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INITIAL REPORT for OR Stuff Sack - Roger Caffin

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  • rcaffin
    Over to you guys. Html version in Test/test. Pity about the sewing. ... Initial Report - OR HydroLite Stuff Sack Roger Caffin Product Information
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 30, 2003
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      Over to you guys.
      Html version in Test/test.
      Pity about the sewing.
      --------
      Initial Report - OR HydroLite Stuff Sack
      Roger Caffin

      Product Information
      <table>
      Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
      Manufacturer URL: <a
      href="http://www.orgear.com/">www.orgear.com/</a>
      Year of manufacture: assumed 2003
      Country of manufacture: USA, using imported material
      Size: #4
      Colour: Red outside, white inside
      Listed weight (dry): not given
      Actual weight (dry): 46 g (1.6 oz)
      Listed Dimensions: 9" x 17" (230 mm x 430 mm)
      Actual Dimensions: 9"dia x 19.5" (230 x 495 mm)
      MSRP: US$15
      Review Date: 6-Jan-2004
      </table>

      Product Claims

      These are basic round-bottomed stuff sacks for gear, made from
      HydroLite fabric, and closed with a draw cord and toggle at the top.
      The swing tag which came with the sack claims the following features
      for the HydroLite fabric and the sacks. These claims are pretty much
      the same as found on the web site.

      Superior durability
      Superior or truly waterproof
      Ultralight
      Laboratory tests of
      seam strength
      waterproofness
      DWR
      tear strength
      abrasion
      Generous dust flap
      A drawcord which cinches down very smoothly
      A tenacious cordlock
      A webbing handle at the bottom end


      Initial Impressions
      The Stuff Sack arrived just as we were about to leave on a week-long
      trip. Our packs were already packed and the initial impressions about
      the sack were a little mixed, so testing the Sack in the field was
      deferred until after this trip. However, the following impressions
      were recorded.
      Certainly, the fabric 'feels' very nice. It is a light nylon with a
      fine ripstop pattern and a thick opaque white urethane coating on the
      inside. One could confidently expect the fabric to be strong and
      waterproof.
      The 9" (230 mm) dimension is as quoted, but the 19.5" (495 mm) length
      is significantly longer than indicated on the swing tag (which quotes
      dimensions for all 5 sizes). Incidentally, while the smaller
      measurement is a diameter, the manufacturer does not explain this: it
      could have been the width of the bag when laid out flat. The length
      was measured from the lower hem to the top of the bag; there was no
      way I could get the quoted 17" (430 mm). However, it seems churlish
      to complain that the bag is slightly longer.
      Actual testing of the rest of the claims made above will be made in
      the Field Report. I suspect some of the claims will have to be
      severely discounted for reasons given below.
      The packaging was minimal, which is good.


      Initial Concerns
      I am sure I have seen this (stated to be) imported fabric and this
      coating elsewhere, so I doubt it is unique to OR. The urethane
      coating is visibly quite thick: enough to resist a high water
      pressure. However, I doubt the coating is much different ('superior')
      to other coatings of a similar weight which I have seen, but I have
      not tested this. Equally, I expect the DWR, fabric tear strength and
      abrasion resistance will be fairly standard relative to other fabrics
      I have tested recently. (I design and make ultra-lightweight tents
      and packs myself, and have some familiarity with the fabrics in the
      market.)
      Three main concerns were noted right at the start when the bag was
      first inspected. They all involve the stitching on the seam down the
      side and around the circular base.
      The fabric may be strong, but the stitching has been done with an
      overlocker set to about 9 stitches/inch (9 stitches per 25 mm). For
      such a light fabric this is a very long stitch length. When the seam
      is placed under tension the stitches become very visible, and I would
      worry about several possible failure mechanisms.
      * There may not be enough thread to hold the seam together
      * The long stitch length means there is high tension on the stitch
      holes, which opens them up
      * Under tension a lot of thread becomes visible and open to abrasion
      In short, the stitching should have been done with at least 15
      stitches per inch (or 15 stitches per 25 mm) to justify the claim of
      durability.
      The hems on the sack are very wide, while the overlock stitching has
      been done with single strand thread and a very wide sideways
      movement. This is not a strong hem; in fact I would describe it as
      almost temporary. It looks as though the hem design was focused
      entirely on sewing speed.
      Closely allied to the stitch length problem is the vexed question of
      the 'waterproof' claim. The swing tag with the Sack does
      claim "Superior waterproofness", but does not explain that it is only
      the material which is waterproof. The coarse stitch length and high
      tension at the stitch holes means the Sack might be expected to leak
      badly at the seams; the absence of any obvious seam-proofing almost
      guarantees this. It seems a great pity to use such a fine waterproof
      material only to have leaky seams. It seems foolish to
      claim "Superior waterproofness" when it is so obvious that the seams
      may leak badly. This will of course have to be tested to confirm this
      suspicion.

      On the other hand, the 'dust flap' is generous. It is a well-secured
      circle of material, larger than the bag diameter, sewn just inside
      the drawcord tube. It is quite sufficient to allow the bag to be over-
      filled such that the drawcord at the top cannot be drawn shut. In
      this case the flap can be tucked in to create a dust-proof top
      surface, much like the bottom surface.
      The drawcord tube at the top of the sack is stitched straight through
      the fabric and does not appear to be seam-sealed. Combined with the
      simple design of the dust flap the top of the bag should keep out
      dust well, but not water. This is not a criticism, just a comment, as
      the bag is not meant to be used for full immersion.
      The drawcord at the top comes out through a well-reinforced button
      hole. The button hole looks very strong. However, the drawcord itself
      is extremely heavy: it looks very similar to the cord used on the OR
      gaiters also under trial at the same time. Much lighter cord would
      have been sufficient. There is also a cordlock on the drawcord, and
      this could have easily been replaced by a slip-knot if 'light weight'
      was a focus.
      There is a loop of light webbing across the bottom of the bag, bar-
      tacked (heavy zigzag stitching) to a single layer of fabric at each
      end. This is a nice idea, but the bar-tacking looks much stronger
      than the fabric through which it is sewn. I fear that lifting a sack
      full of gear by this handle could rip the fabric at the attachment
      points.
      There is an OR product tag sewn into the side seam halfway down. It
      is essentially a loop of tape. Perhaps it could be used for
      something, but none of my other stuff sacks have such a loop and I
      have never needed anything like that. I guess marketing had its way.


      Initial Summary
      It is not normal to include a summary in the Initial Report, but in
      this case one seems relevant. The Stuff Sack seems to have a good
      initial concept which is worthy of the OR company, but the execution
      seems to have been rather poor in comparison. It is almost as though
      the fabric and shape were created by an experienced walker, the fine
      details of construction were left to someone relatively ignorant of
      the harsh realities of the outdoors world, and the
      labelling/marketing was handled by a bunch of hype-driven spin-
      doctors. As a result, the product does not seem to meet live up to
      the advertising hype and the price might be judged a little high.


      Planned Testing
      The first test will have to be for waterproofness. If the sack does
      prove to be leaky down the seams there will be no point in even
      trying to use the sack in situations which demand reliability under
      wet conditions. If the seams do leak the bag will only be tested as a
      general purpose stuff sack, in comparison with many other stuff sacks
      which I already have. It will have to be lined with a plastic bag for
      safety, which puts it on a par with $5 and home-made stuff sacks.
      The strength of the seams will be tested by 'stuffing' the sack with
      gear on a few trips. The strength of the handle at the bottom of the
      bag will probably be tested at the same almost by mistake, when the
      full bag is grabbed.
      Doubtless the quality of the drawcord and cordlock will be tested
      during use, but these do not seem as important as the above items.


      Reviewer Details
      <table>
      Reviewer: Roger Caffin
      Age: 57
      Gender: M
      Email address: r dot caffin at acm dot org
      City, State, Country: Sydney, NSW, Australia
      </table>

      Backpacking Background
      I started bushwalking (the Australian term) when I was about 14 yrs
      old, took up rock climbing and remote exploration walking at
      University with the girl who became my wife, and later on we took up
      ski touring and canyoning. These days my wife and I do all our trips
      together, very often by ourselves. Our preferred walking trips in
      Australia are long ones: up to about a week in the general Blue Mts
      (east coast of Australia) and Snowy Mts (alpine region), and up to
      two months long in Europe and the UK. Ski touring trips would also
      typically last up to a week. We favour fairly hard trips of some
      length and prefer to travel fast and light. Many of our trips are
      explorations in wild country which sees few other walkers. In between
      these long trips we do some day walks, often exploring the start of
      longer trips. On average, we would spend at least two days per week
      walking or ski touring. Over the last year or two we have become
      converted to the concept of ultra-lightweight walking, and have been
      cutting our combined pack weight down from 36 kg (80 lb) total to
      about 25 kg (55 lb) for week-long trips. We have also been designing
      and making our own ultralightweight gear for our own use.
    • colonelcorn76
      Hi Roger, Here s my edit. As usual, EDITs are required, Edits are suggested, and Comments are nits I m picking. Once you ve made the appropriate changes upload
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 31, 2003
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        Hi Roger,
        Here's my edit. As usual, EDITs are required, Edits are suggested,
        and Comments are nits I'm picking. Once you've made the appropriate
        changes upload it to http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Stuff%
        20Sacks/ (there isn't a separate folder underneath the Stuff Sack
        header for normal stuff sacks vs compression sacks, etc.).

        All spelling edits are from 'The American Heritage Dictionary of the
        English Language, Fourth Edition'.

        Jim

        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rcaffin" <r.caffin@t...>
        wrote:
        > Actual Dimensions: 9"dia x 19.5" (230 x 495 mm)

        ####EDIT: space before "dia" which suggests that 19.5" be followed
        by "long"

        > MSRP: US$15

        ####EDIT: space between US and $15

        > Review Date: 6-Jan-2004

        ####Comment: Change this if you upload before Tues just to be
        consistent with the internal date.

        > </table>
        >
        > Product Claims
        >
        > The swing tag which came with the sack claims the following
        features

        ####Comment: Would that be a "hang tag" in our English? ;)

        >
        >
        > Initial Impressions

        > inside. One could confidently expect the fabric to be strong and
        > waterproof.

        ####EDIT: "One could" treads the boards of projection. Should be
        first person instead--e.g. "I expect the fabric..."

        >
        > Initial Concerns

        > In short, the stitching should have been done with at least 15
        > stitches per inch (or 15 stitches per 25 mm) to justify the claim
        of
        > durability.

        ####Edit: I was with you on this until the "should have" statement.
        Until you know that it's not durable, you're guessing; albeit with
        an educated potentially expert viewpoint. It may well be that this
        stitching is sufficient for the purpose at hand...or may not. In
        either case, only the FR/LTR will tell. A simple change of "the
        stitching should have" to "I would have expected the stitching to
        have" would eliminate the editorial flavor.

        >
        > The drawcord at the top comes out through a well-reinforced button
        > hole. The button hole looks very strong. However, the drawcord
        itself

        ####EDIT: "buttonhole" is a single word


        > this could have easily been replaced by a slip-knot if 'light
        weight'

        ####EDIT: "slipknot"

        >
        > Initial Summary
        > the harsh realities of the outdoors world, and the
        > labelling/marketing was handled by a bunch of hype-driven spin-
        > doctors. As a result, the product does not seem to meet live up to

        ####EDIT: "seem to me to live up" or "seem to live up to"

        >
        > Planned Testing
        > safety, which puts it on a par with $5 and home-made stuff sacks.

        ####EDIT: "homemade"

        > The strength of the seams will be tested by 'stuffing' the sack
        with
        > gear on a few trips. The strength of the handle at the bottom of
        the
        > bag will probably be tested at the same almost by mistake, when
        the

        ####EDIT: "same time almost"

        > full bag is grabbed.
        > Doubtless the quality of the drawcord and cordlock will be tested
        > during use, but these do not seem as important as the above items.
        >
        >
      • rcaffin
        Hi Jim ... Very suspect compared with the Oxford English Dictionary ;-) Most edits and EDITS done. For your efforts here much thanks. ####Comment: Would that
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 3, 2004
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          Hi Jim

          > All spelling edits are from 'The American Heritage Dictionary
          > of the English Language, Fourth Edition'.
          Very suspect compared with the Oxford English Dictionary ;-)

          Most edits and EDITS done. For your efforts here much thanks.

          ####Comment: Would that be a "hang tag" in our English? ;)
          Yes, but I added a note to this effect to clarify.

          > > inside. One could confidently expect the fabric to be strong and
          > > waterproof.
          > ####EDIT: "One could" treads the boards of projection. Should be
          > first person instead--e.g. "I expect the fabric..."
          This has been discussed before by the powers-that-be, and the
          following distinction has been drawn.
          "You should do this" IS 2nd person imperative, and IS projection.
          "One might think X" is a 3rd person version of "I might think" and
          has been deemed acceptible. Barring further instructions, I will
          leave this one as is.

          > A simple change of "the stitching should have" to "I would have
          > expected the stitching to have" would eliminate the editorial
          > flavor.
          Point taken.
          I eventually decided to admit to having done a basic test, which the
          bag failed dismally. You may remember Shane's list of things one
          could do with a simple towel? Well, I have found a new use for a
          stuff sack: field shower. I wrote that up in the 1st person.
          I know one should not put test results in the IR, but in this case
          the problem is so blatant that I would not even 'test' the bag in the
          field for waterproofness.
          I will put the IR in the correct folder, but if there is a problem I
          can withdraw it.

          Frankly, I think OR has a problem with this bag, on a par with a
          certain watch (I dare not mention other items of recent note!).

          Cheers
          Roger Caffin
        • Andrew Priest
          ... AP: I would accept one could as being personal. It can be read both ways, but is often used in English as being singular, i.e., applying to the speaker.
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 3, 2004
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            At 04:52 PM 03/01/2004, you wrote:
            >Hi Jim
            > > > inside. One could confidently expect the fabric to be strong and
            > > > waterproof.
            > > ####EDIT: "One could" treads the boards of projection. Should be
            > > first person instead--e.g. "I expect the fabric..."
            >This has been discussed before by the powers-that-be, and the
            >following distinction has been drawn.
            >"You should do this" IS 2nd person imperative, and IS projection.
            >"One might think X" is a 3rd person version of "I might think" and
            >has been deemed acceptible. Barring further instructions, I will
            >leave this one as is.

            AP:> I would accept "one could" as being personal. It can be read both
            ways, but is often used in English as being singular, i.e., applying to the
            speaker.

            >I eventually decided to admit to having done a basic test, which the
            >bag failed dismally. You may remember Shane's list of things one
            >could do with a simple towel? Well, I have found a new use for a
            >stuff sack: field shower. I wrote that up in the 1st person.
            >I know one should not put test results in the IR, but in this case
            >the problem is so blatant that I would not even 'test' the bag in the
            >field for waterproofness.
            >I will put the IR in the correct folder, but if there is a problem I
            >can withdraw it.

            AP:> Some basic prelim testing is generally ok in the IR. What you have
            done should be ok in the IR.

            Andrew

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


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