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FR- COLEMAN CHINKAPIN X 65 BACKPACK- RALPH DITTON

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  • Ralph Ditton
    Hello Kathy, I submit my FR on the Coleman Chinkapin X 65 Backpack for your edits. The test folder can be accessed through the following link:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2008
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      Hello Kathy,

      I submit my FR on the Coleman Chinkapin X 65 Backpack for your edits.

      The test folder can be accessed through the following link:

      http://tinyurl.com/2pbmzf



      Cheers

      Ralph



      FIELD REPORT

      Date: 3rd January, 2008

      Testing Locations

      I have been on two field backpacking trips since the Initial Report.

      The first trip was an overnighter on the Coastal Plain Trail in mid

      November and the second was a five day, four night backpacking trip in

      the Nuyts Wilderness. For the Coastal Plain Trail the daytime

      temperatures ranged over the two days from 33 C (91 F) to 24 C (75 F)

      with the wind at an average of 4.3 km/h (2.6 mph). Relative Humidity was

      37% and Barometric Pressure at 1007 and steady. In short, it was hot and

      uncomfortable. Elevation ranged from sea level to 71 m (262 ft) and the

      terrain underfoot was very dry loose sand.

      For the Nuyts Wilderness, the terrain ranged from sea level to 53 m (174

      ft) with temperatures ranging from a low of 12 C (53 F) to a high of 33

      C (91 F). The sea breeze was from the SSW and averaged 39 km/h (24 mph).

      Relative Humidity during the four days fluctuated around the 80% mark.



      First trip

      This was only a short walk of around 11 km (6.8 mi) and the pack weighed

      14 kg (31 lb) which included food and water. What surprised me is how

      much gear the pack can swallow, then I had the added bonus of the

      organizer in the kangaroo pouch. The two stretchy mesh pockets can store

      a lot of gear also. I put my fly spray, toiletries, pack cover, rain

      coat, camera, weather meter and Steripen in there. I did not put much

      gear in the top pocket, just the map and compass. I did not use the

      hydration bladder pocket inside the pack but I did have water bottles

      placed in the two side pockets. When walking with the pack, the shoulder

      straps did not dig into my shoulders but I did have to lean slightly

      forward for balance. One thing became obvious was when I was rummaging

      through the pack, I needed a light to see what was where. The black

      interior makes it very difficult to find things. Perhaps a lighter

      inside colour would go some way to alleviate this problem.

      For this first small exploratory trip I was very happy with the pack and

      how it performed. I certainly had to be ruthless with which gear that I

      had to leave behind. If the gear could not have two or more uses it was

      left out. I have never been on an overnighter with a pack weight of 14

      kg (31 lb) before.



      Second trip

      As mentioned above, this was a five day, four night trip in a wilderness

      location. My total pack weight was 20 kg (44 lb) which included 5.5 lt

      (11.6 pints) of water for the first day. On this day we had a number of

      sections of beach walking, then rock hopping, scrambling and climbing

      around the various points. We had to wear gloves because the limestone

      was very daggered. On one of these scrambling exercises the pack caught

      on the limestone and it tore a hole in the left external mesh pocket. I

      only discovered it at a rest stop. Also the stitching on the elastic at

      the top of the pocket is fraying. I suspect it is from the rubbing

      against the rocks.

      hole in pocket



      hole in pocket



      The second day we went part on track and the rest off track doing bush

      bashing on a compass bearing through very scratchy and prickly bushes

      interspersed with strands of peppermint trees. Every fly in creation

      hitched a ride on our packs. No further damage was sustained by the

      pack. Pushing our way into a valley through coastal heath that was head

      high we made camp at Thompson Cove where we stayed for two nights. It

      was during our stay at this campsite that I converted the top pocket

      into a day pack for our exploration of the area. I will deal with this

      as a separate heading.



      rest at Little Long Point



      rest at Little Long Point

      My final day was all on track back to where the cars were left from a

      car shuttle. I estimate that the pack weight at the start of the trip

      was hovering around 15 kg (33 lb) and this included 3 litres of water

      which weigh 3 kg (6.6 lb). By the time we reached the cars I had drunk

      2 litres of water as it was quite warm, so the pack weight was

      approximately 13 kg (28.6 lb).



      Performance of the pack

      Day Pack

      I used the day pack set up for two of the days when we camped at

      Thompson Cove and explored the area and enjoyed a swim in the ocean. I

      found that the volume to carry things was limited. Inside the hood I

      placed my swimming togs, microfiber pocket towel, sunscreen bottle, some

      trail mix, camera and a 600 ml (20 oz) water bottle and it was full. The

      camera is small, a Panasonic DMC-TZ1. There is definitely a case for

      making the top pocket much larger in volume especially for a larger

      flexible water bottle of say 1 litre to 2 litres. As the track down to

      the bay was very overgrown and we had to tunnel our way through

      sections, I found that the outside base of the hood/day pack collected a

      lot of leaf litter and twigs and remained there until I took the pack

      off and shook them out. It was no big deal, just excess and unauthorized

      weight which stuck into my back. I had no difficulty in removing the hip

      belt from the main pack. All I had to do was to ensure that I had one of

      my hands working its way through the hook and loop patch and keep them

      separated so that I could extract the hip belt. Before doing so and this

      is where I made the initial mistake, I forgot to undo the stabilizer

      straps on the hip belt that attach to the pack, so the hip belt was

      going nowhere. Note to self, undo the straps first. The straps fed out

      of the buckles easily and they were easy to feed back into the buckles

      when I had finished with the day pack setup.

      day pack



      day pack



      Straps

      How did the various straps perform?

      The straps that were not subject to stress did their job very well, such

      as the top compression strap that goes over the throat of the pack. The

      straps that pull the hood down tight on the front of the pack worked

      very well and the two grey straps on the base of the pack that strapped

      my tent on were good also. My main worry here is that they may be a tad

      short for a larger tent such as a two man tent made from conventional

      materials and not silnylon. As there is very little weight in the strap

      I would recommend that they be longer to cope with a bigger girth of a

      tent because there was not much strap left to play with when I put my

      tent on.

      The side compression straps did their job also, even so far as to help

      in holding my water bottles in, especially the more rigid ones. My

      flexible 2 litre water bottle was kept in the pocket but the top took a

      nasty lean over the compression strap when I was rock hopping,

      scrambling and rock climbing. This caused the bottle to bang against the

      back of my arm.

      Now for the remaining straps, hip belt and sternum.

      The hip belt fits my size very well, (waist 94 cm [37 in]). What I found

      was that the belt would work itself a little bit loose through the

      buckle and I had to keep tightening it up so that my hips kept

      supporting the weight of the pack and not my shoulders. The intervals

      were usually around about a half hour before I needed to tighten the hip

      belt. Admittedly, I was doing a lot of twisting when rock climbing and

      scrambling and bush bashing which caused a lot of high stepping. The

      slippage was not major in terms of distance the belt travelled through

      the buckle, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) but it did transfer the dynamics of

      the weight of the pack from my hips to my shoulders. One other aspect

      that I experienced with the hip belt that frustrated me was when using

      it in the day pack mode, I experienced difficulty in trying to tighten

      the hip belt around my waist. When I tried to tighten it, the whole

      arrangement wanted to slip around my waist without any tightening taking

      place. The only way that I got around it was to take the day pack off

      and adjust the belt as close as possible by sticking the pack between my

      knees and feeding the belt through the buckle to where I thought it

      should be then putting it back on. With the hip belt slipping through

      the buckle, I got very sore shoulders, not on top, but near the top but

      in front. I had a definite mark on both shoulders.

      The sternum strap. The positive. The strap moves very freely along the

      sternum strap slides. In fact it has a mind of its own. When I put the

      loaded pack on, I move the sternum strap to the position that I want it

      so that I can feel a nice tightness across my chest and know that the

      shoulder straps are pulled into position. That is around half way. What

      happens is that within minutes the straps move freely up to the top

      position nearest my chin causing slackness in tension for my shoulder

      straps. It is pointless in adjusting the sternum strap because at the

      halfway point it is at the right distance for the buckles to meet. Any

      shorter they would not join together. I gave up with it and let it do

      its own thing. About the only useful purpose I found for the sternum

      strap was to use it as a bracket for the end of my hydration hose.

      Hydration pocket

      I took a big gamble and used the hydration pocket for the first time in

      a very long time due to the disasters that I have had previously with

      leaking bladders inside my pack. The small hydration exit hole at the

      top on the right hand side is a tad too small. I had great difficulty in

      feeding my mouthpiece and cap through the hole. I had to do them

      separately with much angling and tugging. It is a Camel back with a

      mouthpiece and cover that has a height diameter of 28 mm (1.1 in). It is

      oval in shape with the width diameter of 24 mm (0.9 in). By enlarging

      the triangular hole in the pack by bringing the anchor points stitching

      back 5 mm (0.2 in) this would overcome the problem that I encountered.

      What to do with the hose once it is out of the pack? It just swings

      about or hangs without any anchor points on the pack. My hose does not

      have any clip attached to it. What I propose is that the manufacturer

      adds a clip/bracket on the shoulder strap so that a hose can be stowed

      out of the way. This is when I put the sternum strap to a use it was not

      designed for but did it very well. It kept the mouthpiece stable in an

      easily obtainable position when I wanted it.

      Pocket on hip belt

      I did not use it as it is too small for any practical use. What I did

      notice was that the zipper came undone very easily after I had been

      through very tight bush that was pulling and scraping at the pack. If it

      cannot be made bigger to take a proper topography map then the

      manufacturer should consider deleting it as a feature. I couldn't even

      put any trail mix in there as the softer material was too taunt to

      stretch too far.

      Harness system

      The harness system is a very simple system. There are no moving parts

      (excluding the ability to remove the hip belt). The frame sheet did its

      job of giving shape to the pack and keeping objects inside the pack from

      sticking into my back. There is some flex in the hip belt where it is

      attached to the pack through the hook and loop system. It wriggles. This

      allowed the pack to move slightly with my hips when I was in very rough

      terrain and rock scrambling, rock hopping and rock climbing. I was never

      thrown off balance by my pack weight doing these activities. This was a

      big plus.

      Pack fabric

      The fabric stood up very well to the scratchy and prickly vegetation and

      the limestone cliffs that I climbed. The only casualty was the mesh

      pocket when it got snagged on limestone. The rest of the pack looks very

      good as I can see no further damage to it. The material did not become

      grimy or dirty from being laid down on beach sand, rocks, black sand and

      moist dark dirt.



      scratchy vegetation



      scratchy vegetation



      Haulage loop

      Lifting 20 kg (44 lb) onto my shoulders was not an easy task. First I

      had to try and get it onto the top part of my leg then heave it from

      there onto a shoulder and then work the other arm through the other

      strap. I would suggest an extra haulage loop on each side, say down

      towards the base of the pack. My favourite side is to put the pack on

      from my right leg, so an extra haulage loop on the left hand side plus

      the existing haulage loop would give me greater control in getting the

      pack onto my back. I was thrown off balance a few times trying to get

      the pack on. It did cause a bit of an ungainly dance to regain my

      balance much to the amusement of my fellow walkers.



      Things I like



      * Pack is lightweight and has a slim profile for tight bush.

      * Can swallow a lot of gear.

      * Fabric, apart from mesh pocket stood up to the scratchy vegetation.



      Things I dislike



      * Sternum strap not staying in place.

      * No anchor points for a hydration hose.

      * Slipping hip belt through the buckles.

      * Unable to properly tighten the hip belt when using the hood as a

      day pack.



      Summary

      Overall, despite a few minor gripes, I am very happy with the pack. It

      has certainly forced me to have a rethink on what I can take and leave

      behind. After my last trip I will still be rethinking some items as they

      had either no use or very minimal, so I should get the pack weight down

      a bit further. It will only be a shaving of close to a kilo (2.2 lb). My

      weight can blow out with water depending on the weather conditions and

      the camp destination, e.g. will it be dry?

      The pack performed reasonably well when rock climbing, hopping and

      scrambling. My balance was not thrown off when I had to lean at awkward

      angles looking for propping support or hand holds. Nothing fell out of

      the pack and no gear was ripped off the outside of the pack. I would

      have loved to stow away the tent inside the pack but there was no room

      left for it.

      I did not experience any rain so I did not get a chance to test for

      water repelling ability of the fabric. The closest was ocean spray drift

      that wet the fabric lightly. However, the wind and sun dried it off in a

      matter of moments.



      This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be completed

      by the 19th February, 2008. Please check back then for further information.







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