When it comes to hiking and adventuring no two endeavors are the same. I have traveled nearly 65,000 miles in the past three years and one thing the road has taught me is that the only thing that remains consistent within travel, is change!!!
Change effects your travels in a variety of ways, many of which you won’t even begin to think of until you start to branch out of your typical planning and thinking. Amongst those changes I have learned that not all hiking requires a full day pack or a backpacking pack. Instead sometimes hikes could be best served with something much smaller and compact.
Shorter hikes in blazing hot temperatures or moderate length hikes in midrange temperatures often times could be best served with something smaller which takes the heat off of your back and moves the weight distribution to your central points or hips.
I have often considered delving into a pack which would suit this need but never have found one which was designed to hold the weight of all of my gear I require to create content for my Youtube and Blog. Because of this I had always been stunned and many times would carry a pack which would have thinner material in hopes of allowing my back to breathe.
During a recent trip to the outdoor section of my local WalMart however I found something I wanted to try. The Outdoor Products, Sonora pack, a lightweight hip style pack with plenty of pockets, securing devices and 2 water bottles.
The pack appealed to me because it seemed large enough to carry my camera body for my Canon camera in addition to a larger lens, it appeared to have enough room for my portable charger and 10 foot cable in addition to my GoPro and the accessories which I carry for that device. There seemed to be plenty of room to spare within this pack upon first glance and the structure seemed to be one which could be worn comfortably with reinforced and padded backing.
Outdoor Products has been around since 1973, providing products for the every day person who enjoys getting outside. Their products are typically comparable in quality to other brands but as they retail in value stores such as WalMart you will find that the products are more affordable than shopping in a box outdoor retailer. This pack for example was retailed at only $19.97.
The company boasts a lifetime guarantee on their products so I was really looking forward to find out just what made them so confident in their brand and each individual product to offer this option. I opted to do an at home test before bringing the pack into the field for an official adventure.
When I first removed the tags and placed it on I noticed it is harder to secure from the back with the locking mechanism and instead it is better to fasten it from the front like a seatbelt and then slide it to the front for accessing pockets. Being able to carry this pack on the back or in the front is something that adds value in my opinion because I often like to carry my charger in the front for easier access when charing my phone and using it as I charge.
The quality of material seemed to be comparable to many of my other packs. I did a feel test with 4 other packs I have and they seemed similar in weight, texture and composition.
The color I selected was a sage green, very appealing as it suits me, but I did also noticed they had 4 or 5 other colors available to better suit someone who might want something a bit brighter.
The water bottles which came with the pack were of standard quality with easy to remove tops for filling and cleaning post use. They were able to be secured with adjusting straps which appealed to me greatly as often times pockets are designed for a bottle specific to the pack and then you cannot use bottles you might already have. I liked that this adjustment was present so even long beyond the wear and tear of the plastics used I can add a metal water bottle or vessel.
Loading The Pack:
When I travel I typically on any given adventure pack the following:
Canon Rebel T6
Portable Charging Device
Additional Canon Batteries
10 ft Charging Cord
Additional Canon Lens
Remote Camera Trigger
This does seem like a lot for a smaller pack but I was pleased that everything aside from the Monopod managed to fit inside the pack. I deemed that the Monopod could be attached to the pack externally however.
Taking a creative look at the way I pack gear I was easily able to maneuver items to find an easy solution, however I also was able to have a bit or room to spare which would have allowed for business cards, potentially more batteries or even a small prepackaged snack.
Anything new always gets run through a series of tests before I take it anywhere, I suggest everyone does this to assure it suits their needs and requirements as they travel. I opted to test the Sonora through a series of rigorous movement to see if things would shift, fall out, become uncomfortable or latches would fail under the weight of so many items.
I started this process with standard walking progressed to running in place for maximum bounce. Squat and lunge tests would mimic the motion of sharp inclines I often face when hiking, and dancing and jumping in place would compare to an alarmed need for retreat in a disaster.
The pack bounced about but did not loosen its hold at the waist belt. I felt the larger pocket shifting slightly while performing these tasks but nothing fully found its way out of place.
I repeated the testing with one pocket slightly unzipped. This is the point I noticed fall out.
Typically when using a pack I would always make sure to secure pockets, however doing this test allowed me to see what would happen if I did not. The pack did well with walking and even jogging in place, it did not experience fall out with lunges or squats but in the jumping and dancing tasks I did manage to lose several items.
Does this mean the pack is not good, NO!! This means that this pack reacted the way most packs would when put to the extreme. It worked extremely well in normal conditions and even in some of the challenging scenarios. The pack itself was not the problem within this test and rather it was human error. We cannot blame the pack for things falling out if we ourselves did not zip the pockets!!
The Outdoor Products Sonora is a lightweight and good quality hip pack perfect for taking on the trails or adventures. The comfort of wear is nice and though it does take a moment to get used to the pack being on the hip instead of the back, after this adjustment is made it is a pleasing and easy to access pack experience.
My favorite feature of the pack was the earphone port, designed to allow you to wear headphones while adventuring. This port is located at the top of the larger pocket and allows you to pass a cord through the port and into the pack where you can easily store your phone or device. I opted to use this for my charger cord and it quickly became the most valuable portion of the pack when it comes to function. If the bag is placed on the front of back it can be accessed with ease thanks to this port.
I will be taking this pack out on my adventures throughout the summer months in warmer areas for a bit of relief from the trapped heat which occurs on your back when wearing a larger pack. I am satisfied with the results of the testing and find a lot of value within this purchase. I feel as though this is a pack which adds value to my adventures and is a very welcomed change in my packing!!!