I partnered with a Backpack Gear Test to test out the Cool-Dry Frame. With over 15 years of testing equipment, BackpackGearTest.org (BGT) is a premier source for online backpacking, hiking, and camping gear reviews. They proudly offered to conduct a comprehensive review and test the Frame.
Coy Starnes from Alabama tested the Frame. He lives in Northeast Alabama and hikes throughout the year. His style is slow and steady, and his gear is light. He will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for him is around 20 lb (9 kg), not counting food or water.
The temperature was approximately 66 F (19 C), and it was cloudy and very windy. He writes that the Cool-Dry Frame performed great.
"I did work up a sweat, but the back of my shirt was no wetter than the front side, and the honeycomb pattern is visible where the open areasdidn't wet out as much as what was touching the Cool-Dry Frame."
The warmest hike he completed was in 77 F (25 F) weather, and the coolest was 46 F (8 C), but the average temperature was around 60 F (16 C).
Coy completed the test on local trails around his home that he frequents each week. He tested the Frame on short and longer hikes, ranging from at least 3 miles (5 km) at a time to 6 miles (8 to 10 km). He traveled about 80 miles (129 km) in total wearing the Cool-Dry Frame.
He describes his hikes as follows: "The trails I hike are steep and usually slick in the spring, and I averaged right at 2 MPH (3.2 KM/H) on all my hikes."
He didn't stop for any breaks during the hikes and felt no discomfort.
He was concerned that the Cool-Dry Frame might make him feel unbalanced because it moves the pack further from the center of gravity, but it did not.
Here is Coy's feedback on how the Frame performed:
"So far, the Cool-Dry Frame seems to deliver on its promise. I haven't had a chance to test it in the hot and humid mid-summer weather in Alabama (and the Southeastern US). The length [of the Frame] creates a lot of real estate on my back where air can reach. The weight is reasonable for an ultralight backpacker that wants to avoid a sweaty back as much as possible. Future testing will determine how the Cool-Dry Frame performs and how effectively it reduces sweat on my back."
Here is what Coy's front and back looked like after a sweat test.
Overall, Coy is happy with how the Cool-Dry Frame performed.
Here is Coy's verdict:
"I am very pleased with the performance of the Cool-Dry Frame. No, it hasn't prevented me from sweating, and on the hottest days, I pretty much wetted out my shirt. However, I can tell my back doesn't feel as warm as it usually does when wearing a backpack. It is also very comfortable with no discernible pinching or weird rubbing."
It's your best way to stay cool and dry with a backpack.
This lightweight (only 6 ounces), soft, durable, and flexible frame attaches directly to your backpack and creates a natural airflow between you and the pack without using mesh or other material that soaks up sweat and retains heat. This design maximizes airflow to keep your back cool and dry.
Vaucluse was founded on one simple premise - it's almost impossible not to sweat when wearing a backpack. Consistent with this same thought, it's almost impossible to find gear from a company that you can truly believe in - a brand that's an extension of you rather than the other way around.