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Boreas Gear Testing Team: Erawan 70 Adventure Travel Pack Review

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Introducing Round 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews:

Earlier this year we teamed up with Boreas Gear to test their new line of Adventure Travel backpacks. Dan Hutchinson of Eugene, Oregon, took his pack to South Africa to install solar panels, kayaking on the Salmon River, and all over Northern California. He just returned from the field with excellent feedback about his new Boreas Erawan 70.

boreas-erawan-70-review

The Boreas Erawan 70 proved to be the bag I was missing in my expansive selection of packs. Without knowing it, this was the pack I needed all along to fill the gap between a backpack and suitcase. The careful design and diversity of this pack will make it any adventure traveler’s go-to for long trips away from home.

TMS: How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

Dan: The pack sits on your back comfortably when it’s fully loaded. I found with a partially loaded pack the back panel collapsed. When the large compartment was partially loaded and the top pocket was full the top would sag, making it someone awkward on your back. The adjustable shoulder straps and four cinch straps helped correct this minor annoyance.

Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?boreas-erawan-backpack

The Erawan 70 doesn’t have a belt buckle. Although a belt buckle or hip belt might be nice in the rare situation you would be traveling long distances with the pack on your back, the stowable shoulder straps are sufficient for short commutes and in a pinch the hidden daisy chain could be used to secure a piece of webbing for a hip belt.

What activities do you feel this pack is best suited for?

With enough room for several weeks worth of clothes or gear, the Erawan 70 is best suited for traveling from transportation hubs to hotels/hostels. The well designed main pocket opens similar to a suitcase and makes viewing and selecting items easy, and the wet/dry pocket is ideal for dirty clothes as the main pocket empties.

Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after?

There is not a similar pack that I have been lusting over, but more a particular style of pack. I currently own a medium sized North Face Base Camp Duffel (72L), which at a glance would appear to be in the same class as the Erawan, but at a closer look this model stands alone. The Erawan pack is capable of filling a void in any adventure travelers’ needs for an all-around travel pack. Weighing 2lb 4oz the Erawan 70 is a whole pound and four ounces lighter than the Base Camp, with roughly the same amount of storage space, which is a nice quality during long hauls between terminals. The Boreas Erawan also features divided pockets in varying sizes which make organized packing easy, and with carefully placed stowable shoulder straps the main pocket is easy to access at all times. This can’t be said of North Face’s Base Camp Duffel, as you are always battling the shoulder straps when getting in and out of the bag.

boreas-waterproof-backpackWhat did you like most about the pack?

One of my favorite parts about the pack is its sleek streamlined body that makes it ideal for traveling in airports. The stowable shoulder straps pack away nicely when checking your bag and the cinch straps on the sides secure a partially full load. The Boreas Erawan would also make a great carry-on. The two interior pockets provide quick access to toiletries while the top and outermost pockets give easy access to essential items. The side handles make getting on and off planes between flights convenient and are designed to stay close to the pack so they won’t get snagged when removing the pack from the overhead compartment. Another nice touch are the subtle handles on either end of the pack, making a one-hand-grab easy without bending over when the pack is upright. And when it’s time to hustle to the next plane, bus, shuttle, train or travel hub, the hidden shoulder straps hook up in seconds and can be adjusted for several body types.

What did you like least about the pack?

My only complaint is the fact that the top pocket often takes two hands to open or close. The problem is not that the pocket fabric snags in the zipper but that the shape of the pocket and lack of rigid material surrounding the pocket make it difficult to function with one hand. This is hardly a deal-breaker considering all the other benefits of the Erawan.

Overall thoughts on the backpack?

This pack has been my go-to this summer while traveling to South Africa, the Salmon River, and all over northern California. I was able to pack two week’s worth of clothes in the Erawan and still have room to bring home souvenirs. There are no fancy bells and whistles on this pack, but through my travels I never felt that the pack was lacking any features. The pack’s lightweight, durable materials are sure to withstand the tests of time serving the avid traveler time and time again. I would absolutely recommend this pack to a friend

boreas-backpack-review


Thanks for the feedback, Dan Hutchinson! Enjoy your new gear :)

Click here to read Round 1 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Click here to read Round 2 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Boreas Packs Testing Team- Gear Review: Sapa Trek Adventure Pack

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Introducing Round 2 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews:

Earlier this year we teamed up with Boreas Gear to test their new line of Adventure Travel backpacks. Alex Von der Mehden of Eagle Scout troop 707 promised that if we gave him an adventure pack, he would put it through the wringer and return with feedback. He just returned from the field - freeride mountain biking, kayaking on the Russian River, hiking and fishing. Here’s what he has to say about his new Boreas Sapa Trek backpack:

boreas-sapa-trek-hiking

When I received the Boreas Sapa Trek on my front porch and opened the box I lit up with excitement. My first impression of the pack was how sleek and stylish it looked. I then began examining it and found it was also extremely durable and ready for a tough summer. Before this pack I had a small day pack that barely fit the things that I needed. It was not very useful. When I started using the Sapa Trek as my main pack, life outdoors became so much easier. I had room to pack anything I wanted aplus more. I also like how simple the outside was, making it look clean and sleek, and how the inside had secret stashes to keep everything organized. Tahoe Mountain Sports allowed me to test the Boreas Sapa Trek backpack, and trust me, I put it to its limits in the heat, in crazy rain storms, and getting thrown around multiple Scout camps in different states.

TMS: How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

Alex: The Sapa Trek sits wonderfully on my back. It was extremely comfortable wearing it all day as a day pack. The foam was extremely comfortable even when it was weighed down with 40 pounds of gear. The straps are also extremely comfortable and very adjustable for any body size and comfort zone.

Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?

No, the design is very unique and fits well. The straps make it very easy to tighten for just the right fit.

What activities do you feel this pack is best suited for?

The Sapa Trek is universal to almost any situation. I used the pack as both an adventure daypack and an overnight pack. At one Scout camp I carried harnesses, climbing shoes, and over 200 feet of climbing rope to our climbing destinations. At another camp I carried a wide variety of gear like bike tools, towels, hydration reservoir, first aid kits, extra clothes, etc.

boreas-sapa-trek-biking

Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after?

No, I have not been looking at other packs recently but there are features on backpacks that I always look for. This pack has many of them. A large front access zipper, a waterproof pocket, a waterproof outer coating and durability.

What did you like most about the pack?

My favorite feature on the Sapa Trek backpack was the front zipper. This feature makes it really easy to access the whole backpack with ease. boreas-sapa-trek-storageEven with a full backpack bulging at the seams, I was able to unzip the front and grab some tie down rope from the bottom before zipping it back up with ease. I would definitely recommend, and maybe even make this a new standard, on all of my future backpack purchases.

What did you like least about the pack?

My only complaint would be about the internal plastic frame in the backpack. The frame made the backpack very comfortable and kept its shape, but what I would change on it is the very top of it. When I had my mountain biking full-face and XC helmets on, the pack rode up to far and would limit the movement of my head, so when I was freeriding I had minimal vision. I would suggest that Boreas Gear simply make a cut in the top of the frame that allows some extra movement.

Overall thoughts on the backpack?

Overall, the Sapa Trek is a great pack. It is versatile for any situation. The pack definitely had a lot of planning put into it, down to the smallest details. It incorporates functionality and simplicity into an all around great looking pack.

Carrying this pack with me throughout summer on all my adventures was an absolute privilege. The pack is extremely comfortable in all situations, it’s light weight, and very sleek and stylish. The Sapa Trek backpack will definitely be my go-to pack for future scouting adventures. It is a wonderful pack that I will be putting to great use in the future and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who is in the market to purchase a backpack.

Thanks for the feedback, Alex Von der Mehden! Enjoy your new gear :)

Click here to read Round 1 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Click here to read Round 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Boreas Packs Testing Team – Gear Review: Erawan 50 Travel Duffle

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Earlier this year we teamed up with Boreas Gear to test their new line of Adventure Travel backpacks. We scouted a team of three outdoor enthusiasts who had big plans for their summers, and gave them new Boreas packs to use and abuse during their travels. They’re all back from the field now, and we’re excited to bring you the first installment of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team. Danielle Horton of Agoura Hills, California, took her Boreas Erawan 50 on a tour through the South Pacific. Here’s what she has to say about it:

boreas-erawan-50

Lots of storage space in the Boreas Erawan 50!

The first thing I noticed about the Boreas Erawan 50 was its striking blue color with yellow accents. I knew I wouldn’t be losing this backpack in the heap of other luggage I’d be throwing it in. I immediately started packing it full of everything I would need for my five-week Australian and Fijian adventure. I needed to be able to fit everything to keep me warm and dry during the wet Australian winter, as well as beachwear for tropical Fiji.

boreas-pack-organization

Promotes organized packing – but anything goes!

Initially, I was a little skeptical that this pack would hold everything I needed, but the main compartment expanded beyond what I had imagined and everything fit like a dream! I love the way it zips open like a duffle bag, and the extra magnets on the top zipper make it even more secure. The main compartment also has a couple small bags attached to either side where I stored items I would need to find in a hurry. I appreciated that even though the bag had a basic main compartment, I could still maintain a certain level of organization using these side bags.

My favorite Erawan feature, however, is how easy it is to transform this duffle bag into a backpack. With just a few simple adjustments I could pull the straps out and clip them on, which made carrying the pack around incredibly easy. In fact, I loved the backpack so much I had the straps clipped in for most of my trip. When I did stash them behind the back panel for the multiple airplane trips I had to take, it was quick and easy, even with a full load. The carabiner clips made the straps easy to remove and adjust. I’ve had packs with hideaway shoulder straps before, but the plastic clips didn’t really inspire confidence. The Erawan’s carabiner clips, however, felt secure. I also liked that I could choose where to attach my straps, as the semi-hidden daisy chain has multiple clip-in options. The multitude of options allowed me to find the perfect spot to clip in my straps so that the pack fell just right on my back; it didn’t hang too low below my waist or loom over my head.

boreas-erawan-straps

Shoulder straps engaged.

boreas-erawan-duffle

Straps tucked away.

 

My only complaint about the strap systems was how the chest strap (sternum strap) fell on my body; it fell too low across my chest. The chest strap is adjustable to a degree, but no matter how I adjusted it or the shoulder straps I couldn’t get the chest strap to actually pull against my chest instead of crushing my breasts. I think the strap would work for men, and even some women, but being slightly bustier than most, this chest strap didn’t work for me. This doesn’t make the pack unbearable, though; I didn’t have any problems using the pack without the chest strap. Plus, the chest strap comes with a whistle. Although I was never alone or lost on my travels, I imagine this feature could come in handy in an emergency situation, or if you needed to call your dogs! Otherwise, the backpack straps themselves were more than comfortable, especially with the breathable padding that matches the color of the front panel.

waterproof-gear-pocket

Large waterproof pocket.

boreas-waterproof

Smaller waterproof pocket.

 

Another favorite feature was the top waterproof compartments. The pack has two compartments that are completely waterproof: one larger compartment that can fit a towel, wet bathing suit and water shoes, and a smaller compartment that can fit personal items like your camera, wallet, keys and more. When I took my bag with me on day hikes to lakes and beaches, these compartments came in particularly handy. I was able to store my wet items in the top waterproof compartment and not worry about items in the large main compartment or my valuables in the small compartment getting wet. Plus, the small waterproof compartment was perfect when I wanted easy access to my money or my camera. In addition to all this waterproof greatness, I was also able to squeeze my hiking boots into the larger waterproof compartment when I wasn’t using it for my wet gear. This storage space allowed me to keep my clothes separated from my dirty hiking boots, and allowed some freedom to wear flip flops on occasion instead of traipsing around in my boots.

erawan 50 durable bottom

Durable bottom/front panel.

waterproof-travel-duffle

Wet and filthy storage.

 

The reinforced bottom of the duffle kept  me confident that I wouldn’t damage my bag by leaving it on the floor. On a trip where I was changing locations every few days, this bag saw a lot of travel time. It spent many hours being withstanding abuse from baggage handlers and taxi drivers, thrown on the floor outside or shoved violently into small spaces. Still, I never had to worry that it would get too beat-up while riding with so many other bags in the small bus compartments, on the train, or on boat rides. I’m not easy on my bags, and I was glad that this bag could withstand the abuse I subjected it to. Add the fact that it is convertible from duffle to backpack, and it makes travelling even easier. When I couldn’t stow it away in a compartment, I could carry it on my back, and even rest it comfortably on my lap.

Overall, I would recommend the Boreas Erawan 50 to my friends and any traveler. Even though the chest straps didn’t work for me, I still loved the simplicity of the bag and the ease with which I could carry it around. Heck, I like this bag so much I’ve even taken it out as my hiking daypack since I’ve been back on the mainland. Any traveler would be lucky to have this travel pack in their arsenal.

Stay tuned for Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team, highlighting the Boreas Erawan 70 and the Boreas Sapa Trek.

Thanks again to Danielle Horton for her detailed Boreas Erawan 50 review. Your partnership with Tahoe Mountain Sports is valuable and we appreciate your support!

Click here to read Round 2 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Click here to read Round 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Introducing The 2013 TMS / Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team!

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Summer has arrived and the second annual Boreas backpack adventure testing has begun! Tahoe Mountain Sports and Boreas Gear have partnered up to review the new Boreas travel packs, and we solicited gear testers all over the country to find the best-suited adventure travelers we could. It was tough picking – after all, we have a tremendous following of avid adventurers – but after two weeks of hunting we’ve narrowed it down to three candidates we believe will test their packs the best. Over the next few months our test team will be responsible for providing ‘real-world’  feedback on their chosen packs. In exchange for their help they’ll get to keep their packs for future adventures. Boreas Gear believes, “The best gear is neither complicated nor expensive yet as versatile as the person using it.” TMS believes we’ve found three versatile individuals to confirm these qualities in said ‘best gear’.

Introducing the 2013 TMS / Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team:

 

Dan Hutchinson Boreas

Dan Hutchinson - Erawan 70
As an avid traveler, mountain biker, hiker, boater, volunteer and student I have a demand for quality backpacks in my everyday adventures. I’m a stickler for functionality and versatility. This summer alone I will be traveling to South Africa to install solar panels at a local community college for my internship, hitting the main stretch of the Salmon River in Idaho and living out of a backpack/bag for the remaining months of summer while playing in and out of the Sacramento and Lake Tahoe area, including a couple of side trips to Downieville’s legendary single track.

 

Danielle Horton Boreas

 

 

 

Danielle Horton – Erawan 50
I’ll be traveling Australia’s east coast for four weeks then heading over to Fiji’s Yasawa Islands for an additional week of adventures. I would be taking the pack with me as I go hiking and rappelling in the Blue Mountains and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. I think this trip will be the perfect opportunity to test the pack’s light weight, durability and versatility as I take it on planes, trains, buses and boats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Von der Mehden Boreas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Alex Von Der Mehden – Sapa Trek
I am an Eagle Scout in Troop 707 and we go on at least two trips per month in every kind of condition. Being that it is the summer, we have many more. When I am not on these trips I will be at home on my own adventures: free-ride mountain biking, kayaking on the Russian River, fishing, hiking, and having a blast, all with that pack on my back. I would be honored to put this pack through the paces of a summer of an Eagle Scout.

Throughout the summer these courageous testers will be embarking on grand adventures with their adventure travel packs, giving them the ultimate “real world” challenge. Will these Boreas backpacks hold up against the vigor of our gear testing team? Regardless of the outcome, this test will only help to improve the outdoor adventure industry.  Stay tuned as the summer progresses and the testers return from their travels with feedback about their new backpacks.

 

 

Boreas Sapa Trek
Boreas Sapa Trek
MSRP: $219.95
Boreas Erawan 50
Boreas Erawan 50
MSRP: $149.95
Boreas Erawan 70
Boreas Erawan 70
MSRP: $159.95

Wanted: Gear Testers To Review New Boreas Travel Backpacks

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Tahoe Mountain Sports and Boreas Gear are teaming up to get real feedback from users like all of you! We’re looking for three outdoor adventurers from around the country to travel with and hike, camp, bike, climb, use and abuse these awesome new travel backpacks. Testers get to keep the pack after they reviewed it!

Boreas pack SUP

2012 tester Michael Detwiler took his Boreas pack all over the place.

What do you have to do to get a free Boreas travel backpack? Post a proposal on our Facebook page explaining which Boreas travel pack you think would be best for your adventure(s) and why you would test your pack the best, and we’ll select our favorites by June 6. Planning a two-week game of hopscotch across the Caribbean? Take a Boreas Sapa Trek along for the journey. Wear it as a pack, easily access all your goodies and save weight without compromising organizational features. Hopping trains from one hostel to the next across Europe? The Erawan 50 or the Erawan 70 could be your new favorite travel companion. They’re a new favorite duffle-style pack for international backpackers.! Pack choices will be subject to availability.

Threee selected testers will submit reviews (500 – 1,000 words) and at least three pictures of themselves using the Boreas Pack by August 6. Do this, and the pack is yours!

We’re working with Boreas to get the word out about their brilliant, award winning backpacking packs, daypacks and cycling packs. Last summer our focus was on backpacking backpacks and day packs. This year it’s the new Boreas travel line. If you’re not familiar with Boreas Gear, they recently set out to create functional, comfortable, clean (less bells & whistles) and reasonably priced backpacks for all sorts of different users: backpackers, cyclists, climbers, mountaineers and minimalists.

We recently sat down with one of the founders, Anders Johnson, to get an overview of their new travel packs.

First, the Boreas Erawan backpack:

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Boreas Backpack Reviews: The TMS/Boreas Pack Tester Adventure Team’s Continued Saga…

Friday, November 16th, 2012

With the fresh snow we’ve been comes a fresh look and the latest pack reviews from our TMS/Boreas Adventure Team! Read on to see how the Boreas Lost Coast 60 held up against two of our most fearless and mighty pack testers!

 

(PART TWO)  

 

ADVENTURER ROMMEL – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

 

Name: Mike Rommel

Pack Testing:  Lost Coast 60

Boreas Lost Coast 60 pack review

1) How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

(ROMMEL) The Lost Coast 60 was my traveling “Base Camp”. The pack fit great with even weight distribution and was extremely light.

2) Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?

(ROMMEL) The only suggestion I have about the belt is a change in the pockets. The hip belt pockets were in the way (just a little) during my climbs.

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?

(ROMMEL)  Overall, it worked terrific for climbing.

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not theirs.)

(ROMMEL) I was eyeing the change Black Diamond made to their packs by going to a “Minimalist” feature design.

5) What did you like most about the pack?

(ROMMEL) One of the most impressive design qualities of this pack was how the top is situated back from the head and shoulders. For climbing this design proved invaluable, allowing for unrestricted movement of the head when climbing with a helmet on.  In addition, the “soft shell” material in the front and side pockets handled being dragged over granite surprisingly well.

6) What did you like least about the pack?

(ROMMEL) Once again, the only part of this pack that didn’t work specifically for climbing was the hip belt pockets because they were sometimes in the way.

7) Overall thoughts on the bag?

(ROMMEL) I liked this pack so much that I will be trading my Black Diamond climbing pack for the Boreas Lost Coast 60.

 

ADVENTURER TIRELLA – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

 

Name: Adam Tirella

Pack Testing:  Lost Coast 60

men's Boreas Lost Coast 60

Intro:

(TIRELLA) New backpack companies always intrigue me. In a market so saturated with big-name brands, it takes a huge amount of drive and a passion for the outdoors and design to want to enter into such a competitive field.

Enter Boreas, a new company from San Francisco that stresses utility and simplicity through their impressively large and diverse pack lineup. I have previously owned their small 15-liter Repack, which I found perfect for biking and stuffing basketball shoes and some clothes into when going to the gym. I had some recommendations for improvement- and lo and behold the good folks at Boreas actually listened! They implemented them on an updated version of the pack, so needless to say I was very excited when Tahoe Mountain Sports gave me the chance to check out Boreas’ largest backpacking pack, the Lost Coast 60!

1) How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

(TIRELLA) While the pack may not look “techy” on the outside, small design implementations ensure it wears incredibly comfortable.

 Don’t you just long for the days when internal frame packs were the new thing? When an internal frame pack was essentially a hard metal square shoved into your pack? Neither do I!

Boreas’ frames are thin and lightweight, and unique in that they’re so noticeably curved. The result is that the pack wears “off your back”, allowing a space to form for air to circulate. This, coupled with the foam back, is a simple and comfortable combination.

The Z-Foam on the Lost Coast is a grown-up version of that found on my Repack, and it’s incredibly comfortable. The larger size of the ridges allows more air to flow and it’s really something you have to try to believe. They are “deeper” than those found on my Repack, and the result is a more solid, supportive back area. If you are having trouble imagining the design of the back panel, imagine someone took the soles off of a pair of Reebok ZigTech shoes, softened them up, and then covered them in mesh very comfortable! The same “ridge” design radiates onto the hip belt, although in a vertical fashion.

2) Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?

(TIRELLA) All the adjustment and compression straps, barring the hip belt buckle, are smaller and thinner than what I’m accustomed to on backpacking packs of this size. It just seems weird to not have a 2-inch wide strap to tug on. They don’t necessarily feel weak, and I’m sure it’s how Boreas cut down on weight, but I just wonder how they will hold up over the course of a year or so.

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?

(TIRELLA) This is a simple pack. It’s big, but not cavernous, and fully packed it would well serve a backpacking trip of about 4 nights, maybe a couple more if you are really skimping on camping comforts. At 3.5 pounds it doesn’t weigh much, and while that won’t put it on the short-list for through hikers or ultra lighters- it’s light enough for those of us whom, as Boreas’ website states, “care about weight but are not crazy enough to cut the handles off their toothbrushes.” Amen.

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not theirs.)

(TIRELLA) I have been looking forward to testing out an upgraded version of my 15-liter Boreas Repack.

5) What did you like most about the pack?

(TIRELLA) Boreas has managed to fit a lot of storage space into the Lost Coast. Take for example the “double” brain compartment. While not much different than that of any other pack, what with a zipped interior pocket and straightforward design, the top of this pack has two zippered pockets. One is layered on top of the other, so you have an extra level of access and organization without losing out on storage space. The tuck-able daisy chains and ice loops, similar to the Repack 15, fold easily in and out of sight when not in use. The belt loop pockets, somewhat of an afterthought most of the time, are huge on the Lost Coast. So big I almost fit a DSLR camera inside of them. I said “almost” – but each one still easily fit a set of keys, a couple of cliff bars, a wallet and a cell phone. I would also like to make a note of the included adjustment slip. This is a small inclusion, which may be overlooked by some, but I believe it tells a ton about this company. You can have the most expensive pack in the world- but if it’s not fitted right, you won’t like it at all. Boreas, unlike any other pack company I have supported, included a fit guide with the pack. In an easy-to-understand, conversational tone, they illustrate how to fit the pack. And more importantly, they tell you WHY (“Your goal is to get about 70% of the weight on your hips. You may have other goals too”). Too often in our field of outdoor sporting goods the emphasis is on the features rather than the feeling.

6) What did you like least about the pack?

(TIRELLA) While the pack has a ton going for it, as expected in the first iteration of a model by a new company there are some small problems I found. They are mostly harmless, and perhaps they are just a result of being used to having these features on my current pack. 

There is one main compartment with an obligatory hydration sleeve on the inside. This pocket probably accounts for 90% of the pack’s storage. This leads to one of my only complaints with the pack, which is a lack of access. Since the pack is essentially one large compartment, things at the bottom are incredibly tough to get to, as the only access point to the inside is through the top. While the main compartment is certainly huge, I would have liked to see just one more separate area for organizing gear. While the center compartment does have an overhanging “lid”, it would have been nice to see some kind of securing feature: even just a small strip of Velcro to prevent things from falling out or from curious hands while traveling. Another issue is that the back panel has no place “behind it” for the shoulders’ adjustment straps to fall, so they either sit uncomfortably between your back and the foam padding or flapping off to the side. Another small problem is that the hip belt doesn’t pivot. Again, this is something that I’m just used to on my pack. A pivoting hip belt makes the pack wear more fluidly while bending or twisting. However, that’s about it. The positives of this pack far outweigh these few drawbacks, but depending on how you use your pack, they might be bigger issues than they were for me.

7) Overall thoughts on the bag.

(TIRELLA) As a San Francisco company, you can tell just by browsing their website that design is incredibly important to Boreas. Their selection of bags- all in their first model year- is expansive. At the same time, they all share a very distinctive look and you can tell the design cues were well thought out and implemented. Not just individually are these packs beautiful to look at, but the design is consistent among the whole lineup, something many companies do not choose to do. That is something that really resonates to me. The hexagonal foam padding and hip-belt pocket graphics on the Lost Coast match exactly up to those on my Repack 15. While this is not a make or break issue for a pack, it is reassuring to know that design will not lose out to utility as packs become increasingly more full of features.

There’s a lot of attention to detail on the Lost Coast- from the reinforced pull-tabs on the shoulder cinch straps, to how the “V”-stitching on the front of the pack coincides with the compression straps to ensure a supported load. I especially liked the drawstring on the top of the large compartment. The zippers all feel solid (with the exception of that on the inside of the brain), and the pull-tabs are beefy and feel secure. I opted for the simple black and blue model, but there are two other color lines available for those who want to spice things up a little. It should be noted that these colors match up to the scheme on my Repack, another sign of lineup consistency that I really appreciate.

 In Conclusion:

This is a great pack. I think the overwhelming majority of people will be enticed by the simplicity and comfort of the Lost Coast 60. For me personally, the lack of access in a 60-liter pack is a little bit of a turnoff, however I imagine the inconvenience is less so in the 30 and 45-liter models as you have less stuff to reach for. It’s certainty not the most technical pack available, and the lack of features and easily accessible pockets may deter some buyers. Still, it’s simple, elegant design and attention to detail make it one of the best weekend backpacking packs available, in my opinion. And for the low price of $199, the Lost Coast is a steal.

 Thanks to Tahoe Mountain Sports and Boreas!

 

ADVENTURER GREENWOOD – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

Name: Anne Greenwood

Pack Testing:  Lost Coast 60 Women’s

 

Boreas Lost Coast 60 review

1) How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

(GREENWOOD) The  large backpack is really comfortable. It breathes well and moves fluidly with me. I wish I could have pulled it closer to my shoulders with the upper shoulder strap stabilizer; the strap needs to be longer.

 

2) Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?

(GREENWOOD) The hip belt is awesome although it tends to curl under It’s self. I had to pay attention to laying it flat on my hips before buckling it or it would fold under and annoy me. I enjoyed the pockets on the hip belt but the main buckle is just a little awkward, as it requires just a little more guidance than a standard three-tie buckle. I loved the ability to pull both straps inward simultaneously to equally tighten the belt!

 

 

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?

(GREENWOOD) The pack was ideal for a three-night trip. I schlepped it all over the place: long days on the trail, cross country through willow, over granite and balanced on logs. It is really a great pack with a low profile and body hugging morphism. It’s too big for day hikes but I think it may be too small for treks longer than 5 days. Put a bear canister in there and it would be REALLY tight!

 

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not theirs.)

(GREENWOOD) I was really open to any pack that was lighter than my Gregory. This mountain pack helped me shave my fully loaded pack weight from 49 to 25. What a difference! I am really satisfied with it.

5) What did you like most about the pack?

(GREENWOOD) I really like the stretchy fabric component of this weekend pack. The hidden daisy chains are great too and there were so many pockets! I loved the plethora of pockets in the top lid. The hip belt was really comfortable.  I also liked the pull “loops” on the zippers and tightening straps that made things easier to adjust.

 

 

6) What did you like least about the pack?

(GREENWOOD) It really prefers to lie on its back when not on my back. It falls over unless perfectly propped up, and because it refuses to stand, it is a bit awkward to put on. It has to be lifted every time instead of propped on a rock or something else and then slipped into. This could be a girl thing. Many women tend to not lift and fling a backpack on like men do; instead a lot of ladies like to wriggle into it. If it could somehow have a more square-like bottom or a firm plastic piece to help it stand that would be helpful.  While I love the stretchy fabric, it does tend to pick up burrs easily and gets dirty fast, it also gets quite misshaped if not packed carefully.

 

7) Overall thoughts on the bag.

(GREENWOOD) I am sold on the trail pack. It really fulfilled all my needs and is comfortable, light, adaptable and manageable. The compression straps keep things tight and conforming. The stretchy fabric ads space where needed. I really like the hip belt for comfort and it’s lightweight attributes. It doesn’t have that heavy bulk that other backpacks associate with comfort, which is great. In closing, I would recommend this overnight pack to friends.

 

 

Boreas Bolinas Backpack
Boreas Bolinas Backpack
MSRP: $139.95
Boreas Lost Coast 60 Backpack
Boreas Lost Coast 60 Backpack
MSRP: $169.95

Boreas Backpack Reviews: The TMS/Boreas Pack Tester Adventure Team

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

You have been waiting for it, dreaming of it, and desiring the outcome. From the edges of bike seats to the vistas of mountaintops, you haven’t been able to eat or sleep. Yes, this is true, but your deprivation has fogged your memory. “What is it that I’m thirsting for again?”, you ask.  The exciting results of our fearless TMS/Boreas Pack Tester Adventure Team, of course! Our “brave seven” embarked, over the past month, on their own grand adventures to put the new Boreas backpacks to the ultimate test. This test would officially dub the Boreas packs worthy of outdoor gear grandeur, or at least provide feedback that will help Boreas meet their goal of greatness. If you are one of the many who have been waiting on the edge of your Thermarest for us to unveil the secrets of great packs, hold onto your Gu, because here it comes! The TMS/Boreas Pack Tester Adventure Team’s final results!

 

(PART ONE)

 

ADVENTURER TESKE – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

Name: Ted Teske
Pack Testing: Boreas Buttermilk 55

Overview:
During the testing of this bag I took my Boreas on multiple trips. Out of the gate I took the bag to Alaska for some work around Talkeetna and Denali,  followed by a few days out in the tundra of Bethel, AK.  From the Last Frontier, this pack helped me take a few weekend trips to Western Montana, mostly acting as a suitcase. After it’s journey through Big Sky Country, it went down to Denver and Golden, Colorado for some more work (with some hiking mixed in on South Table Mountain when I could). I don’t do any extended backpacking, so I didn’t test this on any overnight trips in the woods.

1. How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?
(TESKE) I had a couple of issues with the way the pack sat on my back. The curve of the internal frame did not match up with my upper back as well as I’d like. It took some fiddling with the shoulder straps and load lifters to get something the felt right, but even in the best position it still felt like I was being forced to hunch over a bit. A great feature of this pack is the removable frame sheet. It was really easy to take it in and out, even when the pack was loaded. That is an issue I have with my current 30L daypack. Sometimes you need the bag to be able to lose its shape (like when stuffing it in between the seats of a bush plane). The issue I had was that when the frame sheet was removed, the “z-foam” padding tended to bulge in the lower back area. So it’s kind of a trade off, remove the sheet for fitting it into tight spaces or for day trips, but endure some slight discomfort in the lower back.

2. Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?
(TESKE) The belt buckle functioned very well. The wide straps for tightening made adjustments easy. The little pouches on the belt were designed very well for holding small items. The semi-rigid bands on the pouches were a great touch and made getting in and out with one hand pretty easy.

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?
(TESKE) This pack would be great for a two or three day backpacking trip. It didn’t really function as well as I would like for my needs. The 55L size is huge, and Boreas’ design lets you use every square inch of it. I loaded it up for multi-day trips to Alaska, Denver, and Montana and never maxed out the main pouch, even with multiple clothing layers and shoes going in with some camera gear. Most of the time during my test it was less than half full with the camera and field gear I needed for my work. Accessing the items in the bag can be a bit of a hassle when reaching down to the bottom of the bag from the cinch top. However, that cinch top opening was like a snake, it swallowed anything I packed into the bag whole.

 

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not ours.)
(TESKE) I can’t think of a specific model of pack. I was looking for something larger than my current 25L daypack and not as large as my large-size North Face Base Camp Duffel. This was in that size range, but again, 55L, especially the way Boreas lays it out, is huge. I think a 30L or 40L Boreas bag would be more what I could use.

5) What did you like most about the pack?
(TESKE) I loved that Boreas maximized the space inside the bag. It was like one of those old Navy duffels with a lightweight, comfortable frame system. A close second was the sleek design. Even when loaded to the gills there weren’t many straps or loops hanging off it to snag on seats or foliage when dragging the bag around. In fact the design is so sleek it took me two days to notice the rather size-able zipper pocket on the front of the bag.

6) What did you like least about the pack?
(TESKE) Really the top load design was not very good for me. I think it was designed well overall, but I think I need either a smaller top load bag, or a panel load bag to get at my items easier.

7) Best uses? What activities do you think this pack is best used for?
(TESKE) A 2-3 day backpacking trip would be the best use of this. It really didn’t work well as a travel pack and was too big for an extended day pack.

8) Overall thoughts on the bag.
(TESKE) I haven’t used a large frame pack since I was in The Boy Scouts. I know technology has come a long way since those days and Boreas seems to take things in a great new direction by incorporating key features with unobtrusive design. I will probably take a look at some of their other packs and bags to augment my ever-expanding collection.

 

ADVENTURER BORDEN – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

Name: Sandy Borden
Pack Testing:  Lost Coast 60 Women’s

1) How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?
(BORDEN) The Boreas 60 was extremely comfortable for me. I’ve been using a 5-1/2 lb pack and didn’t think I could get comfort in a mid-weight pack, but this pack felt as if it was tailored just for me. I took it on a 4-night, 41-mile trek in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. I’ve been backpacking for 30+ years and have had many packs, and this is by far the most comfortable and functional.

2) Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?
(BORDEN)  I was concerned about the size of the buckles; they are small, but did work well. My concern is if it were really cold I may not have the hand dexterity to manage such a small buckle. The belt buckle itself was fine. I also would like to see the Camelback hose opening a 1/2″ longer. I had a heck of a time snaking the hose through the slot when it was 28-degrees outside. The sternum strap was fine for me, but I would have liked to see more range of up and down.

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?
(BORDEN)  This pack is best suited for backpacking.

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not ours.)
(BORDEN) My plan was to start pack shopping toward the end of this season, so thanks for saving me the trouble! I have a Gregory Deva and a Z pack that now will be lenders. I was going to look at Deuter packs.

5) What did you like most about the pack?
(BORDEN) I liked the comfort of the pack. I carried 35-40 lbs for 5 days up and down mountain passes and was completely comfortable. No shoulder or hip rubbing, and the load stayed centered and snug. I liked the large outside pocket as a quick place to store rain gear, which I did need in a hurry! The loosening loop on the hip belt was awesome, as well as all of the daisy chain loops and the way the fabric seems to stretch to accommodate whatever you want to put in the pack. I also loved the two hip belt pockets and the two deep outer side pockets for added storage. Thank you, Boreas, for making them so deep!

6) What did you like least about the pack?
(BORDEN) What I like least is the color. Orange is actually my favorite color and I will never be mistaken for a deer, but it is sure shows the dirt. The buckle sizes could be larger, as stated before, with exception of the hip belt.

7) Overall thoughts on the bag.
(BORDEN) I really liked this pack and it really surprised me that I did. I took my old pack with me to the trailhead because I was afraid to try a new one on this long of a trip, but once I loaded it I liked the way everything fit and decided to just roll with it. I’m so glad I did! Additionally, I have to say that it’s great it comes with a rain cover – not many packs go the extra mile like that. The Lost Coast 60 is smaller than the bag I’ve been using, but it holds more and does it more efficiently. Overall, this was a great pack.

ADVENTURER DETWILER – BOREAS BAG TEST REPORT

Name: Michael Detwiler
Pack Testing:  Boreas Repack 15

1) How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?
(DETWILER) It fits well. I have never worn a pack that sits high on the hips like this one does but I like how it keeps the weight higher up.

2) Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?
(DETWILER) The buckle is good. I might add a bit more padding for more comfort when weighed down with heavier gear, but I just had some lightweight items so that wasn’t a big deal.

3) What do you feel this pack is best suited to do?
(DETWILER) It’s best suited for short day hikes and bike rides. It has plenty of room for lunch and a few important items.

4) Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after? (It’s okay if it’s not ours.)
(DETWILER) No.

5) What did you like most about the pack?

(DETWILER) The adjustment loops on the hip belt were really handy. The bungee loops on the outside were great when I went for a hike and had to secure my fishing rods to the pack. It’s a very lightweight pack and stays secured to your back.

6) What did you like least about the pack?
(DETWILER) I would have liked a third compartment. Also, the sternum strap rubbed on my arms when I went SUP’n (Stand-Up-Paddleboarding), but this was fixed by moving the strap down with the adjustable sliders.  Another concern that I had was that I was worried I might tear the pack if I crashed or snagged a branch. Maybe the material is strong, but I worried it would tear easily.

7) Best uses? What activities do you think this pack is best used for?
(DETWILER) This pack works great for mountain biking and day hikes.

8) Overall thoughts on the bag.
(DETWILER) I liked the pack. Overall it was a good choice in gear.

 

To Be Continued……..

 

 


Boreas Lost Coast 60 Backpack
MSRP: $$169.95

Boreas Buttermilks 55 Backpack
MSRP: $$174.95
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