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FW: HSSC Stream Initial Report -- Jennifer

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  • Mark Stiebel
    ... From: Jennifer Joy [mailto:jjoy@tri.sbc.com] Sent: Tuesday, 24 June 2003 11:38 PM To: mark@froop.net Subject: HSSC Stream Initial Report -- Jennifer Mark,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 25, 2003
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jennifer Joy [mailto:jjoy@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, 24 June 2003 11:38 PM
      To: mark@...
      Subject: HSSC Stream Initial Report -- Jennifer



      Mark, I still can't get yahoo to send me a verification email (hmm) so
      I cannot email to the list.

      Please, can you submit this to the list.

      This is my first report, so I apologize in advance if I am not on
      target.

      Thanks,
      Jennifer


      Reviewer Information:

      Name: Jennifer Joy
      Age: 34
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5'4" (1.63 m)
      Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
      Email address: jjoy AT io DOT com
      Location: Austin, Texas
      Date: June 22, 2003


      Backpacking Background:

      I have been camping and hiking since I was a toddler, traveling with my
      parents across the Western United States. Much of my recent time in
      the outdoors has been spent in Texas and in the mountains of New
      Mexico, with some time spent in New England. I often camp and hike
      from a sea kayak as my vehicle. I used to be not very weight
      conscious, but I am actively working to move towards lightweight
      backpacking and plan to replace much of my gear in an effort to help an
      extreme tendency for tendonitis. My backpacking trips tend to be over
      a weekend or day hikes within a multi-day kayaking trip. Multi-week
      hiking is a long-term goal. I could be considered a beginner
      backpacker but an experienced camper.


      Product information:

      Manufacturer: High Sierra Sports Company
      Year of manufacture: 2003
      Website: www.highsierrasport.com
      Listed weight: not listed
      Weight as tested: 3 lbs (1.36 kg)
      Material: 600-denier Duralite, and Duralite ripstop fabric
      Listed measurements: 12" x 5" x 16" (30 cm x 13 cm x 41 cm)


      Product Description:

      As delivered:
      On my porch was a plain brown UPS box that contained the pack ready for
      retail display. It had a small placard on the front that described the
      features of the pack along with informational tags that dangled from
      its hang loop describing the pack, care of the pack, the company and
      the warranty. Also included in the box was a nice letter from a public
      relations representative as well as a catalog that described the other
      products in the hydration pack line. Interestingly, the pack displayed
      on the placard, the catalog and the website has a slightly different
      design to the helmet retention device. The bite valve also appears to
      be different from the one I received. Also, while the placard points
      out many features of the pack in detail it does not point out the
      storage compartment for the helmet holder. The warranty is for the
      life of the product to the original owner against failure of material
      or workmanship.

      Pack details:
      Catching my eye right out of the box was the stylish looks of the pack.
      My model, known as the Stream, features delightfully colored front
      panels in a water inspired shade of blue known as "dive" and the rest
      of the pack is black with grey reflective piping accents. The pack
      comes in other colors which can be seen on the website. There is also
      a small orange ice axe loop with matching orange stripes on the
      shoulder straps. The orange stripes are close-fitting loops the width
      of the strap and have a small reflective stripe. Two mesh pockets are
      on either side of the pack and are about half the height of the bag.

      The feature of the pack that appeals to me most is the VAPEL mesh
      suspended mesh back. Given the hot conditions I face most of the year
      in Texas, a breathable back is paramount. The mesh fabric is the
      contact point with the back. It is pulled taught on a light metal
      frame so the body of the back floats 2 - 3 inches (5 - 8 cm) from the
      wearer, narrowing to a point at the head and foot of the pack.

      Once the placard has been removed, the triangular hammock-like holder
      for bulky items and front pocket of the pack are exposed. The
      hammock-like holder is meant to carry a helmet according to the product
      literature. It fit my bike helmet perfectly and was easy to attach.
      However, the helmet needs to be removed to get to the outer pocket. It
      is nearly impossible to open the pocket while the hammock section is
      attached, but empty. I opened the hammock with the two quick-release
      fasteners that attach at the top. The front pocket has a bib shaped
      covering, that zips upwards with two pulls, opening like a large frog's
      mouth at the front. This allows access into the interior compartment
      which features a large pocket with mesh drainage, another smaller
      zippered section that has four segmented holders with similarly
      matching segmented elastic band above it. If the item is small and
      easy to grab, I found only one side of the hammock helmet holder needs
      to be opened and one zipper can be slid back to get inside. The
      zippers tend to stick a little where the inside pocket has a horizontal
      zipper than seems to stick out a tiny bit causing a small bump to get
      around. All the external zipper pulls on the pack feature extended
      black fabric attachments with a contrasting blue piping that looks good
      and is easy to use.

      The body of the pack is a simple bag with a pocket for the water
      bladder and a main compartment for whatever else I want to put in
      there. The bladder is secured by a clip which has a fancy pivoting
      joint allowing easy removable of the bladder while still clipped in.
      The clip would keep the bladder from sagging as it empties.

      Water bladder:
      The bladder is 2 liters (2.1 quarts) with a screw top opening that mates
      to many common water filters, as it is the same size as those found on
      Nalgene bottles. The bite valve has been an incredible annoyance so
      far. It has a strange texture and shape. At first I could not get it
      dispense any water. I tried various configurations before I got it to
      dispense water. It seems to have a sweet spot that I'm not very good
      at hiting yet. It took a number of frustrating minutes for me to
      figure this out. The "twist to open" or simply pull open/close valve
      setting is not simply nice but a necessity! Once I had the bite valve
      figured out, when I went to let it go it started dribbling on my leg.
      I have concerns how well it will stay closed as it opens very easily.
      I keep forgetting to close it although I think the pull to drink and
      push to close action will become a habit rather quickly. The insulated
      water tube is a nice touch.

      Tucked away in a hook and loop fastened pocket at the bottom of the
      pack is a rain cover in a fabric that appears to be meant for
      visibility in the rain as it is an indescribable color of yellow with a
      greenish tinge. The cover has a stretchy elastic all around it and is
      attached to the pack so it isn't easily lost. However, it can be
      removed with a little effort should you not want the extra bulk or your
      friendly giant needs a shower cap. Removal, deployment and stowage of
      the cover was straight-forward.

      I just discovered another pocket that hides at the front behind the
      orange ice axe loop. It also features a hook and loop closure. I'm not
      sure what this pocket is for. Perhaps this explains the ice axe loop.
      It might instead be a pull for this pocket opening. It would be great
      to stick small things in such as a small energy bar. After reading
      the product description again I realize this is the hide-away place for
      the helmet holder. This is a great feature since as previously
      mentioned the helmet holder gets in the way if you're not holding a
      helmet.

      Straps:
      As a shorter person the waist strap hits right above the usual hipbone
      spot. It is lightly padded and features a 2 inch (5 cm) webbed belt
      with a quick-release buckle and two well-attached keepers to hold the
      excess webbing and keep it from flopping about. I liked the waist belt
      and will see how well that works.

      The shoulder straps are made from VAPEL mesh Airflow and are cut wide
      enough to make me wonder if they will chafe. The are not padded but do
      look to be very breathable. They have hook and loop fasteners that
      allow the water tube to be quickly secured. Two previously mentioned
      small orange loops can also be used to secure the tube.

      The sternum strap unfortunately is not well placed to ride above the
      bust, but it is close to being ok. Another inch (2.5 cm) of adjustment
      upwards would have been nice. The strap has a nice built-in shock
      absorbing segment and a quick release buckle. It has about 3 inches
      (7.6 cm) of travel adjustment along the shoulder strap with a securely
      gripping slider.


      Summary of initial likes:

      Mesh suspended back
      Construction and materials

      Summary of concerns:

      Shoulder and sternum strap comfort/fit
      Bite valve


      First use:

      I've already used the pack three times while bike riding and on a short
      hike in 90+ F / 32+ C weather. So far, there have been few problems
      other than I could use a 3 liter (3.2 quart) bladder instead of the
      supplied 2 liter (2.1 quart) size. I have found the bite valve
      extremely problematic while biking. It has to be opened before use,
      and the sweet spot for biting is very hard for me to hit, although I do
      have a small overbite. Additionally, I have to close the bite valve
      to keep it from dribbling at a high rate which is a dicey action while
      try to ride. This is not a problem hiking as I have plenty of hands
      and time to devote to drinking, but I find the general method of use
      dangerous and worth mentioning for bike riders. I will monitor my
      ability to use the bite valve and see if it becomes less bothersome
      with practice. I also could use a key holder in the outer pocket.


      Field test plan:

      For the most part testing will take place in hot weather (90-100 F /
      32-38 C) perhaps cooling into the 60s (16 C) and 70s (21 C) in the fall
      before dropping into the beginning of winter where temperatures would
      drop into the low 40s (5 C). Trips outside the state will move outside
      of the usual weather found in Texas. I have a trip planned to both New
      Mexico and Colorado mountains during the testing period.

      I will give the pack a thorough workout covering both how well it
      carries a load, how easily gear is accessed, and how easily it is
      used. Testing will look at fit and comfort, use and capabilities of
      the hydration bladder, and the capabilities and durability of the pack
      itself. Some points of consideration are detailed below.

      Fit/Comfort:
      -Does it fit a smaller torso
      -Does it adapt to a woman's body
      -The fit and function of the sternum, waist and shoulder straps
      -How much ventilation does the Airflow mesh provide for the back
      -Stability of bag and bladder with rough terrain under various
      loads (no gear, full of gear, and so on)

      Capacity:
      -What are the limits of bulk and weight of gear carried
      -Utility and capacity of the front pocket and side mesh pockets will
      be tested
      -Any tradeoffs between water capacity and gear capacity, how do the
      two interact
      -How well does it carry my gear and is it easy to organize and use

      The hydration component:
      -Leak resistance
      -Strength of bag and material
      -How easy to fill and refill at a variety of water sources
      -How easy to remove the bag and replace it (with and without a load
      of gear)
      -How easy to clean the bag and tube
      -The flow and ease of use of the hands-free valve
      -Ability to stay clean and free from undesirable odors or taste

      The pack component:
      -Durability and construction of the bag will be considered
      -Ease of cleaning muck, mud and other such things from the exterior
      and interior of the bag
      -Investigate the utility and impact of using the hide-away helmet flap
      -Rain cover: how hard to deploy, stow and dry afterwards
      -Reflective piping: does it work, how well
      -Little orange loop: what is it for, is it really for my ice axe?


      A final note:

      Thank you to BackpackGearTest and High Sierra Sport for the opportunity
      to test the Stream pack.
    • Mark Stiebel
      Hi Jennifer, Sorry for the delay in editing your initial report. I have included a few comments for you to consider using in your report before uploading it to
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 1, 2003
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        Hi Jennifer,

        Sorry for the delay in editing your initial report. I have included a
        few comments for you to consider using in your report before uploading
        it to the website.

        -= Mark
        -= mark@...



        Also, while the placard points out many features of the pack in detail
        it does not point out the storage compartment for the helmet holder.

        ### Try "Also, whilst..", and also maybe put a comma after "detail"

        ...in a water inspired shade of blue known as "dive"

        ### It's probably a shade of blue that HSSC call "dive", rather than a
        shade of blue generally known as "dive"

        Two mesh pockets are on either side of the pack and are about half the
        height of the bag.

        ### Maybe try something like "There are two mesh pockets, one on each
        side of the pack"

        It is pulled taught on a light metal

        ### taut

        The zippers tend to stick a little where the inside pocket has a
        horizontal
        zipper than seems to stick out a tiny bit causing a small bump to get
        around.

        ### I think this sentence needs some work. Are you saying that all
        zippers stick a bit, but more noticeably the one on the inside pocket?

        At first I could not get it dispense any water.

        ### Need a "to" before "dispense"

        It seems to have a sweet spot that I'm not very good at hiting yet.

        ### hitting

        Perhaps this explains the ice axe loop. It might instead be a pull for
        this pocket opening.

        ### I think these sentences should be written as one, with the full stop
        changed to be a comma.

        wonder if they will chafe. The are not padded but do

        ### "They are not padded..."

        The sternum strap unfortunately is not well placed to ride above the
        bust, but it is close to being ok. Another inch (2.5 cm) of adjustment
        upwards would have been nice.

        ### One of the other reviewers mentioned that the sternum strap was
        vertically adjustable. Not an edit for this report, but maybe something
        to look for in your future testing..

        I've already used the pack three times while bike riding and on a short
        hike in 90+ F / 32+ C weather.

        ### Wouldn't you use it while bike riding on a short ride, rather than a
        short hike?

        So far, there have been few problems other than I could use a 3 liter
        (3.2 quart) bladder instead of the supplied 2 liter (2.1 quart) size.

        ### I'm not sure whether you mean you _could_ or you could _not_ use a 3
        litre bladder

        I have found the bite valve extremely problematic while biking.

        ### Maybe internationalisation kicking in here, but I would call it
        "cycling"

        -Ability to stay clean and free from undesirable odors or taste

        ### odours
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