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Owner Review: REI Catalyst 35l pack

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  • low_o2
    Owner Review: REI Catalyst 35L (size L) About Me Name: Jon Robbins E-mail: robbinskuma@comcast.net Gender: Male Height: 6 3 Weight: 195lbs Torso: 21
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 3 1:03 AM
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      Owner Review: REI Catalyst 35L (size L)



      About Me

      Name: Jon Robbins
      E-mail: robbinskuma@...
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'3"
      Weight: 195lbs
      Torso: 21"
      Location: Berkeley, CA, USA

      Personal Info:
      I have always enjoyed the outdoors as far back as I can remember.
      My grandparents would rent a cabin in the Sierras near Sardine Lake
      and from age 8 or so, we would do day hikes up to nearby lakes and
      the annual trek up and back 7 miles to the 8000+ ft(2438m) Sierra
      Buttes. Since then, I have been enjoying higher elevation treks all
      over the Sierras and various Costal Ranges of California with a pair
      of "Fourteeners" thrown in for good measure: White Mtn. 14,246ft
      (4342 m) and Mt. Langley 14025ft (4275m). My trips range from 5mile
      day hikes with the dogs, to 20 mile thrashings at altitude and
      everything in between. I am an avid snowboarder, and I quench my
      other outdoor thirst in the summer with my windsurfing endeavors.


      Product Info:

      Manufactured by: REI 2005
      www.rei.com
      Weight as listed: 3lbs. 9ozs.
      Volume: 35l (2450ci large)
      Avail. Colors: Fire/Dolphin
      MSRP:$90.00 USD


      The Conditions:
      Airline flights, wet cold coastal mountains of California, multi day
      weekend adventures 20+ mi. duration in elevation not over 300ft. and
      temps between 50deg. Daytime and 36deg. Nights with a smattering of
      heavy rain and sporadic snowfall.


      The Pack:
      The REI Catalyst 35 is a low to medium volume daypack that can
      easily swallow up a weekend or extended weekend's worth of gear. Its
      nylon construction is very durable and brushes aside water quite well
      also. Its HDPE frame-sheet and single "Y-split" mono stay, ride
      quite comfortable even under sizeable loads. Although it is
      primarily a top-loader, it has an ever-so-useful vertical zipper that
      runs top to bottom for easy access to gear throughout the main
      storage compartment. The top flap has two zippered pouches, one on
      top and one on the underside with a key clip inside to keep those
      adventurous keys in line. The zippers are all rugged, good quality
      zips yet they are very easy to operate single-handed. This might be
      considered a bad thing, but I like the easy zips. The top flap
      pocket is great for keeping quick access treats like jerky or energy
      bars. A simple pull of the zip to open, fumble around for the
      goodies, and quick tug in the opposite direction and you haven't lost
      a step.


      Along the front of the pack, located in the center running
      vertically, there is a very useful daisy chain which is also used as
      the attachment point for the plastic carabiner that secures the top
      flap down via a quick-release buckle on the opposite end. At first,
      I was skeptical about the moveable nature of this setup, but after
      being able to strap whatever I wanted to the front thanks to
      the "place-wherever-you-want-ability" of this feature you can carry
      anything there. On either side of the daisy-chain, there are two 3"
      by 11" vertical flaps that have quick-release adjustable buckles that
      can and will hold securely a tent and sleeping pad placed
      vertically. This does negate the functionality of the daisy-chain,
      so it's an either/or benefit. The pack also has two side sinch
      straps to control unruly loads or other gizmos and widgets. These
      straps are actually one of my main qualifications in buying a pack
      because I find on occasion I need to attach removable side pouches
      from time to time. These pouches (not sold with this pack but
      available from many manufacturers) can add and extra 900ci to the
      capacity. These sinch straps can also be used to secure the front
      pack flaps and buckles out of harm's way if the daisy-chain is being
      used.

      Just below the daisy-chain there are two adjustable ice-
      ax/tool loops and beside each loop is another rubber-hose covered
      tool hoop/haul loop (though the loops are on the bottom, I don't
      think you would want to haul the pack upside down). The inner main
      compartment has a massive hydration sleeve that can hold up to a
      4litre hydration pack (that is a guesstimate as my 3litre Camelback
      fits with tons of room to spare). I actually use the extra space for
      dirty socks. The Catalyst, being hydration pack compatible, has hose
      pass-through ports, but that is where this feature looses its
      functionality. They are too small to pass the valve and hose
      through. I guess one could remove the valve assy. And fit the hose
      only through, but I even have trouble fitting my finger through. In
      fact, I can't even get my pinky through the opening of which there is
      one per side.

      The waist-belt and shoulder straps are very comfy despite
      being of minimal padding thickness. They are very quick drying and
      have good adjustability. The waist-belt has two great side pouches
      that will fit a Leatherman, or pocket knife and smaller energy bars
      like Luna Bars or Gu pouches or whatever else you can fit there.
      They have mesh on the outside so in the rain whatever is in there
      will get wet. Under a 45lb pack load sitting on jeans and a belt,
      the waist-belt didn't even begin to bite until mile 8 or so.

      The Catalyst is stated to suit up to 20in. (50cm) torso but
      my 21in. torso fit just fine. The load stabilization straps on the
      waist-belt and over the shoulders are placed perfectly and transmit
      the weight seemingly "into your body". I truly feel at one with this
      pack once everything is locked in place making precarious stream
      crossings over logs and stones just another bit of beautiful scenery
      along the way. This feeling of one-ness is derived from the ability
      of the packs frame to conform to your back and flex as you move
      without being too flimsy as to not support your load properly.



      Downsides:

      1) The unusable hose pass-through for hydration pack.

      2) Under heavy pack loads above 40lbs, the shoulder straps can
      loosen over rough terrain with aggressive travel. That means
      running/jogging/jumping over obstacles or trying to make up lost time.

      Upsides:

      1) Rugged construction

      2) Easy zips

      3) Comfortable under heavier loads

      4) Fits in the overhead storage bin on most airlines (as long as the
      top flap is not fully filled) even with four days worth of clothing.
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 3 11:52 PM
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
        Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
        official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
        from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
        timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben@....

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
        that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
        experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
        and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
        This way we can work with you on addressing any standard BGT policy
        edits which you can incorporate into your second and subsequent
        reviews before submission.

        If you are new to 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'd like more assistance or guidance
        with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to
        Jennifer P, the mentor coordinator, at (jennifer.pope@...).

        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-submitting to the list
        will usually result in a better review, as well as making things
        easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject
        line of your re-submitted review, if you take this route or make any
        changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit
        Moderator.

        Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups
        list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an
        Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post
        their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you
        have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in
        the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they
        will use APPROVED in the subject line.

        If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR, the entire
        Owner Review Queue is posted to this yahoo group list on Fridays.

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

        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Edit Administration Officer
      • edwardripleyduggan
        Hi Jon, Before I am able to undertake an edit of your OR, I d appreciate it if you would add all of your metric conversions, per the BGT survival Guide etc.
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 8 7:22 PM
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          Hi Jon,

          Before I am able to undertake an edit of your OR, I'd appreciate it if
          you would add all of your metric conversions, per the BGT survival
          Guide etc. Please see the BGT converter at

          http://www.backpackgeartest.org/convert.html

          Do read the footnotes regarding the correct presentation of units.

          Also needed here is your age in the personal stats, some reduction in
          the bio length, a measured weight on the pack, and (unfortunately) a
          variety of other bits of info. For all that, this is a truly promising
          shot at a tricky review, and I really encourage you not to be discouraged.

          To ease things along, I'd like to strongly suggest that you contact
          our mentor program (e-mail jennifer.pope@... -- Jennifer
          administrates this program). Someone will be assigned to assist you.
          If you choose this route, your OR will be temporarily withdrawn from
          this queue, and will be resubmitted once it contains the pertinent
          information.

          Best,


          Ted

          BGT OR EDITOR

          >
          > Owner Review: REI Catalyst 35L (size L)
          >
          >
          >
          > About Me
          >
          > Name: Jon Robbins
          > E-mail: robbinskuma@...
          > Gender: Male
          > Height: 6'3"
          > Weight: 195lbs
          > Torso: 21"
          > Location: Berkeley, CA, USA
          >
          > Personal Info:
          > I have always enjoyed the outdoors as far back as I can remember.
          > My grandparents would rent a cabin in the Sierras near Sardine Lake
          > and from age 8 or so, we would do day hikes up to nearby lakes and
          > the annual trek up and back 7 miles to the 8000+ ft(2438m) Sierra
          > Buttes. Since then, I have been enjoying higher elevation treks all
          > over the Sierras and various Costal Ranges of California with a pair
          > of "Fourteeners" thrown in for good measure: White Mtn. 14,246ft
          > (4342 m) and Mt. Langley 14025ft (4275m). My trips range from 5mile
          > day hikes with the dogs, to 20 mile thrashings at altitude and
          > everything in between. I am an avid snowboarder, and I quench my
          > other outdoor thirst in the summer with my windsurfing endeavors.
          >
          >
          > Product Info:
          >
          > Manufactured by: REI 2005
          > www.rei.com
          > Weight as listed: 3lbs. 9ozs.
          > Volume: 35l (2450ci large)
          > Avail. Colors: Fire/Dolphin
          > MSRP:$90.00 USD
          >
          >
          > The Conditions:
          > Airline flights, wet cold coastal mountains of California, multi day
          > weekend adventures 20+ mi. duration in elevation not over 300ft. and
          > temps between 50deg. Daytime and 36deg. Nights with a smattering of
          > heavy rain and sporadic snowfall.
          >
          >
          > The Pack:
          > The REI Catalyst 35 is a low to medium volume daypack that can
          > easily swallow up a weekend or extended weekend's worth of gear. Its
          > nylon construction is very durable and brushes aside water quite well
          > also. Its HDPE frame-sheet and single "Y-split" mono stay, ride
          > quite comfortable even under sizeable loads. Although it is
          > primarily a top-loader, it has an ever-so-useful vertical zipper that
          > runs top to bottom for easy access to gear throughout the main
          > storage compartment. The top flap has two zippered pouches, one on
          > top and one on the underside with a key clip inside to keep those
          > adventurous keys in line. The zippers are all rugged, good quality
          > zips yet they are very easy to operate single-handed. This might be
          > considered a bad thing, but I like the easy zips. The top flap
          > pocket is great for keeping quick access treats like jerky or energy
          > bars. A simple pull of the zip to open, fumble around for the
          > goodies, and quick tug in the opposite direction and you haven't lost
          > a step.
          >
          >
          > Along the front of the pack, located in the center running
          > vertically, there is a very useful daisy chain which is also used as
          > the attachment point for the plastic carabiner that secures the top
          > flap down via a quick-release buckle on the opposite end. At first,
          > I was skeptical about the moveable nature of this setup, but after
          > being able to strap whatever I wanted to the front thanks to
          > the "place-wherever-you-want-ability" of this feature you can carry
          > anything there. On either side of the daisy-chain, there are two 3"
          > by 11" vertical flaps that have quick-release adjustable buckles that
          > can and will hold securely a tent and sleeping pad placed
          > vertically. This does negate the functionality of the daisy-chain,
          > so it's an either/or benefit. The pack also has two side sinch
          > straps to control unruly loads or other gizmos and widgets. These
          > straps are actually one of my main qualifications in buying a pack
          > because I find on occasion I need to attach removable side pouches
          > from time to time. These pouches (not sold with this pack but
          > available from many manufacturers) can add and extra 900ci to the
          > capacity. These sinch straps can also be used to secure the front
          > pack flaps and buckles out of harm's way if the daisy-chain is being
          > used.
          >
          > Just below the daisy-chain there are two adjustable ice-
          > ax/tool loops and beside each loop is another rubber-hose covered
          > tool hoop/haul loop (though the loops are on the bottom, I don't
          > think you would want to haul the pack upside down). The inner main
          > compartment has a massive hydration sleeve that can hold up to a
          > 4litre hydration pack (that is a guesstimate as my 3litre Camelback
          > fits with tons of room to spare). I actually use the extra space for
          > dirty socks. The Catalyst, being hydration pack compatible, has hose
          > pass-through ports, but that is where this feature looses its
          > functionality. They are too small to pass the valve and hose
          > through. I guess one could remove the valve assy. And fit the hose
          > only through, but I even have trouble fitting my finger through. In
          > fact, I can't even get my pinky through the opening of which there is
          > one per side.
          >
          > The waist-belt and shoulder straps are very comfy despite
          > being of minimal padding thickness. They are very quick drying and
          > have good adjustability. The waist-belt has two great side pouches
          > that will fit a Leatherman, or pocket knife and smaller energy bars
          > like Luna Bars or Gu pouches or whatever else you can fit there.
          > They have mesh on the outside so in the rain whatever is in there
          > will get wet. Under a 45lb pack load sitting on jeans and a belt,
          > the waist-belt didn't even begin to bite until mile 8 or so.
          >
          > The Catalyst is stated to suit up to 20in. (50cm) torso but
          > my 21in. torso fit just fine. The load stabilization straps on the
          > waist-belt and over the shoulders are placed perfectly and transmit
          > the weight seemingly "into your body". I truly feel at one with this
          > pack once everything is locked in place making precarious stream
          > crossings over logs and stones just another bit of beautiful scenery
          > along the way. This feeling of one-ness is derived from the ability
          > of the packs frame to conform to your back and flex as you move
          > without being too flimsy as to not support your load properly.
          >
          >
          >
          > Downsides:
          >
          > 1) The unusable hose pass-through for hydration pack.
          >
          > 2) Under heavy pack loads above 40lbs, the shoulder straps can
          > loosen over rough terrain with aggressive travel. That means
          > running/jogging/jumping over obstacles or trying to make up lost time.
          >
          > Upsides:
          >
          > 1) Rugged construction
          >
          > 2) Easy zips
          >
          > 3) Comfortable under heavier loads
          >
          > 4) Fits in the overhead storage bin on most airlines (as long as the
          > top flap is not fully filled) even with four days worth of clothing.
          >
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