Accident rumor update: I heard the driver from the accident yesterday died but have not been able to confirm it on any news source. Everyone else is stable. Here is a video of some people that helped out being interviewed including my friend Big Bear (Kyle): http://www.wjhl.com/story/22289159/breaking-vehicle-drives-and-injures-multiple-people
As I was packing up after breakfast, a gear company representative was walking around doing surveys. He talked to Stretch first and when he was asking her about her pack and she said how much she loved it, he said, “So you wouldn’t be interested in testing a new pack?” I dove right in and said, “I would!” My pack has been hurting my left shoulder for a couple of weeks and I had meant to try on other packs this weekend but ended up not doing it because I was hesitant to buy a new pack when I wouldn’t know if it was really better until hiking 10 miles out and I would have already had to sell or ship home my other pack at that point. I was still kind of kicking myself this morning for not trying out other packs but the vendors were mostly gone and it seemed like I’d just have to stick with my original pack.
I actually wasn’t even aware that this company makes packs. I met the rep up at the vendor tent in town as they were breaking down and got my new (free!) pack. It’s only 5 liters smaller than the old one but fits all my gear better, and so seems a little larger than my REI Flash 65. I’m not sure of the weight but it’s similar. The frame seemed to fit very well even before hiking, and it has some features I loved, including a shoulder strap thing that I thought would really relieve the pain I was having.
Luckily, Big Bear is driving back north today, past Philly, and can take my old pack and new hammock and freebies back with him to drop off at my brother’s house. I will be home in two weeks any way for a family event so if for some reason the pack is horrendous, I can switch back fairly soon. After hiking 7.1 miles to Chatfield Shelter with it today though, I think it’s a keeper. I still have a little bit of a pinched feeling in my left shoulder, but it takes longer to come on and it’s not as bad. So it could be me instead of the pack, or it could be my shoulder needs a little time to recover from the other pack.
The only complaint I have with the new pack so far is that it’s so new and clean that it actually squeaks. But it’s already raining again, of course, so the pack will be filthy soon and I’m sure the noise will stop then. I’m excited to be a gear tester!