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Application to test the Gregory 2005 G-Pack - André

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  • André Corterier
    Please accept my application to test the Gregory 2005 G-Pack. I have read and understood the Survival guide v.1202 (in particular, chapter 5) and agree to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2005
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      Please accept my application to test the Gregory 2005 G-Pack. I have
      read and understood the Survival guide v.1202 (in particular, chapter
      5) and agree to follow all guidelines within. I have also sent in my
      signed agreement.

      Personal Biographical Information:
      Name: André Corterier
      Age: 33
      Gender: m
      Height: 1.85 m (6'1")
      Weight: 80 kg (175 lb)
      Email address: andreDOTcorterierATfreenetDOTde
      City, State, Country: Bonn, Germany
      Date: 2005-05-31

      Backpacking Background:
      I began backpacking in my late teens using Europe's "InterRail"-
      System – weight hardly mattered, as we were on trains a lot. I
      recently rediscovered backpacking and have started out slowly –
      single-day 15 mile (24 km) jaunts by myself or even shorter hikes in
      the company of my little daughter. I am getting started on longer
      hikes, as a lightweight packer and hammock-camper. I've begun
      upgrading my old gear and am now shooting for a dry FSO weight
      (everything carried From the Skin Out except food, fuel and water) of
      about 10 kg (22 lb) for three-season camping. Not quite there yet.

      ---

      Test Plan:

      There are a number of things I'd look out for in any backpack, and
      they all seem to bear on this one, as well:
      - strap placement: How far apart are the shoulder straps
      located – will they tend to slide off my shoulders or pinch my neck?
      How much adjustment is possible in their length? Does the curvature
      tend to pinch my chest, or will they hug my chest comfortably? Does
      this "sport harness" really create the kind of back-hugging stability
      that I look for when going for a spot of trail running? (Which, with
      a backpack on, is just backpacking on fast forward, so it should
      count.) Apparently, the Wraptor design is meant to accommodate just
      that sort of activity. I'd be happy to find out how well it works.
      - How much form does the cut of the sack, combined with its
      suspension, give to the pack so contents can be stacked up (I'm
      thinking of high-volume low-weight things like fleece), or does
      everything gather in an unsightly (and unbalancing) lump at the
      bottom? And what's "Exo" about an internal frame?
      - Weather Protection: The pack material is siliconized, so
      should be waterproof. The manufacturer calls it "water resistant".
      That means a lot depends on the seams: How much water enters the pack
      when hiking in a drizzle/the rain/a downpour? (As the testing period
      will encompass all of the fall, the ability to try it out in rain is
      guaranteed). I pack my down bag into a garbage bag for protection
      anyway, so I'd simply drape my PakTowl over the contents of my pack,
      which should allow me to check visually how much water – if any – has
      entered. I'd consider applying some seam sealer to the seams,
      depending on what the first wet experiments bring and moderator
      approval. I guess it really would be a mod, so if I felt the pack
      might benefit from it, I'd do that after the regular test period and
      post an addendum once I have results.
      - Comfort: Can I make this fit my back? Do the straps chafe,
      does the hip belt pinch, and is the padding in the back adequate? (Of
      course, providing a bladder compartment, as this pack does, goes a
      long way towards keeping pointy things away from my back even if I
      fail to pack them well, by interspersing a liquid-filled bladder
      between pack and pack content. Does the "Wraptor" stabilizer
      stabilize the load to add in comfort, or will it stabilize my upper
      body so I feel like having been strapped into a straightjacket?
      I see no load lifter straps on the pack picture. Will I miss them?
      (My past experience with the Vapor Trail led me to believe that they
      were absolutely key to achieving the kind of comfort I did.)
      - Ventilation: Does the "chimney ventilated backpanel" really
      provide more ventilation than my not-so-ventilated Vapor Trail
      backpanel? (I won't go for a shootout, but my impression from my
      current pack should allow me to judge whether the chimney ventilation
      on the G-Pack actually does anything.)
      - Load transfer: As with many, if not most, aspects, to a large
      degree also a matter of comfort. Can the "gullwing waistbelt"
      transfer the weight I'm carrying to my hips? Will it ride tightly
      enough to let the weight be borne by my hips, and spread out the
      load, or will it create pressure spots once I have food for several
      days and/or fifty meters of rope in there? I am unable to judge from
      the picture how thick the padding on the gullwings is – I'd want to
      find out whether Gregory skimped on this important comfort factor. On
      some of the other packs, Gregory notes that the waist belt is less
      substantial on their lighter weight packs (of which this is certainly
      one) than on their big packs. However, they claim a comfortable
      weight limit of 35 to 40 lb (15-18 kg). This is reassuring: On a
      recent three-day trip without resupply, my pack weighed 14.1 kg (31
      lb 2 oz), including the pack itself (1 kg/ 2.2 lb). So if the
      manufacturer has its numbers right, I should be in the clear.

      Durability is, of course, always an issue in a test. But particulars
      which come to mind are: The joining of straps and G70 packsack – do
      these hold up to repeated use? Can a material this light serve as a
      full-on backpack, including the incidental poking with brambles,
      rubbing against rock etc. to which I am unwilling to devote enough
      attention to avoid? I will also scrutinize the joining areas of the
      210d HT nylon to the G70 fabric – are the reinforcements placed well,
      or do I find abrasion on the G70 fabric at the edges of the
      reinforcements?

      Usefulness issues:
      - side pockets: They look large, which is good, but it does not
      look as though they will be accessible for me while wearing the pack.
      Too bad. But will they hold up? Will I be prone to losing items
      stored there? Will they keep items stored there tight to the pack,
      for reduced volume and klutz factor?
      - waist belt pockets: Oh, I've always wanted those. How much
      can I fit into them? Are they really as useful as I imagine? Will
      they get in the way at all? And are they, too, water"resistant"?
      - top zipper: Oh, glory day. The thing I probably miss most on
      my Vapor Trail. How large is the pocket accessed thereby, and does
      the zipper create a leaky spot?
      - top access: That I'm used to, I won't miss another access
      area. But how much use can I make of the lid? I've found the roll top
      closures of my Vapor Trail a bit bothersome sometimes, so this would
      be more convenient. But can I use the lid to hold my hammock
      underneath it without screwing up pack balance?
      - Compression straps: Is their usefulness in any way
      compromised by their location in relation to the very large mesh
      pockets?
      - Do the buckles stay snugly in place, or do the straps slip?

      Particulars:
      - The "Exo" frame is meant to twist laterally, yet provide
      solid load transfer vertically. Sounds excellent, if it works. But
      will it feel weird when bending somewhere in between? And will
      whatever kind of joint system Gregory cooked up for this stand up to
      the demands made of a backpack over the LTR?
      - The "Wraptor" stabilizer is meant to keep the pack close to
      my back. Does the added contact area, especially in the lumbar
      region, help to achieve a comfortable load transfer? And/or will the
      close fit result in heat buildup beyond the chimney ventilation's
      ability to counteract?

      And, lastly, looks: The page states (only) that the pack is available
      in "Bamboo Green". The picture on the manufacturer's homepage, at
      least when I view it using MS IE, does not seem to be any kind of
      green, bamboo or otherwise. I'd be happy with a black pack, too,
      though I would prefer (any kind of) green.

      In this region, the probable test period (summer to winter) will
      typically see temps between -5 C (25 F) and 35
      C (95 F). For precipitation we'll have fog and drizzle as well as
      rain in fall, thunderstorms in summer and likely a bit of snow in
      winter. Fall tends to be windy.

      Apart from a number of
      day hikes and the occasional weekender, the pack would accompany me
      on a 4-day outdoor camp (lots and lots of outdoor activity –
      backpacking, "forest maintenance", jogging, climbing) this summer.
      Other longer duration activities
      have not been finalized, but will be forthcoming. I may also use the
      pack on a few fell-running blitzes, depending on how well
      the "Wraptor" system works out. It might balance out the additional
      weight over my MacPac Kauri (and the front waist belt pockets would
      come in very handy there).

      I've measured my back and come up, repeatedly, with 50 cm (19.5
      inches), which puts me right on the spot between size Medium and size
      Large packs. Going by past experience, I would choose a size Large
      pack, unless the manufacturer (whose input I have solicited) suggests
      something else. Belt size (if the gullwing waistbelt comes in the
      usual Gregory sizes), should be large also (35 in hip).


      My past Owner Reviews:
      - Jack Wolfskin "World's End" tent at http://tinyurl.com/2w8vu
      - Jack Wolfskin "Iceland Men" Jacket at http://tinyurl.com/yt4lg
      - Jack Wolfskin "Texapore Mesh Hat" at http://snipurl.com/92wr
      - Salewa Protection Windstopper Gloves at http://tinyurl.com/6k9pz
      - Victorinox Outrider at http://tinyurl.com/6fspv)
      - MacPac Kauri Backpack at http://tinyurl.com/bymsq


      Completed Tests:
      Ursa Designs Clikstand S-1 Complete Stove Set, at
      http://snipurl.com/92wt
      C.Crane PakLite LED flashlight, at http://tinyurl.com/3rlo3
      GoLite Wizard Jacket, at http://tinyurl.com/6783m
      Dahlgren DriStride Alpaca Light Hiking Socks, at
      http://tinyurl.com/63joq

      Current Tests:
      AGG cozy cover (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/6sqp2
      Ibex Roaster boxers (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/3vk8p
      Ibex Wool Glove Liners (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/3wwd7
      SmartWool microweight Tee (IR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/8d8yq
      Katadyn Hiker Pro (yet to start)

      I am currently active as a BGT Mentor and have been asked to be
      available as a Monitor (which I am) (available, that is).

      Concerning my currently four (to possibly five) test calls, I'd like
      to point out that three of them are in the LTR phase, with their
      reports due in August (1) and September (2, 2 weeks apart). S this
      test won't burden me unduly. Still, I am appending my usual piece
      about handling several tests at once (if you've read it before, you
      know that all I do – unsurprisingly – is claim that it won't be a
      problem at all). (Well, and describe why that's so.)
      ---
      With the current glut in open test calls, we were - quite
      reasonably - asked to think about the potential problems presented
      by having a high number of tests going on at the same time and to
      address this issue in upcoming applications, and here are my
      thoughts on this:
      Finishing and filing the outstanding LTRs won't be a problem as the
      main body of those LTRs is already done on
      my hard drive - lacking only the text of what additional findings may
      still come up and a summary (although the headings even for those
      are in place already). In fact, I will create a root IR for
      the pack before it is shipped if I'm chosen (including MSRP, a quote
      from the manufacturer's description, and a summary of the test plan
      I put into my application). This - if past experience is anything to
      judge by - will much reduce the amount of work associated with
      creating and uploading the IR on time. And, as I have in the past, I
      intend to create root FRs the moment I've uploaded the IRs (and
      deleted the corresponding test files from the test folder) ;-)
      With four tests running simultaneously until a little while ago,
      this system which I have evolved has not made feel in any way put
      upon to meet my obligations (and I point to what I believe to be a
      perfect record in reports uploaded before their due date as
      assurance). As I intend to follow this in the future as well (and am
      lucky enough to have a job which allows me to do so) I feel
      confident that I still have room beyond the tests I am involved in.
      No, really.
      ;-)

      André
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