Gear Review - Hiking Mount Greylock Along the Berkshires Plateau
2-Day Hike in the Taconic Mountain Range of Western Massachusetts
Vaucluse is proud to say it has partnered with Backpack Gear Test (BGT) to test our Cool-Dry Backpack Frame because, with more than 15 years of experience testing outdoor equipment, BackpackGearTest.org is a premier source for online backpacking, hiking, and camping gear reviews.
BackpackGearTest.org was founded in 1999 by a Utah backpacker who saw a need for impartial backpacking gear reviews. In a world where most reviews are published by the same media accepting advertising money from those manufacturers, BGT was – and is – unique.
BGT reached out and offered to conduct a review and test of the Cool-Dry Frame. Here are the results from BGT gear tester, Mike Lipay.
Mike Lipay enjoys most of his adventures in the Northeast, though he has spent a good deal of time in the desert Southwest (and most places in between). His trips tend to be during the cooler months - September through May - because he doesn’t enjoy hot weather. So testing the Cool-Dry Frame was an ideal introduction for him to hiking with a backpack on a warmer day.
Trail Location and Conditions
Mike set out on a two-day hike in western Massachusetts along the Berkshire-Taconic Range, which stretches across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont, and includes the Appalachian Trail, the Harlem Valley, and the tallest point in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, in North Adams.
Weather: Hot (78-91F / 25-33C); sunny; gentle breeze.
Mike’s overview of the Vaucluse Cool-Dry Backpack Frame:
“The Cool-Dry Frame held up to its name this time, though not as perfect as the first time I used it. (You can read Mike’s first product review here). I did a lot of sweating on this trip, and my back (and front) held the evidence of it, but the frame allowed the breeze to come through, cool down the back, and wick away moisture.
It made this trip a lot nicer than it otherwise might have been.
Honestly, I didn’t expect my back to stay perfectly dry. That’s a lot to ask of any device. Unlike my trips to drier climates (Arizona/New Mexico - see his review here), the Northeast has more humidity to deal with, not just the sweating. Humidity slows down/prevents sweat from wicking away (especially if it gets above 68% relative humidity), so nothing is going to keep a back completely dry.
The Cool-Dry Frame allows the breeze to get between the back and the pack (this makes even a wet back feel cooler) and takes away some of the moisture.Sure, I sweated. My back still got damp. But I felt better and, when the heavy uphill hiking was done, my back did start drying out (something that would never have happened with the backpack laying against it).
Overall, I am very pleased with how the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame performs.
Regarding suggestions, I would like to see a way to attach the Cool-Dry Frame to the bottom of the backpack straps and to the top. On my daypack I did not experience any shifting. But my backpack is an ultralight that does not have an ice pick strap on the bottom, nor a hip belt, so my pack and the frame would shift when I had to bend my torso to get around obstacles like trees, rock outcroppings, etc. Securing the frame to the bottom of the straps would alleviate that problem.”
Since receiving his feedback about securing the frame more firmly on the bottom of a backpack, Vaucluse Gear has made these changes. We now supply – free of charge – Velcro straps allowing you to better secure the frame to your pack.
The Cool-Dry Frame by Vaucluse Gear
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.