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IR High Sierra Summit 45 Pack--Wheiler

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  • Michael Wheiler
    Dear Monitor: What follows is the text version of my IR on the High Sierra Summit 45 pack. Sorry the report is late. I was at Wilderness First Aid training
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2010
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      Dear Monitor:

      What follows is the text version of my IR on the High Sierra Summit 45 pack. Sorry the report is late. I was at Wilderness First Aid training Friday and Saturday. Family stuff Sunday and most of the day Monday. The html version can be found at http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IR%20High%20Sierra%20Summit%2045%20Pack-Wheiler/#INITIAL_REPORT . Of course it has all the cool pictures of the pack and is much more fun to read! Thank you for your help with edits.


      Test Series
      By Michael Wheiler



      Click Here To Go To The Initial Report: May 31, 2020
      Click Here To Go To The Field Report: Not Yet Available
      Click Here To Go To The Long Term Report: Not Yet Available



      Personal Information:

      Name: Michael Wheiler
      Age: 54
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
      Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)
      Torso Length: 19 3/4" (50 cm)
      Hip Measurement: 34" (86 cm)
      Chest Size: 40" (102 cm)
      Location: Southeast Idaho
      Email: jmwlaw AT ida DOT net


      I have about 42 years experience hiking, camping, and backpacking. I have been active in the Boy Scout program as a youth and as an adult leader. In the past five years, I have also done quite a bit of mountaineering with summits on peaks such as Mt. Rainier and the Grand Teton. I consider myself a mid-weight backpacker working toward carrying a lighter pack to accommodate my aging body but I do carry considerably more weight during winter months.

      Field Testing Environment:

      Most of my camping, hiking and backpacking occurs in the southeastern Idaho area but spills over into western Wyoming and western Montana. I occasionally get into the mountains of central Idaho as well. The areas I frequent generally range from 5,500 ft (1,600 m) to 8,500 ft (2,600 m). The weather in southeastern Idaho is fairly typical of a high desert plain.


      Item: High Sierra Summit 45 Backpack
      Manufacturer's Web Site: http://www.highsierrasport.com

      Date Of Manufacture: 2010
      Place Of manufacture: China
      Color: Chipotle, Tungsten, Black (also available in Black and Amazon, Tungsten, Black)
      Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: U.S. $160.00.

      Product Specifications and Features Per Manufacturer Unless Otherwise Noted:

      Pack bag Fabric
      Grid-Weave Duralite; Mini-Weave Duralite; the bottom of the bag is made of Duraweave

      2,750 cu in/45 L

      4.6 lbs. (2 kg)
      As measured by tester at the US Post Office: ___ lbs (___ kg)

      Adjustable; 1 external zippered pocket

      Frame size
      20 in/51 cm with a torso fit range of 15-19 in/38-48 cm (Universal Fit)

      Radial side compression straps to control the load and create stability

      Body shaped with removable GPS/camera/cell phone pocket attachable to either shoulder strap; sternum strap

      Internal Frame

      Load Capacity
      None Provided

      Single, contoured aluminum frame bar can be adjusted to fit

      Extendable collar is 5 1/2 in/14 cm

      Padded shoulder straps constructed of VAPEL mesh AIRFLOW with adjustable load-lifters

      Top loader with front load sleeping bag compartment and divider between main compartment

      Adjustable hip belt with VAPEL mesh AIRFLOW padding to wick moisture
      Molded foam back panel with AIRFLOW channels
      Two ice axe/trekking pole attachments with additional daisy link lash points
      Rain cover stowed in its own zippered exterior pocket; located on the bottom of the pack

      Two exterior mesh pockets hold 1,000 ml water bottles pockets; one on each side

      Hydration system compatible

      Large zipper pulls

      SOS panel inside lid and key clip

      Front zippered pocket

      Rear haul/grasp loop

      Measurements By Tester
      27 x 14 x 7 1/2 in/69 x 36 x 19 cm

      Approximately 26 in/66 cm from the bottom of the bag to the top of the lid without using the extension collar and approximately 30 in/76 cm from the bottom of the bag to the top of the extension collar; the interior of the bag was approximately 8 1/2 in/22 cm in diameter

      General Description:

      High Sierra claims that the Summit is "at home on the trails or far off the beaten path" and that the Summit "holds a lot but never holds you back."

      High Sierra provided information about the Summit on a "hang tag" and a placard. Information about the pack was contained on the placard (see first photograph) and pretty much mirrors the information found on the company web page Warranty information was contained on the hang tag. In short. High Sierra provides a limited life time warranty. The company will repair or replace the pack at its option if it fails due to a material or manufacturing defect. Simply return the pack to High Sierra with proof of purchase.


      The High Sierra Summit 45 (hereinafter the "Summit"), arrived in perfect condition. A careful examination revealed a few loose threads but nothing major. After reviewing the High Sierra web site, the Summit I received looked like what was shown and described. Because the Summit has a number of cool features, my initial examination of the pack was very enjoyable. In this Initial Report, I have attempted to describe in words and photographs most of the Summit's features.

      The Frame: High Sierra uses a single, contoured aluminum frame bar in the Summit that can be adjusted to fit the shape of the user's back. The frame bar is pre-bent and I will want to check the frame bar to make sure the shape works with the shape of my back. The Summit has a "universal fit" according to High Sierra. The torso fit range is 15-19 in/38-48 cm. Since my torso is 19 3/4 in/50 cm, I will report on how well the pack works with my torso length. The Summit is designed to fit persons 68-72 in/173-183 cm in height. I am 70 in/178 cm in height so I fit into that category.

      Lumbar Padding and Back Panel: High Sierra used molded foam in the back panel with Air Flow channels designed by High Sierra to keep the user's back cool and dry. It is positioned in the center of back pad. See photograph below.


      Shoulder Straps: The shoulder straps are formed to fit the body. There is a removable media pocket on the left shoulder strap (see photograph below). The lid on the pocket is closed with hook and latch. My Garmin Vista GPS, Blackberry Storm and Olympus Stylus Tough digital camera each fit into the pocket. A handheld radio made by Motorola fit snugly into the pocket and I was able to close the lid around the antenna. According to High Sierra, the shoulder harness length is 18 in/46 cm. By my measurements, the shoulder straps are approximately 1/2 in/1 cm thick and approximately 16 in/41 cm in length. Load stabilizer straps are attached near the top of each shoulder strap. Shoulder harness adjustment straps are also located at the bottom of each strap. All of these straps, upon initial examination without a loaded pack, pull and release easily for quick adjustment.

      The Removable Media Pocket.

      The Hip Belt: High Sierra uses Vapel mesh Airflow padding in the waist belt on the Summit which is supposed to wick moisture away. The padded portion of the hip belt is approximately 10 in/25 cm long on each side and tapers from approximately 4 in/10 cm in width at the hip to approximately 3 3/4 in/9 cm at the end. The nylon straps to which the buckle is attached are 12 1/2 in/32 cm in length on each side. The thickness of the padding in the hip belt is approximately 1/2 in/1 cm. There are right and left hand hip belt stabilizer straps.

      Load Control: The Summit is designed with "radial side compression" straps and load lifter straps to assist with load control and stability.

      Pack Bag Material and Webbing: The pack bag is made of Grid-Weave Duralite and Mini-Weave Duralite material. The bottom of the bag is made of Duraweave.

      Pack Bag Capacity and Accessibility: According to High Sierra, the Summit has a total volume of 4,500 cu in/45 L capacity with lid and collar extension. It also has an internal hydration sleeve. The Summit also has two compartments in the main bag with a zip-out divider and top and bottom loading capacities for easier access to gear (see photographs below).


      The Summit's Front Load Sleeping Bag Compartment.

      Adjustable Lid: The Summit comes with an adjustable lid. The lid has 1 external zippered pocket. The interior of the lid also contains a key clip and suggestions for survival gear printed on the material.

      The Adjustable Lid and Exterior Pocket.

      Mesh Pockets: There are open stretch pockets on both sides of the pack bag just above where the hip belt attaches to the frame. I can insert a 1L Nalgene water bottle into each pocket.

      Zippers and Zipper Pulls: Right now, the zippers on the Summit are a little stiff. The zipper pulls are metal on the front pocket and on the shelf inside the main bag and gray plastic attached to nylon cord on the lid pocket and the front load sleeping bag compartment.

      Trekking Pole/Ice Axe Loops and Attachment: The Summit has trekking pole/ice axe loops with pole holder attachments consisting of a plastic piece attached to the nylon webbing loop with an x-shaped slot cut into the center for the tip of the trekking pole. The pole holder attachment is shown in the photograph below.

      The Hiking Pole/Ice Axe Attachment.

      Rain Cover: The Summit also comes with a rain cover conveniently stowed in a pocket at the bottom of the pack which has a hook and latch closure. See photograph below.

      Rain Cover Stowed in a Pocket at the Bottom of the Bag.

      Hydration Compatible: The Summit has an internal hydration reservoir sleeve and dual exit ports for tubes. A hydration reservoir is not included. I will report on how well my Camel Back reservoirs work with the Summit.

      Initial Impressions: The Summit appears to be well constructed and designed. The pack has many very cool features. The next step is to get this pack loaded and into the field to see just how comfortable it is to wear and how well all of these cool features actually work. I am looking forward to testing this pack.

      My thanks to Lowe Alpine and BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the opportunity to test the High Sierra Summit 45 backpack.





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