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FR - Integral Designs Silcoat Pack Cover (Ken)

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  • Ken Bigelow
    Attila Here s my FR for the ID Silcoat Pack Cover. Thanks in advance for the edits. It s also in the test file at:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 28, 2005
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      Here's my FR for the ID Silcoat Pack Cover. Thanks in
      advance for the edits. It's also in the test file at:



      Integral Designs Silcoat Pack Cover

      Field Report

      Tester Biographical Information:

      Name: Ken Bigelow
      Age: 26
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5’ 9” (1.8 m)
      Weight: 205 lbs (93 kg)
      Email: krb84108 (at) yahoo (dot) com
      Location: Salt Lake City, Utah USA
      Date: July 27, 2005

      Backpacking Background:

      I was first dragged on a backpacking trip eight years
      ago a have been addicted to it ever since. My
      adventures vary in length from a weekend to over two
      weeks. I consider myself a mid-weight backpacker as I
      bring along a few luxuries, such as a tent. From
      spring through fall I typically backpack in the
      mountains or desert, while in winter I often go
      snowshoeing. I typically see a wide variety of
      climates ranging from 10 F (-12 C) with snow to 90 F
      (32 C) and sunny with just about everything in

      Product Information:

      Manufacturer: Integral Designs
      Website: www.integraldesigns.com
      Size: Large (up to 5500 cu, or 90 L); Small available
      for volumes up to 3000 cu or 50 L
      Listed Weight: 3.3 oz (94 g)
      Measured Weights: Pack Cover - 3.2 oz (91)
      Stuff Sack - 0.2 oz (6
      Combined - 3.4 oz (96
      Listed Dimensions: Length - 39 in (99 cm)
      Width - 15 in (38 cm)
      Depth - 13 in (33 cm)
      Stuff Sack - 3 in x 4 in
      ( 8 cm x 10 cm)
      Integrated Stuff Pocket
      - 4 in x 4 in (10 cm x 10 cm)
      Measured Dimensions: Length - 39 in (99 cm)
      Width - 14.5 in (37
      Depth - 13.5 in (34
      Stuff Sack - 3 in x
      4.5 in (7.6 cm x 11 cm)
      Integrated Stuff
      Pocket - 5 in x 4.5 in ( 13 cm x 11 cm)
      Color: Olive; Other color options are Grey, Jade or
      MSRP: $35 (US)

      Field Conditions:

      Through two months of testing, I brought the Silcoat
      Pack Cover along on numerous trips throughout Utah,
      but have really only used it for rain protection in
      Fish Lake National Forest, the Wasatch Mountains and
      the High Uintas Wilderness. The terrain has varied
      greatly and has included wet and muddy corridors,
      steep and rocky terrain, snow-covered trails and plain
      old dirt paths. Temperatures have ranged from 35 F (2
      C) to 95 F (35 C). I have seen all types of weather
      ranging from heavy rain to sunny. The elevations
      experienced have been between 4000 feet (1220 m) and
      10000 feet (3048m).

      Field Review:

      The first time the Silcoat Pack Cover actually saw
      some duty was on an overnight trip in Fish Lake
      National Forest. The rain was pouring down before I
      reached the trailhead and it continued off and on all
      day. For this trip I had my food sack attached to the
      top lid of my pack, my sleeping pad on the exterior
      panel opposite the shoulder straps and some canteens
      in the side pockets. I was worried that with all the
      bulk volume hanging from my pack that the cover would
      not completely fit wrap around the pack. While the
      cover actually had plenty of room to spare on the
      sides, the cover (with the awkwardly-loaded pack) did
      leave the bottom of the pack exposed to the elements.
      This has not yet been an issue. I see this only being
      a problem if water splashes up from below the pack,
      such as when crossing deep creeks or rivers with the
      pack on. I will definitely keep an eye on this for
      the remainder of the test period.

      The wind, like the rain, came and went throughout the
      day. Most of the time it was just a slow breeze, but
      occasionally massive gusts swept over the terrain and
      I had to hold on to my hat. During the first few
      gusts the cover flapped around and though not
      deafening, it created quite a disturbance. I
      eventually examined the pack cover closer and realized
      I had not tightened the shock cord nearly enough. I
      quickly adjusted the shock cord further, which seemed
      to remedy the problem completely.

      My main concern with the Silcoat Pack Cover was it's
      ability to prevent water from penetrating into my
      backpack. I usually keep either my sleeping pad, my
      sleeping bag or on rare occasions, my shelter on the
      exterior of my pack. If one of these is drenched I
      will certainly know about it at night. In every
      instance I have used it, the pack cover has shown to
      be completely waterproof. I am yet to find a trace of
      moisture on any item blanketed by the pack cover.
      Raindrops do not absorb into the fabric and when they
      bounce off the pack cover, the noise is only slightly
      audible and not annoying. While hiking with the cover
      on, I am yet to notice any distracting sounds. This
      is nice as I no longer hesitate to leave it on all day
      long, even when it's not raining, to either air-dry
      the cover or just protect the pack from the occasional
      low-lying foliage. Putting on the Silcoat Pack Cover
      has proved to be a quick and easy process. When rain
      started dumping on me in the High Uintas Wilderness it
      took me less than 30 seconds to unfold the pack cover
      and put it on the pack and I was not rushing. I have
      had no problems determining top from bottom when
      unfolding and attaching the pack cover. The pack
      cover is definitely "user-friendly".

      Accessing my gear with the pack cover on was another
      concern I had testing this item. I always have to
      make a few stops throughout the day (to eat, go to the
      bathroom or tap a map reading), which requires me to
      retrieve an item from my pack. In all instances I was
      able to slide the cover off the top of the pack and
      find the desired item without completely removing the
      Silcoat cover and letting it fly away in the breeze.
      In some instances I did have to loosen the shock cord
      before sliding the cover back over the top of the
      pack. The Silcoat Pack Cover does not prevent me from
      using my hydration bladder as the hose and bite valve,
      which is nice as I do not have to remove the cover at
      all to drink some water.

      The interior pocket on the cover (that serves as a
      stuff sack), as opposed to the provided stuff sack, is
      actually my preferred choice for storing the Silcoat
      Pack Cover. When turned inside-out, the pocket has a
      small cord looped in the corner, which allows me to
      hang the pack cover from a carabiner on the outside of
      the pack for quick and easy access. I have also found
      that it is easier to roll the pack cover up using the
      interior pocket in windy conditions. When using the
      provided stuff sack I have to roll up the pack cover
      and then place it in the stuff sack without letting it
      change volume too much. With the interior pocket I
      just jam material in the pocket until it's fully
      enclosed. I do not need to worry about achieving a
      specific volume and no additional time is spent
      transferring the rolled up pack cover to the stuff
      sack. Neither method requires any difficulty or a
      substantial amount of time, but poor weather
      conditions make the internal pocket a little easier
      for me to use.

      Testing Plan:

      I will continue testing the pack cover on my weekly
      hiking/backpacking trips. With the monsoon season
      fast approaching, I expect to see a lot more action
      for the Silcoat pack cover. The upper elevations are
      also opening up which means I'm bound to see some
      extremely rocky terrain above tree line in the Uinta
      and Wasatch Mountains and will probably expose the
      cover to a bit harsher terrain. I still have a
      weeklong trip in Yellowstone National Park in late
      August and when fall rolls around I will once again
      retreat to the desert. I expect to hit Canyonlands
      National Park, Zion National Park and the Grand
      Staircase Escalante National Monument before the test
      period is over. For the remainder of the test period
      I intend to keep examining the pack cover and hope to
      answer a few more questions about its characteristics
      in my long term report:

      I typically leave my pack outside my shelter when in
      the backcountry. This leaves it fully exposed to the
      elements. I currently use the pack cover at night,
      but it has yet to rain. Will the cover provide some
      shelter for my pack during the night if it rains or
      snows? So far I have only used the pack cover only on
      my Granite Gear Stratus Access FZ backpack.
      Throughout August and September I intend to use the
      pack cover mainly on my North Face Fusion backpack.
      Will it have a snug and secure fit on this different
      style of backpack? Will the bottom still be exposed
      when carrying unusual volume arrangements? If
      crossing a deep river with the pack cover on, will
      water be able to splash up underneath and wet the

      The durability of the pack cover will be one of the
      main focuses during the remaining test period. I
      often encounter terrain that punishes my gear. It is
      not uncommon for me to squeeze in between brush or
      rocks. This often means the terrain ends up rubbing,
      poking or smashing against my pack. so far no damage
      has been noticed, but will the cover rip, tear or any
      other way be damaged during the remaining test period?
      I also tend to sit, lay or lean on my pack during
      rest stops. Will I still be able to do this with the
      pack cover on? Will the shock cord hold up to testing
      or will it require replacing? Is it replaceable and
      if so how easy is it to do?


      So far the Integral Designs Silcoat Pack Cover has
      done an excellent job repelling water and protecting
      my pack from becoming soaked. It has been quick and
      easy to both put on and store away. It still grants
      me easy access to my gear and I am yet to notice any
      annoying sounds created by the pack cover. In short,
      it keeps my gear dry and does not prevent me from
      enjoying myself on the trail.

      Things I like so far:

      Quick and easy to put on or take off
      Gear is still accessible
      Not too noisy

      Bottom of pack still exposed when loaded awkwardly

      I would like to thank Integral Designs and
      BackpackGearTest for allowing me the opportunity to
      participate in this test.

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    • h1970hu
      Great report! Here is the edit: snip Measured Weights: Pack Cover - 3.2 oz (91) EDIT : (91 g)
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2005
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        Great report!

        Here is the edit:


        Measured Weights: Pack Cover - 3.2 oz (91)

        EDIT : (91 g)
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