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October 05, 2012
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I almost always carry my GPS when hiking, mostly because I like to know how
far I hike. I did several solo day-hikes in the last four months. I did not
like any of the pictures I took while alone. I took the opportunity for a
group hike, mostly along 22 Mile Creek, and asked another hiker to take a
few pictures for me. Here I've refilled my filter bottle from the creek. The
Geek Pocket is just visible after I stand up.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "GPS stays put in Geek Pocket" IMAGE CAPTION
= "replacing filter and cap">>
Here is another picture on the same hike.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "on a group hike" IMAGE CAPTION = "on my left
This day started with a light rain, which soon cleared away and the
temperature rose to 87 F (31 C) by the time we finished the eight mile (13
km) hike. This area appears to have never been logged with many large pine
and cedar trees along the creek and steep hills.
I did four overnight hikes while using the Geek Pocket this summer. The
terrain was much the same for these hikes, mostly flat with a few hills. The
forest was primarily oak and maple hardwoods with some pines mixed in and
stands of red or white pine. One of my projects with the Grand Traverse
Hiking Club (GTHC) is to create a list of short overnight hikes to help
people get started backpacking. So this year I'm doing several short
June 4 & 5, 2012, in the Pere Marquette State Forest, south of the village
of Williamsburg, Michigan. This hike was on the North Country Trail from
Highbanks Rollway, above the Manistee River, west 6.6 miles (10.6 km) to
Anderson Creek. While I was hiking the high temperature was about 65 F (18
C). It continued to get warmer while I was setting up camp eventually up to
74 F (23 C). There was bright moonlight most of the night. With clear skies
the temperature dropped to 40 F (4 C) just before sunrise.
June 16 & 17, 2012 starting five miles (8 km) south of Williamsburg,
Michigan, continued my long-standing tradition of a Father's Day hike and
added to my list of easy overnight hikes. My son, his wife and daughter
hiked with me on a four-mile (6 km) section of the North Country Trail. The
destination was selected for my nine year old granddaughter. She likes most
when we end the day where she can play in the water. The hike started
bright, sunny and 75 F (24 C). It was up to 80 F (27 C) by the time we got
to Dollar Lake. A storm moved through sometime during the night. It stayed
fairly warm with a low of only 55 F (13 C).
June 18 & 19, 2012, starting 10 miles (16 km) south of Traverse City began
at the Conservation Education building . One of my hiking buddies is on a
committee to create a 45 mile (72 km) loop trail, starting and ending at the
library in Traverse City, Michigan. He had asked two of us GPS users to hike
with him to help create a proposed trail map of an area that had not yet
been trail mapped. We hiked nine miles (14 km) to Jaxon Creek where we
camped for the night. The early evening storm became the hardest wind and
rainstorm I've ever seen while backpacking in Michigan. The high temperature
was 87 F (31 C) with an early morning low of 61 F (16 C). The terrain was
generally level since we mostly followed the Boardman River.
June 23 & 24, 2012 in the Manistee National Forest southwest of the village
of Mesick, Michigan. It was 55 F (13 C), partly cloudy and windy when we
started hiking. It was 78 F (26 C) when we reached Sawdust Hole CG after
hiking 12 miles (19 km). The low when I woke at 5 AM was 55 F (13 C). My
friend continued on but I only had two days for the hike. I got rained on
for about an hour on the way back to my Jeep. I did the 12 mile walk back in
four hours, a bit faster than I normally hike when backpacking. I paid with
aching legs the next morning.
I started a four-night hike on July 4. The first day I started hiking at 9
AM and 75 F (24 C). I planned to camp at the Pine Grove CG but it was only
2:15 when I got there, after hiking 12 miles (19 km). I refilled my water
containers from the spring pipe. Then I made the big mistake and continued
on hiking. The weather was clear with a high of 88 F (31 C) at 3:00. I got
to McLavey Lake campsite at 7 PM and a total of 22 miles (35 km). This was
too far for me on the first day of a hike. I got the hammock set up and
ready for night. Before I get in the hammock for the night I put all extra
stuff in the backpack and the backpack in a large trash bag and lay this
under the hammock. Here is a picture of my campsite at McLavey Lake.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "nearly ready for night" IMAGE CAPTION =
"camp at McLavey Lake">>
Late the second day, after hiking 10 miles (16 km) mostly in a hard rain, I
decided I had to cut the hike short. My right foot was too painful to
consider hiking on poorly maintained trails. I took a short cut the third
day and hiked eight miles (13 km) to a state park. There I arranged for a
ride back to my Jeep for the next day. In this picture I'm looking for the
shortest and easiest way back to my Jeep. The Geek Pocket is visible on the
right shoulder strap of my backpack.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Geek Pocket on right strap" IMAGE CAPTION =
The Geek Pocket made it easy to get the GPS out as soon as I realized I had
lost the trail.
While I was out the weather varied form a warm 92 F (33 C) and sunny to a
cooler 52 F (11 C) and hard rain. I lost the trail four times on the second
day, using map, compass and GPS to eventually find the trail again. The
terrain varied from high hardwood forest to swamp, cedar trees and thick
The longest hike I did during the long term period was 12 days and 105 miles
(169 KM) of backpacking on Isle Royale National Park which is located in
western Lake Superior but still in the state of Michigan. The weather varied
from bright and sunny to heavy clouds and hard driving rain. The temperature
ranged from a low one morning of 44 F (7 C) to a warm 76 F (24 C) the sunny
morning I boarded the Ranger III ferry for the ride back to Houghton,
Michigan. I hiked in steady rain for over two hours on three different
days. In between there were a few nice sunsets.
The fourth night I was at Siskiwit Bay in a shelter. I was thinking mostly
about scenery and people so I only got one picture of the Geek Pocket as I
used it on this hike. Here I had the camera set up on a table and used the
timer to get myself in the picture.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "posed at Siskiwit Bay" IMAGE CAPTION =
"playing with the camera">>
Here is a view from my tent at Todd Harbor. I always hope for pictures like
this every evening when back packing.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "sunset at Todd Harbor" IMAGE CAPTION = "Todd
The trails were never the same for any great distance. Some areas of the
trails were fist size rocks and bare roots, some areas were climbs up and
over large bare rock, with a few areas of open footpath through the forest.
Several areas of trail were overgrown with brush or ferns so it was
difficult to even see the trail. All wet areas were crossed on narrow
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "trail in wet area" IMAGE CAPTION = "narrow
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've noticed that with my daypacks I prefer to attach the Geek pocket to the
left shoulder strap. Then I fasten my weather watch to the right strap. When
I'm backpacking I always attach the Geek Pocket to right shoulder pack
strap. Then I put a folding knife in the small pocket on the left shoulder
strap and attach the weather watch near the bottom of the pocket. I carry my
camera in a hip belt pocket when using a pack with hip belt pockets.
Otherwise I add a small nylon pocket to the opposite shoulder strap.
Either way the Geek Pocket works very well. Early in the testing period, at
different times, I carried my camera, my cell phone and my GPS in the Geek
Pocket. When I carry the cell phone I prefer it inside the pack. I like to
have both the camera and the GPS easy to reach and use. I have developed the
habit of using the Geek Pocket to carry my GPS. Perhaps this is because I
use the GPS more frequently than either the cell phone or camera.
I am very pleased with the Geek Pocket. It is easy to attach to nearly any
pack I own. I often don't use the top hook-and-loop strap since the GPS fits
snug enough to stay in the Pocket. When I've been hiking in the rain the GPS
gets much harder to pull out of the Geek Pocket.
I find the Backcountry Geek Pocket easy to attach to the three daypacks and
two backpacks that I use most often. It is even easier to use than to attach
to a pack. I have developed a preference to carry my GPS in the Geek Pocket.
I tend to use the GPS more often while hiking than either the cell phone or
my camera. I like to loop the GPS lanyard around the pack strap so there is
no way it can be lost. The lanyard also makes pulling the GPS out of the
Geek Pocket when the pocket has gotten wet from rain.
This concludes my Long Term Report Report.
I would like to thank Backcountry Solutions and BackpackGearTest.org for
allowing me to use and test this interesting piece of gear.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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