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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.

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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.

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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.

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Large waterproof pocket.

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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

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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Gear testers wanted: Boreas Backpacks

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Tahoe Mountain Sports and Boreas Gear are teaming up to get real-world feedback from users like you! We’re looking for 5 outdoor adventurers from around the country to hike, camp, bike, climb, use and abuse these awesome new backpacks – and testers get to keep the pack when they’re done!

TMS staffer Ryan using the Boreas Buttermilks on California’s Lost Coast Trail. Photo by Chris Maher.

What do you have to do to get a free Boreas pack? Post a proposal for how you’d test your pack (take a Boreas Lost Coast on a 2 week backpacking trip, put a Boreas Lagunitas through the paces bike commuting weekdays and on epic mountain bike rides on the weekends?) on our Facebook page, and we’ll select our favorites by July 6. Pack choices will be subject to availability.

The selected testers will submit 500 to 1,000 word reviews and at least 3 pictures of themselves with the Boreas Pack by August 15 and presto – the pack is yours!

We’re working with Boreas to do this to get the word out about their brilliant, award winning backpacking packs, daypacks and cycling packs.

If you’re not familiar with Boreas Gear, they recently set out to create clean, functional, comfortable and reasonably priced backpacks for all sorts of different users.

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

First, the Boreas Lost Coast and Boreas Buttermilks, which won Backpacker Magazine’s Editors’ Choice this year:

Anders also showed us the Boreas Lagunitas, with a revolutionary adjustable ventilated suspension system that goes from hiking to biking with the pull of a strap:

Tahoe Mountain Sports salesperson Ryan recently took the Boreas Buttermilks on a multi-day backpacking trip on California’s Lost Coast.

Ryan rock hoping on the Lost Coast with a Boreas Buttermilks pack. Photo by Chris Maher.

The Boreas Buttermilks is a lightweight 55 liter backpacking backpack with a simple top-loading, roll-top/cinch top closure, a removable frame, excellent ventilated back panel, hide-away daisy chains and big, easy-to-access hip belt pockets, making it perfect for piling on the miles.

Here’s what Ryan had to say about the pack:

The buttermilk 55 is one of the most functional backpacks I have used.  The clean design and well thought out features of the pack were exactly what I was looking for in a light weight pack. 

The back panel is super breathable.. The wavy design and perforated foam helps the back panel breathe, not to mention is super comfy. I never got a sweat back once during the trip!

Even when weight down with a Bear canister and enough food for 3 people to last 4 days the pack carried very well.

The simple top loading design is perfect. Wide enough to fit a Bear Canister sideways and extends up to cover the bulkiest of loads. A zipper pocket near the top of the pack keeps an assortment of items assessable even when the pack is loaded to the brim. This pocket is nice for things like maps, sunscreen, compass etc.

The stretch pocket on the back of the pack is nice for drying wet or damp items or keeping an extra layer on hand. The stretch side pockets are deep and can easily fit 2+litter bottles. These side pockets are very useful and could be used to carry tent poles or water bottles. The cool part is a small opening that can be used to access you water bottle even while wearing the pack. 

So if you think you’ve got what it takes to put a new Boreas backpack through the paces, head over to our Facebook page and let us know!

Looking South along the scenic Lost Coast.

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