FR - Outdoor Products- Amphibian Defense Pack - Mike Pearl
- Hi Richard,
Hope the New Year finds you well! Text and link to my report.
Thanks for the edits.
<a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
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Velvet Rocks, New Hampshire - 5.2 mi (8 km) to 1243 ft (379 m) on the Appalachian Trail, 66 F (19 C) mostly sunny, Pack weight - 8 lb (3.6 kg)
Camels Hump, Vermont - 18 mi (29 km) to 4081 ft (1244 m) with 3963 ft (1208 m) gained in 5.1 mi (8 m), 60 F (15.5 C) mostly cloudy with a few breaks of sunshine, Pack weight - 14 lb (6.4 kg) *photo to the right*
Moose Mountain (South Peak), New Hampshire - 10 mi (16 km) to 2300 ft (701 m), 32 warming to 36 F (0 to 2.2 C) with mixed precipitation changing to all rain, Pack weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Pine Park / Girl Brook, New Hampshire - 6 mi (9.5 km) 600 to 400 ft (180 to 120 m), 25 F (-4 C) with a dusting of snow and windy Pack weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Farnum Hill, New Hampshire - 8 mi (13 km) to 1336 ft (407 m), 30 F (-1 C) periods of light snow, Pack weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Moose Mountain (Ridge Trail), New Hampshire - 12 mi (19 km) to 1800 ft (550 m), 28 warming to 35 F (-2.2 to 1.7 F) snow turning to rain with gusting winds, Pack weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Mt. Ascutney, Vermont - 6 mi (9.5 km) to 3144 ft (958 m), 30 F (-1 C) very sunny and windy where exposed, Pack weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Pine Park / Girl Brook, New Hampshire - 10 mi (16 km) 600 to 400 ft (180 to 120 m), 30 F (-1 C) and snowing, Pack weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Pine Park / Girl Brook, New Hampshire - 5 mi (8 km) 600 to 400 ft (180 to 120 m), 18 F (-8 C) with gusty winds and sunshine, Pack weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The first hike with the Amphibian was short and the weather warm. This made for a small and light load. I was hiking with my wife and kids. I carried for the four of us rain jackets, snack bars, fruit and water. As well as a cell phone and camera. The load being small left a fair amount of unused space. The excess is easily managed by rolling the closure down. This effectively decreases the pack size. It feels smaller and holds the load securely in place.
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On subsequent hikes the load grew. The Amphibian held a small tarp-tent, first aid/emergency gear, rain jacket and pants, wool baselayer pants and shirt, socks, gloves, fleece hat, gaiters, 1.5 L water bottle, camera, sandwich and apple. One side pocket held my wallet and keys. The other side pocket my cell phone. The front pocket held a map, mini-tripod and snack bars.
When temperatures moved into the freezing range my load change slightly. I swapped the rain jacket for a synthetic down jacket and the fleece hat for a balaclava. I added a pair of ice cleats and insulating cozy to the water bottle.
The Amphibian graciously accepted items in the main compartment. Now when closing the pack I was able to get two or three rolls on the closure. Even stuffed full getting an item at the bottom is easy. When the pack is open extra material is unrolled. The pack temporally rises above the contents and the opening widens. This creates space to rummage without removing things. I find stuffing the Amphibian has a downside though. It compresses the front and side pockets. This limits what they can hold and makes getting things in and out difficult.
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The first full load with the Amphibian revealed the importance of load distribution. After about a mile I felt the framesheet hitting the top of my left hip. A half mile after that it became painful. I tried to adjust the shoulder straps and change where the pack sat. A few steps more and the problem returned. I then stopped to check the map and had some water. This changed where things were inside the pack. The bottom left corner no longer bulged and the framesheet stopped striking my hip. However now the water bottle was at the top of the pack. This caused the pack to pull slightly left to right as I hiked. A minor repack with the heaviest item at center of the pack closest to my back and neither problem has returned.
I have found double use for a couple of features. When it's not raining or snowing I've used the roll top to hold a jacket. By rolling the jacket into the closure it is secured to the outside of the pack. No capacity is lost inside the pack and the jacket is very accessible. I have also used the shock cord to attach gear to the Amphibian. Hiking poles hold nice when the tips are in one of the gear loops. The shock cord has also served are a "clothes line" to secure a sweated out T-shirt. After a windy summit and hike down, it was dry.
The waterproofing has been flawless on all hikes. When the exterior is saturated the fabric becomes a darker shade of blue. Water and snow have accumulated on the exterior but never penetrate the interior. I trust it enough to set it almost anywhere. When the ground was either wet or covered in snow I used the Amphibian as a seat during snack breaks.
The last two outings during Field Testing was on cross country skis. This is where I thought I would miss a hip belt most. But with the shoulder and sternum straps adjusted correctly I had no complaints. I learned early as long as the load is balanced the Amphibian stays in place.
At the end of this round of testing I like the Amphibian Weather Defense Pack. It has done an excellent job keeping things dry. The next best thing is the quick and convenient roll top closure. The wide opening makes locating gear easy. When packed right the fit is good and secure. I like being able to match the pack size to the load by adjusting the number of rolls in the closure. Unfortunately when at capacity the side and front pockets become less useful. The Amphibian has been great in the milder and wet weather. Now I want to see how it handles the colder temps and deeper snowfalls.
This completes my Field Report. I will continue to put the Amphibian Pack to use in the field for the next two months. Please return then for the final round of reporting. My thanks to Outdoor Products and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
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