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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

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

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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