As members of the Hell Hike and Raft, we all received the Teton Sports Hiker 3700 backpack. Given that my previous backpack was a big “Old School” beast from the 90s, I skipped just a few generations of gear technology improvements, so exploring this new offering was quite a treat.
Specs and features…
The nuts and bolts are as follows according to Teton Sports:
- Capacity: 3700 Cubic Inches / 60 Liters
- Dimensions: 33″ x 15.5″ x 12.5″
- Pack Weight: 4 lbs
- Shell: 420D Squared Double Line Ripstop / 600D PU
- Hydration Capacity: 101-Ounce (3 Liter) Bladder Not Included
- Waist Belt: 28″ – 51″
- Torso Length: Adjustable 16″ – 21.5″
- Seven pockets, two pouches, multiple compression straps, gear loops, key loop, and slide-storage under hood
- Split waist wings for independent top and bottom adjustments at hips and waist, contoured harness with redesigned chest straps, and forward-tightening load straps
Fit and function…
I’m about 5′ 5″ and a size 10. So I’m a fairly substantial build for a chick and the adjustability of the Hiker3700 made the pack entirely comfortable. In fact, it seemed to work well for all of us, from the likes of a big bear like Missouri Howell to the lither builds like, well… all of the other chicks on the trip.
This pack and the Geigerrig Hydration system were the only two pieces of sponsor gear we got in advance of the trip but they were the most crucial in terms of being prepared and knowing our gear before we headed out into the Idaho backcountry. With the time-frame remaining before the trip, I only had the opportunity to test mine out on my local trails with day hikes. It was enough to understand the fit and function before heading to Idaho, though.
I’ve honestly never been so comfortable carrying 40+ pounds. The pack was largely intuitive in terms of the placement of the features and mechanisms. The stabilizing and compression straps helped hug the pack to my spine so it felt like a natural extension of my body. That became crucial in the brutal third day in the the Seven Devils when we had the descent from hell and staying upright was a challenge.
Various random thoughts on the Hiker3700:
- I particularly liked the flexibility it provides for packing. The lower compartment provides access to the bottom of pack and includes a zipper panel that allows it to be separate section or one cavernous pack.
- It may seem like a minute detail but I love that is includes a well-fitted rain cover in a secret hidey pocket, easily accessible at the bottom of the pack.
- I love the D-rings on the shoulder straps. They made it easy to clip my camera to the pack, keeping it handy but without it bouncing as I walked.
- The two long, vertical pockets on the outside took some getting used to. It’s not a configuration I’m accustomed to working with but I ended up liking them. Great stowing spot for your energy bars and shit shovel. (And for the record, I didn’t put them in the same pocket. Just sayin’.)
- The inner pocket on the hood of the pack is very handy but given all of the black internal fabric, having it be mesh would really aid in seeing into the pocket to find items more easily. But let’s face it, that’s a nit-pick.
- I’d like to see little stow pockets on both sides of the waist strap. The one existing one was fine and very helpful for keeping little necessities within reach but I’d like to be able to separate my photography baubles like lens cloths and polarizers from stuff like my lip balm. Not a deal-breaker, but if Teton Sports asked me what I would improve, we’d have a chat about that.
- I tend to not like strapping a lot of extras to the outside of my pack but I did some for the Hell Hike and Raft and the Hiker3700 gave me a multitude of options in the form of various attachment points. One of my comfort items was the camp chair I pilfered from my old Osprey pack. And I was able to easily strap my Goal Zero solar panels to the top to get some juice while hiking.
Most of my experience in the last few years has been with photography packs. My pure backpacking pack hasn’t seen much action at all. And photography packs are very different beasts from backpacking setups so they leave a lot to be desired in terms of comfort and fit. So when comparing my various packs, the Hiker3700 is all kinds of groovy. This fit like a dream and I was able to incorporate a lightweight, minimal camera kit without it being a “photography” pack.
When you are given items to review, some are keepers and some aren’t. There’s a continuum from “Ew… no!” to “Thanks for playing but I still love my current gear more” to “This is the shizz and I’m selling my old stuff.” The Hiker3700 falls in the “I’m selling my old stuff” category. Total keeper.
And for the full monty on the Hell Hike and Raft, click on over to my expedition gallery of posts.
Disclaimer: Teton Sports provided the Hiker3700 to the Hell Hike and Raft crew free of charge. However, my opinions are my own and and my experience may vary from yours.