Stanislaus National Forest, California - Gear Review
Vaucluse Cool-Dry Backpack Frame Sweat Check
Joe Schaffer from BackpackGearTest.org took the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame for an extended field test to see how the frame would perform.
With over 15 years of testing equipment, BackpackGearTest.org (BGT) is a premier source for online backpacking, hiking, and camping gear reviews. They reached out to us and offered to conduct a comprehensive review and test of our Cool-Dry Backpack Frame.
Joe completed a gear review on the BGT website (which you can view here). 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 improves the hiking experience for anyone wanting to sweat less and stabilize their body temperature while wearing a backpack.
Here is Joe’s report on how the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame performed:
“Hike 1, with a weight of about 20-lbs (9 kg), lighter than a usual trip load. Hike 2 tallied about a dozen pounds (5 kg) heavier.
I started hiking at the warmest part of the day, with a light breeze. I got to our first site at four miles (6.5 k) with an unexpectedly very dry shirt and, most notably, a dry back. I could actually feel the cooling air wafting through the space between my back and the pack! Although variables may not make the comparison of much note, I (in a purple shirt) was dry and the back of my hiking partner (in a blue shirt) was wet.
My conclusion is that the Vaucluse insert definitely keeps things drier and cooler. On these points, I rate the Vaucluse Cool-Dry Backpack Frame at 100%!
Not routinely carrying so much weight, it may not be fair for me to say that I found the insert somewhat less comfortable than with a lighter load or with no insert. On level terrain and downhill, I could abide the 'rough' feel of the device. On uphill strains, a certain portion of the device poked at one of my middle vertebrae enough to become mildly vexing. Had the annoyance not been alleviated by frequent variations in terrain I would have found it necessary to remove the device. I was also mildly perturbed at finding some pilling in my polyester shirt, the first to develop in a dozen or so outings. (Yes, polyester fabric pills readily and since the shirt isn't new, perhaps it would have anyway.)
I didn't feel any loss of pack stability with the Cool-Dry insert. As I began to tire, though, I felt gravity's tug with the load being pushed farther outward. I felt less stable and more so as the miles wore on. Moments where I had to step high to get over a log or grunt out a longer stride over a stream, were met with some discomfiture as it felt as if the weight wanted to topple me off balance. Part of that may be due to my having less experience carrying more weight. Maybe eventually, muscle memory would develop to compensate, or maybe it was all in my head, but my balance in critical moments seemed more uncertain with this in place.
The hike out was so cold and blustery that I did not want any cooling effect. Without the Cool-Dry insert, and in finger-stinging chill, the back of my shirt was wet when I got to the car. Quite a difference from starting the trip in temps +/- 40 degrees higher (22 C).
Even with the added weight of the load, I did not have difficulty mounting the backpack. Cool-Dry did slide out of place without any trouble. I was able to get it properly situated. I don't know how much strain the attaching loops are expected to endure, but there remain no signs of damage.”
Field Sweat Test Results Overview:
a) The Cool-Dry Frame is more suitable for light loads.
b) It is easy to attach.
c) It greatly increases airflow for a cool and dry hike
d) The bottom does mount sideways on the backpack
Here’s how Vaucluse Gear has taken feedback from Joe and other hikers further to improve the performance of the Cool-Dry Backpack Frame:
We have reduced how much the frame moves on a backpack by adding Velcro straps.
We have increased the curvature of the frame’s outline to make it smoother on the back.
We are exploring design improvements to make the frame softer on the back.
Our objective is continuous product improvement and added benefits to our customers by providing feedback. For more about improvements and benefits, please join our email list.
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.