as travel trunks into day packs. Strapettes will prove to be a great addition in carrying those hefty loads."
* Works with Day, Tour, & Travel Trunks (L, XL, & XXL)
* Adjustable sternum strap
* Adjustable shoulder straps with comfortable foam
|Picture Courtesy of Mountainsmith
"Most Mountainsmith products are covered by a Lifetime Warranty against materials and workmanship defects. Products found to be defective will be repaired or replaced at our discretion and Mountainsmith reserves the right to make all determinations as to the use of this policy. Products failing due to normal wear and tear, abuse, accident, critters, or natural breakdown of materials over extended use and time will be repaired for a nominal fee. "
The Mountainsmith Strapette is a stripped down version of a regularly-sized backpack shoulder strap - hence the name, Strapette, I suppose. It can be used per the Mountainsmith literature with various packs and travel trunks in the Mountainsmith line. In this review, I am using the Strapette with the Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Day Pack.
The Strapette consists mainly of two shoulder straps, padded in the front and over the shoulder area, attached to various other webbed straps designed to attach the Strapette to my Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Day Pack (hereafter called simply "Day Pack") and to give a more custom fit.
|Back Strap Cross-Over
|At the front bottom ends of each of the 16.5 inches (42 cm) padded portions are 19.5 inches (49.5 cm) of webbing with a metal figure 8 buckle. This webbing attaches to the Day Pack itself on the Day Pack bottom sides.
At the back tops of the padded portions also are about 10.5 inches (27 cm) of the same webbing which feeds through a plastic-like triangular connector. This 2.5 inch (5 cm) connector causes the webbed straps to cross (an "X") over one another. At the ends of these are 2 inch (5 cm) male toggle ends which clip into the same female toggles on the Day Pack top as the optional carrying bag shoulder strap that comes with the Day Pack.
Completing the system of adjustable straps is a 12 inch (30.5 cm) chest strap. The chest strap is able to be position via a slip buckle which is mounted on vertical webbed straps over 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) of the padded portions of the front shoulder straps. The horizontally adjustable chest strap connects with a toggle clip buckle.
The padded sections are thin foam. The fabric is heavy and rugged-feeling. Very nicely hemmed fabric binding finishes off the main body of the straps with no loose or dropped stitches. All stitching, in fact, is tight and even.
There is a very small (0.7 inch/2 cm) white and yellow Mountainsmith Logo on the mid right front shoulder strap.
FIELD CONDITIONS AND USE
I've had my Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Day Pack for about 18 months now and love it dearly, using it for everyday errands around town, a laptop carrying case when traveling and on lots of day (and even a couple overnight) hikes. It's a great pack! But, despite my enthusiasm at the beginning of each trek, I would often be sore long before the end of the day or hike due to the unrelieved weight of the Day Pack and its contents on my lower back. I had noticed on the Mountainsmith website the existence of the Strapette and thought I should give it a try. Well, it took me a while and when Santa neglected to bring me the requested Strapette for Christmas this past year, I finally tracked it down and bought it myself in January 2009.
|What a difference! From the moment I attached the Strapette to my Day Pack, I literally could feel the load lift off my back. It happened to be at the Outdoor Retailers Winter Show in Salt Lake City. There I was lugging around the Day Pack filled with literature and all the stuff I usually carry - camera, glasses, bottled water, etc. It was towards the end of the day, actually the end of the 4th day of the show. I was tired and my back ached. I stumbled into the Mountainsmith booth and persuaded one of the "Design & Development Lead Product Line Managers" to sell me the Strapette demo model. I'm not going to say I went skipping down the aisles after I bought the Strapette and attached it to the Day Pack, but I sure felt a lot better!
|Strapette in Action
I've been using the Strapette continuously now for 3 months for a total of at least 6 different day hikes and a couple dozen hikes down to our mailbox which is a 5 mile (8 km) round trip down a bumpy dirt road. I always take the Day Pack with me to carry at least my camera, binoculars, bottle of water and of course, the mail on the return trip. Plus, depending on the weather, I would also have gloves, hat, rain jacket and such. Most of the times, the Day Pack would weigh in under 8 lb (4 kg). On actual dayhikes, again depending on the weather, my Day Pack weight might be as heavy as 15 lb (7 kg) - mostly water. I drink a lot of water! Using the Strapette really helps distribute the weight of the Day Pack and contents nicely. The brunt of the weight is still situated on my lower back, as it should be with a lumbar pack, but having the Strapette stabilizes it better and I'm much more comfortable.
While weather, terrain, and weather really have had little bearing on the Strapette, they have been exposed to snow, sleet, rain, wind and sun on elevations up to 11,000 ft (3400 m) in alpine forests, desert terrain and urban environments. They still look brand new even after being caught on juniper trees and other "grabby" vegetation. No snags, tears or other break-downs.
|Attaching the Strapette to my Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Day Pack was very easy and intuitive; at least attaching it in the back was intuitive. The toggle clip buckles lined up perfectly to the matching ones on the top of the Day Pack and clipped right in. Figuring out how to push the figure 8 fasteners into the side Day Pack loops was a little less obvious. But once I did it the first time, I felt I shouldn't have had any trouble in the first place and never did again.
|Strapette Clips unto Day Pack
|Figure 8 Side Attachment
|Extra Straps on Strapette
|Tightening the various adjustments straps so the Strapette would fit me properly was easily accomplished by the usual pulling down on the dangling loose ends. As with all my backpacks, I ended up with way too much loose webbing hanging around. I really want to clip off the ends, but am afraid of the potential for unraveling and fraying. Besides, then no one else could ever use the Strapette/Day Pack. Hmmm, that might not be all bad though.
When the occasion arises that I need to remove the Strapette, I simply unclip the back buckles and twist the figure 8 clasps in the front, pushing them through the Day Pack loops and voila! the Strapette is loose. I have to admit, I hadn't removed the Strapette since I put it on until I started writing this review and need to do so for pictures. It went right back on, too.
The padded shoulder straps of the Strapette are definitely not as substantial as normal backpack straps are and I'd not expect them to be nor compare the two. The Strapette though is adequate to the task it is designed for and certainly comfortable to wear. I have no complaints!
While I have no complaints, I do wish the chest strap was just a bit thicker so I could attach my camera pouch to it. Maybe on "Strapette II"?
1.) Makes my Mountainsmith Day Pack so much more useful and comfortable.
2.) Easy to attach and detach
3.) Very light weight.
1.) Wish the chest strap was just a little bit heftier.
I love my Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Day Pack and have used it extensively over the last 18 months both in casual settings and on short backcountry treks. Now, with the addition of the Strapette, the Day Pack becomes so much more versatile. I am able to greatly increase the weight in my Day Pack without increasing the strain on my back simply by attaching the Strapette to the Day Pack. This means longer trips in the outdoors for me! Yay!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Thanks Mountainsmith for making such a neat accessory for my favorite lumbar pack.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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