Jim Armstrong, founder of L-5 Imaging in Carrollton, Texas, provides Search and Rescue services with a focus on night operations in wilderness areas. Jim runs a YouTube channel where he frequently tests gear that he is considering using in his missions.
One of his YouTube channel’s subscribers came across Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry BackpackFrame and wanted Jim to put it to the test. Located in northern Texas, Jim usually deals with extreme heat when going out on trails - the perfect environment to test the Cool-Dry Frame.
As you will see in his review, a sweaty back and backpack are this search and rescue hero’s “weakest link.”
"My pack is heating up and all that does is heat my back up… The back is the weak link.”
Jim completed a detailed gear review on his YouTube channel (which you can view below). He outlines all the details of his field test, his experience wearing the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame, and his final thoughts on how the frame dramatically improves the hiking experience for anyone wanting to sweat less and stabilize their body temperature while wearing a backpack.
Part 1 of 3: Trail
Jim hiked the LBJ Grasslands north of Decatur, Texas, and around Cottonwood Lake. Decatur is about one hour north of Dallas. He hiked for a total of 2 hours.
There are several trails and loops to explore around the LBJ Grasslands. Want to hike in Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland? The mobile app AllTrails lists six hiking, biking, horseback riding, and running trails.
LBJ Grasslands has a variety of trails ranging from 400 to 1,233 feet in elevation gain. Some trails are easy while others are more strenuous. You can find trails to hike in anywhere from one hour to 8 hours. Explore the list of trails on AllTrails.com.
Part 2 of 3: Weather Check
The weather was sunny and incredibly hot. As Jim mentions in his review, all the conditions were working against him.
“The conditions today were working against me; the heat of the road and very little breeze for this time of year. Probably the only break I got is that the humidity is just a tiny bit lower than it was maybe last month or this time last year.”
The average temperatures for Decatur at this time of the year are a high of 94º F and a low of 70º F. The last 7 days averaged a high of 99º F with nearly 0% precipitation.
Humidity in the morning was around 50% and then lowered steadily to 30% in the afternoon.
Jim performs Search and Rescue as a private contractor with a focus on wilderness night operations. His gear reviews focus on the actual field use of each product from a Search and Rescue perspective.
He is an ex-bodyguard and volunteer for the Carrollton, Texas Police and Fire Departments. He is also a volunteer for the Denton Police Academy and US Forest Service, specializing in the LBJ Grasslands in Alvord, TX.
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.