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  • phlow220
    Jul 12, 2005
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      Biographical information:
      Name: Ryan Dunlavey
      Age: 20
      Gender: Male
      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.

      Product information:
      Manufacturer: EMS
      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.
      MSRP: $149.00

      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.

      Field Information:

      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
      mid October.

      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:
      *Uncomfortable hip-belt
      *Weak compression buckles
      *Aluminum stays rip fabric

      *Adjust hip-belt cant angles
      *Use stronger material around aluminum stays or switch to HDPE plastic
      frame sheet
      *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
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