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OWNER REVIEW - OSPREY IMPALA

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  • clara soh
    NOTE: I reviewed this item because I have a lot of familiarity with it, and thought it would be a nice piece to do as a test/owner review, but was unsure
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 21, 2003
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      NOTE: I reviewed this item because I have a lot of
      familiarity with it, and thought it would be a nice
      piece to do as a test/owner review, but was unsure
      because it's been discontinued. Please tell me if
      you'd like me to review something else.


      OWNER REVIEW:
      Osprey Impala

      REVIEWER INFORMATION:
      Name: Clara Soh
      Age: 26
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5'5"
      Weight: 120lbs
      Email Address: sohclara@...
      City, State, Country: Brooklyn, NY, USA
      Date 22 December, 2003

      Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking for
      about 5 years. One of my goals is to eventually
      through-hike the AT. Most of my backpacking
      experience has been overseas, I spent about 3 years in
      W. Africa, sporadically hiking and backpacking. The
      most beautiful places I have been were Zimbabwe,
      Ghana, Lesotho, and Nepal. I climbed Kili a few years
      ago, and would like to learn more technical
      mountaineering so I can climb the more peaks. I also
      spent a season in California in the Sierra Nevadas
      doing some backcountry snowboarding. I'm not a very
      big person so I can't carry heavy loads so I usually
      get the lightest weight equipment I can find and would
      rather leave things behind than be burdened by a heavy
      pack. I also enjoy rock climbing and travel in
      general.



      PRODUCT INFORMATON
      Manufacturer: Osprey Packs
      Year of Manufacture: 1998
      URL: http://www.ospreypacks.com
      Weight: 5lb
      Capacity: 4000 cu in


      I have used the Osprey Impala across 3 continents and
      nearly 40 countries. After 4 years the internal
      composite load bearing stay broke through its nylon
      shealth and the pack was unable to carry any sort of
      load. However, Osprey has a lifetime guarantee on
      their packs, and I sent the pack back to the
      manufacturer, and it was satisfactorily repaired.
      This pack has gone from desert conditions in the
      Sahara desert of Western Africa to the top of Mt.
      Kilimanjaro. I never had a rainfly for the pack, so
      during torrential rainy season downpours the contents
      would get a little wet. However, the pack did keep
      its contents very dust free while trekking through the
      desert.

      The actual pack is rather small for extended trips,
      but I probably could not carry anything bigger. I
      probably overloaded the pack several times, and during
      one 6 month backpacking trip I managed to fit in a 3
      season, 2 person tent, a thermarest, a sleeping bag, a
      stove, extra hiking boots, food, books, and enough
      clothing to last half a year. The mouth of the bag
      opens wide enough to pack everyhing in, and the bag
      handles heavy loads well, but also has tons of
      compression straps to avoid shifting if you only fill
      the bag halfway. The biggest downside is that this
      bag has no separate zippered compartment at the bottom
      that I see on many larger packs that can hold shoes or
      a sleeping bag. Thus, every time I wanted to set up
      camp, I had to root through the entire bag. However,
      I don't think this bag was designed for such long
      trips.

      The Impala is designed around the older "Vector"
      system, which allows you to customize your pack with
      modular front attachments. The Impala comes with the
      "Vector Two" attachment, which serves as a compression
      system as well as providing a small accessories
      pocket. The numerous compression straps work very
      well to keep the load stabilized but can be sort of
      confusing when you first use the bag. Additionally,
      the top part comes off to be used as a fanny pack, and
      the front panel can be detached or exchanged with
      another modular "Vector" series panel, but this adds
      to the number of straps and clips that surround the
      bag. It is very customizable, but takes some getting
      used to.

      Summary
      The Osprey Impala is a good bet for shorter trips.
      But, the compression system and design can handle
      extremely large loads, so you can overload this bag
      and use it for longer trips than its design. The
      place where the internal load bearing stay ripped
      through the nylon looked weak to begin with, and I'm
      not surprised that eventually it gave way. However, 4
      years of heavy use is not bad. And with the lifetime
      guarantee, you can't complain. The pack itself is
      probably a little heavier than some competing packs,
      but you can really load it up.

      Things I like:
      1. Really good at handling heavy loads
      2. Good compression, loads don't shift
      3. Good quality/Lifetime warranty
      4. Removable fanny pack/modular Vector system

      Things I don't like:
      1. No separate sleeping bag/kangaroo pocket
      2. Many straps are confusing, can get damanged in
      airline travel
      3. Not carried by many stores, replacement modules
      difficult to find
      4. No hydration system

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    • Andrew Priest
      ... G day Thanks Clara for your Owner s Review. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for a few days. All our editors are volunteers and your report will
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 22, 2003
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        At 03:05 PM 22/12/2003, you wrote:
        >NOTE: I reviewed this item because I have a lot of
        >familiarity with it, and thought it would be a nice
        >piece to do as a test/owner review, but was unsure
        >because it's been discontinued. Please tell me if
        >you'd like me to review something else.
        >
        >
        >OWNER REVIEW:
        >Osprey Impala
        G'day

        Thanks Clara for your Owner's Review. Do not worry if nothing happens with
        it for a few days. All our editors are volunteers and your report will be
        subject to an official edit within seven days. If you have not had a
        response from an Edit Moderator via the list within this timeframe, please
        let me know directly at apriest@....

        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group. These
        edits and comments, while not official, should be considered carefully, and
        if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your review. Incorporating
        member edits and re-posting to the list will usually result in a better
        review, as well as making things easier for the official editor. Please put
        REPOST at the start of your re-post, if you take this route.

        If you are new to the BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The
        editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to get your
        first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely manner. Once these
        first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have submitted your
        Tester Agreement you will be eligible to start applying for Tests.

        If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via the
        list or contact me directly.

        Regards
        Andrew Priest
        Senior Edit Moderator


        --
        http://BackpackGearTest.org : The most comprehensive interactive gear
        reviews and tests on the planet


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Andy Mytys
        ... This is a valid owner review, despite the fact that this pack has been off the market since 2001. Of course we d love to have you post other Owner Reviews
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 22, 2003
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          --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, clara soh <sohclara@y...>
          wrote:
          > NOTE: I reviewed this item because I have a lot of
          > familiarity with it, and thought it would be a nice
          > piece to do as a test/owner review, but was unsure
          > because it's been discontinued. Please tell me if
          > you'd like me to review something else.
          >

          This is a valid owner review, despite the fact that this pack has
          been off the market since 2001. Of course we'd love to have you post
          other Owner Reviews as well. But, this OR does count, once edited,
          approved, and uploaded, towards the two ORs needed before you can
          officially test.

          FWIW, the Impala was one of the first packs I was really pleased
          with. Yeah, it's almost 5 lbs, but it really worked well with that
          detachable top pocket (that can be converted into a fanny pack,
          IIRC), and that rear "Vector 2" pocket.

          It was also really comfortable, IMO.
        • Andrew Priest
          Hi Clara Thanks for your first Owner Review and welcome to BackpackGearTest.org and the scary editing process :-). Please don t be put off by my first pass at
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 31, 2003
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            Hi Clara

            Thanks for your first Owner Review and welcome to BackpackGearTest.org and
            the scary editing process :-). Please don't be put off by my first pass at
            your Owner Review. Getting used to our expectations/process can be
            daunting at first, but I would suggest it is worth working through. We are
            nice here really! :-)

            Clara, you will find below some comments on your Owner Review both in terms
            of content and editing below. I think you have the basis of a good review
            here, but some further work is need to fill it out. I strongly suggest you
            take a look at some of the more recent pack Owner Reviews and Test Reports
            at http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Packs/ for ideas on how to beef
            up your review.

            In reviewing my comments below please do not be put off. I am actually on
            your side and just want you to get this review as good as possible, both
            for yourself and for BGT. Remember the better your reviews, the quicker you
            are likely to get into gear testing.

            Once you have worked through my comments, please repost your Owner Review
            with REPOST in the subject line.

            Thanks
            Andrew Priest
            Senior Edit Moderator



            At 03:05 PM 22/12/2003, you wrote:

            >OWNER REVIEW:
            >Osprey Impala
            >
            >REVIEWER INFORMATION:
            >Name: Clara Soh
            >Age: 26
            >Gender: Female
            >Height: 5'5"
            >Weight: 120lbs

            EDIT:> Please include the metric equivalents for our international
            readers. BGT has a useful converter at
            http://www.backpackgeartest.org/convert.html. To assist you, the relevant
            conversions are 1.65 m and 54 kg. Also there is normally a space between
            the numerals and the abbreviation, e.g., 120lbs should be 120 lb.

            >PRODUCT INFORMATON
            >Weight: 5lb
            >Capacity: 4000 cu in

            EDIT:> Please include the metric equivalents for our international readers.
            Also are these the manufacturer's weights or yours? Please clarify. If not
            your weights can you please include. If your weights and no manufacturer
            weight is available, please indicate same.

            EDIT:> First and foremost can you please paint a picture of the pack for
            the reader. Please tell us about the pack, its design, features, material
            made of etc. This is even more important as the pack is no longer on the
            manufacturer's website.

            >The Impala is designed around the older "Vector"
            >system, which allows you to customize your pack with
            >modular front attachments. The Impala comes with the
            >"Vector Two" attachment, which serves as a compression
            >system as well as providing a small accessories
            >pocket.

            EDIT:> Tell us what the Vector Two is.

            > The numerous compression straps work very
            >well to keep the load stabilized but can be sort of
            >confusing when you first use the bag.

            EDIT:> Some further explanation as to the design would be helpful.

            >Additionally,
            >the top part comes off to be used as a fanny pack, and
            >the front panel can be detached or exchanged with
            >another modular "Vector" series panel, but this adds
            >to the number of straps and clips that surround the
            >bag. It is very customizable, but takes some getting
            >used to.

            EDIT:> Did you find this feature useful? Why/Why not?


            >Summary
            >The Osprey Impala is a good bet for shorter trips.

            EDIT:> Personalise this statement please.

            >But, the compression system and design can handle
            >extremely large loads, so you can overload this bag
            >and use it for longer trips than its design.

            EDIT:> Sorry, projection here. Can we please loose the "you" and change
            this statement to reflect your experience not what the reader may or may
            not experience.

            >The place where the internal load bearing stay ripped
            >through the nylon looked weak to begin with, and I'm
            >not surprised that eventually it gave way. However, 4
            >years of heavy use is not bad. And with the lifetime
            >guarantee, you can't complain. The pack itself is
            >probably a little heavier than some competing packs,
            >but you can really load it up.

            EDIT:> Sorry, projection here. Can we please loose the "you" and change
            this statement to reflect your experience not what the reader may or may
            not experience.

            >Things I like:
            >1. Really good at handling heavy loads

            EDIT:> I would like to see more discussion on this in the review body. For
            example can you give us some indication of what your normal load is and
            what you perceive as being a heavy load.

            >2. Good compression, loads don't shift

            EDIT:> Good point, but again not brought out in your review body. Tell us
            why you like the compression arrangement.


            --
            http://BackpackGearTest.org : The most comprehensive interactive gear
            reviews and tests on the planet


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • sohclara
            Thanks for the comments, they were really helpful. I reorganized my review to have a better description of the pack. I also thought I would upload a picture
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 1, 2004
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              Thanks for the comments, they were really helpful. I reorganized my
              review to have a better description of the pack. I also thought I
              would upload a picture eventually, so that people would get a better
              idea of what the compression system looked like... it's pretty
              different from other packs i've seen, and i tried my best to describe
              it, but i'm new at this! I tried to be a little more descriptive in
              terms of usage, but this pack has gotten a lot of love and i didn't
              want to go into ALL the gory details. It would easily be a 10 page
              reivew!



              OWNER REVIEW:
              Osprey Impala


              REVIEWER INFORMATION:
              Name: Clara Soh
              Age: 26
              Gender: Female
              Height: 5'5" (1.65 m)
              Weight: 120 lbs (54k g)
              Email Address: sohclara(at)yahoo.com
              City, State, Country: Brooklyn, NY, USA
              Date 22 December, 2003

              Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking for about 5 years.
              One of my goals is to eventually through-hike the AT. Most of my
              backpacking experience has been overseas, I spent about 3 years in W.
              Africa, sporadically hiking and backpacking. The most beautiful
              places I have been were Zimbabwe, Ghana, Lesotho, and Nepal. I
              climbed Kili a few years ago, and would like to learn more technical
              mountaineering so I can climb the more peaks. I also spent a season
              in California in the Sierra Nevadas doing some backcountry
              snowboarding.

              I'm not a very big person so I can't carry heavy loads so I usually
              get the lightest weight equipment I can find and would rather leave
              things behind than be burdened by a heavy pack. I also enjoy rock
              climbing and travel in general.



              PRODUCT INFORMATON
              Manufacturer: Osprey Packs
              Year of Manufacture: 1998
              URL: http://www.ospreypacks.com
              Measured Weight: 5 lb (2.27 kg)
              Manufacturer listed weight: no longer available
              Capacity: 4000 cu in (66 L)


              Pack Design
              The Osprey Impala is made of fairly heavy duty cordura and has a
              traditional top opening mouth, with a hinged top section that can be
              taken off and converted to a fanny pack using the removable waist
              belt. The top section/fanny pack has two compression straps that
              cinch down with quick release buckles to a pair of straps attached to
              the bottom of the pack. The front of the pack has a removable front
              panel, which is part of the modular "vector" compression system. The
              Impala comes standard with the "Vector Two" attachment, which adds a
              smaller zippered front pocket to the pack as well as a non-zippered
              elastic mesh outer pocket. The Vector Two attachment provides a
              easily accessible outer storage as well as well as serving as the
              core of the compression system. The front panel can be removed and
              replaced with a smaller "Vector One" panel or larger "Vector Three"
              attachment. Every Vector attachment has 6 compression straps on it,
              3 on each side, which gives the pack a total of 8 compression
              straps.

              Because of the numerous compression points, the pack cinches down
              very well with smaller loads, and completely prevents load shifting.
              However, the numerous straps and buckles can be confusing at first,
              and takes some getting used to. Compared to other packs I've used
              the Impala takes a little longer than average to load up because
              there are so many straps to deal with. However, the multiple
              compression points are unparalleled at preventing load shift. The
              pack also handles odd-shaped loads well; I've hiked along approach
              lines to climbing sites with a 60 m rope, shoes, harness, and a full
              rack of trad gear, and the pack handles the lumpy load beautifully.


              Pack Use
              I have used the Osprey Impala across 3 continents and nearly 40
              countries. This pack has gone from desert conditions in the Sahara
              of Western Africa to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, through the jungles
              of Thailand and Cambodia, and around a part of the Annapurna circuit
              in Nepal. I never had a rainfly for the pack, so during torrential
              rainy season downpours the contents would get a little wet. However,
              the pack did keep its contents very dust free while trekking through
              the desert. The removable top/fanny pack was useful when I could
              leave the main pack behind and wanted to go on short day hikes. In
              South Africa, I left main pack behind and climbed Table Mountain with
              just the fanny pack. It's big enough to hold a liter Nalgene/water
              bottle, some food and a flashlight. The front Vector panel is handy
              for holding things that I use frequently, like books, maps or a water
              bottle.

              The actual pack itself is rather small for extended trips, but I
              probably could not carry anything bigger. I also probably overloaded
              the pack several times. During the longest trip I took (6 months), I
              crammed the following into my pack:

              1 2-person, 3-season tent
              1 groundcloth/tent footprint
              1 2-season sleeping bag
              1 long ultralight thermarest
              1 pair of hiking boots
              1 pair of tevas
              2 pairs of pants
              2 pairs of shorts
              1 bathing suit
              3 shirts
              1 pair of mountaineering gloves
              1 set thermal underwear
              1 sweater
              2 pairs of socks
              1 polar fleece
              1 rain jacket
              1 camp stove
              2 flashlights
              1 leatherman
              4 guide books
              1 novel
              1 sketchbook
              2 1-liter nalgene bottles
              1 small daypack (empty)
              1 medium sized toiletries kit
              1 small first aid/med kit
              1 APS camera
              20 rolls of film
              24 AA batteries
              1 GPS receiver
              1 shortwave radio
              2 yak wool blankets bought in nepal
              1 tibetan woven blanket

              At the airport, the pack weighed in at about 55-60 pounds (25 - 27
              kg). However, I had an exceptional amount of gear, since I was
              hiking through extremes highs and lows in climate. This meant that I
              had to pack enough gear for three seasons. On anonther occaision, I
              fit in my tent, sleeping bag, thermrest, clothing and a carved wooden
              stool that I picked up in Ghana into my pack. The fabric stretched a
              bit to accomodate everything, but it was definately a struggle to fit
              it all in. I don't think the pack was designed for trips longer than
              a few weeks. The few trips I took where I could leave my tent
              behind, everything fit in very easily. Although getting the pack on
              each time was a hassle because I it was so heavy, once on, it was
              extremely comfortable. Most of the weight went to my hips and I
              could maneuver quite well with a load that was about half my body
              weight. In Mali I walked for about 40 Km (25 miles) through the
              desert with a fully loaded pack. By the end of the day, my feet were
              blistered, but my shoulders felt fine.


              Comfort and Fit
              The Impala has a fiberglass internal frame that transfers the weight
              to the cushioned hip belt. The waist belt and shoulder straps are
              made of high density foam, and are extremely comfortable and durable.
              The pack also has a plastic back sheet inside that keep sharp items
              from poking through and an aluminum spine rod that was adjusted to
              fit my spinal curve in the store. The back is also padded with high
              denisty foam, and is comfortable, but does not breathe well.
              Overall, the Impala is one of the most comfortable packs I've used
              and handles both small and large loads well. The shoulder staps can
              be adjusted at two points (top and bottom) and the waist belt can
              also be adjusted at two points (center for waist girth, and at the
              point where it attaches to the pack to bring the pack closer in to
              your body). Once adjusted, the pack really felt like a part of me.

              The internal support rod/frame does a good job of tranferring weight
              to the hip belt, and I have overloaded the pack on numerous
              occaisions. The Impala handles large loads very well, and I never
              felt unbalanced. I was usually not very careful in load distribution
              when packing the bag, but the pack didn't seem to care. I've heard
              advice that it's better to put heavier itmes at the bottom or near
              the back, but I never really did that, and it didn't seem to
              unbalance the bag. However, the place where the frame attaches to
              the hip belt looked vulnerable at first glance, and after 4 years of
              hard use, the frame ripped through its nylon sheath and rendered the
              pack unusable. Osprey has a lifetime guarantee for their packs, and
              I returned the pack and it was satisfactorily repaired. I had to pay
              shipping to send it to their headquarters in Colorado, but they sent
              it back within a week repaired and reinforced.

              The mouth of the bag opens wide enough to pack everyhing in, but the
              biggest downside is that this bag has no separate zippered
              compartment at the bottom that I see on many larger packs that can
              hold shoes or a sleeping bag. Thus, every time I wanted to set up
              camp, I had to root through the entire bag. However, I don't think
              this bag was designed for such long trips. Also, because there is no
              built in hydration system, or side pockets that can hold water
              bottles, I would have to hold my nalgene bottle in my hands or clip
              onto the hip belt with a spare carabiner. Holding my water bottle in
              my hands was impossible when using 2 trekking poles, and clipping it
              to the hip belt was unsatisfactory because it would swing and hit me
              in the leg. I would sometimes put my water bottle in the front
              pocket or top pocket but on top of Kili, this would not insulate the
              water sufficiently, and it froze solid.


              Summary
              I think the Osprey Impala is a good bet for shorter trips (my
              definition of short trip is anything less than a month). In the
              future I might consider buying a larger pack for extended
              backpacking, but this pack is so comfortable that I don't think I'll
              ever be able to find another that can match it. The small volume of
              the pack limits how much it can hold, and for my 6 month trip, I had
              alot of trouble fitting everything I needed into it. Each time I
              packed, I would have to shove my foot into the pack to get all my
              gear in. But, the compression system and design can handle extremely
              large loads, so I managed to overload this bag and use it for longer
              trips than its design. The pack handled everything I managed to
              throw at it. The pack itself is probably a little heavier than some
              competing packs, but it is extremely durable, and can take quite a
              beating and overloading. I bought this smallish sized pack because I
              wanted to limit the amount of stuff I would take with me, but instead
              I just managed to cram more gear into the small space. Because the
              pack is so comfortable, I just kept putting more and more gear into
              it.


              Things I like:
              1. Really good at handling heavy loads
              2. Good compression, loads don't shift
              3. Good quality/Lifetime warranty
              4. Removable fanny pack/modular Vector system

              Things I don't like:
              1. No separate sleeping bag/kangaroo pocket
              2. Many straps are confusing, can get damanged in airline travel
              3. Not carried by many stores, replacement modules difficult to find
              4. No hydration system
            • Andrew Priest
              Hi Clara Well done! This is 100% better and much more inline with the BGT approach. Very impressive. The pack sound quite interesting and a photo will be an
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 1, 2004
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                Hi Clara

                Well done! This is 100% better and much more inline with the BGT
                approach. Very impressive. The pack sound quite interesting and a photo
                will be an advantage in the Review. When you are ready please upload your
                Review to
                ,http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Packs/Internal%20and%20External%20Framed%20Backpacks/Osprey%20Impala/>
                or Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Impala.

                When you upload the HTML copy of your Owner Review please click the radio
                button labelled, Owner Review. The file name is not relevant.

                I strongly recommend that you do a test upload to the test upload folder at
                Reviews > Test or <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test>. This
                allows you to check that all is well with your Owner Review before you
                place it on the main site. One problem area which comes all too often, is
                URL not being hot (clickable). Please verify that all links in your Owner
                Review work ok when uploaded.

                If you require assistance with your upload, please ask in our Yahoo!
                support group, BGTFileUploadHelp @
                <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/>.


                At 06:25 AM 02/01/2004, you wrote:
                >It would easily be a 10 page reivew!


                COMMENT:> You should take a look at Shane's or Andy's reviews and reports
                then! :-)

                Regards
                Andrew Priest
                Senior Edit Moderator

                --
                http://BackpackGearTest.org : The most comprehensive interactive gear
                reviews and tests on the planet


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Graham Blamey
                ... Great review Clara, I look forward to reading further reviews from you. Just one tiny nit to pick ;) Cordura is a product name (reg. to DuPont Textiles)
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 2, 2004
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                  --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "sohclara" <sohclara@y...>
                  wrote:

                  > Pack Design
                  > The Osprey Impala is made of fairly heavy duty cordura and has a

                  Great review Clara, I look forward to reading further reviews from
                  you.
                  Just one tiny nit to pick ;) Cordura is a product name (reg. to
                  DuPont Textiles) and so should be capitalised.
                  Graham
                  BGT Edit Moderator
                • sohclara
                  thanks. Will change to Cordura before uploading.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 2, 2004
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                    thanks. Will change to Cordura before uploading.

                    --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Graham Blamey" <gg@h...>
                    wrote:
                    > --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "sohclara" <sohclara@y...>
                    > wrote:
                    >
                    > > Pack Design
                    > > The Osprey Impala is made of fairly heavy duty cordura and has a
                    >
                    > Great review Clara, I look forward to reading further reviews from
                    > you.
                    > Just one tiny nit to pick ;) Cordura is a product name (reg. to
                    > DuPont Textiles) and so should be capitalised.
                    > Graham
                    > BGT Edit Moderator
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