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.

Learn more about the weather in this region of North Texas by visiting weather.com.

Part 3 of 3: Sweat Check

Here is Jim’s overall assessment of the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame and how it performed on his 2-hour hike in the Texas summer heat.

“I've never felt that type of cooling out here in these temperatures.”

“Now I'm getting much more consistent airflow and evaporative cooling around my entire core, and that is really helping me stay out and move harder and longer.”

“You could look at this as kind of an insurance policy against heat exhaustion.”

“It just keeps your core down that much easier.”

“On that road, it's like I'm baking, I can feel the heat coming off and just hitting my face, and yet here I am, I still feel great.”

You can see more pictures of the sweat check by visiting the Vaucluse Gear Instagram account.

You can also watch videos on our YouTube channel.

Biography of Jim Armstrong

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.

Jim's website, L5Imaging - Search & Rescue

Jim's YouTube channel, L5 Imaging Product Reviews and SAR Operationsyour text in this area

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.