Thanks for the help Shane. As always, we sometimes can't see our
mistakes when they are in front of us.
Backpack Gear Test Report-Field
Item: GoLite Trek Ultralite Hiking Pack
Specifications: Weight - 2 lbs. 3 oz. Or 992 grams (manufacturer);
it is reported to hold 3900-4500 cubic inches or 64 to 74 Liters.
It has a recommended maximum comfortable carry weight of 30 lbs
(13.6 k) and does not have a rigid frame.
Color: Sea. Size: Large
Web Address: http://www.golite.com/
Tester: Larry Duke- Male, 165 lbs (75Kilo's), 5'6" (1.68m.) tall.
I have moderate experience hiking in wilderness areas of Texas,
Idaho, Rwanda-Africa, Nigeria-Africa, California, and Colorado. My
experience includes hiking, camping and backpacking in mountains,
heavily forested areas, and tropical jungle areas where rainfall is
a matter of fact. My Colorado experience includes elevation hiking
with and without snow. The southeast Texas area where I currently
reside is heavily wooded with heavy rainfall at times in the spring,
summer, and fall. We have many insects in the spring and summer,
and a moderate winter without snow. There is so much summer
humidity you can open your mouth and taste it, almost!
I usually get out at least two times a month in the spring and
summer and once or twice every month or two in the winter. My
activities include hiking, camping, and backpacking, with an attempt
at canoeing in the near future, maybe.
Location: Southeast Texas, Colorado.
Conditions: Southeast Texas- rain, mild wind, cool temperatures (40-
70 deg. F or 4.5-21 deg. C); Colorado- mostly clear with some
clouding and snow. The temperatures were 28 to 50 deg. F. or -2.2
to 10 deg. C.
Report: Field Report- 12/31/02
Experience with the pack:
The pack came with an inside pocket for a Platypus water bladder, 3
external mesh pockets, daisy-chain and tool loops, hip belt,
shoulder straps, sternum straps, and compression straps.
One thing I liked was the top pocket, which can be detached and is
made from SilLite (which will reportedly float). The pack body is
made from Dyneema grid stop and upon first examination seems
reasonably tough. It has an anatomically contoured foam back panel
with no ridged supports from metal or plastic.
When trying it on for the first time it was very comfortable. All
zippers seemed to work without fouling. I tried them several times
and they didn't snag on the material. The hip belt is designed for
lightweight use apparently, with less padding than other packs.
There didn't seem to be a problem with comfort when wearing it. The
shoulder strap also is for lightweight use but is padded more than
the hip belt and seemed not to be a problem with comfort when trying
During the reporting period of the field test I used the pack to
hike the Turkey Hill Creek Trail near my hometown in southeast
Texas. It is very brushy with dense forests and I did manage to
hike in the rain. Good for the test but not welcome when out trying
to have a good time. When it started raining I purposely left off
my pack cover to get a feel for how well the pack performed during
rain. It was ok for a time but as the rain increased water began to
get into the pack so I put the cover on and that helped. No
surprises here; my experience has shown that a long and hard rain is
going to get you wet. I really need to use a poncho. I managed
about eleven miles on this particular weekend. While there was some
snagging on the brush, there wasn't any damage. The pack is well
suited for weekend trips in my opinion and possibly longer for those
who are into lightweight packing. I liked the way it hugged my
torso. Maybe I'm not adjusting my internal frame pack right. As I
hiked I noticed that it was very comfortable while wearing it, even
in the underbrush and trees when you have to dodge obstacles. The
lightweight design of the shoulder and hip belts didn't cause any
discomfort either. Mainly, I think, because I stayed within the
weight recommendations of the manufacturer. Although designed for a
water bladder I didn't use one on this trip. The pack is as easy as
any other to pack and unpack the items being carried so I won't
spend a lot of time there. I liked the lightweight design of the
pack. My other pack, a Kelty, begins at six pounds so is more
suited for long trips, although I use it for all at this point.
On my next adventure, I took it with me to Colorado for a short
three-day hike in the Sangre de Christo mountain range of the
Rockies. The actual location was Westcliffe, Colorado. It was cold
(28 deg. F or 2.2 deg. C) with a little snow at 10,500 feet or 3200
This is where I really liked the pack. The elevation changes
rapidly in this area of the mountains on the hiking trails so I
really appreciated the pack's comfort while hiking the ups and downs
of the terrain. After arriving at a small-unnamed lake, I thought I
would test the top pocket for its floating ability. I put some
items in it that didn't matter if they got wet tied a string to it
and tossed it into the lake. The string was for retrieving it
without getting into the lake. Water here is very cold as it is
mostly snowmelt. I left it for five minutes before retrieving it.
I think that is far longer than it would have taken to retrieve it.
It floats but takes on water. I think it would float much longer if
not forever but would allow things to get wet. I knew it wasn't
designed as a wet sack but wanted to test it anyway. I'm happy.
Final impression on the Pack:
Overall, I like the pack. It is very comfortable, yet giving you
the ability to carry a maximum of thirty pounds (13.6 k). This
vastly extends the usefulness of the pack. That much weight will
allow several days of backpacking, depending upon your needs. The
zippers functioned without mishap and there are plenty of pockets
for someone like me who loves pockets.
I keep being amazed at the things I learn both on this gear testing
website and the products I am allowed to report on. I have always
had my own ideas on backpacking but have learned through this
reporting to keep an open mind to new and better ideas. Although I
have never been a lightweight backpacker or hiker, this pack has
shown me that going lightweight doesn't mean you have to do without.
Thanks for the opportunity to have been part of this gear review. I
hope my review has been objective and informative.
LARRY DUKE traveler0101@...