I hit the hiking trails in Southwestern France in late May. While the town of Saint-Émilion is known for making some of the finest red wines in the world, I must say the trails through the vineyards equally deserve applause.

Backpacking around the vineyard allows you to uncover the hundreds of years of agriculture that this region has traditionally enjoyed. You can really appreciate the limestone quarries, monolithic churches, medieval chapels, and centuries-old wineries when you see it all on foot.

My partner on this 10-mile hike was my wonderful wife.

Gear Overview: I strapped a Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Frame on an Osprey® Talon 22L.

She took an Osprey® Daylite pack.

We started at 9 AM from the village of Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes. We stayed along the high plains of the region to enjoy the panoramic views of the wine country.

Part 1 of 4: Weather Check

The weather was hazy at 9 AM, with a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but the real kicker was the humidity. I was surprised to see it as high as 76%.

This meant that, as the temperature went up, I was definitely going to start sweating. Thankfully, as you will see in the photos, I had the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Frame. While I hiked the high plains, a cool breeze hit my back and helped keep my back and body temperature cooler.

I keep thinking of bringing a temperature gun to check my back's warmth (I may include this in future Sweat Check reports). For now, I can only say that I can definitely feel the cool breeze on my back, thanks to the space created by the Cool-Dry Backpack Frame and inviting airflow.

The temperature increased to 83 degrees Fahrenheit by midday, and the humidity stayed above 50%.

All in all, it was a pretty warm day for a 10-mile hike.

You can learn more about the weather in Southwestern France by visiting weather.com.9

Part 2 of 4: Trail Check

We hiked 10 miles in four hours, pausing to take photos and explore the churches and wineries we discovered during that time (wineries are called chateaus in this region).

Unfortunately, the Strava app stopped tracking our movements at a certain point (I may have inadvertently closed the app on my phone). Thankfully, when I reloaded the app, the previous tracking data was found, and it started tracking us again.

In all, we kept a good pace throughout the morning while taking a few pauses for photos.

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

  • Distance 9.21 miles (actually 10 miles as the app stopped for part of the hike.)
  • Elapsed Time: 3:48:59
  • Pace: 18:33 minutes/miles
  • Elevation: 606 feet
  • Calories: 1,596

Discover more about this hike by following my Strava activity here.

Part 3 of 4: Sweat Check

I anticipated sweating because of the humidity. Nonetheless, I was very thankful that the cool breeze could be felt when I was at the top of the hills.

Additionally, I could tell that my back did not feel as hot as the rest of my body, even though I was carrying a 22L pack.

So overall, I did sweat, but the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame helped regulate my body temperature. My wife had no sweat at all on her back (without the frame, she normally would have been sweating, too).

Here is a photo of my shirt after the hike.

Part 4 of 4: The Verdict

Overall, the verdict after this hike is that the Vaucluse Gear Cool-Dry Backpack Frame kept me cool and dry. While it’s impossible to stay completely dry for four hours in over 80-degree heat and more than 50% humidity, I did appreciate the ability to feel the breeze on my back.

Additionally, because the Cool-Dry Frame creates a more consistent space to encourage airflow than you would find on arched frames, the heat from my back could evaporate.

My Osprey 22L does have a curved frame. While this is nice, the hot air radiating off my back would just get trapped because there wasn’t enough space for the air to dissipate. That’s why this Cool-Dry Backpack Frame makes such a difference.

See more pictures from other Sweat Checks by visiting the Vaucluse Gear Instagram account. You can also watch videos on our YouTube channel.

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.