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Reviews > Stuff Sacks > Compression Sacks > Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack > Test Report by Andrew Preece

DryComp Summit Sack
Test Series
by
Andrew Preece

Initial Report January 21st 2008
Field Report Due March 2008
Long Term Report Due May 2008
Contents
Initial Report
Test Plan
Field Report
Long Term Report
My Details
The front of the sack
   
Personal Details
Name: Andrew Preece
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 188 lb (85 kg)
Email: andrew_at_teamgunnparker_dot_com
City: Perth.
Western Australia.
Australia.
Testing Locations
Bibbulmun Track: Sea level to 585 m (1,920 ft). Within this region I backpack along old forestry roads, sandy tracks, and purpose built walking tracks. The south-west of Western Australia allows for hiking and backpacking from coastal plains to forested ranges. I hike in varying conditions from forestry tracks, to sandy tracks to single purpose walking trails, from rock hopping, to beach walking to completely off-track through open and dense bush country.
Backpacking Background
I have done a lot of hiking over the years but only now carry a tent and all the gear for over night stays of one to two nights. I normally carry approximately 35 lb (16 kg) which includes food and water. My trips are usually between one to three days duration mainly over weekends. I hike all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18 C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.
Testing Activities
During the expected test period I will be going on twelve overnight trips and trips ranging from one to two days of backpacking. I will be camping out between eight nights and 20 days between January 2008 and April 2008. Each over night hike of two nights duration would involve approximately 21 mi (35 km) and the day trips would be 7 to 9 mi (12 to 15 km).
Testing Conditions
It is now well into our summer but we are still experiencing some unseasonably cool nights and mornings with a low of  50 F (10 C) and a high of 88 F (31 C) in another few months it will be winter and the cold will set in. Daytime temperatures will range during the testing period, from a minimum of 57 F (14 C) to 79 F (26 C) during April, to 46 F (8 C) to 64 F (18 C) in July 2008. The average rainfall for this time of year is, 1 3/4 in (44 mm) in April to 6 in (175 mm) in July.
 
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Initial Report
January 21st 2008


The DryComp Summit Sack (Summit sack) is a summit sack and compression sack all in one. Designed as a waterproof storage sack for sleeping bags and clothing. It converts to an ultra light, 31 qt (30L) summit sack.
Combine this with the following features as quoted on the Outdoor Research web site.

 * Hydroseal coated Antron nylon is waterproof and durable
 * Waterproof taped seams
 * Roll-top waterproof closure
 * Durable buckle secures roll top
 * Ergonomic design fits flat against back
 * Four compression straps convert to shoulder straps and hip belt
 * Foam-padded straps wrap over shoulder
 * Dual daisy chains with ice axe loops
 * Two side mesh pockets with one-hand pull elastic draw cords

This sack looks to be another great product from Outdoor Research. I will attempt with my testing to find out just how good this sack is.

 

The Summit sack that I am testing comes in one size only.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US $59.00
 
  Outdoor Research Measurements. My Measurements.
Dimensions 24 in x 11 in x 9 in (61 cm x 28 cm x 23 cm) 21.5 in x 16 in (55 cm x 40 cm)
Volume 1885 cu in (30 L)  
Avg. Weight 12.2 oz (346 g)  13.30 oz (377 g)
 
The Pack arrived well packaged and looked as I expected from my research at the Outdoor Research web site.
My measurements were taken with the sack lying flat on the floor. I measured from the top seam to the bottom seam, where the straps attach to the sack. Above the top seam is 9 in (28 cm) of roll top, which will roll down to the top seam.
There are four compression straps on this sack, one at each corner. The two back straps double as shoulder straps while the two front straps double as waist straps. When laid out the waist strap measures about 60 in (152 cm) in length and fits easily around my 40 in (102 cm) waist.
Each of these straps can be pulled down tight to compress the sack. The two rear straps lock well with the buckles at the ends of the straps.

There are two side mesh pockets with adjustable draw cord closures. Each draw cord has a plastic lock on it to prevent the cord from becoming loose. To tighten I pressed the plastic button down, pulled the cord tight and released the lock. On the front of the sack on each side is a daisy chain to which I could attach items if I choose. At the end of each chain is an ice axe loop.

The rear of the sack
The back of the sack showing the shoulder straps.
The summit sack is very easy to use and just a matter of pushing clothes down through the opening and then rolling the lid down and clipping the buckles closed. I rolled the lid down three times before closing the buckles and then found the instructions said the very same.
The instructions come on a swing tag that explains just how to use the sack plus details about the construction of the sack and it's features.
To use the sack is very easy, I just filled it with what ever items of clothing I liked then I laid the sack down and kneeled on it to compress the contents. I rolled the top over three times and locked it shut, then I tightened the straps all around. This was not exactly following the directions but worked very well for me.
Also in this photo is one of the two side pockets.

 
Compressed side view
Side view of the sack showing one front strap and one shoulder strap, when compressed.
The external roll-top waterproof closure is an easy to use system that should be water proof. In this photo I show the lid rolled down and two of the four compression straps pulled down quite tight. The main body is made from Hydroseal coated Antron nylon and it too should be waterproof and durable.
I hope that with time and compression the padded shoulder straps do not become worn out and not supportive.
The sack looks very well made as I  expected, and I am looking forward to using it and testing and reporting on my findings.

 
Compressed rear view
Rear view of the sack showing the shoulder straps, when compressed.
 
Test Plan  
1. I will be testing how well my items fit and how compressed I can get them. I will then stuff the sack into my pack and once in camp I will set the sack up as a pack and hike off track to test for durability and comfort. 2. The sack has waterproof taped seams, so I will be testing how well the seams seal, how well the tape stays attached to the seam. Will rolling and unrolling cause the tape to separate from the seam?
3. The external daisy chain looks like it would be suitable for attaching the sack to my pack, or attaching other items to the sack. How robust are they? will they hold up to having a few items hanging from them? 4. The external roll-top waterproof closure, how well does this fabric seal? Does it need to be rolled down a long way to create the seal? Will the Antron nylon used in manufacture cope well with months of rolling up and down?
5. The web site states that a durable buckle secures the roll top. Are they strong? Will they take lots of clipping together? I also wonder if our strong sun here in summer would affect the plastic in the buckles.
6. The sacks have four compression straps on the sides, are they easy to use? Could I quickly pack up my gear inside with cold wet fingers?
7. I will be setting this sack up outside full of clothes, then thoroughly soaking the whole thing to see just how waterproof the sack is.  
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Field Report
March 10th 2008
 
I have now been using this sack for a few months and as a part of my test process I wanted to start out testing how water proof the sack is.
As it is now summer with no chance of rain I hung the pack outside on a small fence I have and turned on the sprinklers. I have my sprinklers set to turn off after twenty minutes, so after that time I went out and brought the thoroughly wet sack inside.
I unrolled the roll top lid and other than a little water just inside the first roll or so the remainder of the inside of the sack was dry, as was all of my clothing that I had placed inside. I had packed into the sack the same items I would take on an over night trip which is. Thermal top and bottom, long pants, T shirt, fleece top, socks, woollen hat and gloves.
So after the first test I am very happy with how dry the sack keeps my gear.
Side view of sack.
Side view of the sack with a 42.27 fl oz (1.25 L) bottle in the pocket.
I found that the sack does a good job of compressing my gear, keeping in mind that my clothing would probably not compress a lot anyway. But I have found that if I do not compress it too much it will fit into the bottom of my pack better then if I really pull down hard on the straps.
I feel this sack is too bulky for me to keep using as a dry sack after the test period because it takes up too much room in my pack.
If I had a larger pack this may not be a problem as the weight of it is fairly light for what it is at 12.2 oz. (346 g). My pack is 3967 cu in (65 L).
The side pockets are very large and fit everything that I need to place in them. I find that if I remove a drink bottle while walking I cannot replace it unless I remove the sack.
The open pocket.
Side view of the pocket, note the black elastic cord and the small keeper that keeps the plastic cord lock in place.
I have used the daisy chains on the outside of the sack to clip my camera and compass to, I even clipped my hiking poles to the outside and I have had no trouble whatsoever ever with the daisy chain setup.
The clips and buckles on the sack work very well and have given me no trouble at all, and I don't think that they will.
All of the stitching is very good and the whole sack looks and feels very strong.
Daisy chain and loops.
The daisy chain and loops.
Every seam is sealed with tape. The tape seems to hold very well and so far all of the rolling and folding of the roll top lid has not affected the tape at all.
This photo shows the seam just inside the lid but the seams are the same all the way around.
The seam sealing tape.
This photo shows the tape used in sealing all of the seams.
The roll top of the sack. The instructions tell me to roll the top down three times and then buckle but I find I can roll it down five times. The photo here of the lid shows it rolled five times. This does not take anything away from the volume of the sack and can only make it harder for water to creep inside the sack.
I am very surprised at the size of the sack, the Outdoor Research web site states that it is 1885 cu. in (30.9 L) in size but it looks a lot larger than that and seems to swallow all of my clothing easily.

 
The top rolled down.
  The roll top of the sack.
The front of the sack has two straps which undo at the buckles and then are taken around to the front of your body and convert to a hip belt. The strap is more than long enough to fit around my 35 in (90 cm) waist. I find the belt does not really hold the sack tight to my body as does my main back pack but just stops the sack from moving around side to side while walking.
I have found that while walking with this sack in warm weather that my back gets covered in sweat where the sack rests on my back. So much so that my shirt becomes soaked and the outside of the sack is also soaked. None of this dampness gets to the inside at all, and all of my gear remains dry.
The front strap.
The front strap undone to show where it attaches.
In this photo the hip belt can be seen ready for use. The two straps unclip from the buckles at the front then wrap around to the rear of the sack and around my waist. The straps are adjustable and can be tightened around my waist once clipped together. The hip belt.
Field Report Summary
I have now been using the sack for about three months. During this time I have been on three overnight trips with it in the hills around Perth. I have hiked along the Bibbulmun track and stayed near the huts that are along the track.
I have also hiked along some of the lesser known tracks near Mundaring and spent a lot of time off track and just exploring. During these trips I have used it as a compression sack in my main pack and used it as a day pack for side trips during these times.
I have also used the sack on two occasions where I have used it as a day pack while walking for a couple of hours around the Canning river here in Perth.

So far into this test series I have found that I like just how waterproof the sack is and how it compresses quite well, but I dislike how hot the sack is on my back when worn as a pack and that the shoulder straps slip of the padding at the arm pit area. This I will cover more in my long term report.

This photo shows the front straps ready as a hip belt.
 
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Long term Report
May 17th 2008
 
Summary
I have used the sack on three day hikes and on six over night trips during this time with many other trips out walking with my family.

I have now been using this sack for about four months and during this time I have used it for everything including, walking to the local shop to get the paper with my wife and daughter.
Walking along the river on a morning walk carrying a few snacks, some warmer clothing and bottles of water.
Day hiking up in the hills near Perth with dry clothes, wet weather gear, breakfast, lunch and the gear needed to cook my meals.
Overnight hiking trips along the Bibbulmun track where the sack has been used as a dry/compression sack in my main pack. On these occasions I would hike up to the campsite one day, camp over night then hike back out in the morning.
Here is one of the camp sites I stopped at for breakfast while out day hiking.early morning camp site

 

I have found the sack to be very good at keeping my gear dry. Besides a couple of times where it has rained while I was out walking, I conducted a test by leaving the sack outside under my sprinklers for twenty minutes at a time and I have had no trouble or worries keeping my gear dry.
The sack itself looks as new and I am very happy with the quality of the construction and the materials used.
The buckles all work as they should and all work as new.
The strapping shows no sign of wear at all.
The roll top closure shows no sign of fatigue or becoming sloppy and not sealing.
The side pockets show no sign of stretch nor does the bungee used to close the tops of the pockets. Some of the time I spent off trail was through scratchy bush with branches to snag the sack, the mesh on the pockets show no sign of tears or snags because of where I have hiked off trail.
The bottom of the sack is not worn or marked where I have sat the sack down on the ground or on picnic tables, although I am very careful with my gear and do take care of all of the gear I use.
The shoulder pads are a little wrinkled now with use but not enough to cause me any worry. It is just caused by being worn over my shoulder and to some extent when compressed as I show in a photo above.
The inside seam tape has not failed or started to come away from the seam at all and the inside material used in sealing the whole pack is as new.
  

 

 

 

Here I am wearing the sack as a day pack. Some of the gear I carried, cooking gear, food, camera is on the table where I rested the camera for this photo.wearing the sack
The only thing that really bugs me about this pack is the lack of a sternum strap, I have lost count of how many times I have had to try to reset the pad position under the strap so as not to cut into my arm pits. At some points the pad will almost turn it self over after walking for a while.

I will have to try and buy a sternum strap to add to the sack to try and stop this from happening.
I have found that on warmer days I will sweat a lot on my back where the sack rests on my back when used as a day pack. I guess this would have to be expected though. Because the sack seals all moisture out it is not breathable at all and trying to blow air through it proves just that.
This is not what I consider to be a big problem and it would not put me off using the sack again.

Below is a view of the shoulder pad trouble.

armpit pad trouble

 
I have found that with my style of backpacking with a 3900 cu in (65 L) pack and attempting to cut my gear weight down as much as possible the sack is a little too bulky to fit well into my pack. If I had a larger pack then this would not be and issue and at 13.30 oz (377 g) I don't think it is too heavy when I consider the uses of the sack.

I will be looking at finding a sternum strap as I want to keep using the sack as a day pack and I will be trying to cut my gear list down so that I can use this sack for overnight trips as well.
But unless I can get this strap I would not be happy with the shoulder pads and would have to use the sack just to walk to the shops and that sort of thing.

Likes.
*Waterproof.
*compressibility.
*Large side pockets.
*Daisy chain on front.

Dislike.
*shoulder strap.

 

 
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Many thanks to Outdoor Research for another quality product and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to participate in this test.  


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