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74545FR - High Sierra Titan 65 Pack - Theresa Lawrence

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  • Theresa Lawrence
    Nov 13 7:12 AM
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      Thanks for the editing, it's been an interesting test so far ... here is the HTML and the text following


      Test Series By Theresa Lawrence
      November 13, 2012
      Field Locations and Conditions

      Over the past 2 months I have used this pack on the following trips:

      AUGUST: Banff National Park, Twin Lakes to Gibbon Pass to Shadow Lakes: 2 nights, 3 days.
      - Day 1 - Elevation Gain: 1065 m (3494 ft), Distance: 8.2 km (5.1 mi), Maximum Elevation: 2060 m (6759 ft)
      - Day 2 - Elevation Gain: 750 m (2461 ft), Distance: 27 km (16.8 mi), Maximum Elevation: 2300 m (2546 ft)
      - Day 3 - The reverse of the first day.
      - Trail Conditions: well maintained steep mountain trail through forest, subalpine and alpine.
      - Weather: dry, hot during the day, humid with short, fierce thunder showers in the late afternoon, evening   and overnight. Temperatures ranged from 8-30 C (46-86 F), high winds encountered in Gibbon Pass.

      SEPTEMBER: Airport Travel, Vancouver Island
      - As checked airplane luggage: fully packed with kayaking and camping gear
      - Used to transport sea-kayak touring gear from airport to point of kayaking

      OCTOBER: Elk Lakes Provincial Park, Elk Lakes to Petain Basin: 2 nights, 3 days.
      - Day 1 - Elevation Gain: 50 m (164 ft), Distance: 7 km (4.4 mi), Maximum Elevation: 1785 m (5856 ft)
      - Day 2 - Elevation Gain: 600 m (1969 ft), Distance: 8 km (5 mi), Maximum Elevation: 2348 m (7703 ft)
      - Day 3 - The reverse of the first day.
      - Trail Conditions: day 1&3 - flat easy trail in forest, day 2 - steep head wall, narrow trail and rock slabs.
      - Weather: overcast, mist & drizzle, rain, hail. Temperatures ranged from 0-15 C (32-15 F).
      Performance in the Field
      COMFORT: Either I or this pack have multiple personalities. Every time I put it on it felt different. On the first outing, I could not get comfortable with it. No matter how I adjusted it, and the adjustments were easy, which was nice, I could not get it to sit comfortably. Something was always lumpy in my lower back. But, on the second outing the comfort was quite satisfactory. Perhaps I just needed to break it in or maybe it was the type of hike. Since the first trip had over 1000 m (3281 ft) of elevation, while the second was only 50 m (164 ft) over about the same distance. Both times my pack weighed about 37 lb (kg). Of note the shoulder straps seemed awfully  wide, making forward arm movements awkward, though this became less noticeable the more I used it.

      FUNCTION: The pack proved to have a lot of functionality. The waist pockets were very useful for my small camera, snacks, knife and compass. They were in fact very roomy, which I liked. The removable media pocket attached to the shoulder strap fit my personal locater beacon perfectly. The side mesh pockets were big enough for 1 L water bottles, but the weight of them ripped the mesh on the first day. Because if this I have used them for much lighter objects such as my fuel canister, bear spray and empty coffee cup. The pack is hydration system compatible, with a sewn in bladder pocket, two ports and elastic bands on each shoulder strap to keep the tube in place. This system really worked well for me, so I wasn't sad that I couldn't keep using the side pockets for water storage. A large hinge pocket on the back with gusseted mesh sides as well as a zippered pocket proved to be great storage space for rain gear (jacket , pants, gaiters, gloves, hat). When
      the weather turned I had easy access for these items as well as stashing warm layers as weather improved. In ill weather, there were no issues about stuff in this pocket getting wet because I could just cover the pack in the rain cover it came with, which proved waterproof so far. The main body of the pack was very roomy, the sleeping bag compartment fit more than just my sleeping bag. I had no problem packing all my essentials; food, warm clothes, first aid, sleeping mat, tent, etc. The top lid was roomy to the point of problematic. When it was full, and to fill it I had to put all kinds of things I wouldn't normally place in the top lid like my fat novel and guide book, toiletry stuff, my whole lunch (not just snacks), an extra layer or two just for filler. Some of this I loaded from the underneath zipper pocket, so if I was digging for quick stuff, I didn't have to sift through stuff I know I wasn't going to need. I found if I didn't fill it to the
      maximum volume the top would flop around because there was no way to tighten it as the buckles were too high up on the pack and the extra volume would make everything in it flop around from side to side and front to back wacking me in the head every time I leaned forward. However, filling the top to maximum volume allowed the pack to stand firm, but my head would hit it every time I looked up, not much fun. After much frustration, I found a happy medium using 1/2-3/4 of the volume and rigging the top closure straps through the compression straps for the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the pack before fastening them closed. This resulted in the top lid being secured to the back of the pack instead of the top, which also overlapped the top of the hinged pocket, far out of the way of my head and stopped it from moving around. This rigged up arrangement has been working well, though perhaps not as intended.

      As I have yet to find a pack that can keep the sweat off my pack or to a minimum, it was no surprise to me that the airflow design of the back, which was supposed to keep me dry and cool, didn't. In fact, I felt it trapped the heat  resulting in concentrated sweat along my spine.

      I don't used the side zip to the main body. When the pack is full, it's difficult to open and access anything. I find there was enough easy access pockets that there wasn't anything from the main body I needed or was easier accessed by opening the main access. Also, I haven't found a use for the hefty side handles, even at the airport I just grabbed hold of the side compression straps or top lid. the handles seemed in the wrong place to balance the load.

      A whistle on the sternum strap would have been preferred, but as I always have a handy whistle to clip on to any pack, it was hardly a big deal.

      DURABILITY: As mentioned above both of the mesh side pockets ripped on the first day of use under the weight of water bottles. I have no idea how I got a small hole in the middle of the rain cover, but I did, I"m thinking when I placed it on the ground. There are also abrasions in the middle of the zippered back hinged pocket that have breached full thickness. Again, I have no idea how this happened as the pack hasn't been dragged along anything to my knowledge. The trails I was on were in good condition and not overgrown. It's a bit of a mystery. I have also observed some stretched threading along the attachment points of the shoulder straps to the pack, they seem to be taking a lot of strain, I will keep my eye on these points over the next 2 months. The rest of the pack still looks new.
      To date I have enjoyed the convenience the design offers for on trail access to all sorts of items without having to fuss with the inside of the pack. The pack has proved easy to adjust and pack with lots of room for all my essential gear. Sometimes too much volume and a bit awkward or floppy at times, but I have found a rigging that works to minimize this.  My favourite features so far are the quick access pockets on the belt and shoulder strap and the hinged pocket on the back. I still have some concerns with durability and comfort, which I will be observing throughout the next testing phase.

      - Lots of quick access pockets
      - Rain cover keeps pack dry
      - Easy adjustability
      - Hydration system compatible
      - Mesh side pockets good for light items like bear spray

      - Volumous top lid hits head because the straps can't be tightened (suggestion: move closure clips further down the pack to allow for tightening of the straps)
      - Mesh side pockets ripped on first day under load of water bottles
      - Small hole in rain cover and full thickness abrasions on back hinge pocket noticed on second trip
      - First trip was uncomfortable (lumpy back), but comfortable on second trip (jury is still out)

      Thank you to High Sierra and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this interesting pack.
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.
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