xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' New to me: Teton Sports ~ The Prepared Guy

Monday, December 28, 2015

New to me: Teton Sports

I love backpacks!  When I say I love backpacks I mean it!  Throwing on a backpack makes me feel all warm and tingly inside.  Ok, well, that's an exaggeration, (actually it's not) but the reason I am so enamored with carrying a backpack is because I have spent so much time outdoors relying on a good pack to serve me well and carry all of my essential items.  Some of my best and most favorite experiences have been outdoors in the "wilderness".  When I am in unfamiliar territory, in adverse weather, in places where I could easily die ( I exaggerate not) through a number of different ways all I have to count on is myself and my gear.  The backpack is what makes all of this happen.  I do not undervalue a well built and well designed pack.

I have had these two packs in my possession for about a month now.  I had never seriously considered Teton Sports products before as I am EXTREMELY picky about what gear I carry.  I will not accept any gear failure!  Especially something as critical as a backpack.  For this reason I have always spent a lot of money on proven packs such as Mountain Hardware and The North Face.  My first internal frame pack that I purchased in the mid 80's was made by Wave Products in SLC.  A heavy cordura pack that to this day has never so much as frayed a stitch, nor busted a zipper despite its heavy use.  This pack has been the standard to which I hold all of my other backpacks.

When I got my hands on these packs the first thing I noticed was the material.  I don't really care what the fabric is named, I judge it by other criteria than some made up name.  The fabric is not nearly as heavy as the cordura of my Wave or North Face packs but it's thicker than what i've seen on many ultralight packs.  My initial thought was that it seemed to be a good middle of the road fabric.  I admit, the cordura material of the two packs I just mentioned are TOO heavy on many of my trips.

The second thing that I look at is the quality of the zippers.  The tell-tale sign that I typically look for is the infamous YKK marking.  This is the best quality and most reliable zipper brand that I know of.  I then look to see the sizing of the zipper; to see if it is adequate for the use.  I don't like to see any zipper holding much weight, but if it is, it had better be a large burly zipper, even oversized.  Although these zippers do not have the YKK markings they appear to be a good quality and adequate size for the use, and critical zippers are backed up by straps to help take the load off of them.    

The third thing I look at is how comfortable and adjustable the pack is.  Every body is different in size and dimension.  An internal frame pack must fit me like a glove.  Most of my hiking is off trail so I can't have a pack slipping and sliding around or even shifting slightly.  This is my favorite feature of the 4000.  The comfort and adjustability is excellent!  The padding on the hips and shoulders is ideal.  Not too bulky yet padded enough for all day comfort.  The fit and comfort get an "A" grade from me!

The fourth thing I look at is how it is configured.  How are the pockets and access to the the compartments designed and laid out.  Does the design fit my needs and specific use?  Are the straps positioned to carry my gear properly and are there an adequate number of them?

Now, I'm not one to strap a bunch of stuff to the outside of my pack and let things dangle or swing.  The items that I will strap to the outside of my pack would include a rope, helmet, sleeping pad, tent and possibly trekking poles.  I also find it useful to have a quick access pocket or pouch where I can easily stash or access a jacket as the weather in the high country can change suddenly.  Both of these packs accommodate this purpose well.  

Speaking specifically about the MA 4000; while it is large enough for an overnight or even a 3 day backpacking trip the built in straps on the sides and bottom of the bag are not long enough to accommodate a regular size sleeping pad or tent but should work fine if you have the less bulky lightweight or ultralight versions.  The same goes for a sleeping bag.  The pack is not large enough for a "regular" size sleeping bag but accommodates a light weight version such as my NF 30 F down Blue Kazoo sleeping bag.  The Teton Sports Grand 5500 pack would be a better choice for me for a multi-day trip.  Because of all of the straps the 4000 has, it is an ideal size for me for an afternoon caving trip when I have to pack a lot of gear.

On the 4000 there is a perfect spot for my helmet and I would also assume that it would work well with my snow shovel and possibly a snowboard.  I didn't intend to go into great detail about the pack but one additional feature I really like is the incorporation of a pocket in the right side of the hip belt that is perfect for a phone, camera or snacks and a knife.  This pack also includes a tarp/poncho made of ripstop nylon which makes the perfect addition for the prepper using this pack as a bug-out bag.

I prefer to go "heavy".  Heavy is relative.  I am always concerned about weight when backpacking but i'd rather carry a pack that is larger than I need to carry those few extra items.  So, a day pack for me is an afternoon pack, a weekend pack is a day pack; you get the picture.

I could, however, easily use the Rock 1800 as a day pack for a summer hike.  My favorite features are the small pocket on the right shoulder strap which makes it very convenient to carry and have quick access to a phone or camera, and the pouch on the back makes it easy to quickly stash or access a jacket.

For a day hike I would typically carry:

Gore Tex jacket
Water filter
Water bottle
First Aid kit
Flashight/headlamp and extra batteries, back-up flashlight.
Leather gloves
Fire kit
Pocket Knife/Multi-tool
Firearm and loaded magazines.
Extra socks
Cel Phone/HAM radio and solar charger

Add a small stove and a cook kit and a day pack won't work for me at all, and depending upon the weather I may want to add a warm layer, thus the larger pack is a better option for me for most trips.  Because I am typically a trip leader I will carry more gear than most, for the benefit of the group.  A stove and water filter isn't usually required for every hiker in a group thus most of the other hikers can carry less gear making a day pack ideal.

If you are not a hike leader and are looking for a "day pack" the Rock 1800 is a very good option.  The quality and value is very good.  The Talus 2700 and the Mountain Adventure I consider an excellent option for a trip leader and the Grand 5500 for a week long backpacking adventure.      

For me to give you a complete review of these packs I would need to give them a full year or two to really put them to the test.  I wish I could hang on to them longer and have the opportunity to get them dirty and take them on several trips but alas I don't get to keep either of these packs.  But, let me say, my eyes have been opened a little wider and I will consider Teton Sports products when I have a particular need in the future.  You should too.  

Teton Sports, if you happen to read this, send me a 2700 or 4000.  I'll put it thru the wringer and give you a tough and honest long term review, and focus on how a prepper would use it too.  I DO like the black!  

Mountain Adventurer 4000  $139.99

Rock 1800  $59.99


I know this is a 2 year old post but wondering how tall are you and where does the hip belt sit on you for the Rock 1800? I'm 6'2" and I have the teton sports oasis 1200, the hip belt comes across my stomach, wondering if i would run into the same issues with this bag. Thanks in advance

I am not nearly that tall, 5'9". Most packs have enough adjustment built in that they can be lowered, by the straps at your shoulders and the shoulder straps where they attached to or at the belt, or by the suspensions system in the middle of the back (typically only on larger packs) to account for your height. Typically the larger the pack the taller the person it will fit. On the 1800 the hip belt fits well on my hips with still more room to adjust. I'm a bit surprised that the 1200 does not fit you properly. That said, hip belts on 'day packs' aren't usually a high priority for manufacturers. My recommendation is to always go with a larger pack than you think you need. The weight difference between a 1200 and and 1800 is minimal and I prefer having more flexibility to what and how much I can carry. Hip belts on any pack are important to me. The 2100 is a nice size pack. More like what I prefer to carry just for a day hike. When you break out of the day pack sizes the larger packs typically have more adjust-ability. Short of trying on the 1800 and checking it out for yourself it would be a safer bet to go up to the 2100 or larger. I don't know if the 1800 would fit you better than the 1200 but I suspect that it would. I'm not at Teton pack expert by the way. Thanks for the comment!

Thanks for taking the time to respond, really appreciate it and your time. Just realized I posted with my wife's account on the above comment. :)

I wish I had more time to blog. Hopefully I will in the near future. Finishing up a short book this week. I'll post a link as soon as it is published.

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The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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