I partnered with Backpack Gear Test (BGT) to test out the new Vaucluse Cool-Dry Backpack Frame. With over 15 years of testing 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 were being 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 one of their gear testers, Mike Lipay.

Mike Lipay from BGT enjoys most of his adventures in the Northeast, though he has begun spending 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 in warmer climates.

He used multiple packs during his sweat check while traveling from Pennsylvania to Arizona.

He was using a mid-size pack (between a full backpack and a daypack) when camping in a park or forest where there was a designated camping area. The weight of the pack was under10-lbs. (4.5 kg), so not very heavy. He then used it as a daypack for excursions where the carrying weight was typically under 5-lbs. (2.3 kgs).

The brands he used were G4, Eagle Creek, and MooseJaw packs.

Part 1 of 4: Weather Check

Here is the weather report from Mike at Saguaro National Park, Arizona:

  • Cool nights 49-54 F / 9-12 C
  • Warm days 78-80 F / 26-27 C
  • Windy, sunny, no precipitation.

Mike described the weather as follows:

"Morning hikes started off with a fleece jacket, this is where I noticed the frame issues mentioned above. Afternoon warmth had me ditch the jacket for just a t-shirt, with no issues with the frame.”

You can learn more about the weather in Saguaro National Park just outside of Tucson, Arizona, by visiting wunderground.com.

Part 2 of 4: Trail Check

Here are data points of Mike’sday hike in Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, Arizona.

Distance: 12.4 mi (20 km)

Duration: 3 days

Pack load: under 5 lbs (2.3 kgs)

Elevation: 2,915-4,686 ft (888-1,428 m)

You can discover more about Saguaro National Park by visiting AllTrails.com.

Part 3 of 4: Sweat Check

Mike’s feedback on how the Vaucluse Cool-Dry Frame performed in this Backpack Gear Test:

“Yes, with the warm temps my back didn’t sweat at all…nice!

So far I like what I see. It’s well constructed, lightweight, flexible, and doesn’t feel odd when wearing it (I thought the honeycomb and the spacers might be annoying).

With that said, the Cool-Dry Frame is comfortable, even though it can be felt when sitting atop only a shirt, when there was a light fleece jacket tossed into the mix I did not feel the frame at all."

Included are photos of the frame on Mike's pack and his dry shirt after the hike.

To check out more images of how the Cool-Dry Frame performed, visit our Instagram account @vauclusegear.

Part 4 of 4: The Verdict

Overall, Mike is happy with how the Vaucluse Cool-Dry Backpack Frame performed. Here is his verdict:

What he liked about the Cool-Dry Frame:

  • Lightweight, easy to install.
  • Doesn’t feel odd when wearing it.
  • Did keep my back dry in moderate temperatures.

What he didn’t like about the Cool-Dry Frame:

  • Not really a don’t like but does require fidgeting if the pack doesn’t have load lifters on the shoulder straps.
  • Difficult to get on when wearing a jacket.

He also included in his review the following comments:

"It attaches quickly to any of my packs. I like this because I tend to carry my packable daypack with me on backpacking trips for when I hike to a central point for camping, then take day trips from there to explore different trails. I can quickly remove the Cool-Dry Frame from my backpack and put it on my daypack, then switch back for the return trip.

The frame did not slip around - this is major since it is difficult to reposition the frame once the pack is on my back.”

You can read Mike’s full sweat test on the BackpackGearTest.org website by clicking this link.

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.