Boreas Gear Lost Coast 45

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Reviews

9

A moderately lightweight backpack that is smartly…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $109

Summary

A moderately lightweight backpack that is smartly designed and does a lot of things well. I found the suspension very comfortable for carrying weight 35 pounds or less, and good but not ideal for heavier loads. While the backpack looks and functions as a very simple bag in some respects, it offers a surprising amount of versatility. The few design features I would tweak are relatively minor; overall, a really nice and creative solution from a fairly new company.

Pros

  • Light and innovative suspension
  • Great hip belt pockets
  • Lots of small but smart design quirks

Cons

  • A 'tweener' — neither a load-hauler nor an ultralight
  • Side stretch pocket openings
  • Some might dislike hip belt

Boreas appears to be a fairly new backpack company; the 45 liter "Lost Coast" is the medium-sized version of their relatively full-featured backpack, which is also available in 30 and 60 liter sizes.  The torso length is not adjustable, so you need to know what size you are — they come in 'medium' (torso length 20" or less) and 'large' (over 20").  

My medium weighed right around what the manufacturer indicated, a hair more than 3 pounds. That's heavier than backpacks which appeal to people who are intent on carrying the lightest loads possible, but a fair bit lighter than some alternatives this size.

Here is what it looks like, loaded up, after a morning hike:


IMG_0731.jpg


IMG_0732.jpg

As the photos show, the outside of the backpack looks fairly streamlined, the back pad is a little unusual, and the hip belt has really big pockets. It's worth a deeper dive to see what this backpack is all about.

SUSPENSION

The bumpy foam is what stands out visually. It is fairly firm and is covered by thin mesh, and it is both perforated and ridged to allow some air flow. What isn't immediately apparent is the plastic frame sheet underneath helps ensure that the foam is firmly against your lumbar area. That the foam is ridged and perforated allows some air flow, but also helped (in my experience) keep the pack firmly seated on my back and hips. 


IMG_0373.jpg

Side view shows the back pad nicely. Also, you can see below that the foam in the hip pads is pretty thin, intended to wrap around your hips but not provide tons of cushioning, and the hip belt pads are 'partial' in that they extend around the sides of your hip bones, but they do not cover the front at all. 

I don't mind that the front is all strap and no pad, but some people might not like that. I also liked the fact that the straps on the hipbelt adjust by pulling inward, not outward. 


IMG_0374.jpg

Other than demonstrating that I should be doing a few more sit-ups, you can see where the hip belt pad ends and where the pockets are sitting.


IMG_0372.jpg

Ventilation is clearly a priority for this backpack in that the shoulder straps are also perforated. Like the hip belt, the shoulders are made of thin but firm foam, with light mesh covering it.


IMG_0354.jpg

The suspension adjusts shoulder strap length like any good backpack and has load-lifter straps that attach to the top of the frame. If you look at the photo above, you will see the load lifter strap with its black rubbery loop dangling near the upper part of the shoulder strap.

The pulls at the ends of the straps are nice; very easy to tighten. Loosening them isn't so easy because the buckle at the top of the load lifter rides underneath the top — it's hard to reach without taking the top off.  I don't generally adjust these anyway and didn't experience and slipping during my walks. 

OTHER COOL THINGS I NOTICED

BIG pockets on the hip belt. Stretchy. They hold a lot. Note the minimal zipper pulls. Also, worth noting that while these pockets are really easy to open, their size and relative lack of structure makes it harder to close the zipper — I had to hold one finger against the end of the zipper while pulling. A minor contortion. 


IMG_0356.jpg

And it swallows the wallet and Clif bar with room to spare. I can easily put my compact super zoom camera and not-small portable GPS in these pockets. 


IMG_0357.jpg

Hidden daisy chain loops — both on the shoulder strap and running down both sides of the back.  Pull them out if you need them, hide them if you don't. Nice. 


IMG_0355.jpg


IMG_0367.jpg


IMG_0366.jpg

Note there are also hidden dual bottom loops for ice axes. 

The stretchy side pockets have some issues. They can hold a one-liter bottle, but it's pretty darn hard to reach the bottle unless you have very flexible shoulder joints. Also, note how the lower compression strap crosses the pocket — don't tighten that strap if you want a bottle or other stuff in there.

 


IMG_0361.jpg

Also, the pocket has a strangely-situated hole. I couldn't figure out what it is for. Needless to say, that hole makes the pocket fine for hats, mittens, etc., but not for really small items that might fall out. Maybe you could put a smaller (less than one liter) bottle into that, angled and much easier to reach, but I haven't tried that. 


IMG_0362.jpg

P.S. I'm much more accustomed to hydration bladders these days, and this pack has very standard and good means to do that — an inside sleeve with a clip/loop to grab the top hook if needed, hydration ports on both sides, and elastics on both shoulder straps for the hose. Works very well.

Lots of separate storage in the top (which is removable), a mesh pocket underneath, plus dual large pockets on the top, with openings in the front and the back.


IMG_0363.jpg

Pocket that faces the back:


IMG_0368.jpg

Pocket that faces the front:


IMG_0369.jpg

 

Clever cord pull that keeps the pack shut — very easy to pull open and shut:


IMG_0358.jpg


IMG_0364.jpg

Finally, the entire back of the backpack is a big stretchy pocket, capable of swallowing a wet hard shell or small tent fly that's wet, with a little pull tab. That's my carabiner hanging from the tab.


IMG_0371.jpg

ENOUGH WITH THE FEATURES - HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?

I have taken a series of hikes with this backpack on local trails by the river near where I live. I varied the weight from 20 to 45 pounds. My focus was on how well it carried the weight, did I have to adjust it a lot, how much (if at all) did the pack sway when I walked, and did all that business with the back pad make a difference in how cool/ventilated it felt?

Also, I wanted to determine whether those downward-arrow thingies on the pack bag would make any difference, as they are supposed to give the pack bag some structure. Finally, I generally wanted to see how I feel about such a lightweight pack material. It's a relatively stretchy nylon, only the bottom is made from fairly sturdy, stiffer nylon. 

Well, the suspension works. I carry backpacks a lot, and 35 pounds felt great — no strain on my shoulders, nothing pulling on my hips. I had to haul the hip straps pretty tight to get those small pads locked onto my hip bones, but with that done, it carries really, really well for a lighter-weight backpack.

It has no metal or carbon frame pieces, though, just a hard plastic sheet. So, 40 and 45 pounds was fine too, but I felt it a little in my shoulders after a few hours. I would probably avoid larger loads with this. 

Regarding those arrow thingies, I couldn't tell if they had an impact. I'm carrying 35 pounds in the photo below, and you can see the pack bag. It's sagging a little. However, I couldn't tell while I was walking, didn't actually notice until I saw the photo after the fact. 

One thing about this backpack, even loaded to what I considered to be a maximum weight of 45 pounds, it is very stable with the compression straps pulled tight. The trails I usually hike on involve a fair bit of rock-hopping, and this backpack felt extremely secure throughout. 


IMG_0730.jpg

It's too early to tell how durable the mesh, foam, and stretchy material is, all of them might have some propensity to snag and tear. On the other hand, companies like Granite Gear have been using materials like this for years with great success. 

Ventilation was pretty average, though I was plagued with some really warm days.  I will say this — the back pad itself barely felt damp when I took the pack off after a long and very warm hike. 

Jake W

I've been using the 60L since spring and completely agree with this review lead, spot on accurate. I have been using the smaller angled holes on the side pockets to hold a one liter bottle facing forward, makes it much easier to grab. Maybe the holes are bigger on the larger pack? My only additional dislike is that the hip belt pockets have a wire frame that even with nothing in it still holds its shape. Sometimes I wish they could tuck away and be a little more streamlined.


1 year ago
Danny Wang

My buddy also has the 60L version of this pack. He loves it. You can somewhat identify his pack in one of my trip reports to South Sister. I've only tried it on briefly, but I do like the minimalist design of the pack. Definitely caused some gear envy on the trail!


1 year ago
Sean Van Cleve GUIDE/OUTFITTER

Thank you for the information, I always look for your reviews...


1 year ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice work, Andrew! I always enjoy reading your takes on gear.


1 year ago

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support Trailspace by making your next purchase through one of the links above.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The Boreas Lost Coast 45 is a lightweight simple option for backpackers looking to shave some weight. The z-foam back panel and removable frame sheet are shaped to match the curve of your back, and the 210D ripstop nylon pack body fabric is impregnated with silicone for waterproof strength that won't wear out or rub off over time.

- CampSaver.com

The Boreas Lost Coast 45 pack offers a smart and simple weekend packing solution for people who care about weight but may not be crazy enough to cut the handles off their toothbrushes.

- REI

The Boreas Lost Coast 45 is a lightweight backpacking backpack with comfortable suspension and a streamlined design. Lost Coasts are simple, comfortable packs for people who care about weight but are not crazy enough to cut the handles off their toothbrushes. Simple Comfort: Packs don't have to be complicated to be comfortable. The z-foam back panel and removable frame sheet are shaped to match the curve of your back. Nothing fancy. (Just lots and lots of prototypes). Cool It: Poke the z-foam on the back panel (don't worry, it's tough stuff) and you'll see it springs back. That compression/ reaction motion happens as you hike, pumping air through to keep your back cool. Material World: Boreas Gear's lightweight 210D ripstop nylon pack body fabric is impregnated with silicone for waterproof strength that won't wear out or rub off over time. The heavier 420D nylon used for the pack bottom. Foam Sweet Foam: More foam does not equal more comfort. Super-plush belts and straps look comfy in the store but flatten out under pressure. Comfort happens when pressure is distributed evenly through good design and foam resilient enough to maintain volume under load. Keep it Clean: There was a time when packs were judged by how many zippers, buckles and straps they had. We're glad those days are over so we can concentrate on better ideas like daisy chains that tuck away when you don't need them. The Lost Coast 45 is simple: comfortable and lightweight, all of what you need and none of what you don't. Medium Torso Length: 46-51 cm / 18-20 inches. Large Torso Length: >51 cm / >20 inches. Volume: 45 liters / 2,563 cubic inches. Medium Weight (stock): 2,746 g / 3 lbs 16 oz. Large Weight (stock): 1,515 g / 3 lbs 4 oz. Medium Weight (min.): 975 g / 2 lbs 2 oz. Large Weight (min.): 1,200 g / 2 lbs 10 oz. Color(s): Farallon Black, Marina Blue, Golden Gate Red

- Tahoe Mountain Sports

Free Shipping. Boreas Lost Coast 45 Pack FEATURES of the Boreas Lost Coast 45 Pack Removable top lid Applied PU ribcage construction provides lightweight structure Full-face front stretch fabric pocket Two-stretch fabric side pockets Dual daisy chain that tuck away when not in use Hydration compatible Rain cover included Two hip belt pockets Hidden gear loops on shoulder straps shaped Molded EVA z-foam backpanel pumps air behind back as you walk Removable, shaped die-cut PE frame sheet with easy-access handle 210D ripstop nylon body with UTS impregnated silicone coating and a tough 420D nylon bottom SPECIFICATIONS of the Boreas Lost Coast 45 Pack SPECIFICATIONS for Small Volume: 2.560 cubic inches / 42 liter Torso: 16 - 18in. / 40 - 46 cm Weight: 3 lbs / 1.360 g Weight (No Frame): 2lbs 2oz / 953 g SPECIFICATIONS for Medium Volume: 2.746 cubic inches / 45 liter Torso: 18 - 20in./46 - 51 cm Weight: 3 lbs 1 oz / 1.381 g Weight (No Frame): 2 lbs 2 oz / 975 g SPECIFICATIONS for Large Volume: 2.746 cubic inches / 45 liter Torso: 20in. / 51 cm Weight: 3 lbs 1 oz / 1.381 g Weight (No Frame): 2 lbs 2 oz / 975 g

- Moosejaw

A smart, simple backpack perfect for weekend getaways, the Boreas Lost Coast 45 offers plenty of uncomplicated comfort and stability without adding extra weight. Once you put it on, you'll understand why it's an award winner. Winner of Backpacker magazine's 2012 Editors' Choice Award.

- EMS