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IR - Hydrapak Morro

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  • Kurt Papke
    Brett: Here s my draft of the IR for the Hydrapak Morro. Test folder:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2011
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      Brett: Here's my draft of the IR for the Hydrapak Morro.

      Test folder: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IR%20-%20Hydrapak%20Morro%20-%20Kurt%20Papke
      shortened: http://tinyurl.com/3umsatx

      Thanks in advance for the edits!

      Unreadable text:

      Hydrapak Morro Hydration Pack
      Test Series by Kurt Papke
      Initial Report - April 30, 2011
      Tester Information
      Name: Kurt Papke
      Age: 57
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
      Weight: 230 lbs (104 kg)
      Email address: kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
      City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

      My backpacking background is a combination of the Minnesota area,
      where I have lived most of my adult life, and Southern Arizona where I
      moved about two years ago to Tucson for a new job. Staying hydrated
      in the Sonoran Desert where I live and hike is a constant challenge --
      I am always looking for better ways of carrying and consuming fluids.
      Initial Report
      Product Facts
      Product Information
      Hydrapak Morro
      Manufacturer website
      Year manufactured
      Color tested
      Orange (Black also available)
      Size tested
      One size available only
      $109.99 USD
      specs: 1 lb 13 oz (820 g)
      measured: 1 lb 12.4 oz (805 g)
      Pack capacity
      800 in^3 (13.1 L)
      Reservoir capacity
      100 oz (3 L)

      The Morro is one of the larger hydration packs offered by Hydrapack.
      ENOUGH TO BE WORN ON EVERY RIDE". It has a large main compartment and
      multiple small pockets to accommodate the fluids, food and clothing
      needed for a full-day outing.
      Initial Inspection
      I spread the pack out on the floor to take an inventory of the various features.

      Back view
      Back view

      From the bottom-up, the above picture shows:

      * Drain hole for the reservoir pocket
      * Waist belt
      * Padded back panel
      * Shoulder straps with attached sternum strap
      * Drink tube with bite valve (the plastic wrap is still covering
      the bite valve)
      * Drink tube emerging from the reservoir pocket
      * Push-button drink tube connection for hooking up to reservoir
      * Reservoir

      Somewhat visible as lighter vertical bars in the back panel are ribbed
      or corrugated padding sections for ventilation. All of the white
      areas on the back of the pack are padded. Both the black and white
      areas are meshed.

      Front view
      Front view

      Again from the bottom-up:

      * Lower black lift strap -- in the photo this appears to have two
      parallel dashed white lines running through the middle of the strap
      * Lower front pocket -- not visible inside the pocket are two
      sleeves (one nylon, one mesh) and 3 elastic hold-downs
      * The large main pocket -- not visible inside the pocket are a
      large sleeve with hook-and-loop closure, two pen/pencil (or maybe tire
      pressure gauge) sleeves and a small zippered pocket
      * Two elastic side pockets with enwrapping compression straps
      * Small vertical pocket -- not visible inside are two elastic mesh
      pockets and a mitten-hook on a strap for storing keys
      * Circular media port opening into the vertical pocket
      * The black strip on the very top of the pack is the main lift strap

      Somewhat visible on the photo is the fact that all the pockets have
      tabbed pull cords on the zippers. The tabs have a nice grip, and the
      pockets zipped open and closed with no problems.
      First Impressions
      Size: when I removed the pack from the box I was surprised how large,
      yet how small the pack seemed. Hydration packs are often not very
      deep, so the great depth of the Morro surprised me; it almost looked
      like a day pack. Yet it was too small for a day pack. Clearly the
      pack height is very short, the belt was designed to ride on my waist,
      not my hips.

      Drink Tube: my next step was to connect up the drink tube. It wasn't
      obvious to me where it threaded through from the reservoir pocket, so
      I went to the Hydrapak website to look at their photos and noticed
      that the tube came out of the sleeve on the shoulder strap. Searching
      around with my fingers on the top of the reservoir pocket I found the
      channel, and with a little fiddling managed to thread the tube out
      properly. On most backpacking packs there is a well-marked and
      reinforced hole in the fabric (similar to the media port on this pack)
      for the drinking tube exit; this hydration pack is a little more

      Clip: Quantum clipone of the more intriguing features of the Morro is
      the magnetic clip ("Quantum Clip") for the drink tube as shown in the
      photo at right. It consists of two pieces, one that wraps around the
      drink tube, the other hooks on to a pack strap. It was a bit of a
      head-scratcher to figure out where to attach the pack strap piece.
      The drink tube is on the short side from what I am used to, but I
      found a spot on the sternum strap that should be convenient. My guess
      is I will play around a bit with the placement to find the right spot.

      The feature is intriguing. Each half of the clip is a permanent
      magnet, and when brought into close proximity they really want to come
      together. It'll be interesting to see how well this works in practice
      on the trail. I swing my arms a lot when I hike, and do a fair amount
      of bushwhacking, so I'll be watching for how well the clip holds. The
      good news is if it does get snagged nothing is going to break, the
      clip will just let go.

      Side pockets: I took two 500 ml (16.9 oz) bottles of water out of the
      fridge and jammed them into the side pockets. They fit, but just
      barely. It'll be interesting to see if I can get them in & out of the
      pockets on the trail without having to take the pack off.

      Reservoir: it is much thinner and more flexible plastic than I am used
      to in backpacking reservoirs. We'll see how well it holds up. I
      filled it with 100 oz (3 L) of tap water (the gradations on the side
      of the reservoir matched the measured amount) and sealed it up.
      Turning it upside-down and shaking it I could find no leaks from the
      top seal nor the drink tube connector. I hooked-up the drink tube
      with a satisfying "snap": no drops, no leaks. Next I slid the
      reservoir into the pocket, hooked it onto the hangar, and zipped the
      pocket shut. All set to go.

      I removed the plastic wrap from the bite valve and had a close look.
      There are two twist positions on the valve: "X" indicates closed
      (twist counterclockwise), and the other looked maybe like a water
      droplet (twist clockwise). The two icons were hard to see as the
      color is black-on-black, but its easy to tell when its in the closed
      position when I try to take a drink. There was no leakage from the
      bite valve when I left it in the open position.

      Fitting: time to strap on the pack. I loosened all the straps to the
      maximum, put on the pack, and closed both clasps (waist belt and
      sternum strap). It fit with just a bit of slack. I tightened up the
      shoulder and waist straps each about an inch (2.5 cm), and left the
      sternum fully extended. I have about a 38-inch (97 cm) waistline, and
      if I were to gain a little weight the waist strap would be tight.

      The bite valve reached my mouth, but not with a lot to spare. I had
      the magnetic clasp positioned on the sternum strap, but the drink tube
      is not quite long enough to reach the clasp. With the tube channeled
      under the elastic band on the shoulder strap, it didn't seem like the
      tube is going to flop around much even without the clip engaged.

      With a lot of pulling and tugging I managed to get the magnetic clasp
      attached to an elastic band at the very bottom of the shoulder strap
      instead of its former spot on the sternum strap. The magnet on the
      drink tube engaged and seemed to stay in place. This is what I'll go
      with at the start.
      I am excited to get this pack out onto the trail. With a total of 4 L
      (135 oz) of fluid in just the reservoir and side bottle pockets, I
      should be able to hike most of a day in the Arizona sun.

      * Lots of storage options with many good-sized pockets, and
      sleeves within the pockets.
      * Well-ventilated back panel design.


      * Side bottle pockets seem a little short. They are plenty wide,
      so I'll look into shorter squatty-shaped bottles for a better fit.
      * Users with waistlines larger than mine may have to use the pack
      without the waist strap.
      * I could have used a little written guidance in the printed
      materials or on the website about how & where to attach the magnetic

      Please check back in about two months when I'll file my first report
      from the field on the Morro.

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