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LTR - Black Diamond Mercury 75L - Justin Potts

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  • Justin Potts
    Ray, Here is my LTR kind of sad this one is over. But, none the less, here is the text, and HTML provided below for your critical expertise. HTML:
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 10, 2012
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      Ray,

      Here is my LTR kind of sad this one is over. But, none the less, here is the text, and HTML provided below for your critical expertise.

      HTML:
      http://tinyurl.com/a8qy6uc

      Text:

      LONG-TERM REPORT
                  
      LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
       
      It is easily discernible throughout my test series and reviews that I spend the majority of my time backpacking in the Wichita Wildlife Refuge here in southwest Oklahoma, USA. The last two months testing this pack was no exception. I managed to get it out on three separate two-night hiking/climbing trips because the weather has been abnormally amazing. On these nine days in November and December the highs were in the mid 70's F (low 20's C) and the lows were in the high 40's F (~8 C) at night. So with whate'er like this, this late in the year, of course I had to get out in it as much as I could. We were climbing most of the time, so we only covered around 4 mi (6.5 km) a day.


       
      PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
       
      The Mercury 75L is by far the largest pack that I have ever used. The capacity of this thing is outstanding and continues to amaze me every-time I pull it out to get ready for a trip. I would not call myself a super lightweight backpacker, but my gear tends to be relatively small and compact. For perspective, before starting this test series my backpack of choice had a capacity of 58L, and still had some room to play with.

      That being said, I've had trouble filling this pack to capacity so on these three trips I enlisted the help of my girlfriend. So I fit inside this pack; basic backpacking gear (tent, sleep system, cookset, stove, food, water etc...) for myself and my girlfriend, as well as all of our climbing gear, while she carried the rope attached to a small hydration pack. (I cannot help but to think she got the gold mine and I got the shaft on these trips).  Needless to say, I finally filled this pack completely.

      While the pack was undoubtedly heavy carrying such a large amount of gear, it was designed to carry heavy loads comfortably... And it does carry heavy loads relatively comfortably. I think that it would be silly to think that carrying any pack weighing this much would be 100% comfortable, but compared to other packs I have the Mercury 75L is very comfortable, even carrying loads up to 65 lb (29.5 kg). Now that being said, the Manufacturer's website lists the recommended usage at 50 lb (23 kg). Which for my intended purpose for these 3 trips meant the pack was about two-thirds full, so I went ahead and filled the pack just to see how it would handle a load that exceeded its recommendation. And the result was that it can do so just fine.
       
      SUMMARY
       
      Aside from the initial confusion, which was caused partly by poor design and partly by lack of instructions on how to attach the hipbelt to the pack (which is mentioned in the Initial Report) I do not have a lot to criticize. Which saddens me because it is much easier to remain objective when there is a dislike here and there. Perhaps I will mention that the sheer volume of this pack is slightly excessive. I will continue to use this pack when I take my niece and nephews out because they are still a bit to young and small to be able to carry all of their own gear and still be able to enjoy backpacking. Other than that, I cannot forsee another time that I will get this pack close to full.

      On the other hand, I cannot express through this report how truly comfortable the ergoACTIV XP suspension system actually is. Now it does take a little bit of time, patience, and tinkering to get it set properly. After that however it is good to go. It has become my favorite suspension system by far. And finally the ergoACTIV XP suspension coupled with the SwingArm shoulder straps make this pack truly 'forgetable' (in the sense that I literally forget I am wearing a pack sometimes).
       
      Final Comments
       
      I have really enjoyed testing this pack.  I would like to thank Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with this testing opportunity.

      See you down the trail. ;-)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ray
      Hi Justin, Good to hear you enjoyed the pack. It would have been nice to see a pic or two of it in action over the course of the four months. I have your edits
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 11, 2012
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        Hi Justin,

        Good to hear you enjoyed the pack. It would have been nice to see a pic or two of it in action over the course of the four months. I have your edits below, correct them and you are good to go.

        See you down the trail,

        Ray




        *** So with whate'er like this, this late in the year, of course I had to get out in it as much as I could.

        EDIT: I think you meant to write "So with weather", correct?



        *** So I fit inside this pack; basic backpacking gear (tent, sleep system, cookset, stove, food, water etc...) for myself and my girlfriend, as well as all of our climbing gear,

        Edit: this just reads very awkwardly. Maybe lose the "So I fit inside this pack" and start it with, My normal pack load on our trips together consist of…



        Needless to say, I finally filled this pack completely.

        Comment: Ha, love it. Marry her and have a couple of kids and you will be carrying a 110 L pack. ;-)



        *** Now that being said, the Manufacturer's website lists the recommended usage at 50 lb (23 kg).

        EDIT: no cap for "manufacturer's"



        *** Perhaps I will mention that the sheer volume of this pack is slightly excessive.

        Edit: if you want to criticize it for being too large that is fine but maybe clarify it by saying that it is too large for what you need/carry or something like that. In winter that is as small of a pack as I use and sometimes I use much more.



        I will continue to use this pack when I take my niece and nephews out because they are still a bit to young and small to be able to carry all of their own gear and still be able to enjoy backpacking.

        EDIT: a bit "too" young"
        And good on you there. Make it enjoyable now and hopefully they will love it down the road.



        ***Other than that, I cannot forsee another time that I will get this pack close to full.

        EDIT: foresee



        *** Now it does take a little bit of time, patience, and tinkering to get it set properly.

        Edit: I would drop the "Now"
      • Justin Potts
        Ray, Sorry for the late upload, took a bit of time to find pictures of the pack in use. Apparently I don t take pictures of my back very often (strange I know)
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 12, 2012
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          Ray,

          Sorry for the late upload, took a bit of time to find pictures of the pack in use. Apparently I don't take pictures of my back very often (strange I know) so I got a couple from some friends that show the pack. Anyway, I uploaded the edited report here: http://tinyurl.com/bhrs7fk and took care of the clean up in the test folder.

          Finals are over and break has started,
          Headed back to the trails,

          Catch you around the bend,

          -Justin Potts
          -Pottsy



          ________________________________
          From: Ray <rayestrella@...>
          To: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:50 AM
          Subject: [backpackgeartesters] Edit: LTR - Black Diamond Mercury 75L - Justin Potts


           
          Hi Justin,

          Good to hear you enjoyed the pack. It would have been nice to see a pic or two of it in action over the course of the four months. I have your edits below, correct them and you are good to go.

          See you down the trail,

          Ray

          *** So with whate'er like this, this late in the year, of course I had to get out in it as much as I could.

          EDIT: I think you meant to write "So with weather", correct?

          *** So I fit inside this pack; basic backpacking gear (tent, sleep system, cookset, stove, food, water etc...) for myself and my girlfriend, as well as all of our climbing gear,

          Edit: this just reads very awkwardly. Maybe lose the "So I fit inside this pack" and start it with, My normal pack load on our trips together consist of…

          Needless to say, I finally filled this pack completely.

          Comment: Ha, love it. Marry her and have a couple of kids and you will be carrying a 110 L pack. ;-)

          *** Now that being said, the Manufacturer's website lists the recommended usage at 50 lb (23 kg).

          EDIT: no cap for "manufacturer's"

          *** Perhaps I will mention that the sheer volume of this pack is slightly excessive.

          Edit: if you want to criticize it for being too large that is fine but maybe clarify it by saying that it is too large for what you need/carry or something like that. In winter that is as small of a pack as I use and sometimes I use much more.

          I will continue to use this pack when I take my niece and nephews out because they are still a bit to young and small to be able to carry all of their own gear and still be able to enjoy backpacking.

          EDIT: a bit "too" young"
          And good on you there. Make it enjoyable now and hopefully they will love it down the road.

          ***Other than that, I cannot forsee another time that I will get this pack close to full.

          EDIT: foresee

          *** Now it does take a little bit of time, patience, and tinkering to get it set properly.

          Edit: I would drop the "Now"




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ray
          Thanks for the pics, that makes it a lot better. Yeah I would always have Dave take pictures of me with whatever gear I was testing at the time. Now that I am
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 13, 2012
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            Thanks for the pics, that makes it a lot better.

            Yeah I would always have Dave take pictures of me with whatever gear I was testing at the time. Now that I am 85% solo I am getting very good at using the self-timer function on my camera. The hard part is finding a place to set it.

            Ray

            -- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, Justin Potts <justpottsy@...> wrote:
            >
            > Ray,
            >
            > Sorry for the late upload, took a bit of time to find pictures of the pack in use. Apparently I don't take pictures of my back very often (strange I know) so I got a couple from some friends that show the pack.
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