Below is my Field Report for the High Peak Trango 65 backpack. The link to my HTML report is: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/FR%20-%20High%20Peak%20Trango%20Backpack%20-%20Brian%20Hartman/
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
<<IMAGE 1>> Since receiving the Trango 65 backpack, I have used it for a total of 7 days, including 2 three-day backpacking trips and one overnight trip. My first three-day trip was to the Charles Deam Wilderness area of the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana. I camped at an elevation of approximately 850 ft (260 m) and overnight lows were around 46 F (8 C). The area was hilly and densely wooded with lots of streams and several well marked trails. The weather was cool and overcast this weekend with frequent showers. I hiked a total of 14 mi (22.5 km).
My second trip was an overnighter to Oldenburg, IN. The weather was very nice on this trip as we caught a break in between thunderstorms although it was still wet and muddy from earlier rain. Skies were mainly clear with a nice steady breeze and temperatures around 60 F (15 C) throughout the day. I only hiked about 3 or 4 mi (6 km) on this trip.
My final trip was a three day trek in Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN. The trails were muddy due to the ridiculous amounts of rain we received earlier in the week so I hiked mainly off-trail and tried to stay on the ridgelines as much as possible. The weather was clear and mild, with daytime temperatures of 64 to 72 F (18 to 22 C). Elevations in the area ranged from 680 to 820 ft (207 to 250 m) and I logged approximately 8 mi (13 km).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I am very pleased with the Trango 65 backpack so far. There are many features of this backpack that I really enjoy. Among them are its comfortable fit, large storage space and rugged design. In addition, it is very lightweight and this has equated to making it very enjoyable to carry for long periods of time.
During my multi-day trips, the weight of the Trango 65 along with my supplies averaged 32 pounds (20 kg). Here is a brief list of some the items I carried:
* Sleeping bag
* Tent with ground cloth
* Sleeping pad
* Camp stove and fuel canister
* Aluminum pot
* Additional clothing
* Flashlight and headlamp
* Food & water
<<IMAGE 2>> Fit & Comfort: Throughout my field testing, the Trango 65 pack fit well and was comfortable to wear. The great fit was due in large part to High Peak USA's Vario Harness System which allowed me to easily adjust the backpack frame to fit my torso. In truth it took me a couple of tries to determine the correct frame setting (XS-XL) for my torso length as there was no chart to refer to. Once I had the Vario Harness System dialed in correctly I moved on to adjusting the hip belt, shoulder straps, load lifters and finally sternum strap for a customized fit. The cutout in the hip belt is a great idea as it allows me to tighten the belt firmly around my waist without smashing my hip bones. With the hip belt secured, I felt like I was able to carry the majority of the pack's weight on my hips. One note of concern is that I came very close to running out of belt length while tightening the waist strap. It is simply not designed for
waists that are much smaller than 32" (81 cm). I am concerned this may present a problem for me during summer months when I am only wearing shorts and a tee shirt and do not have any other bulky items to help inflate my mid section. It would be a shame if High Peak USA's other packs are similar and do not accommodate smaller waist sizes as I really like this backpack and would definitely consider a similar model for my son who is in Boy Scouts. After adjusting the waist belt I moved on to the shoulder straps, which were easy to adjust and proved to be quite comfortable given their EVA foam construction, and then finally to the load lifters and sternum strap. All in all, the pack did a very good job of distributing the load weight so that it never felt top heavy and it did not shift to one side as I moved. While hiking some steep trails at the Hoosier National Forest, the pack stayed firmly on my back so that I never felt off balance. In
addition the molded back panel allowed air to circulate across my back so that I never felt sweaty. Given my experience so far, I suspect that the Trango 65 would be just as comfortable with another 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of supplies in it. I'm not sure that I could come up with too many more items to carry during the next few months of summer, but once winter sets in, I could easily see myself adding a few pounds of gear to the pack.
Storage Space: The Trango 65 has enough room inside for all my gear except for my sleeping pad. Because my sleeping pad is bulky albeit lightweight, I was forced to either leave it behind or strap it to the outside of the pack. I wish High Peak USA had included straps on the bottom of the pack so that I could easily secure this item. Although the sleeping pad is more of a luxury item this time of year, it is essential insulation against the frozen ground during winter months. Of course, there are quick clip points on the top of the pack that can be used to lash items with nylon cordage, but this isn't as quick and convenient as using built-in straps. In defense of High Peak USA, the Trango 65 is designed as an ultra-lightweight backpack and so a lot of people who use this backpack probably aren't carrying a full length, 3/4 inch thick open cell foam sleeping pad with them most of the time.
Loading the Trango 65 from the top and front compartments is very easy to do and the drawstring divider is handy for those times when I want to convert the inside of the backpack to one big compartment. I found the lid pockets on the pack very handy for storing smaller items such as snacks, maps, sunglasses, emergency essentials and the water bottle pockets worked well for storing my Nalgene bottles.
Durability: This pack has held up very well during Field Testing. With its ripstop nylon construction, it not only looks and feels rugged, but it has proven itself on the trail. This backpack is very well made.
Another feature that I was anxious to test on the Trango 65, based on what I read, was Dupont's Hypatex coating which supposedly provides additional abrasion resistance as well as waterproofing to the backpack's fabric. Although I can't say whether the coating made the ripstop nylon any more durable, I am comfortable in saying that it added a degree of waterproofing to the backpack. I observed water beading up on the outside of the pack and after trekking for miles in light rain showers and then setting the pack on soggy wet ground at my campsite, the items inside the pack stayed mostly dry. There appeared to be a little water seepage into the pack but I was expecting that to be the case.
I have enjoyed wearing this pack over the past few months. Overall the Trango 65 fits me well and is relatively comfortable even with heavy loads. It is rugged, has decent storage capacity, and has room for two water bottles in the mesh pockets. I would not hesitate to take it on a multi-day trip. Its close fit gives me great balance when scrambling up steep hills and the light weight design definitely helps with my goal of trimming some weight off my load while still feeling comfortable enough to carry a substantial amount of supplies.
I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and High Peak for giving me the opportunity to test this pack.
This concludes my Field Report. My Long Term Report will be posted in approximately 2 months. Please check back then for my final review.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
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