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Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Jakpak > Test Report by Brett Haydin

JAKPAK
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - April 07, 2011
FIELD REPORT - July 01, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - August 23, 2011

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 38
LOCATION: Salida, CO, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
CHEST: 42 in (107 cm)
WAIST: 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

JakPak
Image courtesy of manufacturer
Manufacturer: JakPak
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.jakpak.com
MSRP: US$ 249.99
Listed Weight: 3 lb 1 oz (1.4 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 7 oz (1.5 kg)

  • Jacket: 1 lb 8.8 oz (0.7 kg)
  • Sleeping Bag: 15.6 oz (0.4 kg)
  • Tent: 14.9 oz (0.4 kg)

Size Tested: Large
Color Tested: Black/Grey (also available in two tone green)

Product Description:
The JakPak is a portable personal shelter that I can wear. The manufacturer claims it is the "world's first all-in-one waterproof jacket, tent and sleeping bag." Indeed, I know of no other product like it.

The JakPak is constructed of waterproof ripstop nylon that has an interior coating and a DWR exterior finish. The interior coating is listed by the manufacturer as "waterproof hydrophilic interior coating 10000mm," which sounds impressive. I must admit I know little of the chemical make-up of most of my gear, but as long as it keeps me dry I am happy. A quick test run under the kitchen sink showed me that it does indeed shed water. The interior seams are all expertly taped.

This may very well be one of the most difficult pieces of gear I have had to describe, but here we go. I will start by describing the jacket first. Putting on the JakPak is like putting on any other jacket I have owned. This one, however, has suspenders. The suspenders are sewn into the jacket at the shoulders and have a curious latching mechanism that is best described as a lever. Putting on the JakPak, it was immediately apparent that the suspenders are needed to help distribute the weight of the tent and sleeping bag. The suspenders are 1.5 in (3.8 cm) wide and are adjustable by a sliding buckle.

In jacket form, it has a hood with a small stiff visor. It has two side adjustments that can be adjusted with one hand thanks to the cord lock that is sewn into place. The elastic cordage is easy to pull through the cord lock but stays in place.

The sleeves are slightly tapered and ends with a 7 in (18 cm) cuff. The cuff can be adjusted with a hook and loop strap, but in my opinion this feels a bit excessive to me. The sleeves do feel a little short to me. With a 33 in (84 cm) sized sleeve, I would not expect a large jacket to feel this way, but when I extend my arms up or outward, I can easily expose my wrists.

The JakPak zips up with a two-way YKK zipper that moves freely up and down. There are 2 1/4 in (6 cm) storm flaps both inside and outside of the zippers to keep the water from flowing through the zipper. There are four hook and loop closures sewn into the exterior storm flap and jacket to keep the outer flap in place. Finally, there are two draw cord adjustments sewn into the hem of the jacket to create a nice fit in the rain.

I should also point out that the JakPak has armpit vents that open with a black YKK zipper that measures 11 in (28 cm). The interior has two generously sized pockets that measure 11 x 11 in (28 x 28 cm). Furthermore, there is a zippered pocket on my left side built into the interior pocket. Of course, there are two zippered exterior pockets as well. I certainly won't run out of storage! On the left suspender, there is a small loop of cordage that I can string headphones through if I choose.

I mentioned that the JakPak is made of waterproof material. The ripstop nylon is in two colors: black and grey. What I learned from the website is that the darker colors (black on my model) are waterproof and not breathable. The front, or grey fabric, is breathable. The purpose is to better protect me while lying down to sleep.

sleeping bag
Sleeping bag pouch


That brings me to the sleeping bag portion of the JakPak. The sleeping bag is stored in a pouch that is zippered into the inside of the jacket in the back. The pouch secured to the jacket on the top by the zipper, but the bottom corners of the pouch have hook and loop strips that attach to the bottom of the jacket. It conveniently rests in the small of my back. The pouch is secured by a solid hook and loop strip and is 10 x 20 in (25 x 51 cm). The front of the pouch is nylon while the back is mesh. The image above shows the pouch.

Like the jacket, the sleeping bag is constructed of the same ripstop nylon material. The front is grey and breathable and the back is black and not breathable. The entire sleeping bag is waterproof. The bag is roughly 57 in (145 cm) long and 26 in (66 cm) wide. There is a 40 in (102 cm) YKK zipper that opens the bag. The zipper is protected by the same size storm flap as the jacket and is secured with three hook and loop strips that are 3 in (7.6 cm) long each.

There is an elastic hem at the top of the bag portion to keep the bag in place while sleeping. There is also a Velcro hook at the bottom of the bag that can attach to the jacket while walking therefore allowing the sleeping bag to dry while hiking. Pretty neat! The sleeping bag and pouch are integrated into one piece and can be completely detached from the jacket by the zipper.

The tent portion of the JakPak is stored in a pouch built into the back of the jacket. The bottom of the pouch has a 1.5 in (3.8 cm) strip of mesh to keep water from pooling inside. The tent is secured inside the pouch with a 12 in (30 cm) long zipper. The tent consists of a ripstop nylon A-frame with a waterproof coating on the inside as well as a generous amount of no-see-um netting. The A-frame is held in place with rust resistant tent rods that are sewn into the fabric. They bend easily but bounce right back into the original shape.

After removing the tent, I can easily pull the tent over my head into place to keep my head and shoulders dry at night. The netting can be placed over my body to discourage bugs from bothering me in my sleep. There is also an elastic band attached to the sides of the tent that can be stretched around my back and secured with a hook and loop strip. This is supposed to keep the tent in place at night.

The JakPak does meet CPAI-84 flame retardant standards. The JakPak is designed for three season use only.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Looking over the JakPak I can tell that this was manufactured with great care. The seams are well taped and the craftsmanship is exceptional. I have played around with the JakPak indoors for a few days now and I am used to the weight distribution. The suspenders help quite a bit to make the load feel more balanced.

I can already tell that the JakPak is going to make me warm. Even around the house, my back perspires just while wearing the product. Overall the jacket portion runs larger than other jackets of the same sizing I have owned. I normally would order an XL so I can layer, but I needed to exchange this for a size L. On that note, the manufacturer was especially helpful and paid for return postage and shipped a replacement right away.

I was somewhat surprised to find that the "sleeping bag" has no insulation. My initial impression is that it is more akin to a bivy sack, but given how warm I was when wearing the jacket I am certainly open to testing the limits. I did take the opportunity to call the manufacturer for advice on how to insulate myself and they gave me good suggestions. I also talked to them about using a separate, insulating sleeping bag in conjunction with the JakPak and they thought that could be a good idea. I was able to fit my current sleeping bag inside the JakPak sleeping bag while messing around at home.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The JakPak comes with a two-piece hang tag. The first opens up to list the multitude of features (there are 26 bullet points!) incorporated into the product. There are some specific care instructions as well that tell me to spot clean only (no machine washing) with mild soap and warm water.

The second hang tag contains a drawing of the jacket, sleeping bag and tent with very basic instructions. The drawings are at the top of this report and are also included on the interior of the jacket. I found the website very helpful in understanding the features. At the time of this report, there is a video demonstration as well as great photos.

SUMMARY

I am quite excited to test the limits of the JakPak. If I consider that the shelter portions of this product weigh less than 2 lb (.9 kg), I will be shedding a couple pounds off my current shelter set up. Plus the JakPak takes up much less space. In fact, it could take up no space if I just wear it!

I am pleased with the overall quality initially. While it seems a bit warm, that was in a heated house. Even though the sleeves are a little shorter than I am used to, they don't feel too short so far. Well, enough writing; it is time to get outside and see how the Jakpak performs!

I would like to thank JakPak as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

For the past two months I have taken the JakPak on three trips; 1 backpacking trip and two car camping trips. The first weekend trip was to Missouri Mountain in the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado for a gathering of hikers. While we car camped, we also hiked a lot, including a 12 mi (19 km) out and back to the 14,067 ft (4,288 m) peak. Temperatures were pretty mild for the season with daytime temperatures around 50 F (10 C) and sunshine all around.

My next trip was a three day trip to the Goblin Valley State Park area in Utah. While the temperatures were warm and the sun was plentiful, the wind was incredibly outrageous. We ended up hiking in some slot canyons to try and escape the wind, which was successful, but relaxing at our campsite it was again miserable when we were exposed. There was no precipitation either.

My final trip was an overnight to the San Juan National Forest in Colorado to hike Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks. I encountered snow a little earlier along the route than I expected but managed to find a good spot to camp in the trees. Temperatures were from 35 to 50 F (2 to 10 C) and clear skies. Other than the hike in, I was on snow for much of the 12 mi (19 km) hike.

I also took 3 day hikes in the San Isabel National Forest. One hike was in a bit of a snowstorm and I took along some basic winter gear to see how the JakPak would do in snow. The other trips were in weather similar to my other trips.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

naptime
Taking a nap in the JakPak
I am actually quite impressed with the JakPak so far! What I learned quickly is that the option to detach the tent and sleeping bag portions makes a lot of sense. The conditions in central Colorado have remained exceptionally dry so I have not needed to wear the rain jacket much at all. I did wear it in a snow storm and it immediately made a difference. It shed the snow easily and remained reasonably breathable. Wearing the JakPak with the components under a backpack is a weird feeling, but if I needed to because of space, it didn't feel especially uncomfortable. Granted, this was a short, 3 mi (5 km) hike, but enough to get a good feeling.

I had spoken to the manufacturer prior to receiving the JakPak and they indicated that it would not necessarily need an insulated sleeping bag in moderate temperatures if I were to wear layered, insulated clothing. Having spent at least one night in near freezing temperatures of 35 F (2 C), I was glad to have had a down jacket and thick fleece pants. I actually slept pretty well, although it was a bit chilly. To keep my hands warm, I wore winter gloves and shoved them in the pit zips close to my chest and that really helped. It was a bit colder than I thought it would be where I was, but certainly manageable! For the record, I do sleep hot.

While camping in Moab, UT, I experienced intense winds with lots of dust flying through the air. I had my head into the wind and slept great. Meanwhile, my family and friends in tents really struggled with their rainflies flapping in the wind. It was kind of nice! Just in case it got cold at night, I brought along a light sleeping bag to sleep in. It turns out that was overkill, but I found that I can sleep with a sleeping bag inside the JakPak. On a cool afternoon, I took a nap in the JakPak, as the image to the left shows.

Sleeping with warm clothing and sleeping bags is actually not so bad thanks to the generous cut of the JakPak. With clothing, I don't feel very restricted and can sleep rather comfortably at night. The sleeping bag was a little more confined and I found it rather difficult to negotiate my arms. It works, but I was not nearly as comfortable. I am going to play around a bit more with the layering options. Even though summer is coming, the temperatures are still cool at the elevations I have been camping at.

While the JakPak runs large in the sizing, it really hasn't been an issue for me. Monsoon season is starting here so my perceptions may change in time. My chief complaint is that the sleeves are short in comparison. A little extra length would make sleeping a little easier as well as reaching when the JakPak is on. The pockets are large, but I haven't really found a good use for them yet. They are conveniently located, but as I mentioned before I have not had any rain to speak of to put it through a wet test.

Finally, I have significantly cut down my weight and bulk in backpacking with this pack. I was able to get everything I needed with room to spare in a 30 L (1,830 cu in) pack for one overnight trip. One drawback is that there is no vestibule to cook under in foul weather. Luckily I haven't had to worry about this, but I may pack in a lightweight tarp just in case I need refuge!

SUMMARY

Things I like


  • Cuts down the weight and bulk of packing a tent and sleeping bag
  • Surprisingly warm and windproof
  • Fabric is breathable, but somewhat less than other jackets I have owned.


Things I don't

  • Sleeves are short relative to size of jacket


This concludes my field report for the JakPak. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank JakPak for their generosity as well as the fine folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since my last report I have taken the JakPak along on three more trips camping and backpacking. This has resulted in an additional five nights sleeping in the JakPak for a total of nine nights.

First, I took a three-day hike in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in southern Colorado. I set up a base camp at 11,700 ft (3,570 m) and hiked a couple of peaks from there. My total mileage for the weekend was 25 mi (40 km) along a mix of snow (crampons used), scree, tundra and subalpine terrain. There was a lot of class 3 scrambling as well. Temperatures were between 35 and 75 F (2 and 24 C). It was sunny with small amounts of rain at times.

My next trip was a five night car camping trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. My family attended a trade show in town but camped at a campground. Temperatures were quite warm; 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C) and with only one rain storm (overnight), the JakPak stayed in the bags during the day. I did sleep in the JakPak two nights instead of using a sleeping bag with overnight lows of about 55 F (13 C).

Finally, I took an overnight trip to the Mt Massive Wilderness in Colorado to hike to the top of this 14,421 ft (4,396 m) peak. Conditions were below average for the summer with overnight lows of 40 F (4 C) and highs at about 65 F (18 C). It was quite windy at times, but there was also a slow drizzle for most of my hike down to camp and then out to my car. I camped and slept in a meadow that was quite full of bugs, so it was a great place to put the JakPak to the test.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Sleeping
Settling in for a cold night in the Crestones


My first trip over the past two months ended up being my coldest of the past two months; somewhat unexpectedly. Because of this, I did not have quite the number of layers I would have wished, but it ended up being a good test for the JakPak. With temperatures dipping to near freezing, I slept in a layered system consisting of a base layer, fleece pants and a down jacket, as well as another pair of pants over the fleece ones. As in the past I found that my legs were the coldest part of my body and I woke up cold several times each night. Upon closer inspection I found quite a bit of condensation in the sleeping bag compartment that I think was causing this. I found it peculiar that the only part of my body that was cold were the tops of my legs; I was sleeping on my back at the time. When I switched to a side sleeping posture then the leg on top would feel cold after time. I think the down jacket created a larger gap of air so my chest felt much warmer. The image above shows me getting ready for bed on the first night.

My conclusion is that the JakPak was not providing enough ventilation and therefore the condensation made me cold at such cool temperatures. I personally feel like I pushed the limit of what the product was intended. However, in the morning I didn't want to get out of the JakPak and into the cold, so it definitely kept me safe from the elements. In fact, I couldn't have asked it to perform any better considering the conditions!

Since the summer has arrived, I have also had a few chances to wear the JakPak as a rain jacket. I do find that the jacket does not breath as well as other jackets I have owned, but overall it does vent moisture. On my last trip to Mt Massive, I had the pit zips open and also the chest zipper open about 1/4 of the way down. I was hiking, mostly downhill, but toward the summit I added the JakPak for protection from the wind. This was adequate and I felt comfortable as well. This does make sense since my entire back is made of waterproof material instead of breathable material.

I also slept in a somewhat boggy area on this trip. While I slept on a sleeping pad, I am happy to report that the bottom waterproof layer worked like a charm. Inevitably my legs slipped off the pad and no water soaked through the JakPak. There were a lot of bugs swarming at night as well. Once I put the tent over my head and put the netting in place, I really did stay bug free all night. Once again, I slipped my hands through the pit zips and into the pocket warmers of my jacket, but the netting covered my arms as well. What a great feature!

Overall, the JakPak is holding up rather well. The seams are holding and the zipper is functioning well. I don't see any marks from sleeping on it, which I thought I would.

SUMMARY

Overall I am pleased with the JakPak. For a portable sleep shelter that converts into a jacket, I think this is one of the most innovative and useful products I have used. One feature I have not really used is the suspenders. Since I did not find it necessary or desirable to wear the tent and bag while hiking, I did not need them at all. It might be nice if these were removable.

Things I really like:


  • Functions quite well as a portable shelter.
  • It is waterproof.
  • It keeps the bugs out.
  • Definitely lighter than the sleeping bag and shelter I normally use.


Things I don't care for:

  • Is not as breathable as I would like at times. This caused some cool spots.
  • Sleeves a little short for me.

CONTINUED USE

While I do have mixed reviews about the JakPak I really do like this as a warm weather option, especially at some lower elevations where the temperatures are less likely to dip dramatically. For my solo hikes especially, I love the light weight of the overall system and I am going to hold on to this one for a while!

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to JakPak for their generosity and for to the folks at BackpackgearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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