APPLICATION TO TEST: Ground Repel Shell - Mike Lipay
- APPLICATION TO TEST: Ground Repel Shell
Please consider my application to test the Ground Repel Shell, I have
read, and will comply, with the rules in revision #1202 of the BGT
Survival Guide, and the new 4-month test plan.
My tester agreement is on file.
Name: Mike Lipay
Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight: 190 lbs (86 kg)
City, State: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I've been camping, hiking, and backpacking since the '60s, mostly with the
Boy Scouts though I've put on quite a few miles solo, and with my
kids.Throughout the year I act as a trail guide for a local outdoor group,
taking groups and individuals on day and weekend treks in the Allegheny
Mountains. I am, by no means, an ultralight backpacker (my pack weighs in
at 29-33 lbs - 13-15 kgs). I prefer an external frame pack because I like
to have places to attach "things". I prefer a hiking staff to trekking
poles, compass to GPS, film to digital, fire to fuel. My backpacking is
pretty much limited to weekends, and one full-week per year (usually in
the summer), with a long weekend canoe trip tossed in. I pretty much stick
to the Allegheny Mountains (Pennsylvania and West Virginia); temps here
range from a winter average of 20 F (-7 C) to a summer average of 75 F (25
C); elevation runs from sea level to 3,213 FT (979 M); rains are heavy
from late March through early June averaging 14 inches (35.5 cm) during
I would like the opportunity to test the Ground Repel Shell, I have been
using the layering system for over 5 years now, and my old shell has
reached the end of its useable lifespan. I have been hunting for a
replacement; in my search I have tried the Red Ledge and Sierra Designs.
To-date I have yet to find a truly waterproof/breathable jacket that is
comfortable to wear, sheds internal moisture, and allows free air
movement, while wearing a backpack. Most of the vent holes seem to fall
right where the pack straps ride, and the breast strap seems to cinch the
openings in such a way as to prevent air flow.
My main camping season is fall through spring, and it is my intention to
test the Ground Repel Shell throughout this time period. With the fall
rains we get up here, there will be ample opportunity to test the
waterproofing, and as we move into the fall/winter months I will see how
well it works with the rest of my layering system to block wind and
provide warmth, whil still allowing moisture to be wicked and shed.
I am planning to lead 4 all-day hikes during this period, as well as two
over-night trips in the Laurel Ridge. The Ridge is a constant terrain
change, with elevations going from 800-1600 ft (244-488 m); this continual
up-down-up type of hike results in heating-up and cooling-down periods,
and requires a good breathable shell to allow air in and moisture out.
Should the testing period move into January I will see how well this
jacket works with cold-weather layers, allowing moisture to escape without
compromising heat retention.
I will be paying particular attention to several features:
- QUALITY: materials used; how well seams are sealed smoothness of the
zipper operation; how well the draw strings are retained (past jackets
allowed the string to become lost in the shell); how well the inner lining
is attached to the outer shell.
- COMFORT - fit is primary - is the jacket too loose by itself, is it too
tight over a liner? Does the hood adjust and stay in winds, or does it
easily fall off? When rolled, is the hood out of the way, or it is
uncomfortable with a backpack on? Are the cuffs snug, yet comfortable on
the wrists, or will they lead to chafing? Do the vents allow easy movement
of air? Will the vents be blocked by the backpack straps? How comfortable
is the chin guard? I have a beard, and chin guards can be quite
uncomfortable as the beard brushes.
- ENDURANCE: Long-term testing isnt really possible, but over the
short-term: will the zippers continue to work smoothly? If there is any
Velcro, will it continue to open and close, while retaining its ability
to remain attached with pulls and tugs? Will the shoulders hold up to the
movement of pack straps, or will they begin to show wear?
PERSONAL DATA: I would require a large mens, and would prefer the
Army/Thunder color combination.
LINK TO TESTER REVIEWS
NOTE: I have just the LTR for one of the products that I was testing,
which will remove me from the newbie status before testing of the