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POST - LTR r2 Pack - Richard Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    Ray, for your editing pleasure. Full report in html is in the Tests folder at http://tinyurl.com/2kpquw Long Term Report March 2, 2008 FIELD CONDITIONS Skiing.
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 2, 2008
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      Ray, for your editing pleasure. Full report in html is in the Tests
      folder at http://tinyurl.com/2kpquw

      Long Term Report
      March 2, 2008
      FIELD CONDITIONS
      Skiing. The Telemaster accompanied me on more two ski trips during
      the past two months: a week's vacation in mid-January at Jackson
      Hole Mountain Resort, including the ski school's four-day Steep &
      Deep clinic, and three days at the Second Annual Cold Smoke Powder
      Fest at Whitewater Ski Area, near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
      in late February.
      Jackson's base is about 6300 feet (1900 m), with more than 4000 foot
      (1200 m) vertical rise to the top of Rendezvous Peak. I spent one
      day in the Jackson area backcountry, one day inbounds at Grand
      Targhee, and five days mostly inbounds at Jackson Hole. As at Grand
      Targhee (see my Field Report) skiing at Jackson includes a fair
      amount of hiking and traversing to access preferred runs, even
      inbounds. I wore the Telemaster every day but one. Temperatures
      ranged from 8-25 F (-13 to -4 C), with snow showers or a full-blown
      storm most of the time.
      Conditions were quite different at Whitewater, very much spring
      skiing despite its still being February. Overcast with occasional
      patches of sun on Saturday and Sunday, with temperatures posted at -
      5 C (23 F) in the morning, rising to 2 C (36 F) by mid-afternoon,
      followed by a sunny Monday with temperatures about 5 degrees C (9
      degrees F) warmer. Whitewater's base sits at 5400 feet (1700 m),
      rising to about 6700 feet (2100 m). The Cold Smoke festival
      celebrates backcountry skiing and its devotees, so skiing programs
      tended to focus on hiking for one's turns. I wore the Telemaster on
      both my backcountry days, carrying my lunch, a small stove, water,
      and day-touring essentials.
      Backpacking. Ski time has limited my backpacking over the past two
      months, but I did take the Telemaster on a two-day backpack fishing
      trip to Oklahoma in early February. This trip involved a hike of
      less than two miles with a small elevation gain; we'd selected our
      campsite for fishing access rather than exercise or scenery.
      Temperatures were in the 60s F (16-21 C) during the day, dropping to
      about 40 F (5 C) at night – not unlike late spring/early summer
      conditions on Montana spring creeks. This trip gave me an
      opportunity to try my pack with the kit I usually take on
      backcountry fishing trips. In addition to clothes, sleeping gear,
      stove, and food I included fly rod, reel, and my summer tackle box
      with flies, lines, tippet, and other small fly fishing items. That
      kit doesn't usually include waders, but with the cooler weather and
      frigid water below the dam at Broken Bow I needed them on this
      trip. I carried them rolled up under the lid of the pack using the
      straps that secure the lid to hold them in place. Before leaving I
      experimented with different places for the reel and tackle box,
      eventually stuffing both into the main pack bag. I used the
      compression straps across the front of the pack to secure my
      sleeping pad.
      OBSERVATIONS
      Customer Service. Let me begin with an update on the sternum strap
      issue discussed in my Field Report. After another mishap at Jackson
      when I stripped off the pack, this time with the clip on the right
      shoulder strap webbing (the one attached to the sternum strap
      itself), I did some minor tweaking to ensure that both edges of the
      webbing were fully inside the two clips. From this point forward I
      didn't have either clip come off despite skiing as rigorously as
      before and not taking especial pains to check the clips every time I
      shouldered or unshouldered the pack. I now think that I may have
      been a bit careless when moving the clips along the webbing, forcing
      the webbing to jam out at one side or the other. This might also
      have been caused by adding and subtracting layers. The shoulder
      straps are (quite properly for a ski pack) sized so that they sit
      along the sides of my chest when I wear the pack over my usual
      winter three upper body layers. As noted in my Field Report the
      straps can pinch in somewhat when I tighten the sternum strap after
      taking off a layer to begin a hike or when backpacking without a
      parka. This can cause the webbing to bunch up slightly, increasing
      the risk that one edge will become dislodged.
      Ron and I traded emails on this subject, and the only fix that
      either of us could devise was to replace the removable webbing clips
      with similar clips that are sewn in, with a solid bar across the
      strap instead of one with spaces for threading. This would
      necessitate removing and then re-sewing the webbing to the straps,
      something I'm not capable of doing myself. After the test period I
      may send the pack to Ron for this corrective surgery, as I don't
      want to be without the pack until I shelve my skis for the season.
      Ron's advice was prompt and helpful throughout the test period, on
      this issue and in replying to various questions I had about
      different features. I repeat my judgment from my Initial Report:
      this is a very customer-friendly manufacturer.
      I've had no other design issues with the Telemaster. Performance
      during the past two months has been as exemplary as during the Field
      Testing period. I replaced the hip belt buckle after breaking the
      one supplied with the pack, but the break was caused by my own
      carelessness, not a defective buckle from r2.
      Bonus points. Two more months' experience has taught me more about
      my pack. I'm becoming used to skiing with this pack to the point
      where I really don't notice I'm wearing it, thanks to the great
      fit. I've found several more uses for the mitten clip in the water
      bottle pocket. At various times I've hung a wax scraper, sunglasses
      case, blister kit, small flashlight, ski repair tool, and ski
      leashes from it – anything that's small and that I want to know just
      where it is. The clip, which adds almost no weight, keeps any of
      these little devils from getting "lost" at the bottom among other
      gear. The mitten clips even work for mittens après ski or when it's
      warm enough to hike in lighter gloves.
      Lunch fits easily into the zippered pocket on the outside of the
      kango pouch, or in the top pocket. The compression straps work well
      when strapped to the sides when my pack's not overly full or across
      the front when it is. I'm adding this dual system to the features I
      listed in my Field Report as near-genius. The side pocket is large
      enough for both a one-quart/liter water bottle and my backcountry
      tackle box, or my 1.5 l/1.6 qt SIGG bottle. The zippered inside
      pocket lets me stow keys and wallet in a zippered pocket throughout
      a hike or ski. Or I can use this for my fly reel. The reel also
      fits in the zippered pocket on the front of the kango. When the
      pack bag is full it's easy to store a rolled-up parka under the
      straps used to hold the lid in place, in a manner similar to that
      used for my waders.
      The fabric tube and kango pocket have kept my shovel handle and
      blade safely tucked away with no risk of being strewn all over the
      slope in a yard sale, yet immediately ready to hand when needed. My
      fly rod, in either its factory metal tube or a lighter weight
      plastic one) fits inside the fabric tube, though that isn't really
      necessary. The elastic on the kango keeps it in place and there's
      little chance of a ski-like fall when I'm not skiing downhill. In
      the tube or not, there's still room in the pocket for a rain
      jacket.
      Durability. In a word, superlative. I ski aggressively and the
      great snow conditions this winter have allowed me to indulge my
      passion for tree skiing, where the Telemaster has scraped many
      willows, pines, and spruces. It kissed a rock or two on Meet Your
      Maker, a boulder-lined chute at Jackson. The fabric has picked up a
      smudge or two but otherwise the pack looks none the worse for wear.
      I've had no water seep inside the pack and never had the fabric wet
      out from melting of snow or ice accumulated during skiing. I do
      plan to treat the pack with Atsko Water-Guard after the test period,
      strictly as preventive maintenance. No stitching or webbing has
      frayed and the pack's integrity remains sound. 1000 d Cordura is
      tough stuff and this is a tough pack that I expect to use for many
      years.
      RECOMMENDATIONS
      These aren't recommendations for improving my pack. That's
      pointless when each r2 pack is custom-designed and I've already said
      how little I'd change mine if starting over. Rather I offer a few
      suggestions to any reader who is considering ordering a pack from r2.
      • Repeating what I said in my Field Report, in my judgment the
      guarantied fit of a custom pack alone is worth r2's price premium
      over an off-the-shelf model. Getting exactly the features I wanted
      only makes the bargain better.
      • Consider a custom pack an investment. I rate my pack second
      only to boots in importance among my backpacking kit and clothing.
      To me it's worth the extra time, effort, and money to get just what
      I want. Spread over the pack's anticipated life span the price
      premium is small indeed.
      • Do your homework first. Consider both the big picture – why
      you want a new pack – and the details. Really consider likes and
      dislikes from other packs you own or have seen, or what you'd like
      to have and what you'd prefer to avoid.
      • Use your imagination. Remember that a custom pack from r2
      is limited only by the customer's desires, vision, and ingenuity,
      and the materials that are available just about anywhere packs are
      made. Not choosing from a set menu is one of the best things about
      r2. If Ron doesn't have something, he'll look for it. This also
      allows fine tuning a pack for one particular activity, as I did for
      skiing.
      • Don't be disappointed if you forgot something, even after
      the pack arrives. Ron may be able to add it (or if it's now
      unwanted, subtract it) and he's only too glad to help whenever and
      however he can. You'll never think of everything. I didn't; I'm
      going to inquire if there's a way to add a static cord compression
      system to the right side panel that can be removed in winter.
      • LISTEN TO RON. He really knows what he's doing. He's
      working with you.
      • It's fun to design your dream pack. Go for it! In fact I'm
      thinking about a super-lightweight overnight pack . . . .
      SUMMARY
      I'll be wearing the Telemaster whenever I go backcountry skiing or
      ski touring, even just for the day. Great fit, tough, versatile,
      and functional, it's exactly what I hoped for when I selected that
      as its principal use.
      Backpacking use, particularly for fishing trips, wasn't ignored
      during the design process, so I'm not surprised that the pack has
      worked so well for me even when there's been no snow. It's not
      perfect as a summer pack, as I'd like a few more pockets or other
      means of carrying extra gear, and the Cordura makes it as heavy as
      the next-larger pack in my closet, which has about fifty per cent
      more capacity. These are nitpicks; I plan to put it to many years'
      future use when I don't need to size up.
      ACKNOWLEDGMENT and THANKS
      This concludes my Test Report. I owe special thanks to r2 Custom
      Packs and BackpackGearTest.org for this test, the most enjoyable one
      in which I have participated for BackpackGearTest.org. Not only did
      I test a great piece of gear, the design process and subsequent
      communications with Ron were pleasant and informative. I learned
      much about pack fabrics and construction, and I made a new friend.
      I certainly know whom to call the next time I need a new pack.
    • rayestrella1
      Hello Richard, An excellent conclusion to a great test series. I only found one edit for you. Fix and upload at will. See you down the road, Ray ***The
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 3, 2008
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        Hello Richard,

        An excellent conclusion to a great test series. I only found one edit
        for you. Fix and upload at will.

        See you down the road,

        Ray



        ***The Telemaster accompanied me on more two ski trips during the past
        two months:

        EDIT: "two more"
      • richardglyon
        Ray, Fixed, uploaded, and test file deleted. Regards, Richard ... edit ... past
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 4, 2008
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          Ray, Fixed, uploaded, and test file deleted. Regards, Richard

          --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
          <rayestrella@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello Richard,
          >
          > An excellent conclusion to a great test series. I only found one
          edit
          > for you. Fix and upload at will.
          >
          > See you down the road,
          >
          > Ray
          >
          >
          >
          > ***The Telemaster accompanied me on more two ski trips during the
          past
          > two months:
          >
          > EDIT: "two more"
          >
        • Andrew Priest
          Hi Richard I appreciate that this comment is late, so if you can t be bothered making the change, no big deal but something to consider for the future please.
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 10, 2008
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            Hi Richard

            I appreciate that this comment is late, so if you can't be bothered making
            the change, no big deal but something to consider for the future please. Of
            course your Test Monitor and being Ray, he probably has, may have picked
            this up, so just ignore me. I am slow as usual :(

            My only comment relates to the Field Conditions which is very detailed and
            that is great. You write well. However, for some readers, e.g., myself, who
            maybe time poor or really don't relate to the areas you have tested in, a
            one line summary of days/nights testing would be helpful. To me it was a
            lot of reading to do to get a handle on your extent of usage.

            So, a summary line/sentence would be really appreciated please.

            The balance of the report is really great thanks.

            Regards
            Andrew

            ===
            Andrew Priest
            Senior Edit Moderator - BackpackGearTest.org


            -----Original Message-----
            From: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of richardglyon
            Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 12:13 AM
            To: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [backpackgeartesters] POST - LTR r2 Pack - Richard Lyon

            Ray, for your editing pleasure. Full report in html is in the Tests folder
            at http://tinyurl.com/2kpquw

            Long Term Report
            March 2, 2008
            FIELD CONDITIONS
            Skiing. The Telemaster accompanied me on more two ski trips during the past
            two months: a week's vacation in mid-January at Jackson Hole Mountain
            Resort, including the ski school's four-day Steep & Deep clinic, and three
            days at the Second Annual Cold Smoke Powder Fest at Whitewater Ski Area,
            near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada in late February.
            Jackson's base is about 6300 feet (1900 m), with more than 4000 foot (1200
            m) vertical rise to the top of Rendezvous Peak. I spent one day in the
            Jackson area backcountry, one day inbounds at Grand Targhee, and five days
            mostly inbounds at Jackson Hole. As at Grand Targhee (see my Field Report)
            skiing at Jackson includes a fair amount of hiking and traversing to access
            preferred runs, even inbounds. I wore the Telemaster every day but one.
            Temperatures ranged from 8-25 F (-13 to -4 C), with snow showers or a
            full-blown storm most of the time.
            Conditions were quite different at Whitewater, very much spring skiing
            despite its still being February. Overcast with occasional patches of sun
            on Saturday and Sunday, with temperatures posted at -
            5 C (23 F) in the morning, rising to 2 C (36 F) by mid-afternoon, followed
            by a sunny Monday with temperatures about 5 degrees C (9 degrees F) warmer.
            Whitewater's base sits at 5400 feet (1700 m), rising to about 6700 feet
            (2100 m). The Cold Smoke festival celebrates backcountry skiing and its
            devotees, so skiing programs tended to focus on hiking for one's turns. I
            wore the Telemaster on both my backcountry days, carrying my lunch, a small
            stove, water, and day-touring essentials.
            Backpacking. Ski time has limited my backpacking over the past two months,
            but I did take the Telemaster on a two-day backpack fishing trip to Oklahoma
            in early February. This trip involved a hike of less than two miles with a
            small elevation gain; we'd selected our campsite for fishing access rather
            than exercise or scenery.
            Temperatures were in the 60s F (16-21 C) during the day, dropping to about
            40 F (5 C) at night - not unlike late spring/early summer conditions on
            Montana spring creeks. This trip gave me an opportunity to try my pack with
            the kit I usually take on backcountry fishing trips. In addition to
            clothes, sleeping gear, stove, and food I included fly rod, reel, and my
            summer tackle box with flies, lines, tippet, and other small fly fishing
            items. That kit doesn't usually include waders, but with the cooler weather
            and frigid water below the dam at Broken Bow I needed them on this trip. I
            carried them rolled up under the lid of the pack using the straps that
            secure the lid to hold them in place. Before leaving I experimented with
            different places for the reel and tackle box, eventually stuffing both into
            the main pack bag. I used the compression straps across the front of the
            pack to secure my sleeping pad.


            __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus signature
            database 2935 (20080310) __________

            The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.

            http://www.eset.com
          • richardglyon
            Andrew - No problem, in fact I was going to revise to be consistent on the company name (upper case in IR and FR, lower in LTR). OK if it goes in the
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 10, 2008
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              Andrew - No problem, in fact I was going to revise to be consistent
              on the company name (upper case in IR and FR, lower in LTR). OK if
              it goes in the Observations section (under "Durability") or should I
              do a summary in the Field Conditions section. I'll fix tomorrow when
              I have reliable computer access. Best regards, Richard
              --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Priest"
              <apriest@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Hi Richard
              >
              However, for some readers, e.g., myself, who
              > maybe time poor or really don't relate to the areas you have
              tested in, a
              > one line summary of days/nights testing would be helpful. To me
              it was a
              > lot of reading to do to get a handle on your extent of usage.
              >
              > So, a summary line/sentence would be really appreciated please.
              >
              > >
              > Regards
              > Andrew
              >
              > ===
              > Andrew Priest
              > Senior Edit Moderator - BackpackGearTest.org
              >
              >
              >
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