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REVISED - Owner Review - L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack

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  • Hollis
    Dear Editors, Sorry for the repost--I see from my last entry that Yahoo Groups didn t like the formatting of my text file, making it quite difficult to read.
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 2, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear Editors,

      Sorry for the repost--I see from my last entry that Yahoo Groups
      didn't like the formatting of my text file, making it quite difficult
      to read. It's my hope that this will work better--it's taken from the
      HTML version of my review, which presently resides at

      http://www.holliseaster.com/BGT/LLBeanDeluxeBookPack/review.htm

      Thank you for your time, and happy new year!

      Yours,
      Hollis

      -----

      L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack — Daypack
      Owner Review
      December 28, 2006

      (include photograph of my pack, stuffed to show full size)
      Reviewer Information:

      Name: Hollis Easter
      Age: 25
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'0" (1.8 m)
      Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
      Email address: backpackgeartestATholliseasterDOTcom
      City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
      Date: December 27, 2006
      Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack
      Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout
      award. These days, I'm mostly doing day hikes in the mountains. I hope
      to get back into doing longer trips soon. I'm also learning rock climbing.

      I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but
      neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at
      altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures
      from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).
      Product Information:

      Manufacturer: L.L. Bean (made in Korea)
      Year of manufacture: circa 1996 (still in production)
      URL: www.llbean.com
      Listed dimensions: 17"H x 13"W x 7.5"D (43 cm x 33 cm x 19 cm)
      Actual dimensions: 17"H x 13.5"W x 10"D (43 cm x 34 cm x 25 cm) see below
      Listed weight: 1 lb 8 oz (680 g)
      Actual weight: 1 lb 10 oz (737 g)
      Listed volume: 2,250 in^3 (36.8 l)
      MSRP: $39 US ($18.95 US on sale)

      Listed dimensions are for a new (2006) pack; the differences in
      measurement may be due to stretching in use. Changed specifications
      could also account for it, although L.L. Bean's website gives no
      indication of major changes to the design.

      Product features:

      * Strong and abrasion-resistant nylon material
      * Padded shoulder straps
      * Water-resistant coating and taped seams
      * Strong haul loop
      * Four compartments: two large, one medium, one small
      * Padded back panel
      * Organizer panel with pen holders, zippered mesh pocket, key ring
      * Scotchlite reflective panel on outside for visibility
      * Pre-installed zipper pulls on all zippers
      * Lifetime warranty

      (might include photograph of pack with compartments annotated for the
      review)

      The L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack (hereafter "the pack") features four
      pockets. The biggest are a pair of main pockets accessed from the top
      of the pack. Although one is larger than the other, both can carry
      oversized books, camping cookware, or winter coats. A panel-loading
      pocket with an organizer panel inside will hold a raincoat, camera and
      accessories, or similar amounts of gear. There is also a front slash
      pocket for small things, guide books, etc.

      The shoulder straps are padded and 2.25" (5.7 cm) wide; the waist
      strap is 1" (2.5 cm) wide nylon webbing. Zippers are nylon with metal
      sliders and knotted webbing pulls. Buckles and tensioners are black
      plastic or nylon.

      Later versions are available fitted with Illuminex, a battery-powered
      light system for the back of the pack that increases visibility to
      motorists. For a hiking pack, this seems like a waste of weight; for a
      student's bookbag, it may not be.

      My pack is a dark blue color, although many other choices of solid
      colors and prints are available.

      Compartment measurements:
      Biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 6"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm)
      Next-biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 3.5"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 9 cm)
      Organizer: 10.5"H x 9"W x 2.5"D (27 cm x 23 cm x 6 cm)
      Slash: 10.5"H x 9"W (27 cm x 23 cm) no depth
      Field information:

      Locations used: I have used this pack over the last ten years in many
      different conditions. In high school and university, I carried it to
      and from classes without regard for the weather, and used it for
      grocery shopping since I had no car. I have used it as a day pack
      while hiking and bicycling in the Adirondack Mountains of New York in
      spring through late autumn. I have also used it as a gig bag for music
      performance, where the atmospheric conditions are less important than
      the handling ones: this bag has ridden in vans and buses and trains
      and aircraft holds, often stuffed with instruments, music, and
      performance attire. University was probably the hardest test in terms
      of weight, when I regularly carried more than 25 lbs (11 kg) of books
      in it.

      Description of locations: Suburban sidewalks, trails and forest
      bushwhacks, mountains up to 5,100 ft (1500 m), aircraft holds, etc.
      Highly varied.

      Weather conditions: Again, highly varied. This pack has experienced
      everything from winter snow at temperatures below 0 F (-17 C) to
      driving spring and autumn rain at 40 F (4 C) to burning summer sun
      above 100 F (38 C).
      Comments:

      On the whole, this pack has been nothing short of wonderful. It's
      marketed as a school backpack for teenagers—I got mine at the age of
      15. Although its feature set leans toward the academic (pen holders,
      key ring, organizer panel), it serves admirably for day hikes. This
      backpack carried my books to every class of high school and
      university, but it also served as my kit bag for years of bagpipe
      music competitions, saw me through hikes in the USA and Scotland, and
      served as my luggage for performance tours of Spain and the Pacific
      Northwest, USA.

      The pack is very easy to work with. The compartments seem sensibly
      designed and placed, and they seem to "just work" for different kinds
      of objects, and the packing usually ends up comfortable even if I
      don't do it carefully. It's hard to quantify, but what I mean is this:
      it usually works fine if I just put items in the pack wherever they
      seem to fit. With other packs I've used, I've always ended up
      repacking things to make the load comfortable, or to allow more gear
      to fit. With this pack, I never seem to need all that packing and
      unpacking.

      Most of the pockets are very useful sizes. My water bottles usually go
      in the biggest compartment, along with my camera in its hard plastic
      case. The padded back keeps them from poking me, even with a heavy
      load. Books fit nicely in the second-largest compartment, and its
      shape and dimensions keep them squarely in place and protected. I find
      the second-largest compartment also holds my lunch and trail snacks
      well, and it's easy to access while walking: just slip one shoulder
      strap off, swing the pack around, and the zipper's in just the right
      place. Again, a nice touch.

      The pocket with the organizer panel usually carries my guide book, map
      and compass, sunscreen, sunglasses, and other essentials. The document
      pocket in the organizer isn't quite big enough to hold a USGS (United
      States Geological Survey) topographical map, but the maps fit nicely
      outside the organizer, inside the pocket. This pocket also works well
      for carrying rolls of 35 mm film, as the double-headed zipper means I
      can open the pocket from the top—this keeps them from falling out of
      the bag.

      The one pocket that disappoints me is the front slash pocket, which is
      really only useful for larger things if the organizer pocket is
      underfilled. Otherwise it's good for holding papers and small items
      like lip balm.

      (include photo of organizer panel, possibly showing a map in place for
      size reference)

      Almost all of the seams on the pack body are taped and sealed, which
      does a nice job of keeping the rain and snowmelt out of the pack and
      also keeps fabric from catching in the zippers. The seam attaching the
      organizer pocket to the main pack body is not taped, and consequently
      leaks occasionally. However, this is nothing too serious, and I could
      probably treat it with seam sealant if I really cared. One complaint
      is that the zippers will leak if they're out in a heavy rainstorm for
      a long time. I see that in later versions of the pack, L.L. Bean has
      added sewn zipper covers to protect against this.

      My few complaints mostly stem from the fact that this is a daypack,
      not a more advanced technical pack. I include them for reference and
      completeness, not to deter others from buying this pack.

      I feel ambivalent about the hip belt on this pack. It's made of plain
      nylon webbing, which makes it less comfortable than a padded hip belt
      would be. However, I don't really notice the issue unless I'm carrying
      a lot of weight. A benefit of the simple strap is that it allows
      people who don't like hip belts to cinch it out of the way. When I was
      younger, I hated hip belts, and I did precisely that. One small
      complaint is that the plastic hip belt buckle fractured years ago. It
      still functions, which is why I haven't replaced it, but it would be
      nice if it hadn't broken.

      A few other things might affect the choice of this pack. The pack's
      back panel, although padded, is not rigid. This makes it difficult to
      transfer much weight from my shoulders to my hips, which can be
      uncomfortable with heavier weights. The back's design is quite simple,
      without any of the air channels or mesh contraptions often found on
      newer packs. This can sometimes lead to a sweaty back after a long
      hike. The lack of compression straps also means that loads can
      sometimes shift if the pack isn't full.

      I think the brightness of the Scotchlite strip is overstated in the
      pack's advertising. While it is certainly reflective, it hardly sets
      the night ablaze. It's a nice safety feature for the bookbag use, though.

      The pack expands away from the wearer like a bellows, which may pose a
      problem for those who carry loads that are both bulky and heavy. When
      fully loaded, it also means that the wearer's turning radius is quite
      a bit larger than normal, which can be an exciting discovery in tight
      quarters! With careful packing, the balance issues of a heavy and
      bulky load can be mitigated, leaving only the turning issue.

      (include photo of fully loaded pack in side view on the wearer)

      As I wrote earlier, I include these issues for completeness. In most
      cases when I've run into them, it's been my own fault: I really should
      have been using a larger or more technical pack. That the Deluxe Book
      Pack came through so well in circumstances beyond its original design
      is a testament to its versatility.

      The pack is comfortable to carry, easy to load, and extremely durable.
      After ten years of almost daily use, the pack shows very few signs of
      wear: the bottom has a little bit of fuzz from abrasion; there's one
      spot where the fabric has begun to fray from rubbing at a seam, though
      it will be a long time before it wears through; and the webbing on one
      shoulder strap has a bit of fuzz. The haul loop and shoulder straps
      are still firmly attached and in great condition, which surprises me.
      I've had other daypacks whose straps have torn off in the first couple
      of years, and with lighter loads than the ones I carry with the Deluxe
      Book Pack. The pack looks used but not worn, and it looks startlingly
      clean for ten years without a wash.

      (possibly include photo of wear points, though this is getting to be a
      lot of photos)
      Summary:

      My pack is still going strong after ten years, and it has served hard
      as well as long. L.L. Bean built a heck of a daypack with this. It
      does a very good job of carrying books, and works equally well as a
      hiking daypack or travel bag. The current sale price, $18.95 for the
      Deluxe model, makes it seem a bit like getting away with murder. I
      would definitely buy this pack again.

      pluses:

      * unusually durable construction throughout the pack
      * organizer panel
      * good water resistance
      * easy to pack effectively, with good pocket sizes
      * comfortably padded back
      * keeps a clean appearance even after use

      minuses:

      * slash pocket isn't very useful with a full load
      * zippers can leak in heavy rain (fixed in current retail model)
      * hip belt is unpadded and pack has no frame
      * arrangement of pockets can make the pack quite bulky
    • Sheila
      Hollis, I just have to mention that your OR made me laugh. I ve used the same LL Bean Deluxe backpack as my sole luggage carrier, book bag, rock sample holder,
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 2, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Hollis,

        I just have to mention that your OR made me laugh. I've used the same LL Bean Deluxe
        backpack as my sole luggage carrier, book bag, rock sample holder, and day hiker for
        forever. I originally got it so I could carry my flute while riding my bike to 6th grade. (I'm in
        21st grade now).

        Sheila

        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Hollis" <backpackgeartest@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Editors,
        >
        > Sorry for the repost--I see from my last entry that Yahoo Groups
        > didn't like the formatting of my text file, making it quite difficult
        > to read. It's my hope that this will work better--it's taken from the
        > HTML version of my review, which presently resides at
        >
        > http://www.holliseaster.com/BGT/LLBeanDeluxeBookPack/review.htm
        >
        > Thank you for your time, and happy new year!
        >
        > Yours,
        > Hollis
        >
        > -----
        >
        > L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack — Daypack
        > Owner Review
        > December 28, 2006
        >
        > (include photograph of my pack, stuffed to show full size)
        > Reviewer Information:
        >
        > Name: Hollis Easter
        > Age: 25
        > Gender: Male
        > Height: 6'0" (1.8 m)
        > Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
        > Email address: backpackgeartestATholliseasterDOTcom
        > City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
        > Date: December 27, 2006
        > Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack
        > Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout
        > award. These days, I'm mostly doing day hikes in the mountains. I hope
        > to get back into doing longer trips soon. I'm also learning rock climbing.
        >
        > I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but
        > neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at
        > altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures
        > from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).
        > Product Information:
        >
        > Manufacturer: L.L. Bean (made in Korea)
        > Year of manufacture: circa 1996 (still in production)
        > URL: www.llbean.com
        > Listed dimensions: 17"H x 13"W x 7.5"D (43 cm x 33 cm x 19 cm)
        > Actual dimensions: 17"H x 13.5"W x 10"D (43 cm x 34 cm x 25 cm) see below
        > Listed weight: 1 lb 8 oz (680 g)
        > Actual weight: 1 lb 10 oz (737 g)
        > Listed volume: 2,250 in^3 (36.8 l)
        > MSRP: $39 US ($18.95 US on sale)
        >
        > Listed dimensions are for a new (2006) pack; the differences in
        > measurement may be due to stretching in use. Changed specifications
        > could also account for it, although L.L. Bean's website gives no
        > indication of major changes to the design.
        >
        > Product features:
        >
        > * Strong and abrasion-resistant nylon material
        > * Padded shoulder straps
        > * Water-resistant coating and taped seams
        > * Strong haul loop
        > * Four compartments: two large, one medium, one small
        > * Padded back panel
        > * Organizer panel with pen holders, zippered mesh pocket, key ring
        > * Scotchlite reflective panel on outside for visibility
        > * Pre-installed zipper pulls on all zippers
        > * Lifetime warranty
        >
        > (might include photograph of pack with compartments annotated for the
        > review)
        >
        > The L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack (hereafter "the pack") features four
        > pockets. The biggest are a pair of main pockets accessed from the top
        > of the pack. Although one is larger than the other, both can carry
        > oversized books, camping cookware, or winter coats. A panel-loading
        > pocket with an organizer panel inside will hold a raincoat, camera and
        > accessories, or similar amounts of gear. There is also a front slash
        > pocket for small things, guide books, etc.
        >
        > The shoulder straps are padded and 2.25" (5.7 cm) wide; the waist
        > strap is 1" (2.5 cm) wide nylon webbing. Zippers are nylon with metal
        > sliders and knotted webbing pulls. Buckles and tensioners are black
        > plastic or nylon.
        >
        > Later versions are available fitted with Illuminex, a battery-powered
        > light system for the back of the pack that increases visibility to
        > motorists. For a hiking pack, this seems like a waste of weight; for a
        > student's bookbag, it may not be.
        >
        > My pack is a dark blue color, although many other choices of solid
        > colors and prints are available.
        >
        > Compartment measurements:
        > Biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 6"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm)
        > Next-biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 3.5"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 9 cm)
        > Organizer: 10.5"H x 9"W x 2.5"D (27 cm x 23 cm x 6 cm)
        > Slash: 10.5"H x 9"W (27 cm x 23 cm) no depth
        > Field information:
        >
        > Locations used: I have used this pack over the last ten years in many
        > different conditions. In high school and university, I carried it to
        > and from classes without regard for the weather, and used it for
        > grocery shopping since I had no car. I have used it as a day pack
        > while hiking and bicycling in the Adirondack Mountains of New York in
        > spring through late autumn. I have also used it as a gig bag for music
        > performance, where the atmospheric conditions are less important than
        > the handling ones: this bag has ridden in vans and buses and trains
        > and aircraft holds, often stuffed with instruments, music, and
        > performance attire. University was probably the hardest test in terms
        > of weight, when I regularly carried more than 25 lbs (11 kg) of books
        > in it.
        >
        > Description of locations: Suburban sidewalks, trails and forest
        > bushwhacks, mountains up to 5,100 ft (1500 m), aircraft holds, etc.
        > Highly varied.
        >
        > Weather conditions: Again, highly varied. This pack has experienced
        > everything from winter snow at temperatures below 0 F (-17 C) to
        > driving spring and autumn rain at 40 F (4 C) to burning summer sun
        > above 100 F (38 C).
        > Comments:
        >
        > On the whole, this pack has been nothing short of wonderful. It's
        > marketed as a school backpack for teenagers—I got mine at the age of
        > 15. Although its feature set leans toward the academic (pen holders,
        > key ring, organizer panel), it serves admirably for day hikes. This
        > backpack carried my books to every class of high school and
        > university, but it also served as my kit bag for years of bagpipe
        > music competitions, saw me through hikes in the USA and Scotland, and
        > served as my luggage for performance tours of Spain and the Pacific
        > Northwest, USA.
        >
        > The pack is very easy to work with. The compartments seem sensibly
        > designed and placed, and they seem to "just work" for different kinds
        > of objects, and the packing usually ends up comfortable even if I
        > don't do it carefully. It's hard to quantify, but what I mean is this:
        > it usually works fine if I just put items in the pack wherever they
        > seem to fit. With other packs I've used, I've always ended up
        > repacking things to make the load comfortable, or to allow more gear
        > to fit. With this pack, I never seem to need all that packing and
        > unpacking.
        >
        > Most of the pockets are very useful sizes. My water bottles usually go
        > in the biggest compartment, along with my camera in its hard plastic
        > case. The padded back keeps them from poking me, even with a heavy
        > load. Books fit nicely in the second-largest compartment, and its
        > shape and dimensions keep them squarely in place and protected. I find
        > the second-largest compartment also holds my lunch and trail snacks
        > well, and it's easy to access while walking: just slip one shoulder
        > strap off, swing the pack around, and the zipper's in just the right
        > place. Again, a nice touch.
        >
        > The pocket with the organizer panel usually carries my guide book, map
        > and compass, sunscreen, sunglasses, and other essentials. The document
        > pocket in the organizer isn't quite big enough to hold a USGS (United
        > States Geological Survey) topographical map, but the maps fit nicely
        > outside the organizer, inside the pocket. This pocket also works well
        > for carrying rolls of 35 mm film, as the double-headed zipper means I
        > can open the pocket from the top—this keeps them from falling out of
        > the bag.
        >
        > The one pocket that disappoints me is the front slash pocket, which is
        > really only useful for larger things if the organizer pocket is
        > underfilled. Otherwise it's good for holding papers and small items
        > like lip balm.
        >
        > (include photo of organizer panel, possibly showing a map in place for
        > size reference)
        >
        > Almost all of the seams on the pack body are taped and sealed, which
        > does a nice job of keeping the rain and snowmelt out of the pack and
        > also keeps fabric from catching in the zippers. The seam attaching the
        > organizer pocket to the main pack body is not taped, and consequently
        > leaks occasionally. However, this is nothing too serious, and I could
        > probably treat it with seam sealant if I really cared. One complaint
        > is that the zippers will leak if they're out in a heavy rainstorm for
        > a long time. I see that in later versions of the pack, L.L. Bean has
        > added sewn zipper covers to protect against this.
        >
        > My few complaints mostly stem from the fact that this is a daypack,
        > not a more advanced technical pack. I include them for reference and
        > completeness, not to deter others from buying this pack.
        >
        > I feel ambivalent about the hip belt on this pack. It's made of plain
        > nylon webbing, which makes it less comfortable than a padded hip belt
        > would be. However, I don't really notice the issue unless I'm carrying
        > a lot of weight. A benefit of the simple strap is that it allows
        > people who don't like hip belts to cinch it out of the way. When I was
        > younger, I hated hip belts, and I did precisely that. One small
        > complaint is that the plastic hip belt buckle fractured years ago. It
        > still functions, which is why I haven't replaced it, but it would be
        > nice if it hadn't broken.
        >
        > A few other things might affect the choice of this pack. The pack's
        > back panel, although padded, is not rigid. This makes it difficult to
        > transfer much weight from my shoulders to my hips, which can be
        > uncomfortable with heavier weights. The back's design is quite simple,
        > without any of the air channels or mesh contraptions often found on
        > newer packs. This can sometimes lead to a sweaty back after a long
        > hike. The lack of compression straps also means that loads can
        > sometimes shift if the pack isn't full.
        >
        > I think the brightness of the Scotchlite strip is overstated in the
        > pack's advertising. While it is certainly reflective, it hardly sets
        > the night ablaze. It's a nice safety feature for the bookbag use, though.
        >
        > The pack expands away from the wearer like a bellows, which may pose a
        > problem for those who carry loads that are both bulky and heavy. When
        > fully loaded, it also means that the wearer's turning radius is quite
        > a bit larger than normal, which can be an exciting discovery in tight
        > quarters! With careful packing, the balance issues of a heavy and
        > bulky load can be mitigated, leaving only the turning issue.
        >
        > (include photo of fully loaded pack in side view on the wearer)
        >
        > As I wrote earlier, I include these issues for completeness. In most
        > cases when I've run into them, it's been my own fault: I really should
        > have been using a larger or more technical pack. That the Deluxe Book
        > Pack came through so well in circumstances beyond its original design
        > is a testament to its versatility.
        >
        > The pack is comfortable to carry, easy to load, and extremely durable.
        > After ten years of almost daily use, the pack shows very few signs of
        > wear: the bottom has a little bit of fuzz from abrasion; there's one
        > spot where the fabric has begun to fray from rubbing at a seam, though
        > it will be a long time before it wears through; and the webbing on one
        > shoulder strap has a bit of fuzz. The haul loop and shoulder straps
        > are still firmly attached and in great condition, which surprises me.
        > I've had other daypacks whose straps have torn off in the first couple
        > of years, and with lighter loads than the ones I carry with the Deluxe
        > Book Pack. The pack looks used but not worn, and it looks startlingly
        > clean for ten years without a wash.
        >
        > (possibly include photo of wear points, though this is getting to be a
        > lot of photos)
        > Summary:
        >
        > My pack is still going strong after ten years, and it has served hard
        > as well as long. L.L. Bean built a heck of a daypack with this. It
        > does a very good job of carrying books, and works equally well as a
        > hiking daypack or travel bag. The current sale price, $18.95 for the
        > Deluxe model, makes it seem a bit like getting away with murder. I
        > would definitely buy this pack again.
        >
        > pluses:
        >
        > * unusually durable construction throughout the pack
        > * organizer panel
        > * good water resistance
        > * easy to pack effectively, with good pocket sizes
        > * comfortably padded back
        > * keeps a clean appearance even after use
        >
        > minuses:
        >
        > * slash pocket isn't very useful with a full load
        > * zippers can leak in heavy rain (fixed in current retail model)
        > * hip belt is unpadded and pack has no frame
        > * arrangement of pockets can make the pack quite bulky
        >
      • Hollis
        Hi Sheila, Thanks for the comment! As a 20th-grader, I thought it worth getting back to our collective roots. Since I ve only recently been employed to the
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 2, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Sheila,

          Thanks for the comment! As a 20th-grader, I thought it worth getting
          back to our collective roots. Since I've only recently been employed
          to the point where I could afford to buy new gear, most of the other
          gear about which I could write ORs has been off the market for a long
          time. I also figured that it might be a useful review, seeing as it's
          seen a lot more use (in terms of days carried--many thousands, surely)
          than any of my other gear.

          Mine's carried my practice chanters and Scottish flute around several
          countries, too... not to mention a few rocks as well! Ooh, I forgot
          that I'd taken it to France in high school. I'll stick that in the
          review later. I'm glad it made you laugh, and even happier that it was
          the content and not the quality of the writing that did it.

          Cheers,
          Hollis
        • Hollis
          O Editors, Please receive my OR, revised yet again. The updated version reflects several things, chief among them my off-list correspondence with Roger Caffin.
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 7, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            O Editors,

            Please receive my OR, revised yet again. The updated version reflects
            several things, chief among them my off-list correspondence with Roger
            Caffin. He asked to hear more about my hiking locations and use, and
            so I have added more information about representative hikes. I have
            also updated the price--the sale price evidently disappeared with the
            end of the Christmas holidays.

            I have also placed a rudimentary HTML version on the web at

            http://www.holliseaster.com/BGT/LLBeanDeluxeBookPack/review.htm

            Respectfully submitted,
            Hollis


            L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack — Daypack
            Owner Review
            January 7, 2007

            (include photograph of my pack, stuffed to show full size)
            Reviewer Information:

            Name: Hollis Easter
            Age: 25
            Gender: Male
            Height: 6' 0" (1.8 m)
            Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
            Email address: backpackgeartestATholliseasterDOTcom
            City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
            Date: January 7, 2007
            Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack
            Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout
            award. These days, I'm mostly doing day hikes in the mountains. I hope
            to get back into doing longer trips soon. I'm also learning rock climbing.

            I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but
            neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at
            altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures
            from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).
            Product Information:

            Manufacturer: L.L. Bean (made in Korea)
            Year of manufacture: circa 1996 (still in production)
            URL: www.llbean.com
            Listed dimensions: 17"H x 13"W x 7.5"D (43 cm x 33 cm x 19 cm)
            Actual dimensions: 17"H x 13.5"W x 10"D (43 cm x 34 cm x 25 cm) see below
            Listed weight: 1 lb 8 oz (680 g)
            Actual weight: 1 lb 10 oz (737 g)
            Listed volume: 2,250 in^3 (36.8 l)
            MSRP: $39 US (sales are sometimes offered: December 2006 holiday price
            was $18.95 US)

            Listed dimensions are for a new (2006) pack; the differences in
            measurement may be due to stretching in use. Changed specifications
            could also account for it, although L.L. Bean's website gives no
            indication of major changes to the design.

            Product features:

            * Strong and abrasion-resistant nylon material
            * Padded shoulder straps
            * Water-resistant coating and taped seams
            * Strong haul loop
            * Four compartments: two large, one medium, one small
            * Padded back panel
            * Organizer panel with pen holders, zippered mesh pocket, key ring
            * Scotchlite reflective panel on outside for visibility
            * Pre-installed zipper pulls on all zippers
            * Lifetime warranty

            (might include photograph of pack with compartments annotated for the
            review)

            The L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack (hereafter "the pack") features four
            pockets. The biggest are a pair of main pockets accessed from the top
            of the pack. Although one is larger than the other, both can carry
            oversized books, camping cookware, or winter coats. A panel-loading
            pocket with an organizer panel inside will hold a raincoat, camera and
            accessories, or similar amounts of gear. There is also a front slash
            pocket for small things, guide books, etc.

            The shoulder straps are padded and 2.25" (5.7 cm) wide; the waist
            strap is 1" (2.5 cm) wide nylon webbing. Zippers are nylon with metal
            sliders and knotted webbing pulls. Buckles and tensioners are black
            plastic or nylon.

            Later versions are available fitted with Illuminex, a battery-powered
            light system for the back of the pack that increases visibility to
            motorists. For a hiking pack, this seems like a waste of weight; for a
            student's bookbag, it may not be.

            My pack is a dark blue color, although many other choices of solid
            colors and prints are available.

            Compartment measurements:
            Biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 6"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm)
            Next-biggest: 16"H x 13"W x 3.5"D (40 cm x 33 cm x 9 cm)
            Organizer: 10.5"H x 9"W x 2.5"D (27 cm x 23 cm x 6 cm)
            Slash: 10.5"H x 9"W (27 cm x 23 cm) no depth
            Field information:

            Hiking locations used: I have taken this pack on many hikes in the ten
            years I've owned it, and have also used it on bicycle day tours around
            my home in northern New York state. It was my only backpack during the
            year I lived in Scotland after graduating from university, so it went
            on all my hillwalking jaunts there. A few representative examples of
            its use:

            Climbing Dumgoyne in the Campsie Fells, near Glasgow, Scotland. A 7.5
            mile (12 km) hike over mixed terrain to climb a 1,050 ft (320 m)
            volcanic plug. The difficulty ranged from walking along a paved
            country road to scrambling up rotting rock that felt very steep indeed
            as it crumbled away beneath my feet! There were also some traverses,
            and a few sheep who made it clear that I was trespassing on their
            turf. Clear herd paths existed near the summit, although the trail was
            less clear at the bottom.

            Hiking through Stone Valley near Colton, New York. Several trails
            surround the gorge cut into the local rock by the Raquette river. Some
            sections are nearly flat, while others are quite steep. It is also
            possible to walk along on the river rocks when the water level is low.
            I have visited Stone Valley many times, whether to swim in the deeper
            sections of the river or to walk or mountain bike along the beautiful
            trails. Once, as a Boy Scout, I camped in winter along the banks of
            the river, using this pack while cross-country skiing into the site.

            Climbing St. Regis Mountain in the northern Adirondack mountains, New
            York. A 6.8 mile (11 km) hike to climb a 2,874 ft (876 m) mountain.
            The trail on St. Regis is sometimes quite steep, but generally
            well-maintained. I have climbed it many times with this pack,
            including on my first map-and-compass bushwhack: we went up the
            trailless backside of the peak.

            Non-hiking locations used: I have also put this pack to very
            substantial use outside the hiking world. In high school and
            university, I carried it to and from classes without regard for the
            weather, and used it for grocery shopping since I had no car. I have
            also used it as a gig bag for music performance, where the atmospheric
            conditions are less important than the handling ones: this bag has
            ridden in vans and buses and trains and aircraft holds, often stuffed
            with instruments, music, and performance attire. University was
            probably the hardest test in terms of weight, when I regularly carried
            more than 25 lbs (11 kg) of books in it.

            Description of locations: trails and forest bushwhacks, mountains up
            to 5,100 ft (1500 m), suburban sidewalks, aircraft holds, etc. Highly
            varied.

            Weather conditions: Again, highly varied. This pack has experienced
            everything from winter snow at temperatures below 0 F (-17 C) to
            driving spring and autumn rain at 40 F (4 C) to burning summer sun
            above 100 F (38 C).
            Comments:

            On the whole, this pack has been nothing short of wonderful. It's
            marketed as a school backpack for teenagers—I got mine at the age of
            15. Although its feature set leans toward the academic (pen holders,
            key ring, organizer panel), it works admirably for day hikes. This
            backpack saw me through hikes in the USA, Canada, and Scotland, but it
            also carried my books to every class of high school and university,
            served as my kit bag for years of bagpipe music competitions, and was
            my luggage for performance tours of Spain and the Pacific Northwest,
            USA. It has seen a lot of hard and varied use.

            The pack is very easy to work with. The compartments seem sensibly
            designed and placed, and they seem to "just work" for different kinds
            of objects, and the packing usually ends up comfortable even if I
            don't do it carefully. It's hard to quantify, but what I mean is this:
            it usually works fine if I just put items in the pack wherever they
            seem to fit. With other packs I've used, I've always ended up
            repacking things to make the load comfortable, or to allow more gear
            to fit. With this pack, I never seem to need all that packing and
            unpacking.

            Most of the pockets are very useful sizes. My water bottles usually go
            in the biggest compartment, along with my camera in its hard plastic
            case. The padded back keeps them from poking me, even with a heavy
            load. I find the second-largest compartment holds my lunch and trail
            snacks well, and it's easy to access while walking: just slip one
            shoulder strap off, swing the pack around, and the zipper's in just
            the right place—a nice touch.

            The pocket with the organizer panel usually carries my guide book, map
            and compass, sunscreen, sunglasses, and other essentials. The document
            pocket in the organizer isn't quite big enough to hold a USGS (United
            States Geological Survey) topographical map, but the maps fit nicely
            outside the organizer, inside the pocket. This pocket also works well
            for carrying rolls of 35 mm film, as the double-headed zipper means I
            can open the pocket from the top—this keeps them from falling out of
            the bag.

            The one pocket that disappoints me is the front slash pocket, which is
            really only useful for larger things if the organizer pocket is
            underfilled. Otherwise it's good for holding papers and small items
            like lip balm.

            (include photo of organizer panel, possibly showing a map in place for
            size reference)

            Almost all of the seams on the pack body are taped and sealed, which
            does a nice job of keeping the rain and snowmelt out of the pack and
            also keeps fabric from catching in the zippers. The seam attaching the
            organizer pocket to the main pack body is not taped, and consequently
            leaks occasionally. However, this is nothing too serious, and I could
            probably treat it with seam sealant if I really cared. One complaint
            is that the zippers will leak if they're out in a heavy rainstorm for
            a long time. I see that in later versions of the pack, L.L. Bean has
            added sewn zipper covers to protect against this.

            My few complaints mostly stem from the fact that this is a daypack,
            not a more advanced technical pack. I include them for reference and
            completeness, not to deter others from buying this pack.

            I feel ambivalent about the hip belt on this pack. It's made of plain
            nylon webbing, which makes it less comfortable than a padded hip belt
            would be. However, I don't really notice the issue unless I'm carrying
            a lot of weight. A benefit of the simple strap is that it allows
            people who don't like hip belts to cinch it out of the way. When I was
            younger, I hated hip belts, and I did precisely that. One small
            complaint is that the plastic hip belt buckle fractured years ago. It
            still functions, which is why I haven't replaced it, but it would be
            nice if it hadn't broken.

            A few other things might affect the choice of this pack. The pack's
            back panel, although padded, is not rigid. This makes it difficult to
            transfer much weight from my shoulders to my hips, which can be
            uncomfortable with heavier weights. The back's design is quite simple,
            without any of the air channels or mesh contraptions often found on
            newer packs. This can sometimes lead to a sweaty back after a long
            hike. The lack of compression straps also means that loads can
            sometimes shift if the pack isn't full.

            I think the brightness of the Scotchlite strip is overstated in the
            pack's advertising. While it is certainly reflective, it hardly sets
            the night ablaze. It's a nice safety feature for the bookbag use, though.

            The pack expands away from the wearer like a bellows, which may pose a
            problem for those who carry loads that are both bulky and heavy. When
            fully loaded, it also means that the wearer's turning radius is quite
            a bit larger than normal, which can be an exciting discovery in tight
            quarters! With careful packing, the balance issues of a heavy and
            bulky load can be mitigated, leaving only the turning issue.

            (include photo of fully loaded pack in side view on the wearer)

            As I wrote earlier, I include these issues for completeness. In most
            cases when I've run into them, it's been my own fault: I really should
            have been using a larger or more technical pack. That the Deluxe Book
            Pack came through so well in circumstances beyond its original design
            is a testament to its versatility.

            The pack is comfortable to carry, easy to load, and extremely durable.
            After ten years of almost daily use, the pack shows very few signs of
            wear: the bottom has a little bit of fuzz from abrasion; there's one
            spot where the fabric has begun to fray from rubbing at a seam, though
            it will be a long time before it wears through; and the webbing on one
            shoulder strap has a bit of fuzz. The haul loop and shoulder straps
            are still firmly attached and in great condition, which surprises me.
            I've had other daypacks whose straps have torn off in the first couple
            of years, and with lighter loads than the ones I carry with the Deluxe
            Book Pack. The pack looks used but not worn, and it looks startlingly
            clean for ten years without a wash.

            (possibly include photo of wear points, though this is getting to be a
            lot of photos)
            Summary:

            My pack is still going strong after ten years, and it has served hard
            as well as long. L.L. Bean built a heck of a daypack with this. It
            does a very good job of switch-hitting: I find it comfortable whether
            I'm carrying gear up a mountain or textbooks down the street. Its
            durability continues to impress me. I would definitely buy this pack
            again.

            pluses:

            * unusually durable construction throughout the pack
            * organizer panel
            * good water resistance
            * easy to pack effectively, with good pocket sizes
            * comfortably padded back
            * keeps a clean appearance even after use

            minuses:

            * slash pocket isn't very useful with a full load
            * zippers can leak in heavy rain (fixed in current retail model)
            * hip belt is unpadded and pack has no frame
            * arrangement of pockets can make the pack quite bulky
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