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REPOST: Owner Review Ceres 50 Backpack

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  • m_k_slater
    Hi Steve, Thanks for the prompt response and useful edits. Below is the edited Owner Review. If you have thoughts about where you d like to see more detail,
    Message 1 of 2 , May 3, 2005
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      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the prompt response and useful edits. Below is the edited
      Owner Review. If you have thoughts about where you'd like to see
      more detail, let me know. I'll try and respond.

      Michael

      Owner Review: Osprey Ceres 50 Backpack
      April 29, 2005

      Biographical Information

      Name: Michael Slater
      Age: 35
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
      Weight 160 (73 kg)
      Location: Salem, Oregon
      E-Mail: mslater@...
      Backpacking Background: I've been hiking and climbing regularly in
      the Cascade Range for the past two years. I primarily use my
      equipment for one or two-day technical climbs, often requiring an
      approach hike and overnight base camp. I try to use quality gear
      that balances light weight and durability with affordability.


      Product Information

      Company: Osprey Packs, Inc.
      Product Name: Osprey Ceres 50
      URL: http://www.ospreypacks.com/index.html
      Reported Weight: 4 pounds 1 ounce (1.84 Kg)
      Received Weight:
      Model Year: 2004
      Volume: 3000 inches (50L)
      Size: Medium
      Available Colors: Orange and Black
      Price: $179.00


      Selection and Delivery

      I was looking for a pack for one- or two-day mountaineering trips.
      My criteria were:
      § The durability to withstand a rocky environment
      § The ability to tightly compress the load in order to prevent
      shifting while scrambling and climbing
      § Comfort carrying heavy gear
      § External attachment points
      § Volume sufficient for short, but gear-intensive trips
      § As light as possible given the other factors
      I initially selected a competitor's lightweight packk because it was
      the right volume and weight, but I returned it after just a few
      trips when the bottom seams and fabric began to tear quickly in an
      alpine environment (thank you, REI). After reading a short review of
      the Osprey 50 in Outside Buyer's Guide 2004, I decided to give it a
      try. I purchased my Ceres 50 from Backcountry Gear in Eugene, OR,
      where I had an opportunity to make sure I selected the correct size
      and that the pack measured up to the impression I got from the
      manufacturer's website. After loading up a size medium with a bunch
      of heavy gear and marching around the cramped isles for a few
      minutes, I took a deep breath to make the investment.


      Product Description

      The Ceres 50 is an internal frame pack with a 3,000 cubic inch
      volume (50 L) that weighs in at 4 pounds. Its bright orange color
      has made it easy find on several occasions when I've dropped it
      before that final summit bid. The pack has:
      § A long, narrow, undivided, top-loading main compartment
      § A floating lid with a roomy zippered compartment and a
      useful fastener for a key chain
      § Two side wand pockets with straps to help secure the
      pockets' contents
      § A central tool tube with buckle
      § Two ice-axe loops
      § A deep shovel pouch
      § Removable Velcro loops to secure skis or tools
      § 2 gear loops on the hip belt
      § Bottom sleeping pad loops
      § A whistle built in to the chest strap buckle
      § A three-point haul loop
      § The ability to attach a line of small Osprey bags, such as a
      day pack or crampon bag
      § A removable frame sheet and metal stay

      A major selling point with the Ceres 50 is that it is designed to
      compress well. It has two thin fabric wings, one on either side of
      the shovel pouch, with compression straps. The straps on the right-
      hand side mate with either the buckles on the left fabric wing if
      the pack is very full or can be stretched to the far left side of
      the pack when the pack is less full. The straps can then be cinched
      tight. Outside refers to this as Osprey's "tortilla style"
      compression system. Inside the pack, there is a strap at the top
      that connects the front of the pack to the internal frame and pulls
      the pack closer into my back.


      Initial Impressions

      When I purchased the Ceres 50, I had a few initial impressions that
      reassured me about my choice. My first that struck me was that the
      fabric was heavy and seemed quite durable, especially on the bottom,
      which was a contrast to the previous lightweight pack I had
      purchased. The pack had a wealth of attachment points. In my living
      room practice session, I was able to attach ice axes, snow pickets,
      water bottles, and a climbing helmet. The shovel pocket was a great
      place to stuff a warm jacket and extra gloves where they were easy
      to get to. The lid compartment fit snacks, headlamp, first aid kit,
      and map and compass. And the pack is much lighter than it looks like
      it should weigh. Finally, the hip belt has a very nice tightening
      mechanism that Osprey calls an "Ergo-pull" hip belt. The hip belt
      webbing runs from the pack, through the buckle, and then back
      towards the pack. This design allows me to pull back on the straps
      simultaneously without my hands crossing and creates additional
      leverage to cinch the belt tightly.


      Field Results

      In the nine months I've owned the Ceres 50, I've used it on several
      daylong climbs in Oregon and Washington, a couple weekend trips to
      Smith Rock, several fully loaded training hikes, and an overnight
      trip loaded down with gear and too much camping equipment. The
      weather has ranged from sunny and clear to rain and snow. I've also
      glissaded and rappelled wearing the pack and about 20 to 25 pounds
      (9-11 kg) of gear.

      Things I like about the pack:

      § Just enough organization. The pack has a lid pocket, a
      generous shovel pocket and two wand pockets in addition to the main
      compartment.
      § The pack proved to be quite durable. I've glissaded in it,
      bushwhacked in it and dropped it onto rocks, but the fabric shows
      very little wear. There are no indications that seams are stressed
      or the fabric is fraying.
      § The pack's design does a good job of preventing the contents
      from shifting, once all the straps are fastened and tightened. This
      is very helpful when boulder-hopping or traversing a narrow
      ridgeline.
      § The weight is carried on the hips. The pack's frame does a
      good job of transferring the weight of loads under about 30 pounds
      onto the hips.
      § The straps that tighten the hip belt are cleverly designed
      and work quite well.
      § The pack gives good clearance to my head and my arms. I can
      lean forward and still look up, even with a helmet on, and there's
      no interference my arms when I reach up for a hold.
      § The frame sheet and aluminum stay (as well as the top lid)
      can be removed to save weight, still leaving a thin, horseshoe-
      shaped, aluminum tube in place to transfer weight.

      Things I don't like about the pack.

      § The downside of stability is a lot of straps—a total of
      seven, which must be fastened in the correct order.
      § The straps at the bottom, which I take to be sleeping pad
      straps, are far too small to use for a sleeping pad or two-person
      tent. This can be quite frustrating when trying to fit in both
      climbing gear and camping gear.
      § While the pack does a good job of stabilizing its contents,
      I haven't yet figured out how to best customized the fit to
      eliminate completely the space between the pack and my lower back.
      This means that there's a bit of side-to-side pack movement when I
      move abruptly. I'm not yet sure whether it's the pack or me.


      Summary

      The Osprey Ceres 50 is a well-designed and well-constructed climbing
      pack that represents a good value for a high-end pack. It's
      surprisingly lightweight for its bomber construction. The pack is
      streamlined, but still offers enough organization to ensure that
      mountaineering gear (pickets, wands, probes, shovels and multiple
      changes of gloves) is accessible. There is a lot of straps that I
      find annoying and time-consuming, even though I recognize they're
      useful for stabilizing the load. Osprey could significantly improve
      the pack by replacing the existing bottom straps with longer quick-
      release straps for a sleeping pad or tent, which they offer on other
      models. While I would purchase this again, I would spend more time
      in the store selecting the size and adjusting the frame length to
      ensure a tight fit along my back.
    • Nazdarovye
      Michael - Thanks for the update - the extra description of the hip belt was helpful, and the review is just about ready for prime time . I saw a few things
      Message 2 of 2 , May 5, 2005
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        Michael -

        Thanks for the update - the extra description of the hip belt was
        helpful, and the review is just about ready for "prime time". I saw a
        few things that still need fixing, noted below - as long as you make
        those changes, I'm approving the review for upload.

        I recommend starting by posting your review to the Test area of the
        site - you'll see that when you log in to backpackgeartest.org at the
        very end of the list of categories for reviews, or you can click this
        link:

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test

        If you have been using Microsoft Word to create your report, you may
        notice some anomalies in the HTML (a text editor, or a dedicated HTML
        editor, are generally a better bet). If you have trouble with or
        questions about posting, I can refer you to the mentor program (ask for
        a mentor on the main group), as well as encourage you to ask questions
        at our companion Yahoo! support group at:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/

        Once everything is ready to go, you will find the page where you can
        upload your final HTML report on BGT at:

        Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Ceres
        50

        Log in to BGT, then navigate that that folder. Click "Upload Report,"
        be sure to select the "Owner Review" button, and follow the
        instructions to upload your HTML file.

        Thanks for the OR!

        Regards,
        Steve
        BGT Editor

        [EDITS FOLLOW:]

        ...

        I initially selected a competitor's lightweight packk because it was
        the right volume and weight, but I returned it after just a few
        trips when the bottom seams and fabric began to tear quickly in an
        alpine environment (thank you, REI).
        ***EDIT: "pack"

        ...

        After loading up a size medium with a bunch
        of heavy gear and marching around the cramped isles for a few
        minutes, I took a deep breath to make the investment.
        ***EDIT: "aisles"

        ...

        § While the pack does a good job of stabilizing its contents,
        I haven't yet figured out how to best customized the fit to
        eliminate completely the space between the pack and my lower back.
        ***EDIT: "customize"

        ...

        There is a lot of straps that I
        find annoying and time-consuming, even though I recognize they're
        useful for stabilizing the load.
        ***EDIT: "There are" (and the rest as is) or "There are a lot of
        straps, which..."

        [END OF EDITS]
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