68758FR High Peak Alpinismo Trango 65 Backpack David Wilkes
- May 31, 2011Below is the text from my FR. You can find the HTML in the test folder at: http://tinyurl.com/3elu343
Sorry for the lack of pictures, despite the fact that I was testing multiple pieces of gear the only pictures I returned with were for an OR I am working on. Inexcusable, I will try to make up for it by getting some good pix for the LTR.
Thanks in advance for any edits, comments, and suggestions.
2 nights Ancient Lakes Central Washington State
2 nights Dusty Lake Central Washington State
My first outing with this pack was an early solo spring `shake down' hike into the Ancient Lakes area (never hiked this before). The forecast was for some cool but clear weather turning into rain. I packed my normal winter gear, and it turned out to be a good call. The short about 1.5 mi (2.5 km) hike was in undulating desert terrain of rock, packed dirt, and some sand. The trail was mostly unused jeep trails so the hiking was quite easy. It was clear and cool for the hike in but the clouds rolled in and wind picked up around sunset. During the night it rained then the temperatures plummeted. I awoke to a tent covered in sheets of ice and cold symptoms (sore throat & tired) so I stuck to exploring around the nearby lakes, cliffs and waterfall before retiring to bed early. I awoke to a cool but clear morning for my hike back to the trailhead.
My second trip was to further explore the Ancient Lakes area. This time I bypassed Ancient lakes and hiked on to Dusty Lake. I started late in the day for the about 3 mi (5 km) hike in, in similar terrain but a bit more elevation gained/lost and I had warm sunny weather. I spent the following day hiking some of the local trails (dodging the abundant but rather unfriendly snakes), in occasional showers. I stayed up way too late talking and playing games with some folks camped nearby and so awoke late the next morning for the hike out.
I have found the pack to be quite easy to pack and organize. I found it easiest to stuff my sleeping bag in from the the top of the pack, shoving it all the way to the bottom and then tighten the cinch cord to close of the main compartment from the sleeping bag compartment to keep the sleeping bag compressed while I packed the rest of my gear. I then put my tent (without the poles), food, clothes, and other gear into the main compartment. I placed my tent poles in one of the side pockets, held in place by the compression straps and a stainless steel water bottle in the other. The two pockets in the lid of the pack worked nicely for helping me to organize my gear. I placed a few flat items (folded trash bag, notebook & Kindle book reader protected by some closed cell foam) in the inner flat pocket and assorted small items that I might want easy access to (first aid kit, trowel, snacks, 10 essentials, etc) into the larger upper pocket.
On the first trip I used a 2L hydration pouch which fit quite well, held in place with the hook and loop fasteners. For the second trip, I was using a 3L hydration pouch that I found to be almost too large for the hydration pocket. I originally held it in place with the hook and loop fasteners, but found it fit snug enough that they were unnecessary. Routing the hydration hose out of the pack and fastening it on to the shoulder straps was simple and worked well. In addition to my hydration tube, I had a fixed blade knife in a sheath and a clip on watch attached to the shoulder straps.
On the second trip, I threaded some elastic cord through the six loop attachment points on the front of the main compartment to hold my daypack in place. This worked quite nicely and I plan to leave the elastic cord in place for items like rain gear.
As I mentioned in the Initial report the padded sections of the waist belt are quite long. I have lost about 6 lbs (3 Kilos) since the Initial report, and I found I had to tighten the waist belt to its smallest size in order to keep the belt high on my hips like I prefer. Luckily, I don't plan to lose much more weight. When I first saw how adjustable the torso length was I was thinking this pack could prove to be very versatile as I could shorten the length and my wife or teenage daughter could use it. But, I don't see any way I can shorten the hip belt enough for my daughter as it barely tightens enough for me.
On my first hike, despite it being so short, I had considerable trouble with strain in my lower back, something I rarely experience. I contributed it to not wearing a backpack much over the previous months, but experienced a similar problem on the second trip. On the second trip I tried to adjust the shoulder straps to better balance the load, and while the straps were easy to operate, even while on the trail, I was not able to fully relieve the stress on my lower back.
On the second trip the ground was quite dry and dusty. In addition I ended up placing the pack down on some rocky ground as well as up against some sage brush. I was able to brush the dirt off the pack with ease and noticed no visible scratches or snags in the material. I also noticed that when emptied, the pack collapses rather flat, so I was able to partially slide it under my sleeping mat, allowing for a neater and much less cluttered tent.
Overall I am pleased with the pack, except for the lower back pain I experienced. I plan to try a hike with one of my older packs to see if the issue was my back or the pack, and if it does not occur with a different pack then I will concentrate on seeing if I can adjust the Trango straps to eliminate this issue.
Easy to pack and organize
Straps are easily accessed and easy to adjust
Very adjustable torso length
Lower back pain (may or may not be related to the Trango pack)
Very long hip belt