Reviewed: 08 April 2006
A good sack if you can keep the total load under 15 kg
Lack of vertical rigidity
Loads limited to under 15 kg
I used my new GoLite Trek for a hut-to-hut ski tour in the Swedisn/Norwegian border mountains, the Sylarne. It was my first experience with a very light backpacking- (as opposed to day-) sack. It took a bit of getting used to. I was carrying about 15 kg at the start, which is what the sack is rated for, reducing to about 11 kg after 10 days. On my first day, I found it very uncomforable without additional support in the back, but then used my folded foam mat down the back and that gave enough additional rigidity.
Once I figured out that all the various straps, especially the tensioner strap over the top of the sack, need to be tightened to hold the shape, then I found the sack very comfortable and stable. This is a big plus for skiing, because many framed sacks aren’t and have a tendency to “keep going” when making a turn on skis, throwing you off balance. The GoLite Trek didn’t.
I found the lack of vertical rigidity a nuisance because there was no way of not having the weight distributed almost equally between the shoulder straps and waist belt. I personally prefer to have more weight carried by my hips, so I feel the sack would be much improved with the addition of a couple of vertical lightweight stiffeners between the top of the arm loops and the waist belt, even at the expense of a couple of hundred grams extra weight. On the other hand, the very basic, unpadded waist belt was comfortable, and the buckles disn’t slip much at all.
The floating lid is made of very “floppy” material and its attachments, especially at the back, are very low down, making the lid difficult to control while fastening it. I solved the problem by putting the lid straps at the back through the uppermost tensioner straps, but this merely means that it would be better if the back attachments were permanently higher up.
For me, this sack is a bit of an experiment. It was comfortable for loads around 10-12 kg, but, and this is a big but, by 15 kg it isn’t quite so comfortable any more and beyond that would, I think, be almost unusable. That means its use for more than a very few days camping in cold/wet weather is probably limited. For a hut to hut ski tour, it was good.