73593LTR: Black Diamond Astral 40 pack- Nancy Griffith
- Aug 4 3:11 PMHi Kara,
I've posted my last installment on the Astral 40 pack to the test folder. Oops...looks like I called it 'FR' in the test folder but here's the link anyway.
Thanks in advance for reviewing it and providing edits. It's been a fun pack to test!
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Yosemite">>I used the Black Diamond Astral 40 pack on two multi-day trips during the Long-Term Test period for an additional nine days and seven nights of use.
Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California: 5 days; 37 mi (60 km); 4,200 to 9,400 ft (1,280 to 2,865 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C) with clear conditions. Pack weight was 17 - 20 lb (8 - 9 kg).
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 13 mi (21 km); 6,327 to 6,700 (1,928 to 2,040 m); 40 to75 F (4 to 24 C) with clear, cloudy and thunderstorm conditions. This trip was a backpack trip into a base camp followed by day hiking, swimming, kayaking and fishing. Pack weight was 15 - 20 lb (7 - 9 kg).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The pack continued to perform very well throughout the test period with the smaller volume working out perfectly for me. I had no problem fitting in all of my gear and the funnel-like top makes it a breeze to load. I have used the lid on every trip since I love having the extra-large pocket for accessing items on the trail. However, I will probably try a trip or two without it when I'm looking to save weight. There is still enough room in the pack for me without the lid.
I changed from carrying a 32 oz (1 L) water bottle in the side pocket to carrying two 16 oz (1/2 L) water bottles with one in each side pocket due to the difficulty of using the larger bottle while hiking. The smaller bottles were manageable for me to access during rest stops without removing my pack and without any help. I would prefer to carry the bottle on my shoulder straps however and am thinking of making some loops to hold them there for better access.
On the Yosemite trip, I dried laundry on the last three days in the outer mesh pocket. It was nice to have the pocket in order to keep my clean clothes away from my dirty camp shoes. The clothing dried fairly well but I had to pull it out during stops to let things dry out better in the sun. The mesh got stained from residual dirt on our wet 'clean' socks that apparently hadn't gotten completely washed out.
The comfort has been very good and I never had those mornings where I dreaded to don my pack due to sore hip and shoulder points. The durability has been good with no noticeable stressed seams, discoloration, fading or damage other than a slight abrasion and a pulled thread on the mesh pocket. I am careful to set my pack with the straps leaning onto something but there were many occasions of bushwhacking where something could have snagged onto the pack.
I used the pole storage straps for holding my water shoes which worked very well and made it easy to secure them.
The Black Diamond Astral 40 pack has become a favorite of mine and fits my style well. It is a well-designed women's pack with just the right amount of space and just the right trade-off of features to weight. I love it!
Hip belt pockets
Roomy lid yet removable
Could be Better:
Easier water bottle access
Weighs 5 oz (142 g) more than advertised
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
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