Sunday, February 24, 2013

High Sierra Titan 65 Internal Frame Backpack Review

When I look for a backpack, I look for value, and potentially all-purpose. I also look for high build quality, so I know my hard earned cash will be going towards something that will last a long time. So a lifetime warranty is very important to me. The High Sierra Titan 65 is a very high quality product that satisfies all of my requirements of features that I look for in a product.
It’s features and specs:
•65-liter, top-load main compartment with gusseted drawstring closure and adjustable
• Removable, adjustable dual aluminum stays.
• S-shaped ERGO-FIT shoulder strap harness with load-lifters.
• Front-load sleeping bag compartment with divider.
• High-density foam padded back panel, with large AIRFLOW™ channels.
• Hinged front pocket, with mesh side gussets.
• Padded grab handles on both sides. Removable media pocket.
• Internal hydration reservoir sleeve and dual exit ports for tube (reservoir not included).
• Adjustable side and bottom compression straps.
• Adjustable sternum strap.
• Soft lashing hardware.
• Dual mesh pockets hold water bottles.
• Convenient zippered pockets.
• Tuck-away rain cover.

Dimensions: 14.25" x 8.75" x 32.00"
Weight: 5.60 pounds
·        840 Denier Nylon - Nylon is a high strength, durable material with excellent wear properties. The term " denier" (D) refers to the size of the yarn used: the larger the denier the bigger the yarn.
·        Nylon Mini-Diamond Ripstop - Exclusive Nylon Mini-Diamond Ripstop combined with our Mini-Weave Duralite provides superior durability through special ripstop technology.This lightweight fabric provides better stain- and water-resistance.
·        Duralite Nylon - 200 x 200-denier Duralite Nylon fabric features a special water resistant coating to help keep gear dry.
·        Rain Cover - Water resistant rain cover
·        Hydration Port - Internal hydration reservoir sleeve and exit port.

The Titan 65 came shipped in a standard brown box. I liked the blue color- it will be hard to not find it while I am out camping or backpacking. Pulling the bag out of the box, what first hit me was the build quality. The bag was made of heavy duty material, and was well stitched. And areas that needed the extra support, such as the shoulder straps, were double stitched. I really liked the thick padding on the shoulder straps and beefy waist strap. The Titan looked like it could easily stand up to the abuse of being an outdoors bag.  It came with a small booklet attached to the bag that went over all the features of the bag. The booklet also went over the Air Flow System, and how to properly fit the Titan to you.
The more I looked at the bag, the more impressed I was. This bag can hold a lot! But that does not mean it can only be used on long excursions. It also has cinch straps, so if you are only going for an overnight or weekend trip, it can be tightened down in size. I tend to like the philosophy of the more pockets the better. While the Titan does not have a ton of pockets, it does have a sufficient amount. The main bag has two compartments. The very bottom is a separate sleeping bag compartment, which is divided from the rest of the bag, and has an external zip to access it from the outside. The main compartment is above it. But the internal divider can be opened, so if you want to, you could open it to have just one large compartment. There are also two additional pockets on the main bag. The first is attached to the main body on the center, and the second is at the top of the bag and acts as a cover over the opening at the top of the bag.
The Titan also managed to include a couple other small, yet useful, pockets. There was a small pocket on each side of the waist strap, and also one that is called a detachable media pocket on the left shoulder strap. The media pocket was not very big and would not fit most smartphones, as that would be the initial impression of where to put your phone. It would however fit older cell phones, and many other devices potentially, such as MP3 players, or small handheld GPS devices. On the other hand, the waist straps are quite wide. So the built-in pockets on each side of them are a bit wider. So your cell phone could go into one of them. They would also be handy for storing a small snack. Each side of the bag also has an elastic compartment that is the perfect size for holding a 32 oz bottle.
High Sierra seems to have thought of everything, as the Titan is loaded with features. If you want to use it as a large luggage bag, no problem. There are handles on both sides, so the Titan can be carried sideways as a piece of luggage. There is a built-in bladder compartment with a small hole at the top on each side, so you can drink from the left or right side.
This bag is designed to be used, whatever it is you are in to. Hiking to a glacier? No problem, there is a loop to hold your ice axe, as well as a second loop for your hiking stick. And just in case 65 liters is not large enough to hold all of your gear, there are a plethora of straps, loops, etc to tie even more gear to. Ever been caught in a rain storm while you were out on a hike? High Sierra thought of that too. At the bottom of the bag is a Velcro secured compartment that holds a rain fly for your bag. And just in case you packed your poncho at the bottom of the large comportment, High Sierra thought of that as well. They added a zipper on the side of the bag, so can access the bottom of the main compartment so you do not have to pull everything out to get to what you need.
So far I am quite floored with everything that the High Sierra Titan 65 is. But I could not help but feel a little skeptical, at how well it would all come together when being used. Would I be able to really get it adjusted to fit me well and be comfortable for long treks? Would it really be that functional? And would it really endure the rigors and abuse and not fall apart when being used what it was designed for? It’s time to find out.
The booklet was easy to follow in the instruction for how to get the Titan adjusted to fit you. I was able to get it adjusted, and it fit rather well.  Hiking with it was sufficiently comfortable.  I loved having the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom.  Accessing and getting at things in the main compartment was simple, even for items at the bottom, thanks to the side zipper.  And having the additional pockets on the outside and top of the bag made it convenient to pack items you knew you would want to have easy quick access to.  Of course the pockets on the waist strap also came in really handy.  One suggestion for High Sierra would be to make the detachable media pocket a bit larger, so it would be usable with more devices.  Handing out abuse of hiking into camp and being thrown around camp had no noticeable impact to the Titan 65.

All in all, I was very impressed with the High Sierra Titan 65.  Its build quality was very good, as well as being full of features.   High Sierra seemed to have thought of everything.  While some manufacturers come up with features that appear gimmicky, those found on the High Sierra Titan were functional and usable.  As with their Air Flow System, I was able to feel some air get back there.  The High Sierra Titan has an MSRP of $280, but it can be found for much less.  And with a lifetime warranty, you know they stand behind their products.  For those in the market for a nice internal frame backpack, the Titan 65 should be on your short list.  Based on its design, features, quality, and performance, the High Sierra Titan 65 has earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at