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FR - Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 - Jamie D

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  • Jamie D.
    http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/FR%20-%20Mountainsmith%20Red%20Rock%2025%20-%20Jamie%20D/ ... Since mid-April when the Mountainsmith Red
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 24, 2013
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      ------------------------------------- Field Report --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Since mid-April when the Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 arrived it's been used on 29 day hikes. I've also used the pack while walking through local parks, along urban washes, and in dog parks 13 times. The majority of these treks took place in the Sonoran Desert in or near Phoenix or Cave Creek, Arizona. Elevations range between 1,500 ft (450 m) and 2,300 ft (700 m). Temperatures fluctuated from the mid 70'sF (24 C) up to the low 100'sF (39 C). Weather was mostly clear and sunny, no precipitation. Use time was between one and half and four hours on each outing.
      Field Tests April through June

      There's no doubt the Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 is spacious. As mentioned in my previous report, I carry at least 4L of water, a bunch of first-aid stuff, several doggie items, my ten essentials kit, and some personal gear totaling around 15 lbs (7 kg). Even with all that, I still have room to spare in just about every compartment. The side mesh pockets have worked well for both 1L and 1.5L bottles. I've used a few different brands and they all stay put during normal walking or light jogging. The taller 1.5L bottle did fall out when I bent over for more than a few seconds. More slender bottles had the same problem. It is possible to secure a bottle like a Nalgene that offers a loop near the cap by using the side compression strap located right above both pockets. I've used this option with success.

      As a hydration compatible pack the Red Rock has a few issues. The hydration sleeve is roomy, handling my 2L reservoir easily. On the negative side, because this sleeve is also designed to handle a laptop it's actually too wide causing bunching of the material at the opening so that when I'm loading items into the other side of the main compartment they get hung up on the sleeve or drop into the hydration channel. This is a minor inconvenience but annoying nonetheless. The hang loop inside has been unnecessary so far. The hose port is wisely situated between the shoulder straps so the hose can be used along both straps and the opening itself is nice and wide, all of which I like. I'm totally indifferent toward the elastic strips on each shoulder strap. They do hold the bladder hose in line but they are totally useless with regard to attaching any other items to the shoulders.

      This lack of attachment points has been a challenge for me. I must have my camera and multi-tool in an easily accessible location. I like them to be either on the chest strap or on my shoulder strap which wasn't possible on the Red Rock without getting creative with a small carabineer and a pouch made by another manufacture. The chest strap was easy to adjust and buckle/unbuckle at home but in the field I found it more difficult, especially with gloved hands.
      Conversely, I found the load lifter handle and all the zippers worked perfectly with my gloved hands. The zippers are very sturdy and there aren't any loose threads anywhere nearby to catch on. Love quality materials! The load lifter handle is an often overlooked feature but not for me! I almost always hang my pack at rest stops, partially because the desert floor is full of stickers and little clingy seeds that want free rides down the trails but mostly because a few of my furry companions are males and they sometimes get wild ideas about property ownership! The Red Rock's handle is robust and the opening is wide enough to accommodate several branch sizes. I'm very pleased with it.

      I haven't needed to use the daisy chain or the trekking pole loops so I'll have to evaluate those in the last part of the series. I'm also going to save my comments about the Anvil Airway system, the belt strap and the organizer pocket for my Long Term report. I haven't really made up my mind about them yet.

      Pros and Cons Thus Far
      Aspects I'm pleased withÂ…

      Plentiful cargo space
      Zippers easy to use with gloved hands
      Side mesh pockets easily hold large water bottles as well as smaller items
      Hydration port is nice and wide
      Carry handle is sturdy and long enough to be useful

      Aspects I'm underwhelmed withÂ…

      Hydration pocket gets in the way of the main compartment
      Difficult to attach things to the shoulder straps
      Chest strap is hard to buckle and adjust with gloved hands

      For my final observations please check back in about two months when I'll be posting my Long Term Report.

      Jamie DeBenedetto - 2013
    • Ralph Ditton
      Hi Jamie, I had a good chuckle about why you are loathed to place the pack on the ground when the hounds are around. Goodness, irrigation of the pack, that s a
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 26, 2013
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        Hi Jamie,

        I had a good chuckle about why you are loathed to place the pack on the
        ground when the hounds are around. Goodness, irrigation of the pack, that's
        a new one for me. My dog takes zero interest in my pack unless he can smell
        a treat, then it is just a whine and bark.

        The most wonderful news: NO EDITS.

        Look forward to your next installment and see if the hounds have succeeded
        in claiming ownership in an unattended moment.

        Delete the test folder copy.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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