REPOST: OWNER REVIEW - MPACK AQUAFLO - Hugh Teegan
- Ray, Thank you for the compliments - I had excellent help from my mentor - Jason. I've made the changes indicated and copied below as well as uploading to:
I'm not quite sure where my name was left out. The html uploader and Yahoo email truncate my name (because of the long title). I've shortened the title in the subject line of this email so that there is room for my name here. Let me know if you want me to do the same on the upload (i.e. shorter title but full name).
MPACK AQUAFLO DISPOSABLE HYDRATION SYSTEM
OWNER REVIEW BY HUGH TEEGAN
October 13, 2007
NAME: Hugh Teegan
LOCATION: Bellevue, Washington, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been hiking (mostly in Europe) since I
could walk but only began backpacking in 1998 when I wanted to
explore further into the wilderness and National Park areas of the
US Pacific Northwest. I have backpacked extensively in the Cascade
Range, some in the Olympics and BC Coast Range and my most recent
major expedition was the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. My backpacking style is lightweight with sandals on my feet, sleeping under my rain cape and carrying mostly dried food.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://mpackgear.com/" LINK TEXT = "MPACK Endurance Gear web site">>
MSRP: US$ 26.99
Measured Weight: Reservoir: 0.8 oz (24 g). Tube, Bite Valve and Tube Attachment: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Listed Capacity: 70 fl oz (2 L)
Measured Capacity: 72 fl oz (2.1 L) when filled to brim
Listed Tube Length: 40 in (102 cm)
Measured Tube Length: 40 in (102 cm)
Measured Reservoir Dimensions: Height:14.7 in (37.5 cm), Width: 6.9 in (17.5 cm)
Measured Reservoir Opening internal diameter: 1.62 in ( 4.1 cm)
I ordered the Universal Starter Kit directly from the MPACK web site and it arrived three days later. As expected, the pack contains 3 reservoirs, 1 Drink Tube with attached cap, 1 Bite Me Valve (bullet style), 2 Caps and complete use and cleaning instructions.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Universal Starter Kit Contents" IMAGE CAPTION = "Starter Kit">>
The reservoir is a flexible, collapsible, plastic water bottle with an angled corner spout. The reservoir is not designed to stand by itself. The reservoir is made of thin soft transparent plastic sheeting and the spout is made of hard blue translucent plastic. The reservoir has the Aquaflow and MPACK names, the company logo, web address and reservoir capacity printed on one side. There are no measurement markings on the reservoir which does not retain its shape well enough to make such markings useful.
The seal around the reservoir begins right at the edge of the reservoir and is 0.3 in (0.7 cm) wide on 4 sides. The seal at the spout is 0.4 in (1 cm) wide and the bonding to the spout is also 0.4 in (1 cm) wide. The spout fitting has a small eye which could be used to hang the reservoir on a small hook or suspend from thin cord.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "View of reservoir opening" IMAGE CAPTION = "Reservoir Spout">>
The bite valve was securely attached to the tube and packed in shrink wrap for hygiene. The tube is made of transparent plastic. The cap is black plastic and the reservoir connector fitting is white plastic. The Bite-Me valve housing is black plastic with a blue plastic mouth piece over which the white silicone bite nipple fits. The tube attaches to both the valve and the cap with watertight stretch fittings.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The Directions for Use are clear and very detailed with specific directions for each element of the kit. The instructions do mention to screw the cap firmly onto the reservoir and this turned out to be very important.
The cleaning instructions are also clear and detailed. Since the reservoir is disposable, the cleaning instructions relate only to the reusable bite valve and tubing.
Recycling instructions were not included in the package but are available on the MPACK web site.
TRYING IT OUT
I initially tried out the system at home by filling one of the reservoirs. When empty the reservoir is completely flat - except for the spout area. When full the reservoir looks like a small plump pillow.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "View of Full Reservoir" IMAGE CAPTION = "Pillow shaped full reservoir">>
On attempting to attach the tube, one issue became immediately apparent - the tube attachment can move independently inside the screw cap and when screwing the cap onto the reservoir the tube attachment frequently gets caught in the threads and ends up sideways inside the cap like this:
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "View of cap gone wrong" IMAGE CAPTION = "Cap gone wrong">>
When this happens the tube attachment has to be reseated in the cap and the attachment attempted again. It takes two hands to reseat the tube attachment which, considering the reservoir is not free standing can be quite awkward.
I've tried using the MPACK with the MUV Ultraviolet lamp but, as the lamp only reaches just beyond the neck of the spout, I hesitate to use the MPACK when treating water in this way.
All my hiking with the MPACK has been in the Cascade Range during the months of July through September. I use reservoirs only for water and usually carry a small bottle for drinks other than water. Day hikes were of 5 to 15 miles (8 km to 24 km) in length with 1500 to 3500 feet (457 m to 1067 m) accumulated elevation gain/loss.
The backpack trip on which I used the MPACK was a 5 day trip in the North Cascades with an accumulated elevation gain/loss of 22,000 feet (6706 m). Temperatures ranged from 82 F (28 C) to 29 F (-2 C). Trails ranged from wide gentle "horse grade" trails through rough boot paths up and down steep terrain. For the most part the trails are well maintained and the off trail areas are above treeline in alpine tundra and bare rock.
For all day hikes I was carrying the reservoir inside a light day pack which does not have a hydration pocket. On the backpacking trip I used a Golite Infinity which does have a hydration pocket but it was more convenient for me to use the top pocket.
On both packs the provided tube is long enough to reach under my arm to the shoulder strap where I used a plastic tube clip (not included in the kit) to hold the bite valve within reach of my mouth.
For all day hikes the reservoir was filled at home and never filled in the field so the reservoir stayed protected in my pack throughout. On the backpack trip I used the MPACK both as my water supply at campsites as well as hydration on the trail.
On my first hike with the MPACK, following the instructions I put the reservoir spout downward in my pack. It took 55 minutes to drive to the trailhead and by the time I got there a wet patch had developed at the bottom of my pack. Investigation showed water was getting out between the cap and the spout. This was easily solved by tightening the cap. From then on I always tested the seal between the reservoir and cap by squeezing gently on the reservoir and listening and watching at the spout. I have not had any further leaks.
On the hike the water and flow were fine and the water had no detectable "plastic" taste. After the hike I washed the tube and valve as recommended and since the reservoir seemed to be fine I washed that too and hung all to dry.
On subsequent hikes I continued to use the same reservoir which was not showing any signs of wear or tear. The reservoir can be carried and used in any orientation but putting it spout down ensures I can suck out all the water.
After several dayhikes with the MPACK I had no hesitation in using it for a 5 day backpack in the North Cascades of Washington State, close to the Canadian border. 7 miles (11.2 km) in from the trailhead I went to fill my MPACK using a First Need Deluxe (FND) pump and filter/purifier. Unfortunately, the spout on the MPACK has the exact same diameter as one of the rings on the FND which meant that I had to hold both the filter and the MPACK reservoir together with one hand while pumping with the other. This was very awkward and keeping the reservoir in place under the outflow of the FND proved very tricky and greatly added to the time taken to get water throughout the trip. With the gift of hindsight, I should have tested this before starting the trip but it was not a show stopper. Otherwise the MPACK was perfect for my needs on this trip both on the trail and at camp. During the five days the MPACK suffered considerable wear and tear - being dropped,
crushed (yes, I stepped on a corner of it!) and generally tossed around. The plastic became "krinkly" rather than smooth and the creases no longer come out when it is laid flat. It's not difficult to tell in the first photo above which reservoir I used for this trip. But there has been no leak, none of the seams are showing any damage and I've used the reservoir again on two dayhikes since the backpacking trip.
One of the nights I was camped above 6500 feet (1981 m) and the temperature inside my shelter fell to 29 F (-2 C). The water in the tube partially froze without doing any apparent damage. The water in the reservoir did not freeze so I cannot say how well it does in freezing conditions in the field.
While the MPACK is a great lightweight hydration system for me, I really don't buy in to the disposable aspect as, since the tube and fittings need to be cleaned anyway and are generally much harder to clean than the reservoir I'm not really saving much effort by having a disposable reservoir.
Things I like:
Reusable (all of it)
Capacity is right for me
Things I don't like:
Tube attachment getting caught in cap threads
Spout diameter makes use with my filter very awkward
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
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- Hello Hugh,
This looks good. The only thing I noticed (and just missed the first
time) is the manufacturer's name is MPACK Endurance Gear, not just
MPACK. If you can change that and then put the new HTML in its new home
Make sure to highlight the Owner Review button.
Thanks for the review, one down, one to go.
(I leave tomorrow for Moorhead MN, Fargo ND so I will be sitting with a
bunch of your fellow Microsofties.)