User Review: Camp Trails Catskill
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $89
A decent internal frame pack for less than $100 that's lasted just over a decade. Definitely not a good choice for those who want to travel lightly, but good for extended trips or packing all the luxuries for the weekend.
- Plenty of capacity
- Water resistant
- Top-heavy when loaded
Fit: It's made for people with long torsos like myself, but getting the adjustment right is a bit of a challenge. Once you finally find the sweet-spot that keeps you comfortable all day, don't mess with a thing.
Comfort: The straps putting a lot of pressure on my shoulders has been the constant issue due to weight distribution issues. When packing well below capacity, it's not a problem, but it's a major issue when loaded over 35 pounds.
Capacity: I've had no problem fitting all of my gear in the 4,500 sq. in. There are plenty of options for attaching things to the outside as well, but doing so throws the weight balance off considerably unless you pack carefully. Being able to fit 2-liter bottles for cheap and light water containers is always a plus when water sources aren't easy to find.
Organization & Accessibility: Everything stays secure and the wealth of pockets is always a plus for keeping small items at hand. As others have mentioned, the bottom partition is problematic when you're trying to repack your sleeping bag in the bottom with the top loaded.
Ride: The load distribution and comfort when completely loaded are marginal. Between 20 and 30 pounds, it's a dream. Once you get past 35 and have more weight at the top out of necessity, things quickly get uncomfortable. Past 50 pounds, which is just under 1/4 my body weight, my shoulders are screaming in short order no matter how I adjust the straps. Stability is an issue.
Compression: No issues here. I've managed to cram 70 pounds of gear in it and on it as an experiment. It held it all, but I'd hate to try lugging that load around, from both a weight and stability standpoint.
Ease of Use: The only problems are the lower compartment and finding the right adjustment for the straps on the fly.
Features: Nothing really to speak of. The water-resistant fabric is a nice feature, but I still use a rain cover just to be safe.
Construction & Durability: The zipper for the top compartment busted not long after I got this pack. Since you don't want much in this compartment for weight distribution reasons, it's been relegated to stowing my rain gear for quick access.
Conditions: My pack has been in use for just over a decade, all over Kentucky and Tennessee. The water-resistant fabric has been a real plus in this area.
Overall, it's a decent pack if you're looking for large capacity and low price. As I'm getting older and developing problems with my back and knees from old injuries, I can't haul around as much gear as I used to. I'll be passing this one down to my son once he gets older. It's perfect for stout people with long torsos like himself, just like his old man used to be.
I'm personally looking to switch to something with half the capacity and weight, if only to have mercy on what's left of my back.