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FR - R2 Custom Pack - Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    Here is my Field Report on this wonderful pack. Complete report with pictures at http://tinyurl.com/3a9tdt. Happy New Year, Richard. Field Report January 2,
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 2, 2008
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      Here is my Field Report on this wonderful pack. Complete report
      with pictures at http://tinyurl.com/3a9tdt. Happy New Year, Richard.

      Field Report
      January 2, 2008
      The Telemaster has been day hiking, backpacking, and skiing with me
      during the last two months.
      FIELD CONDITIONS
      Shortly after I received the pack I wore it on a day hike on the
      Katy Trail in Dallas, about five miles of more or less flat, paved
      terrain, on a typical sunny October day in North Texas, 85 F (29 C)
      and low humidity. The day after Thanksgiving I wore it in cooler
      temperatures, about 40 F (5 C) and windy, as I wandered through the
      Bachman Nature Area, a small Dallas city park adjacent to my home.
      Each time I had stowed in the main pack bag a rain jacket and pants,
      lunch, 2+ liter/quart water bladder, extra shirt for after the hike,
      and my Jetboil PCS. I also carried a bottle of wine for lunch on
      the Katy Trail and a wool sweater on the second trip. I wore the
      pack over a cotton tee on the first hike, over a mid-weight merino
      long sleeved shirt on the second.
      In mid-November I did a three-day, two-night backpack on the
      Oklahoma section of the Ouachita Trail, from Pashubbe trailhead to
      the Arkansas state line, starting at about 1000 ft (300 m) with a
      net 1200 ft (350 m) elevation gain over fourteen miles (22 km). It
      was overcast the entire time in camp and on the trail, with
      occasional pockets of ground fog. Also it was warm and humid, up to
      80 F (27 C) during the day and not much below 60 F (16 C) at night.
      During all hiking I wore the pack over a merino t-shirt. My pack
      weight on this trip, including food but not water, was just under
      twenty-five pounds (11 kg). All my kit was inside the pack except
      for three items: my rain jacket, which I stashed in the kango
      pocket; Zip-Lock with TP and trowel, which went inside the zippered
      pocket on the outside of the kango; and water shoes, strapped on the
      lower side compression straps. I carried a 2+ liter/quart water
      bladder in the hydration pocket and a one liter/quart SIGG bottle of
      water in the side panel pocket.
      An air fare sale gave me a chance to warm up my ski legs on a
      weekend jaunt to Grand Targhee resort, just west of the Tetons in
      Wyoming, in mid-December. The resort base is at 8000 feet (2500
      m). Both ski days were overcast and windy, with snow flurries
      throughout the day, and temperatures from 4 to 18 F (-16 to -8 C) at
      the ski area base, definitely colder on top. In my Telemaster I
      carried a down vest in a compression sack, cashmere watch cap (for
      breaks – inbounds I ski with a helmet), and spare glove liners in
      the main pack bag; 2+ liter/quart Platypus water bladder in the
      hydration sleeve; climbing skins and tool kit in the top pocket; an
      0.75 liter/quart thermos of tea in the zippered pocket; shovel in
      the kango pocket; and sunblock, small packet of Clif bars in a Zip-
      Lock, lip gloss, pocket knife, and headlamp in the hip belt
      pockets. The pack fit snugly over a merino base layer shirt,
      ultralight down parka, and soft shell top. Targhee is a wide-open
      ski hill with no real distinction between named runs and the spaces
      between them. Though the resort boundaries are clearly marked,
      adjacent backcountry options beckon, and most of the in-bounds
      skiing has a backcountry flavor to it. While most of my skiing was
      inbounds, I did plenty of hiking to get to the powder stash at the
      far north of the area. I crossed the area boundary once, to boot
      pack to the notch on Peaked Mountain just below Mary's Nipple.
      Just after Christmas I went back to Wyoming for a three-day, two-
      night backcountry tour in the Targhee National Forest. Under snowy
      skies with temperatures at 8 F/-13 C we began with a 4 mile (7 km)
      ski up a skin track, with a 1200 vertical foot (365 m) elevation
      gain (1000 ft/305 m in the last mile), from the trailhead near
      Driggs, Idaho to the Commissary Ridge yurt at 8000 feet (2500 m).
      This yurt sits on an open face of the ridge with a spectacular view
      of all three Tetons, weather permitting (which it didn't during this
      trip), but requires uphill hikes of 2-3 miles (3-5 kg) to reach the
      better ski runs on Beard's Mountain across the valley. After lunch
      at the yurt we hiked up the ridge for an afternoon powder run, and
      then hiked back up to the yurt. Conditions deteriorated the
      following day, to the point where it was blowing a gale at the top
      of the ridge (about 9200 ft/2800 m) by mid-afternoon, with
      temperatures at 1 F/-17 C and falling. Nasty hiking weather but a
      major contribution to the snowpack, making for exhilarating downhill
      skiing! The storm passed through Saturday night, giving us a mostly
      sunny, mostly windless day for some truly spectacular powder skiing –
      three feet (~1 m) of untracked cold smoke in spots on Sunday's long
      downhill run.
      Pack contents on the hike in (and ski out) were similar to the in-
      bounds ski trip, with lunch and the following gear added: mukluks,
      trousers, underwear, and shirt for the yurt; two extra pairs of
      socks; spare set of base layer top and bottom; paperback book; and
      map. (Sleeping bags and food had been cached at the yurt.)
      Altogether about 30 lb/14 kg including water, tea, and food, and
      enough room to spare for a stove and sleeping bag had I needed
      them. After reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and
      jettisoning my water bladder, which had frozen, reducing weight to
      about 15 lb/7 kg. While hiking I wore a lightweight merino top
      under an insulated ski parka, adding a second merino layer on the
      frigid day, and also adding my ultralight down parka at rest stops
      or when skiing downhill.
      OBSERVATIONS AND OPINIONS
      Hiking. The day hikes allowed me to test the efficacy of various
      pack features. Total pack weight on the day hikes, water included,
      didn't exceed fifteen pounds (7 kg), so while not a true test for
      weight transfer I did get the feel of the pack on my shoulders on
      the trail. The pack fit perfectly and was quite comfortable with
      the frame sheet. I had adjusted the shoulder straps slightly at
      home for the proper fit, and I didn't need to fiddle with them at
      all on my hikes. I had no chafing at the shoulders or the hips.
      I quickly came to appreciate two features particularly. The
      compression straps shone, letting me use about half (at most) of a
      3500 ci/57 liter pack without having anything flopping around
      inside. I kept the straps clipped on the sides of the pack (you
      will note in my Initial Report that they can also be strapped across
      the front) and pulled the straps through until I had compressed the
      pack bag. My small load was similar in volume to what I expect to
      carry when skiing inbounds, and the pack appeared to be narrow
      enough so that had I been skiing I could have worn it on a lift.
      The real stick-out feature was the hip belt pockets. These have
      about twice the capacity of the ones on my other pack that prompted
      me to order them from R2, large enough to keep snacks, hyponic
      tablets, water treatment, pocket knife, head lamp, camera,
      ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen safely stowed yet ready to hand
      without having to take off my pack.
      The hydration sleeve and port worked just as they should, without
      any difficulty in threading the hose and valve through the port; a
      2+ liter/quart bladder fits snugly in the sleeve. I used the
      zippered pocket on the left side for my rain pants and spare pair of
      socks, two items I didn't expect to use but always take, instead of
      an extra water bottle.
      In designing a ski pack I just may have found the ideal pack for one-
      and two-night backpacking trips. Great results in Oklahoma: the
      fit is terrific, its capacity is just right for my non-ultralight
      solo kit, and the frame sheet provides ample support for a thirty-
      pound (14 kg) load and keeps the back rigid on my back, like I'm
      wearing rather than carrying it. I was thoroughly comfortable all
      day, uphill and down, without any incidents of the pack pulling back
      from my shoulders on any of the uphill sections. The only tweaking
      needed on the trail was raising the sternum strap for a more
      comfortable fit. The shoulder straps may be set a bit too far apart
      for use without a sweater or ski jacket, when cinched down the
      sternum strap pinched them inward, but this didn't cause any
      abrasion at the shoulders or chest. As on the day hikes the
      compression straps kept the pack load – almost but not quite full –
      nicely compact. I didn't miss the lack of padding on the hip belt;
      no abrasion there either. All in all a very promising backcountry
      beginning for the Telemaster.
      Based on this trip I believe that R2's suggested 30-pound (14 kg)
      weight limit is conservative. With three kilos (6.6 lb) of water my
      pack weight exceeded that, and there was certainly room for more
      gear inside or strapped to the pack.
      Ski touring. I designed the Telemaster primarily for skiing, and in
      that category I haven't been disappointed. On the in-bounds days
      the compression straps kept the pack narrow enough so that I didn't
      have to take it off to ride the lift, and kept the contents from
      bouncing around. Probably because of the additional layers that I
      wore when skiing I didn't encounter any pinching of the shoulder
      straps. The fit was such that I sometimes forgot I was wearing a
      pack at all. The ski loop and top compression straps held my skis
      firmly in place while boot packing, and the loop was easy to re-stow
      at the top of the hill. I found another mini-feature very useful
      for skiing – a shovel handle strap. This small item is a hook-and-
      loop fastener with a quick-release buckle that fits over the shovel
      handle to secure it to the compression strap. Without the fastener
      there's a danger of the handle's coming loose after opening and re-
      closing the compression strap. There is also a tube sewn at the
      bottom of the front panel, inside the kango pocket, to hold the
      shovel shaft in place. While day skiing the insulating sleeve for
      the water spout did its work and I wasn't left with a frozen valve,
      but without warming breaks I wound up carrying some ice in the
      backcountry. A liter/quart Nalgene in a cozy inside the side pocket
      remained liquid, however. The compression straps let me expand or
      contract the pack contents easily and effectively.
      Inbounds and backcountry ski hills have many obstacles this early in
      the Rockies' ski season, so the sturdy Cordura fabric took some
      serious punishment from pines and willows throughout the backcountry
      tour. Many willows on Beard's hadn't yet been covered, scraping
      pack and skier on most of the descents. The snow was so good and I
      liked a new pair of powder skis so much that once or twice I made
      the Douglas firs and lodgepole pines into slalom gates on a couple
      of runs. No rents or rips, not even a mark, and all stitching
      remains sound.
      Problem. Only one so far – each clip on the sternum strap has on
      two occasions worked itself loose. The first time this happened, as
      noted below, I lost the clip, but I was able to find it in the
      snow. I'm going to talk to Ron about this, as adjustment is
      required during ski touring when stowing climbing skins inside my
      jacket, giving me a much wider silhouette.
      I've yet to discover a consistently reliable means of using a
      bladder system in really cold temperatures, so I do not consider the
      freezing of my hydration bladder and spout to be a failure of the
      added pack sleeve. In fact I was rather surprised that I didn't
      have a freeze-up when skiing inbounds.
      SUMMARY
      A number of overview comments are in order. First, as with custom
      clothes a precise fit is the best thing about a custom pack. That's
      what I received from R2: just right at the waist, shoulders, torso
      length, and across the chest. The Telemaster fits me better than
      any other framed pack that I have ever worn. Had I been purchasing
      this pack, this fact alone would have justified in my mind the price
      premium for bespoke tailoring.
      I have been consistently impressed with small details on this pack,
      like the oversized hip belt pockets, shovel handle top, shovel
      handle tube, and mitten clips. The smallish top section of the pack
      is another. It's large enough for a rain jacket and lunch and not
      much more. That way it can always be full and thus not flopping
      about on top. That feature was something I ordered specifically. I
      ordered some of the others too, or knew from the Design Proposal
      that they were included, but I didn't anticipate all their fine
      points. Then again, with Ron's expertise so apparent during the
      design process perhaps I should have.
      I've made use of and liked almost all of the features on the pack.
      All do effectively what they are supposed to do. I rate the hip
      belt pockets, bottle pocket, and dual-function kango pocket as near-
      genius.
      Another benefit of custom design is what's not there. I haven't had
      to deal with an idiosyncrasy for which I have no use, extra straps,
      flavor-of-the month bells and whistles, or downright unwanted
      features that can come along with a pack or other product I
      otherwise liked. I've never had much use for daisy chains and tool
      loops, for example, and extra straps for super-fine tuning always
      seem to snag on something while adding little functionality. Fewer
      such superfluities mean less weight, fewer ways to get in trouble,
      and much less frustration.
      R2's customer service doesn't end with delivery of the pack. While
      adjusting the sternum strap on my backpack I inadvertently loosened
      the female clip from its place on the pack strap. When I set the
      pack down at a rest stop the clip came off, and I couldn't find it
      among the leaves on the forest floor. (Note that I am not wearing a
      sternum strap in the backpacking photo above.) I notified Ron and
      received a new one in a few days. I've communicated with Ron by
      email about several features and issues, and he's prompt in replying
      with informative answers.
      I hope it's obvious from this report that I'm exceptionally pleased
      with my Telemaster. I can't think of anything don't like or might
      change if I were starting to design the pack after two months' good
      use.
      This concludes my Field Report. Check back in two months for my
      final field observations. Thanks again to BackpackGearTest.org and
      R2 Custom Packs for the testing opportunity.
    • rayestrella1
      Hi Richard, Excellent report, seems like this is really working for you. I have a few edits and you are good to go. See you in a couple months. Ray ***The day
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 3, 2008
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        Hi Richard,

        Excellent report, seems like this is really working for you. I have a
        few edits and you are good to go. See you in a couple months.

        Ray



        ***The day after Thanksgiving I wore it in cooler temperatures,

        Edit: for the sake of our international readers you should put the
        date for the day if you need to mention it. Or just say in late
        November.



        *** I crossed the area boundary once, to boot pack to the notch on
        Peaked Mountain just below Mary's Nipple.

        Comment: he he, you said Nipple…



        ***with a spectacular view of all three Tetons

        Comment: now there you go again…



        ***After reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and jettisoning
        my water bladder, which had frozen, reducing weight to about 15 lb/7
        kg.

        EDIT: Take a look at this. It needs to be restructured. Maybe, "After
        reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and, jettisoning my water
        bladder which had frozen, reduced my weight to about 15 lb/7 kg."



        ***These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other pack
        that prompted me to order them from R2, large enough to keep snacks,
        hyponic tablets, water treatment, pocket knife, head lamp, camera,
        ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen safely stowed yet ready to hand
        without having to take off my pack.

        Edit: same thing. For one I would break this into two sentences. Like;
        These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other
        pack, "which is what" prompted me to order them from R2. They are
        large enough to keep snacks, hyponic tablets, water treatment, pocket
        knife, head lamp, camera, ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen safely
        stowed yet ready to hand without having to take off my pack.



        ***once or twice I made the Douglas firs and lodgepole pines into
        slalom gate

        EDIT: Lodgepole pines
      • James
        Hi Richard... just a nit... but in the INITIAL report portion of your report you mention The photo at right ... and the photo is on the left. You might want
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 4, 2008
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          Hi Richard... just a nit... but in the INITIAL report portion of
          your report you mention "The photo at right"... and the photo is on
          the left. You might want to fix this when you do the Long Term
          Report.

          Thanks!

          James E. Triplett
          Editing Team

          --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
          <rayestrella@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Richard,
          >
          > Excellent report, seems like this is really working for you. I
          have a
          > few edits and you are good to go. See you in a couple months.
          >
          > Ray
          >
          >
          >
          > ***The day after Thanksgiving I wore it in cooler temperatures,
          >
          > Edit: for the sake of our international readers you should put the
          > date for the day if you need to mention it. Or just say in late
          > November.
          >
          >
          >
          > *** I crossed the area boundary once, to boot pack to the notch on
          > Peaked Mountain just below Mary's Nipple.
          >
          > Comment: he he, you said Nipple…
          >
          >
          >
          > ***with a spectacular view of all three Tetons
          >
          > Comment: now there you go again…
          >
          >
          >
          > ***After reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and
          jettisoning
          > my water bladder, which had frozen, reducing weight to about 15
          lb/7
          > kg.
          >
          > EDIT: Take a look at this. It needs to be restructured.
          Maybe, "After
          > reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and, jettisoning my
          water
          > bladder which had frozen, reduced my weight to about 15 lb/7 kg."
          >
          >
          >
          > ***These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other
          pack
          > that prompted me to order them from R2, large enough to keep
          snacks,
          > hyponic tablets, water treatment, pocket knife, head lamp, camera,
          > ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen safely stowed yet ready to hand
          > without having to take off my pack.
          >
          > Edit: same thing. For one I would break this into two sentences.
          Like;
          > These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other
          > pack, "which is what" prompted me to order them from R2. They are
          > large enough to keep snacks, hyponic tablets, water treatment,
          pocket
          > knife, head lamp, camera, ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen
          safely
          > stowed yet ready to hand without having to take off my pack.
          >
          >
          >
          > ***once or twice I made the Douglas firs and lodgepole pines into
          > slalom gate
          >
          > EDIT: Lodgepole pines
          >
        • richardglyon
          Ray, Thanks; all fixed and uploaded. If you ve been to the Targhee area you can really see how the Tetons got their name. Richard ... have a
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 4, 2008
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            Ray,

            Thanks; all fixed and uploaded. If you've been to the Targhee area
            you can really see how the Tetons got their name. Richard
            --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
            <rayestrella@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Richard,
            >
            > Excellent report, seems like this is really working for you. I
            have a
            > few edits and you are good to go. See you in a couple months.
            >
            > Ray
            >
            >
            > >
            > >
            > ***with a spectacular view of all three Tetons
            >
            > Comment: now there you go again…
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • rayestrella1
            ... Hi Richard, I spent three days backpacking in the Tetons with Jenn this past summer. I loved it. Ray
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 4, 2008
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              --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "richardglyon" <rlyon@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Ray,
              >
              > If you've been to the Targhee area
              > you can really see how the Tetons got their name.

              Hi Richard,

              I spent three days backpacking in the Tetons with Jenn this past
              summer. I loved it.

              Ray
            • richardglyon
              Jet, Good catch. I shall fix it when I do my LTR. Richard ... on ... the ... on ... camera, ... hand ... are ... into
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 5, 2008
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                Jet,
                Good catch. I shall fix it when I do my LTR. Richard
                --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "James" <jetriple@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > Hi Richard... just a nit... but in the INITIAL report portion of
                > your report you mention "The photo at right"... and the photo is
                on
                > the left. You might want to fix this when you do the Long Term
                > Report.
                >
                > Thanks!
                >
                > James E. Triplett
                > Editing Team
                >
                > --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
                > <rayestrella@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hi Richard,
                > >
                > > Excellent report, seems like this is really working for you. I
                > have a
                > > few edits and you are good to go. See you in a couple months.
                > >
                > > Ray
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ***The day after Thanksgiving I wore it in cooler temperatures,
                > >
                > > Edit: for the sake of our international readers you should put
                the
                > > date for the day if you need to mention it. Or just say in late
                > > November.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > *** I crossed the area boundary once, to boot pack to the notch
                on
                > > Peaked Mountain just below Mary's Nipple.
                > >
                > > Comment: he he, you said Nipple…
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ***with a spectacular view of all three Tetons
                > >
                > > Comment: now there you go again…
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ***After reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and
                > jettisoning
                > > my water bladder, which had frozen, reducing weight to about 15
                > lb/7
                > > kg.
                > >
                > > EDIT: Take a look at this. It needs to be restructured.
                > Maybe, "After
                > > reaching the yurt I stashed my yurt clothes and, jettisoning my
                > water
                > > bladder which had frozen, reduced my weight to about 15 lb/7 kg."
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ***These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other
                > pack
                > > that prompted me to order them from R2, large enough to keep
                > snacks,
                > > hyponic tablets, water treatment, pocket knife, head lamp,
                camera,
                > > ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen safely stowed yet ready to
                hand
                > > without having to take off my pack.
                > >
                > > Edit: same thing. For one I would break this into two sentences.
                > Like;
                > > These have about twice the capacity of the ones on my other
                > > pack, "which is what" prompted me to order them from R2. They
                are
                > > large enough to keep snacks, hyponic tablets, water treatment,
                > pocket
                > > knife, head lamp, camera, ibuprofen, bug dope, and sunscreen
                > safely
                > > stowed yet ready to hand without having to take off my pack.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ***once or twice I made the Douglas firs and lodgepole pines
                into
                > > slalom gate
                > >
                > > EDIT: Lodgepole pines
                > >
                >
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