OWNER REVIEWEMS ASCENT 4700
Name: Ryan Dunlavey
Height: 5' 7" (1.7 m)
Weight: 175 lbs. (79 kg)
Email address: rdunlave@...
City, State, Country: Brunswick, ME, USA
Backpacking Background: I have been going on camping trips since I
was about 5 years old with my family. I began serious backpacking and
day hiking about 3 years ago. Most of my trips are overnighters but I
have been on a number of 4-5 day trips. I hike in all seasons and
terrain varies from 4000-5000 footers to the rocky Maine coastline.
My backpacking style is shifting from "traditional" (40-45 lb.
18.14-20.41kg loads) to a more lightweight mindset as I upgrade gear.
Model: Ascent 4700 internal frame backpack
Year of purchase/manufacture: 2003
Company website: www.ems.com
Listed weight: 5lbs. 4 0z. (2.38 kg)
Capacity: 4700-5100 cu inches
Torso Length: 18-22 in.
Product Description: The pack is a top loader with a main compartment
that is separated by a piece of fabric with a drawstring from the
sleeping bag compartment. In addition to this main compartment there
is an external pocket with three mesh pockets inside, one of them has
a zipper to close it. The lid has a zippered pocket and a clear
zippered map pocket. Both the external pocket and lid have daisy
chains sew into them to allow for gear to be strapped to the outside
of the pack. There are two mesh/nylon pockets for water bottles on
either side of the hip-belt. There is a space between the bag and the
water bottle pockets that is ideal for sliding tent poles behind and
then strapping them down with the two compression straps also found on
wither side of the pack. There is also an ice axe loop and straps to
tie a sleeping pad to the bottom of the pack.
Locations: I have used this bag for three trips. The first was a 4
day trip in Baxter State Park, ME. This trip consisted of two day
hikes with fairly steep terrain and approx. 20 miles of walking
through the park in late August. The second was an overnight hike
into Tuckerman's Ravine, NH carrying snowboard equipment in late
April. The third was 3 day trip to the Mahoosuc Notch region, ME in
Baxter: This was my first experience backpacking and I was planning
on getting to know how a pack felt on my back. With the help of my
leaders I easily packed all of my gear (food, sleeping bag, clothing,
etc.) into the bag. The only thing that I strapped on the outside was
my Ridgerest®. The pack was comfortable with my load, except for the
fact that the hip-belt gave me hip hickies. I think these hip hickies
are a result of the way the hip-belt is canted (in instead of out). I
was able to weigh the bag with a crude scale (rocks with approx.
weights painted on them) and found that I was carrying approx. 42 lbs.
(19.05kg). I was pleased that I could fit 2 one liter Nalgenes® into
each of the mesh water bottle pockets. The lid and external pocket
provide some options to organize your gear. At the end of this trip I
was satisfied with the pack.
Tuckerman's: This hike was a number of first time experiences. It
was my first time hiking in the wintertime, first time carrying
snowboard gear, first time hiking at night, and the first time this
pack exhibited its faults in durability. I was able to fit all my
gear inside the pack, except for my sleeping pad and snowboard.
However, this time when I was tightening the compression strap the
buckle shattered. I was leaving that night and didn't have time to get
a new pack or get it fixed so I rigged something up with worked for
the trip. Other than the issue with the buckle to pack handled the
load well and managed a snowboard better than I expected.
Mahoosuc Notch: This trip was ideal for testing the packs durability.
The region is very steep and the actual hike through the notch
requires scrambling up, around, and under boulders. The pack was
scraped against rocks, trees, gravel, etc. On the exterior the pack
handled the trip very well. The tough 420-denier ripstop nylon
suffered no serious damage. The pack was comfortable for the duration
of the trip, except for the hip-belt which was still uncomfortable.
When I got home from the trip I noticed that the aluminum stays had
busted through the fabric inside the pack. These holes were not along
the seams but right through the fabric. This damage was probably a
result of carrying too much weight.
This is a good pack for beginners but if you can afford it I think
purchasing a product of higher quality would be wise.
The bag has a number of nice features:
*the sleeping bag compartment
*lid with clear map pocket
*external pocket with organizing mesh pockets
* Large water bottle pockets
The bag has a few faults:
*Weak compression buckles
*Aluminum stays rip fabric
*Adjust hip-belt cant angles
*Use stronger material around aluminum stays or switch to HDPE plastic
*Make the lid capable of converting into a hip pack for peak bagging
or day hikes to swimming holes.
Retailer experience: EMS replaced my pack free of charge and they also
allow for trade-ins in you are not satisfied with their products