The CiloGear pack continues to do very well. It is the most adaptable
pack I have ever used.
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1 September 2008
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
July 19, 2008 – Overnight in Government Canyon State Natural Area, near
my home in Helotes, TX, altitude about 1000 ft (300 m). The walk into
this site was a 4 mi (6 km) trek on rocky but mostly level ground.
Afternoon high was 98 F (37 C) and overnight low about 72F (22 C). I
used the pack without its frame sheet and stiffener, and without the
lid. Bright moon beginning after I went to bed. Hammock hanging, nice
July 5, 2008 – Trip to my old stomping grounds in Beavercreek Ohio,
altitude about 1000 ft (300 m). Most of the trip was to visit friends
and family, but it included an outdoors overnight. Afternoon high was 90
F (32 C) and overnight low was about 60 F (20 C). Hammock hanging with
deer snorting all night long near the campsite. I had to use a closed
cell pad for the first time in months because the temperature got down
pretty cool. A light quilt was still enough top insulation. On this
trip, I used the pack system as my luggage for a 5 day trip. I left the
frame sheet and hip belt in Texas. I used the lid as a left hip bag by
using one of the tie down straps as a belt.
June 28, 2008 – Overnight in Government Canyon SNA. Afternoon high was
100 F (38 C) and the overnight low about 77 F (25 C). Lots of coyote
yipping in the middle of the night. Clear night skies, no rain. After
soaking the back of the pack from sweating in the heat, I washed the
pack on a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
June 19-21, 2008 – Trip to Fort Davis, TX and Carlsbad, NM. Day hiking
in the state park at Fort Davis and between there and the national
monument. Total of about 8 miles of day hiking with temperature in the
mid 90s F (near 35 C). Altitude was about 4000 ft (1200 m). On 21 June,
we hiked about 4 mi (6 km) in Carlsbad Caverns, including a descent of
800 ft (250 m). The CiloGear pack was carried the entire time.
In addition to the 3 nights above, I also used the pack while day hiking
in Government Canyon an additional 5 times on walks that ranged from 3-8
mi (5-13 km). I also used the pack as carry-on luggage for three trips
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The CiloGear pack continues to amaze me in its ability to morph into an
ideal pack for multiple uses. It has been handy as a backpack for
multi-day trips, day hiking, and even luggage for business trips.
I keep my hiking gear in a dedicated closet. When I am about to take a
walk or pack for an overnight trip, I reach into that closet for the
gear that I will need. I decide what kind a cooking equipment, water
bottles, sleeping gear, and shelter I will need for the conditions. The
CiloGear pack has taken on the same sort of adaptability that I find in
my gear closet. I think about the trip ahead and begin putting together
the components that will be most useful for the conditions. I ask myself
if I will need a frame sheet for heavy loads, or if a foam pad will be
enough. Will the load require a hip belt? Will I need the lid
compartment on the pack or on my hip? How much compression will I need
to keep the gear near my center of gravity?
The CiloGear pack allows me to completely customize the pack I will
carry based on the answers to those questions. To take the hip belt off
the pack is a 1 minute operation. To fit the pack's lid compartment to
be carried on a hip takes just a few seconds. Removing or installing the
frame sheet likewise can be accomplished in a flash.
In the trips I have now taken, my first (slightly negative) reaction to
the shoulder straps has NOT been confirmed. Initially, I thought they
were stiff enough to cause me difficulty. However, the straps have
turned out to be very comfortable to me. Under light loads they are most
comfortable to me without the sternum strap fastened. Under heavy loads,
the pack is more comfortable with the sternum strap snapped and with the
hip belt used to carry about 1/2 to 2/3 of the pack's weight. I don't
know if my change in opinion has been because they became "broken in" or
if it was part of a learning curve on my part.
I wondered whether the frame sheet's aluminum bar might be a problem in
using the pack for carry-on luggage. On one trip, I carried the pack
with that bar and the nice folks at both airports that I needed to go
through had no questions about that bar when it went through the X-ray
I have discovered a very handy use for the lid, when it is not attached
to the top of the pack. Using one of the straps with a clip, I have
found that this makes a great hip pack. I have used it most often when
traveling by air - to carry a GPS, book, and travel documents. However,
I can imagine it as a great tool for town trips for shopping for a
couple day's of food on the Appalachian Trail. In carrying the lid on
my hip, I orient the zippers vertically, so that the entire opening is
easy to see from the side. If I had a lot to carry, I might put the
zipper at the top, though I have not yet carried it for any length of
time in that position.
In my initial summary I said that I really wanted a way to carry a water
bottle. The good news is that CiloGear has developed a "wand pocket"
that works very well for carrying a water bottle. It can be attached to
the side of the pack on either side. The version I have is a prototype,
so I have not reported on the weight or cost of that device. However, as
of this date, wand pockets of three different sizes are available on the
CiloGear website under "accessories".
Things I like thus far:
Same as I listed at the end of the initial report. Adaptability is the
king when I use this pack.
Things I don't like:
Nothing at all. Both questions I had at the beginning have been
answered. The shoulder straps have turned out to be very comfortable.
And now I have a place to carry water.
Come back in November to see how I fare in the early fall. Hopefully, I
will have some good stories from carrying heavier loads of water in the
dry western part of Texas.