Hike/Equipment Review

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    • #83560
      Pinky
      Participant

        A quick review with hopefully some useful points. My wonderful bride of 18 years set up a hike/camp for us to celebrate. The course was 14 miles round trip, starting at base elevation of ~1500, going up to ~4000 or so, in and up to the peak, camp overnight, return the way we came (see attached elevation profile).

        I elected to use my Snugpak 100L Bergen, despite the “designed in the UK, made in China” label and my suspicions about it’s durability. It is actually relatively comfortable fully loaded (vs. my FILBE, which is only really comfortable fully loaded with PC on). I was loaded for a “overnight getaway with my wife,” complete with 2 pounds of marinated NY strips for kababs over the fire, ice packs for the meat, tent, tarps for expected rain, etc, etc, plus 96oz hydration bladder, 1 gallon exta water, etc, etc – a total weight of around 80lbs per the scale.

        Lesson 1 learned: to support what others have said repeatedly, carrying 80lbs around is not sustainable, especially if you are doing something other than hiking (patrol, E&E, etc). I am in reasonably good shape, ruck regularly with 50-60lbs (PC plus pack, etc) and I was smoked at the end of the first day (7 miles in, mostly uphill – see elevation profile).

        Lesson 2 learned: “designed in the UK, made in China.” Throughout most of the hike, it became apparent where the chinese cut corners – seams and buckles. The pack constantly slide down my back, causing me to have to pull on the straps every 5-10 steps and then pull the top straps to snug it back to my body. That sucked. I can replace the buckles, but there are also some seams coming apart in critical places. Fortunately this was a pleasure tour, so I have confirmed my suspicions. Shake your gear out, don’t let a serious situation be where you find out your ruck sucks. Back to the FILBE.

        Lesson 3 learned: trained on flat, hiking at elevation. Train appropriately for your location or where you might end up. I can and do knock out 6-8 mile rucks under full weight at 16-18 minute miles locally (maybe 500’ish ft elevation change, rolling hills). 7 miles of elevation just about killed me. Then 7 miles downhill going back just about killed me again. Slightly less weight but new set of muscles to burn.

        Obligatory pics attached for proof, including the sandwich maker who planned this hell for us (she carried about 35-40lbs and weighs 110lbs FWIW – tough woman).

        Is everyone staying fit????

        Please see my other post “Sungpak 100L Bergen for sale” :good:

        Pinky

      • #83561
        D Close
        Moderator

          Pinky, great debrief. Surprised about the Snugpack. I use their fart sacks and admittedly don’t stress the seams on those. The elevation point is a good one. Acclimatizing to new terrain and conditions is part of deployment planning. If we are planning ops in a different AO, we need to factor in extra time for this.
          Planning marches with high weight loadouts has been touched on before. I need to keep this in mind that one should be conservative, especially on new terrain. It is a “T” in METT for a reason.

          edit: your photo shows that desert MARPAT is not a bad pattern for that terrain either. Question, does that Bergen have a hard insert for back support?

        • #83562
          Pinky
          Participant

            yep, it has a hard insert. not quite as robust as the ILBE/FILBE and I’m sure the others people here have. I am also disappointed as I too have 3 of the sleeping bags that have all held up great (all 5 years old)

            i knew I was facing a complete suck-fest with the elevation and weight. My wife said “I am surprised you had such a hard time!” I did not have a kind response prepared, so I just smiled and told her that I was getting old.

            always remember the 5 P’s (prior planning prevents piss poor performance).

          • #83563
            JohnnyMac
            Participant

              I don’t know anything about their pack, but I’ve been significantly underwhelmed by Snugpak’s sleeping bags compared to the outdoor gear brands I have. Their durability seems good but the weight vs warmth didn’t compare, and compressibility wasn’t great..if only the outdoor brands stopped making them in ridiculous colors. Just my two cents.

            • #83564
              zeerf
              Participant

                Pinky, great post and good lessons learned here. :good:

              • #83565
                RRS
                Participant

                  Buy once cry once

                • #83566
                  wheelsee
                  Participant

                    Buy once cry once

                    Doesn’t help much without information/recommendation(s)…….

                  • #83567
                    zeerf
                    Participant

                      Buy once cry once

                      Doesn’t help much without information/recommendation(s)…….

                      Was sort of thinking the same thing.

                    • #83568
                      RRS
                      Participant

                        True but I know people who buy stuff because it makes them feel good, so in effect quantity has a quality and usually to their long term detriment.

                        I rarely buy anything on impulse I even have up in my brain cavity a process where I actually look to buy Made in the USA, partly because I think it benefits me to have a manufacturing base in my country but mostly to actually make me research a purchase.

                        I know Max hates it when the $25 is mentioned but that could be saved in a jiffy by using the resources here about gear selection, especially when it comes to buying foo foo guns or gucci gear.

                      • #83569
                        Corvette
                        Participant

                          Yeah, Gucci gear. I’ve found good old US Military/NATO equipment holds up better than just about anything out there, and is generally less expensive.

                        • #83570
                          RRS
                          Participant

                            My Gen III level 6 cold weather rain gear is some spiffy stuff and a bargain price for brand new in super duper multi-cam

                          • #83571
                            Pinky
                            Participant

                              To be clear, I knew it was a gamble going in. I simply confirmed my suspicions and wanted to share the experience so no one else has to do the same. Also, I wrongly assumed that designed in the UK might have meant made in the UK. My go to is a surplus FILBE and ILBE, both have been bulletproof thus far

                            • #83572
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                To be clear, I knew it was a gamble going in. I simply confirmed my suspicions and wanted to share the experience so no one else has to do the same.

                                This is a great Thread and I appreciate the heads up.

                                All of us have been known to take a chance on occasion and it does sometimes payoff. My only advice is when we take a chance is to never rely on it for real missions until it proves itself.

                                I have a cheap internal frame backpack I took a chance on, it has over 2000 recreational hiking miles on it and is still going strong. ;-)

                                So yes, it’s helpful to get buy quality from the get go, but looking for the hidden gem is just in our nature.

                              • #83573
                                Roadkill
                                Participant

                                  Sleeping bags? I use Wiggy’s. they can be soaking wet and still keep you warm. If they say comfort down to zero they mean it. He makes some other good gear too, thermal stuff that’s real good.

                                • #83574
                                  eggleston
                                  Participant

                                    Looks like Wiggys is made in USA . Nice to see .

                                    At this time, Wiggy’s Inc. is the only manufacturer of sleeping bags in the USA.

                                    I take pride in being a company who makes superior sleeping bags & garments right here in the United States of America. We have not now, nor have we ever, outsourced the making & manufacturing of our products to foreign soil, and we never will.

                                  • #83575
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                    Moderator

                                      Everything made by Wiggy’s is outstanding.

                                    • #83576
                                      Roadkill
                                      Participant

                                        Wiggy made a custom 7’3″ sleeping bag system for a buddy of mine who played in the NBA. I ordered it for him from Wiggy and it turned out awesome it also included his new bivvy. Great guy, great products.

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