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LTR - Mountainsmith Boundary Pack - Kurt Papke

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  • Kurt Papke
    Uploaded to test folder here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/LTR%20-%20Mountainsmith%20Boundary%20Pack%20-%20Kurt%20Papke/ Tinyurl:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2008
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      Uploaded to test folder here:
      Tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/6ggw3h

      LTR text follows:

      Long Term Report
      August 4, 2008
      Test Conditions
      During months three and four most of my pack use was during my July
      month-long trip to Oregon. Locations include: Columbia River Gorge,
      foothills of Mt Adams and Mt Hood, Oregon Coastal Range (mostly in the
      Tillamook State Forest), the Wallowa Mountains, and Theodore Roosevelt
      National Park in North Dakota. Elevations ranged from 200 ft (60 m)
      to approximately 8400 ft (2560 m), temperatures ranged from lows at
      night about 35 F (2 C), to daily highs around 85 F (30 C), and peaked
      out in the low 90's F (32 C). Much of the use was car camping and
      dayhiking, but also included several 2-3 day backpacking trips. The
      terrain was mostly mountainous including some very steep trails (Elk
      Mountain), nicely switchbacked trails (PCT), and some very arid
      conditions in Roosevelt NP. Most areas were heavily forested with the
      exception of Roosevelt.

      Pack weights during the LTR period were much lighter: approximately 30
      lb (14 kg), as I was carrying only 2-3 days of food, and I had no need
      for raingear during July in Oregon. One weighty exception was an
      overnight in Roosevelt NP, where I was carrying 5 quarts (5 L) of
      water which boosted my pack weight to about 35 lb (16 kg).
      Lumbar pack
      My dayhikes gave me ample opportunity to use and test the removable
      packlid as a lumbar pack on several day-long hikes and a few shorter
      trips as well. Detaching the packlid is quite easy using the two
      buckles, though they can be a little hard to reach if the straps have
      been tightened down too much "hiding" the buckles behind the pack back
      foam panel. Once detached, the hip straps are easily extracted from
      behind the map pocket. I found that when re-attaching the packlid,
      the best way to repack the straps was to roll them up around the belt
      buckle and push the roll back into the slot.

      The packlid/lumbar pack was appropriately sized for a day trip. I
      could easily carry a 1 qt/L water bottle, snacks or lunch, camera,
      GPS, plus a light fleece. Access to the pack contents from the dual
      zippers was convenient.

      The lumbar pack was very comfortable and rode well on my hips with no
      interference from the pack attachment buckles. The only discomfort I
      experienced was on warmer days the plastic map pocket was right
      against the small of my back which would perspire due to my skin's
      inability to breathe.

      One item of note: using the packlid as a lumbar daypack meant I had to
      jockey contents, stashing the items I normally carry in the packlid
      into the pack and re-packing the items for the daytrip, then reversing
      the process at the end of the day. This is the price one pays for
      multi-tasking the gear.
      Carrying Water
      During the LTR period I did use the hydration sleeve with my Platypus
      gear: 1L bottle with the hose. The 1L bottle fit nicely in the
      sleeve, the hose was easily threaded through one of the two pack
      ports, and the bite valve clipped conveniently to a shoulder strap. I
      did manage to spill a bunch of water when hooking this all up, which
      promptly drained through the sleeve to the bottom of my pack - the
      sleeve is clearly not waterproof. The system worked fine overall, but
      I was a little frustrated that my 3L Platy did not fit into the sleeve
      and could not be easily used (see comments/photo in the Initial
      Report). However, I was desperate for water capacity during my
      overnight in Roosevelt NP and did use my 3L Platy in the sleeve on
      this one occasion. It can be made to work as long as sufficient gear
      is stacked in front of the reservoir to support it and prevent the
      packlid from collapsing it. In this configuration I was able to
      comfortably carry 5L/qt of water: 3L/qt in the sleeve, and 1L/qt in
      each of the side pockets.

      I did find the perfect water container for the pack side pockets: a 1
      qt (946 ml) Gatorade bottle. It is wide enough to use most of the
      bottle sleeve diameter, short enough to fit under the side pockets,
      and reasonably high capacity. Once I started using the Gatorade
      bottles I stopped using my 1L Platy's with the pack. The Gatorade
      bottles were easily removed from and restored to the sleeve while
      wearing the pack as along as I didn't overtighten the sleeve elastics.
      Their rigidity made them easier to replace in the side pockets after
      Other Observations
      As I was doing a lot of car camping, I found I was loading and
      unloading the pack from my trunk on a daily basis as I camped mostly
      in walk-in sites that required up to a 1/4 mile (0.4 km) walk from my
      car to the campsite. My trekking poles often fell off the pack during
      loading/unloading from the car due to the short hook-and-loop straps,
      and my sleeping pad fell off several times as well. The latter is
      packed in a Cordura dry pack which is quite slippery, but I was a
      little frustrated that it kept popping off.

      During the LTR test period I often carried Chaco sandals as my camp
      shoes. These fit nicely into the pack back elastics (I didn't carry
      rain gear in Oregon), though they were a little hard to get in/out as
      the straps and treads would catch on the cords.

      I found I had no need to alter my packing strategy during the LTR
      period, though I was able to pack my hammock in the bottom of the pack
      instead of under the packlid as I was never overloading the pack with

      I did use my tent once during the LTR period in Roosevelt NP as there
      are no trees there to hang a hammock, and I did find that the
      pass-thru pockets are in fact ideal for tent pole storage. The poles
      extend down into the side pockets, and were the same height as the
      pack so they were well-protected in the pass-thru's.

      Durability: after four months, not a scratch, not a frayed strap, no
      zipper problems, no failures whatsoever. This despite the abuse of my
      Boundary Waters trip and dozens of times being thrown into or yanked
      out of my car trunk.

      Final Conclusions
      Things I liked:

      * Roominess and flexibility of space use. I liked not having to
      struggle to cram my gear into my pack, and despite the large loads my
      gear was always easy to access, even with lots of gear strapped to the
      front as in the above photo.
      * Durability: the pack held up remarkably well.
      * Comfort: the shoulder and hipbelt padding are good for week-long
      hikes with large loads.

      Areas for improvement:

      * The map pocket is not really useful for that purpose, and causes
      perspiration in the low back when using the packlid as a lumbar pack.
      * Better accommodation of larger (taller/narrower) Platy hydration
      reservoirs in the sleeve.
      * Add hipbelt pockets - I really found the shoulder strap
      accessory sac a pain to use for camera, GPS, etc.
      * Move the sleeping pad straps slightly closer together to
      minimize possibility of the pad escaping the straps, and make the
      trekking pole hook-and-loop straps longer.

      Many thanks to Mountainsmith and BackpackGearTest.org for the
      opportunity to test this product.
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