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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

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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

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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