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EMS Trail 35 Pack - Gear Review

posted Jun 10, 2012, 3:26 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Jun 10, 2012, 3:33 PM ]
This post is not my normal diary of a hike, but rather a gear review of my new overnight hiking pack, the Eastern Mountain Sports brand (EMS) Trail 35.


I loaded it up with about 20 lbs of gear and then set out to do a 6 mile test walk with it around our local Beaver Lake park. It was an early hot and humid day for the Summer (technically still Spring), so that gave me a chance to evaluate the new trampoline style back surface for airflow and comfort.


Here are the specs from the EMS site (www.ems.com):
Features/Benefits:
  • Fixed suspension with dense padding design—bomber construction for hard wearing durability
  • 6061-T6 aluminum flex framing shifts the weight onto your hips for a more stable ride
  • Arched back frame and central mesh panel create a space behind the back for better airflow
  • Dense foam padding against the lumbar and upper back
  • V-wing hip belt divides compression and weight around the waist for a more secure fit
  • Four-point forward-draw belt compression for comfort and a dialed fit
  • Zipped pockets on the waistbelt ideal for a compass and energy bar
  • Sliding adjustable sternum strap with integrated safety whistle
  • Top zip-around opening for quick access to main compartment
  • Hydration sleeve with clip and hose ports left and right
  • Internal top zip pocket for essentials—also houses rope cinch strap when not in use
  • Rope cinch strap can be deployed from top pocket through external port
  • Two slim vertical pockets with glove friendly zippers
  • Side drop pockets great for a water bottle and other easy access gear
  • Side and bottom compression straps, ice axe loop and walking pole loops complete the pack

As one can see, it's full-featured pack for the money and I was in love with it after mile 1 clear through to mile 6. I'm eager to get out with it for some AT sections this fall!

The pack has a ton of room inside the main compartment, several outside pockets, and a ton of loops and straps for extra accessories and tying down gear.  I found the hip belt pocket on the right side to be a perfect fit for my point and shoot camera.

The trampoline-style back surface is superb and I did not have any issues with my back sweating.  The comfort of the back surface and the hip belt is top notch.


There are only 2 points that may fall short of perfect for some.  First, there is no side access to the main compartment as with other larger packs, so if you need something at the bottom you'll need to dig from the top.  Second, there is no rain hood on the top, which a lot of hikers use to strap down a sleeping pad or even their tent.  The EMS Trail 35 instead offers a set of bungee loops and a single tie-down strap and buckle.

I'm confident this pack will fit my needs regardless of those two points, and overall I'm very pleased with the fit and performance.

Here are a few more shots from the Beaver Lake trails.






Cheers!

-PHIL