The great outdoors didn’t disappoint last weekend.

I trekked nine miles around the picturesque village of Montagne, France, and discovered some remarkable landmarks. Its 15th-century windmills, Les Moulins De Calon, reminded me of the Dutch countryside. I’d never seen windmills in southern France before but when I reached the hill where they stood, I understood why they were there: there was a lot of wind!

I also passed an abandoned 14th-century castle, Le Château des Tours, which made it easy to reminisce about the way people must have lived in the late Middle Ages.

Both were great discoveries to make while hiking through vineyards the entire morning and using church bell towers as my navigational markers.

Overall, I highly recommend this hike and cannot wait to share more with you.

I wore my 22L Osprey© Talon backpack and equipped it with a Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Frame. The combination is great to keep your back dry and body temperature cool, plus the frame protects your pack from getting soaked with sweat.

Part 1 of 3: Trail Check

My wife and I hiked for about nine miles in just under three hours, pausing to take photos and explore different sites.

We followed a trail recommended by the tourism office (which you can reference here). I had previously planned to organize my own hike; however, I am very thankful for following their recommendations because every 20-30 minutes there was something new to see. You can also learn more about the region on the Saint Emilion Instagram account.

Three hours passed very quickly!

Thanks to a great trail, we kept a good pace even though we paused several times to take pictures and explore.

Here are the data points for our walk while using the Strava GPS app:

  • Distance: 9.33 mi
  • Time: 2:56:21
  • Pace: 18:53/mi
  • Elevation 632ft
  • Calories 1,616

You can discover more about our hike by following my Strava activity here.


Part 2 of 3: Weather Check

We started our hike at 9 AM when the temperature was 64 F and the humidity was 71%. I was a bit worried about how high the humidity was. If it got much higher it would definitely be a sweaty day. I tend to sweat everywhere when it’s that humid and having a backpack on doesn’t help; the Cool-Dry Frame definitely helps moderate my body temperature.

Thankfully, the humidity lowered throughout the day and ended up around 46%. The sun was out the entire time, and the temperature increased to 72 F.

A hat and sunglasses were definitely needed, as was my Cool-Dry Frame. This proved to be ideal weather for the frame to keep my back dry and body temperature cool (more about this below).

Learn more about the weather in Montagne, France by visiting

Part 3 of 4: Sweat Check

As mentioned, the humidity dropped significantly. This was good because I tend to sweat less in that kind of weather. The Cool-Dry Frame helped by allowing my back to evaporate sweat and creating a gap for air to flow freely.

My Osprey is equipped with a curved frame called an Airscape, but I have found that the curve really doesn’t contribute much space for encouraging airflow or for heat to dissipate.

As you can see from the photos, my shirt was wet only where the backpack straps came in contact with my back. Everywhere else? My shirt was dry.

Some people might feel that sweating doesn’t matter and it’s just a part of hiking. Well, apart from providing greater comfort, sweating less helps regulate your body temperature more efficiently and assists in avoiding dehydration.

Plus (my wife will vouch for this) your backpack won’t smell like old gym shoes.

Here is a photo of my shirt after the hike:

The Cool-Dry Frame made a big difference on this hike, keeping my back dry and comfortable so I could better enjoy my surroundings. Or stop as often. Before I started wearing a Cool-Dry frame, I would have to keep stopping, to take my backpack off for a couple of minutes, just so I could cool off. So I would start wearing my backpack using only one strap over my shoulder, which is terrible for posture and spinal alignment (again, just ask my wife).

Overall, the verdict after this hike’s sweat check is… The Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame kept me cool and dry. In conditions where the humidity is less than 50% and using the Cool-Dry Frame, I have yet to feel any sweaty build-up on my back.

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

You can also watch videos on our YouTube channel.

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.