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DeterminedOrange
distinguished member(568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/01/2009 10:57PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Time for my report on my experience with the Cooke Custom Sewing Hybrid Pioneer pack that I won in the annual photo contest. Some photos are inserted but they did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I found that it is really difficult to photograph a pack in a canoe the way I desired, when you are in it!










First, let me again thank the board for the votes, Adam for hosting this great site and Dan Cooke for the great prize.

I chose this pack because of its size and features. It replaced one of two Eureka 115 Canoe Packs that we usually take and gave a good comparison to what we are used to. Dan put a stuff collar on my pack at my request, it seems many on this board prefer them so I took their advice. The color chosen was red (wonderful that it was in stock) and even with the stuff collar addition, I received it by standard ground the second day, talk about great service!

The first thing I noticed was that there is a full size zippered pocket covering the entire inside back (against your back) panel which contained a ½” thick closed cell foam pad. This pad protects your back from any items that might poke you and give rigidity and form to the pack when empty. I was concerned about the weight it might add, but even with this installed, the pack weight came in at 3 lb., 2.5 oz. One could always just unzip and remove this if desired. There is also a large mesh pocket inside the front panel, which I found very useful for loose stuff like ropes and other things you want to reach quickly when you get to camp.

This pack has a full harness with all the standard adjustments for waist, shoulder strap length and spread with tension adjustments top and bottom to set the desired pack distance from your body. There are two points to connect the shoulder straps at the top of the pack, I used the inner ones spaced at about 5.5 inches for my medium build. The outer points are spaced at about 14”. The waist belt is padded well over the hips and around the back. This harness is very similar to the one on the Eureka packs we have, but is not padded quite as well on the hips and does not have Eureka’s large lower back pad. Initially I was concerned about this but found that the CCS pack is far superior in fit and does not need the oversized pads. I believe this is because the CCS pack has the full-length internal pad and holds it form even after being loaded and unloaded several times. The load stayed where it was originally packed and due to the other adjustments, maintained a nice tight shape.

The Hybrid Pioneer also has adjustments for the two inner top flaps that close and buckle on top of the stuff collar. These are then covered by a large outer top flap that covers the top and three quarters of the front of the pack when fully tightened. The outer flap adjustments are at the buckles where is connects near the bottom of the pack. Finally, there are three side straps on each side of the pack to adjust the depth from zero to full pack depth of about 11”.

I carried the following in this pack with side adjustments about centered, top inner flaps at minimum and outer top flap near minimum. Total weight 31 lbs. including pack.
1 - MSR Mutha Hubba tent and ground cloth for same.
1 - BearVault BV500 stuffed full of dehydrated food.
1 - nylon clothes bag containing light pants, t-shirt, two pair wool socks, heavy fleece shirt, light long sleeve shirt and long underwear.
2 - compressed camp pillows.
1 - SvenSaw with foam cover.
1 - Five qt. pail containing (1) MSR Miniworks water filter, (1)32 oz. Nalgene bottle and (1) MSR 20oz fuel bottle.
1 - pair of camp boots.
2 - sets of dry ducks rain gear.

The size is larger than I expected and could be adjusted to hold almost all of our gear for two excluding camera gear, food and a tent. The weight would exceed what I could handle so we will stay with two packs.

Other nice features include the pocketed top flap easily accessible through a full-length zipper. What a great place to keep rain gear and clothes that we shed throughout the day. This top flap could be stuffed with a large volume of gear and is very flexible. There are side pockets at each side at the bottom about 6” deep that include a reinforced drain hole. I did not use these, but look like a nice place to support the bottom of long items that are strapped to the side of the pack. Finally, this pack has four handles, one on each side at the top, which I used most often, and two on the back at the top and bottom.

One feature that I did add was small pieces of reflective tape to some of the buckles. In the event of gear being carried off by a bear, lost in a canoe flip or misplaced on a portage, at least one might be able to find your stuff in the dark with a flashlight. Knock on wood, have never needed to do this. One feature that would be nice is the addition of loops to tie stuff on the outside such as water bottles or life jackets when portaging.

Overall, I would highly recommend this pack to anyone. It is of GREAT quality, excellent materials, flawless construction and top notch customer service. The design is well thought out and has obviously been influenced by real BWCA paddlers. Thank you CCS for the great product.







 
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andym
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07/02/2009 01:08AM  
Great review. No surprise that CCS is making great stuff.

BTW, any comments on the Mutha Hubba? In a rain without much wind, can you leave the vestibule open enough to have some view? Went to REI to play with one tonight but they didn't have one in stock. So, I would appreciate your thoughts on it.
 
07/02/2009 03:41AM  
NICE PRIZE! There's going to be some serious photo competition with prizes like this! Great review too!

tg
 
bogwalker
Moderator
  
07/02/2009 07:34AM  
I love my CCS Pioneer pack too!!! Best pack I own!!
 
07/02/2009 07:38AM  
Nice review. When its finally time for me to by another pack I'll be getting one from Dan and this will be a front runner. The stuff collar is a good idea, my Rucksack doesn't have one and I sort of wish it did.

Nice composition on that last shot. Got the pack and that big rock on the south end of Malberg. Nice area...
 
lmislinski
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07/02/2009 08:45AM  
Great review Determined Orange. I'm considering either an explorer or pioneer hybrid pack from CCS, and you answered many of my questions.

I really enjoyed the product shots you did as well! It's a lot more fun to see pictures of gear in action, and you nailed it with your photos.
 
DeterminedOrange
distinguished member(568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/02/2009 12:19PM  
Thanks to all for the positive comments, glad I could help you with any questions.

Bogwalker, you had given me the strongest recommendation for the stuff collar in one of your posts I researched and you were right. Even though I didn't really stuff the pack, it was nice to seal up the top and worth ever penny.

andym, do you have an email address where I could discuss the Mutha Hubba, I don't want to hijack my own thread? I'll be at Crane Lake from tomorrow through Sunday, but will get back to you.
 
bogwalker
Moderator
  
07/02/2009 01:20PM  
Good news DO. I started out without the stuff collar and had Dan add it after I had the pack for a couple of years. Worth it.
 
scottiebaldwin
distinguished member (193)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
12/08/2023 12:53AM  
bogwalker: "Good news DO. I started out without the stuff collar and had Dan add it after I had the pack for a couple of years. Worth it."


I just ordered a CCS Hybrid Pioneer and I’m wondering what a stuff collar is?
 
12/08/2023 06:42AM  
Tell us about your canoe!
 
Northwoodsman
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12/08/2023 11:02AM  
scottiebaldwin: "
bogwalker: "Good news DO. I started out without the stuff collar and had Dan add it after I had the pack for a couple of years. Worth it."



I just ordered a CCS Hybrid Pioneer and I’m wondering what a stuff collar is?"

I think it's what many refer to as the draw-tight collar on the inside (the first closure that you tighten). The next closures are the side flaps that you pull over and towards each other. The last closure is the big flap you pull over and cinch down. The early models did not have the first draw-tight collar. Best dang pack made!

Note: another feature many overlook is that the buckle on the chest strap is also a whistle. At least I think it's the one on the chest strap; it's one of them.
 
scottiebaldwin
distinguished member (193)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
12/08/2023 11:45PM  
Northwoodsman: "
scottiebaldwin: "
bogwalker: "Good news DO. I started out without the stuff collar and had Dan add it after I had the pack for a couple of years. Worth it."

I just ordered a CCS Hybrid Pioneer and I’m wondering what a stuff collar is?"

I think it's what many refer to as the draw-tight collar on the inside (the first closure that you tighten). The next closures are the side flaps that you pull over and towards each other. The last closure is the big flap you pull over and cinch down. The early models did not have the first draw-tight collar. Best dang pack made!

Note: another feature many overlook is that the buckle on the chest strap is also a whistle. At least I think it's the one on the chest strap; it's one of them."

Thanks very much for the info! I am excited to receive mine!

EDIT: I got it!!! Yay!!

 
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