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FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Various locations throughout the Orlando Metro area plus a two-day
hiking trip on a couple of trails in the Flamingo area of the
Everglades National Park in South Florida.
The end of June through July was very humid with much rain and
thunderstorms. By August, the rain had stopped, but not the humidity.
Temperatures in the Orlando area have been averaging around 95 degrees
F [35 C] with humidity so high that the heat index reaches 105 degrees
F [40.5 C]. The terrain included asphalt, concrete, grass, sand, mud
and dirt trails.
In the Everglades, the temperature hit 94 degrees [34.4 C] both days
with very high humidity. There was one late afternoon thunderstorm on
our last day out, but it hit just as we were leaving the park. The
trails were sandy with matted grasses interspersed with pockets of
very wet, marshy areas. There were alligators everywhere supposedly,
but we didn't see any; they're obviously too smart to be out in the heat.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I used the Advent Pro mostly on day hikes of 3 to 5 miles [4.83 km to
8.05 km] and on some bicycle rides of 10 to 15 miles [16.10 km to
24.15 km]. I learned very quickly not to fill the pack anywhere close
to the maximum stated limit of 25 lbs. [11.34 kg]. The pack, no matter
how much I fidgeted with the straps and adjustments, was not
comfortable at all for me with a weight over 9 or 10 pounds [4.08 kg
or 4.54 kg].
I found that just a short time into my initial day hike, with a pack
weight of 21 lbs. [9.53 kg], the shoulder straps put so much pressure
on the top of my trapezius muscles [the muscles connecting the back
top of the neck to the shoulder and over to the spine], that I
developed an extremely bad headache. I spent most of my time during
that hike adjusting and readjusting shoulder straps, the sternum strap
[and any other strap I could adjust] and the Wraptor Stabilizer. The
pack had two full 1.5L [51 fl oz] water bladders*, an extra set of
shorts, socks and a shirt, my GPS, my digital camera, a couple of
lenses, a cell phone, a first aid kit, a knife, a ground cloth, a
sleeping pad and a box of trail bars. One of the water bladders was
set up in the hydration compartment for immediate use; the other was
stored in the bottom of the main cargo area. I normally do not bring
this much gear along on a day hike, but wanted to test the pack
thoroughly. The size of the pack for day hikes is overkill, in my opinion.
When I packed it as I would for my day hikes at around 9.5 pounds
[4.31 kg], with one full water bladder, a couple of trail bars, my
GPS, a ground cloth, a cell phone, a knife and a camera, it was a very
comfortable pack. I was able to cinch the straps and cords to compress
the pack tightly. There was plenty of room left, but with the pack
fully compressed, it wasn't an issue. This was how I packed the Advent
Pro for the remainder of my day hikes and bicycle rides.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE>>
The Wraptor Stabilizer system worked great with the lower pack weight,
as did the waistbelt. The pack stayed with most of the weight on my
hips, allowing me to move more naturally and comfortably. The foam
back panel formed to my back and I wasn't able to feel any of the more
oddly-shaped items in the pack through it. I can't comment on whether
or not the back panel was able to wick any sweat from my back, as I
sweat profusely anyway and my shirts are always wet.
It seems the days I choose to ride my bicycle are the days when we end
up with a steady drizzle of rain. This does not keep me from riding,
and the Advent Pro has performed great. The interior of the cargo area
stays dry; I've not had to pack anything in plastic bags. Anything
packed in the outside mesh pockets will get wet though, so I move my
cell phone into the hidden cargo pocket inside the top access point
when it rains.
Clean up was easy, as even though I've used the pack almost daily
since I received it, there is usually only a minimal amount of dust on
the outside. I use a micro fiber cloth dampened with water to wipe it
down, which seems to work just fine.
*I try not to bring plastic water bottles out on the trails.
The Advent Pro is a nicely made pack. It did not perform well for me
packed with gear weighing over 10 lbs.; it performs wonderfully at
anything less. It fits well, sits perfectly on my hips and allows me
full motion without binding. The Advent Pro works well in light rain
and cleans up easily. There is plenty of cargo room, loads of pockets
for storage of smaller items and two large access points from which to
get at your gear.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE>>
I will continue to test the Advent Pro on my day hikes and bicycle
rides. I would also like to try testing it on a trail run, if my
schedule allows. Otherwise, I will try short spurts of running while
hiking to see how the pack feels on my hips and shoulders.
This concludes my Field Report on the Gregory Advent Pro. The Long
Term Report will be amended to this report in approximately two
months. Please check back then.
Many thanks to Gregory Mountain Products and BackpackGearTest.Org for
the opportunity to test this product.