OWNER REVIEW - Macpac Glissade Backpack
- Macpac Glissade Backpack
Name: Rowdy Webb, male, age 32
Height: a long-limbed 6' 4" (193 cm) & 190-200 lbs (86-91 kg)
Email address: rowdy at hp dot com
City, State, Country: Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Date: May 9, 2005
I've backpacked for most of my years, though recentlyin the last
five years or soit has become a significant part of my life. The
pinnacle has been two month-long trips with my wife Melissa along
the PCT through Oregon and Washington. I/we also enjoy week-long
trips, as well as the occasional weekend jaunt. As for general
style, my summer pack now weighs ~25-30lbs (~11-14kg) w/o food or
water, but still holds a tent, a butane (canister) stove, a camp
chair, a book, and a Frisbee. Some recent changes have been fixing
home-dried dinners, walking with poles, and wearing as light of
footwear as is safe, given the conditions. As for location, most
trips are within the NW mountains; recently, though, we've started
combining plane travel with trampingjust don't tell the airline
about the stove!
I do like gear, but I am most appreciative when it consistently does
its job well with minimal flash and hassle, so that I can simply
enjoy what I go forthe outdoors, the solitude, and the
Purchased new in 1996
Listed Weight, 2005 version: 6.4 lb (2.9 kg) (for the smallest of
the three sizes)
Listed Volume, 2005 version: 4270 cu in (70 l), 4560 cu in (75 l),
and 4880 cu in (80 l)
Measured Weight, 1996 version: 5.5 lb (2.5 kg)
Listed Volume, 1996 version: unknown, about 4300 cu in (70 l)
MSRP: NZ$499, ~US$360
A note on the manufacturer: Macpac, a company based in New Zealand,
is just now offering its products through a few independent
retailers in the US, though they have been very popular in their
home country for decades, and available in many other counties
(particularly Commonwealth nationsmine was bought in Wales). The
weak US dollar will make the introduction difficult, but we may be
seeing more and more Macpac in this country in the coming years.
The Glissade model is a medium- to large-size backpack. It can be
used on- and off-trail, an assessment I make based on its rugged
construction and its slim and body-hugging design. It has a one
large dividable main compartment, plus a removable "butt-pack" lid
which snaps down over the main volume's draw-string closure (as in
many packs). The main volume is also accessible via a beefy zipper
that wraps around the pack 1/3 up from the base. The lid has a main
inner compartment accessible by another large zipper, as well as an
almost-hidden zippered pocket for smaller items. (I think it took
me a year to find this one !) The hip belt and shoulder straps are
modular and very adjustable. The main material used is a very
sturdy and waterproof canvas, though heavy. Compression straps
along the sides offer some flexibility in volume, as well as lash
points for tent poles, wet gear, and the like.
I have worn this pack on 95% of my backpacking in the last nine
years, which accounts for about four months total use, plus several
weeks of non-backpacking travel. (In fact, the most visible wear on
the pack is the result of an extended fight with a conveyor belt!)
It has been through 1300 on-trail miles in the Cascades in Oregon
and Washington, other mountain miles in New Mexico and California
and around the NW, as well as beach hiking in Washington and
Hawai'i. Perhaps two weeks of the walking has been on rainy days, a
number of which included downpours ranging from ten minutes to
several hours in length. Only a handful of days have been in the
snow. The maximum weight I've hiked with is close to 60 lbsa weight
the pack seemed comfortable withthough my average trailhead weight
now is around 35lbs.
My experience with the pack has been very positive. It has become a
trusted and respected backpacking partner. I have had opportunities
in the last few years to downsize to a slightly smaller pack of
significantly less weight, but have always hesitated.
Of primary importance is comfort. I have appreciated how the hip
belt can rotate with respect to the load, allowing the hips to swing
freely while still bearing the load well. Also, the foam material
in the straps is firm but comfortable, and has proven quite
durable. And, in general, the various adjustments have all proven
useful (though now those adjustments start to slipnot sure if it's
the buckles or the straps wearing, or both).
When well packed, and well adjusted, the pack has felt glued to my
hips and back but hasn't restricted my movement. This is
remarkable, and is perhaps common place with today's advanced packs,
but it does a solid job nonetheless of keeping with your center-of-
gravity in unsteady terrain.
My experience has been that while the pack is not water-proof, the
fabric has been waterproof, resulting in some dampness in items only
near zippers and (worn?) seams, but bone-dry everywhere else. I
have neverand this is a source of pride and stubbornnesspacked a
pack cover or created an impromptu one.
The tough materials work well on overgrown trails. On the Na Pali
Coast in Hawai'i, with encroaching brush threatening to cast me down
the steep cliffs, I was unafraid to lean the pack into the stubborn
brush. One thing did manage to carve a small hole in the fabric a
few years backa varmint or a very sharp rock?but it got sewed up
and taped no problem.
Speaking of repairs, the pack has had three over its life. This
speaks to how much I abuse my equipment and how much I have
appreciated this pack. All repairs have been fixing up the one
hole, and replacing stitching which has worked loose due to my
incessant strap wrenching. (While it is difficult/costly to return
the pack to Macpac for repair, local repair folks have enjoyed the
challenge of fixing gear they haven't seen before.) It is clear,
however, that if Macpac wanted to increase the overall durability of
the pack a notch or two, it would only need to concentrate on the
stitching, and perhaps some of the lesser nylon material used inside
the pack. (This may have already happened.)
Now that many of the main straps are showing significant wear, I
seriously consider replacing the pack. It will be a difficult
The Glissade offers a secure & generally water-tight place for your
stuff on the trail. It is heavy but bomber.
Aztec material Durability
Waterproof materials/water-resistant pack
Simplicity and flexibility of design
Few pockets on the outside (something added in later
versions, though at the expense of added weight)
Some stitching and the nylon material used at the top of the
main pack section don't come close to matching the Aztec material
durability (so they break down well before most of the pack)
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