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Cameron Ownbey

Cameron Ownbey has 24 articles published.

The Sawatch 15 Sleeping Bag – A New Way to Look at an Old Design

in Gear by
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Sawatch 15 sleeping bag
The Sawatch 15 sleeping bag received high recommendations in recent gear testing by Backpacking Light.

Katabatic Gear takes a new look at the traditional sleeping bag with the Sawatch 15.  The Sawatch 15 sleeping bag features a unique quilt style design that attempts to keep the insulation where you need it most for increased warmth at a lightweight.  The design also eliminates the zipper to allow for versatile use as either a blanket or mummy.  Another innovative feature of the bag is the attachment system that allows the Sawatch 15 sleeping bag to be attached to your sleeping pad so you don’t roll off in the middle of the night while maximizing thermal capacity.  In addition, the Sawatch 15 sleeping bag uses a differential cut that keeps loft (warmth) even when the bag is pulled tight against the body on chilly nights.  The roomy trapezoidal overstuffed foot box allows for extra warmth around your feet.  Continuous baffles help to move insulation around the bag as needed.  The bag is also equipped with an overstuffed down collar for added warmth and comfort.

Swatch 15 sleeping bag
The Katabatic Gear patented Cord Clip attachment system keeps you on your pad and maximizes the thermal qualities of the bag. Simply tie the cords around the pad, and attach your bag!

The Sawatch sleeping bag is rated to 15 degrees, but the added features and design will keep you warmer than most bags rated to this temperature. Katabatic Gear uses premium goose down that is treated to be moisture resistant.  At around 24 ounces, the Swatch sleeping bag is lightweight and an ideal three-season option for most backpacking trips.

Top 10 List Of 10 Essentials Lists

in Community by
REI-10-Essentials

Top 10 list of the 10 essentials lists

 

REI 10 Essentials

REI-10-Essentials

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html

1 Navigation (map and compass)
2 Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
3 Insulation (extra clothing)
4 Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5 First-aid supplies
6 Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
7 Repair kit and tools
8 Nutrition (extra food)
9 Hydration (extra water)
10 Emergency shelter

Backpacker Magazine 10 Essentials

Backpacker-Magazine-10-Essentials

http://www.backpacker.com/november-2010-ten-essentials/slideshows/138

1 Headlamp
2 First-aid Kit
3 Sunblock
4 Trail food
5 Fire
6 Knife
7 Water
8 Insulation
9 Navigation
10 Rain gear

 Washington Trails Association (WTA) 10 Essentials

WTA-10-Essentials

http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/basics/ten-essentials

1 Map
2 Compass
3 Water and a way to purify it
4 Extra food
5 Rain gear and extra clothing
6 Firestarter and matches
7 First-aid kit
8 Knife or multipurpose tool
9 Flashlight and extra batteries
10 Sun screen and sun glasses

Wikipedia 10 Essentials

Wikipedia-10-Essentials

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials

1 Map
2 Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
3 Sunglasses and sunscreen
4 Extra food
5 Extra water
6 Extra clothes
7 Headlamp and/or flashlight
8 First aid kit
9 Fire starter
10 Knife

 Boys Life (Boy Scouts of America) 10 Essentials

Boy-Scouts-of-America-10-essentials

http://boyslife.org/outdoors/outdoorarticles/6976/scout-outdoor-essentials-checklist/

1 A pocketknife or multitool
2 First-aid kit
3 Extra clothing
4 Rain gear
5 Flashlight
6 Trail food
7 Water
8 Matches and/or a fire starter
9 Sun protection
10 Map and compass

 The Mountaineers 10 Essentials

The-Mountaineers-10-essentials

https://www.mountaineers.org/learn/how-tos/the-ten-essentials

1 Navigation
2 Sun protection
3 Insulation (extra clothing)
4 Illumination
5 First-aid supplies
6 Fire
7 Repair kit and tools (including knife)
8 Nutrition (extra food)
9 Hydration (extra water)
10 Emergency shelter

National Park Service 10 Essentials

National-Park-Service-10-essentials

http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/essentials.htm

1 Map of the area and compass
2 Extra food and water
3 Extra clothing, including rain gear
4 Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
5 Pocketknife
6 Matches in a waterproof container and candle or other fire starter
7 Whistle
8 Flashlight with extra batteries and bulb
9 Space blanket
10 First aid kit

 Appalachian Trail Conservancy 10 Essentials

Appalachian-Trail-Conservancy-10-essentials

 http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/clothing-gear

1 A map and compass
2 Water
3 Warm clothing, rain gear, and a hat
4 Food
5 A trowel for burying human waste and toilet paper
6 A first-aid kit with blister treatments
7 A whistle
8 A Garbage bag to carry out trash
9 Sunglasses and sunscreen
10 A Blaze-orange vest or hat during hunting season

 Mazamas 10 Essentials

Mazamas-10-Essentials

http://mazamas.org/about-us/mazamas-faq/

1 Whistle
2 Fire starter & waterproof matches
3 Map
4 Knife
5 Compass
6 First aid kit
7 Sun protection (lip balm, sunscreen and a hat)
8 Extra clothing (hat, socks, gloves)
9 Flashlight (with extra bulb and batteries)
10 Extra food

 Alaska National Park Service 10 Essentials

Alaska-10-Essentials

http://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/ten-essentials-for-backcountry-travel-in-katmai.htm

1 Appropriate footwear
2 Map and compass/GPS
3 Water and a water treatment system
4 High-calorie food
5 Rain gear and extra clothing
6 Safety items
7 Sunscreen and sunglasses
8 Bug spray and head net
9 Bear spray, flares, air horns
10 Backpack

April Hikes 2014 Recommended for Seattle Backpackers Meetup

in Trail of the Week/Trails by
April-Hikes

April Hikes 2014

If you are a Seattle Backpackers Meetup organizer here are some April hikes from years past that were a lot of fun and and you can easily [copy this meetup] to schedule it for yourself.  Be sure to read through before scheduling to make sure dates and meeting locations are adjusted to fit your preferences.

April-Hikes

Suggested April hikes Meetups:

1) Tener-Si Traverse Snowshoe Hike:     Let’s hike the Kamikaze Trail up to Mt Teneriffe, follow the ridge road down to Mt Si, and hike down the Mt Si trail. That’s 11 miles and 4000+ ft elevation gain……..

2) Ancient Lakes Overnight: How about a super easy hike in sunny eastern Washington?……..

3) Oil City to Third Beach Backpack Trip: Let’s go backpacking at the beach! This is a 3-day, 2-night, 17-mile, very muddy adventure…..

4) West Granite Mountain Snowshoe Dayhike: Stretch you legs on this awesome day hike! West Granite is a less-visited peak just beside Granite Mountain, at I90 exit 47. We’ll start out on the trail to Talapus and Olallie Lakes…..

5) Double Feature Day Hike: Cedar Butte and Rattlesnake Ledges: Meet at the Rattlesnake Lake State Park, then head west on the Iron Horse Trail formile to the Cedar Butte trailhead. Going up, we will take the scenic Blowout trail to the summit to enjoy the views (about a 800 foot gain). Then back down to the trailhead and up to the Rattlesnake Ledges (about 1,100 foot gain). The overall hike is around 8 miles…..

6) Badass Mid-Week Rainier Snowshoe!: We’ll start at the Longmire Ranger Station, loop around the mysteriously bubbling Longmire Meadows, and climb up to Rampart Ridge. This geologic formation left from a lava flow offers……

7) Mt. Si Hike!: Si! This is a nice, classic I-90 hike with great views and low drive-time (comparatively!). We’ll start off in nice forest and climb to the summit, gaining 3550 feet of elevation in 4 miles. (8 miles round-trip)…….

8) Snowshoe Hike: Pratt Ridge Saddle (maybe Pratt Lake): The Pratt Lake trail is a great go-to winterhike. It starts at low elevation (1800′) and is pleasant for a leisurely stroll to Olallie Lake for our first extended break……..

9) Copper Creek Hut Snowshoe Trip– 2 Nights: The Mt Tahoma Trails Association, located next to Mt Rainier National Park, has groomed trails and maintains several huts. Our destination is Copper Creek Hut, which is the only hut I’ve never been to……

10) Easter Egg Hike!: The course will span easy, flat terrain as well as some big hills and even some weird old mine shafts! But this is largely dependent on YOU, my dear fellow egg-hunting hikers! I ……

11) Wallace Falls State Park Day Hike!: Join me on an awesomely beautiful loop hike in Wallace Falls State Park. We will ascend through verdant forest alongside the Wallace River to several impressive waterfalls, before looping over to Wallace Lake. The route will be about 10 miles total, with a decent climb in the beginning portion of the hike……

12) Backpack Trip: Rialto Beach on the Olympic Peninsula (First Night): We will have great beachcombing opportunities. There is also a unique natural feature near camp called the Hole-in-the-Wall. Rain or shine, expect big beach fires to help keep warm and toasty…….

13) Steep Tiger Mountain Hike: We will take the Bus Trail, to the Nook Trail and up to the Talus Caves for a short break. Then we will head up the steep Section Line trail to the Tiger 3 Summit and should be back to the parking lot between noon and 1pm……

14) Mt. Washington Summit Day Hike: here are ledges, waterfalls, caves, and a multitude of trails that offer endless loop hike opportunities. For an added bonus, it’s much less know than comparable hikes nearby like Mt. Si or Mailbox Peak…..

15) wallace lake, greg ball trail: i have wanted to do this one for awhile,its one i have never been to outside of wallace falls which is the same trailhead and awsome as well. bring snacks,we will be having lunch at a local establishment …..

16) Oyster Dome: waterproof boots are recommended, and gaitors if you have them……

17) Head up the Skoke (Staircase) – wander in the snow: We will head up the Skoke and travel as far as the group feels comfortable…..

18) Photo Hike: Ebey’s Landing: Stand over the some of the highest coastal bluffs in Washington and wait for the sunset behind the olympics on this 6 mile hike.  Maybe we’ll see a few eagles on the way, so bring a zoom lens…..

19) North Fork Quinalt 3 day: In skiing terms this may be a black diamond, or double black diamond hike. There will be deep stream crossings, some bushwhacking and rough campsites…..

20) Triple Header Event -The Duckabush River Trail, Dosewallips camp out and Oysters: This is intended to be a weekend with 3 specific and different features. One is an overnight car camp at a great state park along Hood Canal. This will be a mixer and will give us an opportunity to …..

21) Camp Handy, Dungeness River Basin, Olympic National Forest: we will hike through old growth forest alongside the Dungeness River for 3.3 miles to arrive at the Camp Handy meadow. At the first mile in, we will log cross Royal Creek, fed by Royal Basin, an area popular with backpackers and controlled by the Park Service……

22) Saturday singles only spring day hike (Rattle Snake Ridge): This is a nice beginning to the summer season type of hike.. Only 4 miles round trip. We will be at the top around noon so bring some snacks for lunch…..

23) Hex Mountain Snowshoe Trip- Overnight: Hex Mountain trail. Quoting the book Snowshoe Routes-WA by D.Nelson, This trail represents the epitome of snowshoeing in the Cascades, a long steady climb through lush old forests…..

24) New Members only Overnight Ape Cave Snowshoe: Please be sure to read this entire post before signing up…Thanks Total round trip 10 miles Elevation gain: insignificant avalanche danger: insignificant Maps:Green Trails map # 364 USGS map for Mount Mitchell Pictures from last year This trail is accessible

25) Kayak-Nisqually Wildlife Refuge:  I figured it would be great to do some kayaking among the tidal flats and inlets and maybe get another chance to see some Raptors and other smaller birds. So I came across this kayak rental place in the Olympia area

Inspirational April hikes ideas from Seattle Backpackers Magazine:

1) Snowshoeing Coldwater Lake Loop – Mt St Helens: Winter’s harshness has ended, by calendar only. Keep your fingers crossed. If your like me, your screaming for spring, and especially summer!! Winter still has it’s many advantages and snowshoeing is one of them. I had been couped up for month and had to escape…..

2) Chambers Bay: The whole family will enjoy exploring this unearthly landscape of carved hillsides and towering ruins on the shores of Puget Sound. Once the site of a quarry and cement plant…..

3) Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming: I am not sure where I first read about the Wind River Range, but every trip report or article I read was filled with superlatives and awe, written in hushed and reverent tones describing the grandeur of the Winds. Just the name itself evokes an image of rocky windswept plateaus of peaks and spires……

4) Early Spring Washington Hikes: I am apt to cringe when someone asks about my favorite photography sites in the Pacific Northwest. How can I choose when there are so many? Though it’s still winter I am already eagerly anticipating my favorite spring hikes in Washington, described below…..

Inspirational April hikes ideas from Washington Trails Association: 

1) Frenchman Coulee: On summer weekends, rock climbers flock to the nearby Frenchman Coulee climbing area, drawn to the tall vertical columns of basalt that line the coulee walls. Hikers, who prefer their lands more horizontal than vertical, will also find great enjoyment here…..

2) Icicle Ridge: Often free of snow as early as April, this excellent early season hike offers hikers what they have been missing for months: a good chance of sun (this being the sunny side of the Cascades….

3) Baker Lake–Maple Grove: Magnificent old growth forests, stellar views of Mount Baker, turbulent tributaries,and, of course, a beautiful lake make this trail a great path to travel…..

4) Cowiche Canyon: A group of dedicated volunteers with the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy worked for years to develop this trail – or, rather, to un-develop this trail – because this old railroad right-of-way is now a path through a wild wonderland……

5) Murhut Falls: This short trail in the Hood Canal Ranger District on the east side of the Olympics takes hikers to a relatively unknown waterfall…..

6) Lake Serene – Bridal Veil Falls: Towering and formidable, Mount Index is perhaps the most awesome and fiercest sight and site along US 2. But softening its stark appearance is Bridal Veil Falls. Emanating from beneath the mountain’s austere crags, the tiered and tumbling cataract drapes over granite slabs…..

7) Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area: Though this land is called a “wildlife area,” it could as easily be named a state wildflower area. On any given spring day, hikers can expect to see an array of wildflowers that puts the pretty alpine meadows to shame…..

8) Hoh River-Five Mile Island: The most famous of all the Olympic rain forests, the Hoh is one of the busiest places in Olympic National Park. A visitors center and a couple of well-groomed nature trails attract bus loads of admirers from Seattle to Seoul, Boston to Berlin. And its not just camera-toting …..

Coexisting with Wolves in Washington

in Earth by
Wolves in Washington
After decades of monitoring depleted wolf populations in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has called to remove the gray wolf, Canis lupus, from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. This proposal was submitted in June, but the decision is on hold until Fish and Wildlife has conducted public hearings in affected states. A decision is expected to be made within the year, but states are already developing proposals on coexisting with wolves.
Wolves in Washington

It has been less than six years since the first wild wolf pack was confirmed in Washington, and since then that number has increased to 10 confirmed and two suspected packs, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Most of those packs exist in Eastern Washington with three confirmed packs in the Northern Cascades.

The resurgence of wolves has been a controversial issue in areas affected — conservation groups are concerned about anti-wolf propaganda leading to further reduction in the fragile population, while farmers and residents are concerned for the safety of livestock and citizens.

The killing of a Washington pack in 2012 was criticized by Sen. Kevin Ranker, chair of the Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee, who called the act “inexcusable” when interviewed by NBC News last year. Ranchers in Eastern Washington have repeatedly requested that the state control the gray wolf population in the area, citing wolf attacks as being responsible for lost revenue, due to death of livestock.

Wolves in Washington 1

The decision to delist the gray wolf has been extended to Oct. 28, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Defenders of Wildlife is hosting a seminar on bridging the gap between the two sides with a free presentation on wolf conservation, wildlife conflict management, compensation programs, co-existence and non-lethal techniques for reducing wolf and livestock conflicts. Coexisting with Wolves in Washington — Lessons Learned is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the University Friends Meeting hall located at 4001 9th Ave NE in Seattle.

Our Top Picks for Winter Boots

in Gear by
S.R.-3
With the season quickly changing from warm to cold, everyone is in a rush to switch out their closets with the appropriate clothing to stay warm this fall and soon to be winter. With everyday warmth on the brain, staying warm on the trail and prepared for winter conditions should be too. Here are our top choices for winter boots when heading out in the cold weather this year.

Vasque Snowburban

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Vasque Snowburbans, may be a “Porridge is just right” kind of winter hiking boot.The Snowburbans are designed primarily for cold weather use. They also have some neat features that set them apart as a superior snowshoe-specific boot. Those features include a built-out ridge on your heel that acts as a ledge for your binding strap to rest on and prevents the strap from slipping under your heel if there is inadvertent loosening. The material over the top of your foot also seems to be a bit beefed up, which assists in distributing the binding pressure over a wider area and limits foot fatigue and pain.The Snowburbans weigh in at 3 lbs, 3 ounces, which when you consider that they are insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate and they are a full height (9 inches) boot, feels pretty light.

Salewa Condor

Isaac-Tait_11
The Condor boots required absolutely no break-in time. Straight out of the box I took them on a 15 mile backpacking trip and suffered zero blisters, hotspots, or discomfort. These boots live up to Salewa’s Zero Blister policy. With lace locks on the third eyelet and four lace eyelet hooks up the ankle, this boot locks onto your foot. No matter how rugged or heavy a load you may be carrying, they offer phenomenal ankle support. The heel pull loops on these boots are HUGE. Why more companies do not do this is beyond me. Even with heavily insulated gloves, getting these boots on is not an issue. With the high ankle support and gusseted tongue, these boots are definitely waterproof. Even after walking and standing in a creek for over ten minutes, no water soaked through. The bright green color-wave is pretty awesome and if you ever get lost you can use them to signal the rescue helicopter! (Not really.)

Salewa Rapace

S.R.-3
The Rapace boots reflects this high level of competence, responsibility, and development and is a great all-around boot suitable for any type of adventure. Just make sure that you have a suitable break-in time before taking these boots out on their first adventure. They are a very light boot – weighing in at a scant 1.45lbs per pair, you will hardly notice them on your feet. If you will be heading out in sub-zero temps and deep snow you will probably want to opt for a boot with more insulation. However for spring, summer, and early fall multi-day and single day ventures where you need excellent mobility and support these boots are an excellent companion.

Garmont Tower Plus GTX

Zach-McFarland_1
While it is their most expensive boot, coming in at $364, the Tower Plus GTX is designed to be light but still allow one to comfortably carry a very heavy load. The upper is constructed from leather, it features a Vibram sole, and it offers a GoreTex lining for all weather protection. The lacing system has three hooks that allow one to unlace the boot very far down. This makes it easier to take the boot on and off than, say, a boot with eyelets all the way to the top. The boot has a roomy toe box, a specially-designed tongue that doesn’t shift from side to side, and a durable protective rubber rand that wraps high and all the way around.

Brooks Range Tension 40 Tent Preview

in Gear by

Brooks Range has outdone themselves with this new offering for Summer 2014.  I was a little afraid to take this featherweight (weighing in at barely four pounds) out in the late fall in the northwest.  It rains a little out here.

This little guy (with a full 40 square feet) of internal space held up like a champ in three separate torrential downpours.

The tent comes ready to use out of the box.  Guy lines are attached in the appropriate places.  An ample supply of high quality “v” tent stakes.  All of the tension points are perfectly reinforced where the corners of the rain fly meet the points of the tent pole.

brooks-range-tension-40-2_std

The first time I set up the Brooks Range Tension 40 tent was in my back yard the evening before a weekend trip in early October.  There was almost no learning curve and the “Tension” setup was very intuitive.   Only three poles to deal with.  One that spans down the middle of the tent and slips into pockets at both the head and foot of the tent.  Two shorter pols that span crossways at the head and foot to provide for lots of head room inside.  The inner tent is a water proof bathtub design with reinforced mosquito netting in the upper.  The inner tent has very large and well-designed zipper doors.  They are quick entry and exit but can be fully unzipped and stored out of the way.  The rain fly fit like a glove.  I was very impressed with how well the fly fit the frame.  Again very intuitive for setting it up.  The fly attaches at all four corners and the base of the head and foot in the middle where the tension pole slips into the pockets.

In the real world of the northwest rain and wet the Brooks Range Tension 40 Really held up.  I was a little concerned one Saturday morning with a heavy downpour before we even left the trailhead, I hoped I wasn’t going to be spend a wet and cold night in a lightweight tent.  My tent mate and I were very pleased with the results.  The tent set up fast in the field under adverse conditions.  We guyed out all of the points that were available and it held up great through heavy rains and medium winds all night long.

Having set through three storms in this tent I can say I wouldn’t hesitate to take the Tension 40 out on any kind of trip with questionable weather just short of the fourth season.  The Tension is an excellent go to for all three seasons here in our wet climate.  And at four pounds this is a huge amount of room for two people.

Pros:

-Super  fast setup and takedown

-Two vestivule entries

-It’s a long tent – Plenty of head and foot room with lots of space left over for “in the tent” gear

-Big entry points and clever roll back design on the vestibules

I should also note that the tent retained heat pretty well and has very clever vents at the apex of each vestibule zipper.

brooks-range-tension-40-3_std

 

brooks-range-tension-40-4_std

Cons: 

The one thing I didn’t like about the Tension 40 was the low profile of the vestibules.  Plenty of room for keeping boots and stove dry but not quite enough room to keep my whole backpack dry.

Conclusion:

This is a perfect 3 season light weight tent for two people that will hold up really well on those nights you didn’t quite plan for.  This is a must have for the serious outdoorsperson.

 

Manufacturer: Brooks Range

Date available: Available Spring 2014

MSRP: $499.95

Listed Weight: Unspecified

Material: Unspecified

Warranty: Basic warranty – more info here

brooks-range-tension-40-1_std

Coyote Attacks

in Community by
(Photo by Ty Smedes.)

It sounds like the start of a horror film — a man walks to work in the darkness of the early morning. As he strolls along, he hears a twig snap and turns toward the sound. That’s when he is viciously attacked by a large animal. A total of three coyotes continue to lunge at the man, over and over, until he is able to crush the skull of the largest animal with his flashlight and scare off the others. (If video doesn’t load, please hit refresh.)

Video courtesy of Daily Camera
But this isn’t the intro to the latest Halloween date flick — it’s a true story out of Boulder County, Colo., where local newspaper, the Daily Camera, reports that Andrew Dickehage was attacked by three coyotes on his way to work. Two of the attacking coyotes have already been tracked and eliminated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, and the third is still being sought. The victim was treated for his wounds at a nearby hospital and released this week.

This kind of story begs the question — can coyote attacks happen here and what can be done to prevent them?

Coyotes are one of the most common wide-range pack mammals in the United States, thanks to their adaptability and the fact that humans have eliminated a large population of their competition — the wolf. There are at least 50,000 coyotes currently living in the state of Washington.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the first recorded coyote attack on humans occurred here in Bellevue in 2006. Earlier this year, a Kent man was attacked by three coyotes in his own backyard. According to Q13 Fox News, the man had been outside with his dog when the coyotes emerged from the bushes. They jumped toward him and though he pushed the coyotes away, they continued to bite and scratch him.

These stories are similar in that both attacks were unprovoked — the animals were not defending their young — and took place in a residential area. Coyotes are generally timid animals — opportunists that feed on plants, small animals, carrion and garbage. They rarely attack unless protecting their young. But there has been an increase in coyote sightings in urban areas, a trend that could lead to more attacks, since they begin to lose fear of humans through close contact.

The recent attack in Colorado prompted the state’s Parks and Wildlife officials to release the following tips on coyote attacks:

coyote

If a coyote attacks:

— Do not run or turn your back

— Be as big and loud as possible

— Wave your arms and throw objects

— Face the coyote and back away slowly

— If attacked, fight back

Sources:

http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_24322251/coyotes-attack-man-near-niwot-wildlife-officials-kill

http://q13fox.com/2012/12/30/pack-of-wild-coyotes-attack-kent-man-walking-his-dog/#axzz2i1eySZsk

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/coyotes.html

Kelty Lakota 65 Backpack Review

in Gear by
kelty-lakota-65-backpack-1

The Kelty Lakota 65 backpack is a real pleasure. I liken it to strapping a Tempur-Pedic pillow to my back. Maybe that’s just because my last pack was so uncomfortable. But hyperbole aside, the Lakota 65 pack’s Dynamic Airflow back panel and the AirMesh material used in the hip belt, shoulder straps, and lumbar support are crazy comfortable and extremely breathable. I’ve been using the pack to haul my climbing gear and have caught myself marveling at how I ever managed without features like easy side access and the built-in rain cover. Not having to pack around a black garbage bag to throw over my pack just incase it rains, which here in the Pacific Northwest is more likely than not, of course has its perks but it is the bag’s overall comfort and efficient design that impressed me most.

kelty-lakota-65-backpack-4

Pros

  • AirMesh padding makes for a dry, comfortable carry
  • The side access zipper and sleeping bag zipper at the bottom of the bag grant easy access to items that would otherwise be impossible to get to.

kelty-lakota-65-backpack-3

 

  • The rain cover hides well in its own little pocket and has an elastic draw string that lets you cinch down the cover over even a fully packed bag

Cons

  • It’s incredible how small and thin straps and plastic components like clips are getting. The technology is to the point where manufacturers can make considerable weight savings by using lighter yet stronger materials. So why is that a con? Nearly all the clips on the Lakota 65 are tiny and though I recognize they are just as strong as the much larger clips on my old bag, if not stronger, I had difficulty using the miniature features in some instances. I know I’m splitting hairs here but as there’s very little to not like about this bag I thought the minor annoyance of having to retune my fine motor skills just to unclip some straps was worth mentioning. Small hands obviously won’t have this issue.

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Final Thoughts

The Kelty Lakota 65 backpack seamlessly balances comfort, usability and versatility. Right now this bag is storing my essentials and all my climbing gear; rope, harness, cams, passive pro and quick-draws, and I still have room to add a tent, sleeping bag, pad, personal kitchen and enough water and food for a multiple night alpine adventure. I really appreciate the effort Kelty has put into the comfort of this bag and I’m really loving getting at my gear without digging down from the top. If you’re looking for a great all-purpose pack add the Lakota 65 to your list and check it out.

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Tech Specs

Manufacturer: Kelty

Date available: Currently available

Manufacturer’s Website: www.kelty.com

MSRP: $180

Sizes: S/M, M/L

Dimensions: Length: 32 in / 81 cm; Width: 12 in / 30 cm; Depth: 12 in / 30 cm; Volume: 4000 in3 / 66

Suspension: Fixed

Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz / 3.7 kg

Torso Fit Range: 17.5 – 21 in / 44 – 53 cm

Waist Belt Fit Range: 32 – 54 in / 81 – 137 cm

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