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Application to test the Granite Gear Latitude Backpack

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  • gcmehojah
    Please accept my application to test the Granite Gear Latitude Backpack. I have read the requirements in the BGT survival Guide, Ch 5 (v. 1202), and will
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2 8:44 PM
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      Please accept my application to test the Granite Gear Latitude
      Backpack. I have read the requirements in the BGT survival Guide, Ch 5
      (v. 1202), and will comply with each and every requirement detailed
      therein. I delivered my signed Test Application on November 28, via
      regular mail, and it should now be on file.

      If chosen for this test, I would need a size Regular in Torso,
      Large-Regular width shoulder straps, and X-Large Hip Belt.

      Biographical Information:

      Name: Greg Mehojah
      Age: 34
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
      Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
      Email: gmehojah3@...
      City, State, Country: Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Backpacking Background:

      I began backpacking last year to reintroduce myself to the outdoors,
      and introduce my 10 year old son to backpacking. My trips have
      typically been 1-2 nights with my son and 2-3 nights when I solo. My
      first season has taken me through desert terrain and high-altitude
      meadowlands throughout New Mexico, as well as day hikes of the
      foothills and ridgeline trails of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque.
      I tend to carry most of the gear when I hike with my son, so I am not
      a lightweight hiker, but plan on moving that direction as my son gets
      older.

      -------------------

      Field Information:
      -------------------

      As stated above, I recently became active in backpacking to help
      provide my 10 year old son with some enriching activities that do not
      involve television or video games, and to get myself back to the
      outdoors. Because my son can only carry his sleeping bag, jacket and
      some water/snacks, I have been deemed "Pack Donkey" for all of our
      trips together. In addition to my own gear, I also carry our tent,
      warmer clothes for my son, all our food and extra water (lots of water
      for some of our hikes), stove, kitchen gear, camp shoes, a book for
      each of us, first aid kit, bathroom/toiletry supplies, and camp
      chairs/sleeping pads. On a couple of occasions, I had to strap my
      son's pack to my pack when he had "had enough" for the day. My
      personal pack load on our last two night trip tipped the scales at 43
      pounds. Our first trip together for one night was upwards of 45
      pounds due to the four season tent I hauled in (the weather reports
      looked gloomy). Even if I was willing to sacrifice comfort for
      weight, I couldn't, because all the gear I initially invested in is
      far from lightweight, which is why I carry a 4500 cu. in. pack now.
      Therefore, I need a pack that can carry all of my gear and my son's
      gear, and provide the best fit, comfort and load stability as
      possible. If I save a bit of weight on the pack, all the better!

      My activities during this test will take place at altitudes ranging
      from between 7,000 feet and 10,500 feet above sea level. In addition
      to the trips I have planned for myself and my son together, I have
      three 3-4 night solo trips already planned and scheduled beginning in
      February, as well as in March and June throughout New Mexico's
      wilderness. I will also have some overnight trips mixed in to keep
      things lively. The terrain will vary between high altitude desert and
      thick ponderosa pine forests.

      I realize that as BGT "Newbie", I will not likely go on hairy three
      week excursions with this pack, but Newbies buy backpacks too! If
      chosen for this test, I would hope to provide some newbie insights
      into the reports so that others who are just getting into backpacking
      can learn from my experiences.

      -------------------
      Test Plan:
      -------------------

      Fit:

      I learned the hard way that fit of a pack is the most important. I
      did not fit my first pack properly and was sore after every trip. I
      was finally told that I had to take individual measurements of my
      torso, shoulder area, and hips to get a proper fit and that it would
      make all the difference. If chosen for this test, I would like to
      determine how well the customized fitting system offered by Granite
      Gear helps the following:

      A. Hip belt: Because of my waist measurements, the hip belt in my
      size requires a plastic "exoskeleton". At the weights I generally
      carry, I intend to test how well the fit of the belt as advertised
      prevents overly sore hips. I know, sadly all too well, how sore my
      hips can get due to a poorly fit pack. Additionally, how well does
      the hipbelt transfer the pack weight loads to my hips and does the
      double density foam crush or washout under heavier loads over time?
      How well does the hip cinching/strap system hold and does it allow for
      easy adjustment during a hike?

      B. Shoulder Straps: The shoulder straps are advertised as 3D shaped
      to fit around the neck, torso, and countour of the shoulder. I am
      interested in determining whether the single pivot system and the
      contoured shoulder straps prevent sore collar bones, shoulder muscles,
      and "strap rash". Do the straps bind under my armpits when cinched
      down properly? At the end of a long day are my shoulders sore from
      the foam padding being too stiff? How well does the strap material
      handle rain, sweat and other moisture? Does it dry quickly when the
      pack is removed?

      C. Frame Sheet: The 3D Tepex framesheet is advertised as being able
      to flex under loads to provide comfort but does not wash out. Is the
      framesheet actually able to accomplish this task? Does the framesheet
      flex as advertised to provide comfort? Is the framesheet sturdy
      enough to handle 45+ pound loads for long periods of time? How well
      does the framesheet follow the countours of my back? It doesn't
      appear that the Tepex framesheet can be customized to fit the contour
      of my back like an aluminum stay can. Are there other options
      available for additional customization of the framesheet?

      D. Backpad: The material that makes up the backpad is the same
      material that is in the shoulder straps. Does the backpad cause my
      back to sweat too much? Does it unnecessarily trap heat, or does it
      vent appropriately on long hikes? Does the pad bind or bunch up with
      use? How comfortable is the pad when carrying 45 pounds or more?
      Does the pad, if wet, dry out quickly when the pack is removed?


      Stability:

      A. Load/weight transfer:

      If chosen for this test, I would like to determine how well the
      suspension system transfers the weight from the pack to the wearer.
      The flexible Tepex framesheet will likely be at the heart of this
      investigation. How well do the shoulder straps and hipbelt marry to
      the framesheet? How well does the framesheet acomodate for different
      loads in attempting to contour to my back? Does the pack rock or sway
      while walking normally or while crawling over downfall on the trail?
      Does the framesheet flex and not return to its original shape, or does
      the framesheet perform as advertised?

      How well does the hipbelt allow for movement of the pack load? It
      appears that the hipbelt has a pivot system to allow for more natural
      movement of the pack load while hiking. Does this system allow for
      too much movement? Can the movement be adjusted to prevent too much
      sway in the loads? Does the hipbelt actually improve my hiking
      experience through appropriate load transfers from the pack to myself?

      What is cruise control, and how well does it really work? It appears
      from the GG website, that the Cruise Control system is intended to be
      adjusted depending on the types of terrain encountered. Does the
      cruise control operate as advertised? Does the system provide for
      weight to be snugged up against the hip belt and maintain comfort?
      How easy is the system to adjust on the move? Does adjustment of the
      Cruise Control system require additional adjustment of the hip belt?
      How effective it is to "lock" the cruise control down as advertised on
      GG's website?

      How well does the compression system work to prevent the loads from
      shifting while hiking? Can I not use the internal compression system
      (i.e. if I do not use stuff sacks to organize my gear), and still get
      a stable hiking load? Can I still access the side pockets after
      cinching down the compression straps, or do the contents simply get
      squished?

      Usability:

      This pack has a number of features that will be interesting, if I am
      chosen, for me to test. First, and most noteably, this is a front
      loading pack, which I presume will take some getting used to as I have
      a top loader currently. Is it better to use a bunch of stuff sacks to
      organize my gear? If I do not use individual stuff sacks to organize
      my gear, will everything fall out and look like a yard sale, when I am
      just looking for my socks? Can I get to my gear using only one side
      zipper? Do I need to use the internal compression system to maintain
      organization? Does the internal compression system only work with
      gear stowed in a stuff sack system? Is it difficult to close the
      zippers when the pack is buldging with gear? How "stuffable" is the
      pack? Is it stretchy?

      Do the loadlifter straps bring the load of the pack nicely to my back
      or does it simply cause the shoulder straps to rise up and bind my
      armpits? How well does the framesheet bend using the loadlifters? Do
      the hip belt stabilizer straps help control the sway of the load at
      the bottom end? Do these straps, when used, cause undue hip bone fatigue?

      How useful is the Latitude's top internal lid? Does it really provide
      any useful benefit? Is it better left at home or unused? Does it get
      in the way? Is it water proof or weather proof? Does using the lid
      affect the internal compression system?

      Durability:

      In the desert southwest, there are lots of snaggly and prickly things
      that my gear gets caught on. If chosen for this test, I would like to
      see how well the pack holds up under heavy loads on rough terrain.
      Does the stitching hold up at critical points? Does the fabric, when
      stretched, lend itself to snags or tears? Is a repair kit included?
      If the pack does need minor repairs, how easy is it to do so?


      Reviews Completed:
      -------------------

      Owner Reviews:

      I have completed two Owner Reviews:

      Marmot Eiger 36 Pack
      MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

      Both reviews can be seen here:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/NM%20Newbie

      Completed Tests:

      None at this time.

      Ongoing Tests:

      None at this time.

      Thank you for your consideration of my application to test the Granite
      Gear Latitude Backpack. I hope it meets with your favor.
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