9 responses

  1. marco
    August 11, 2011

    Thanks, Phil. I have been interested in this pack but was unsure because of the high weight. A real game changer at the time it was first made. I appreciate your reports and this one really got my interest. I had not thought about the lack of compression but, the water storage looked to be a problem. Now I know it is.

  2. Earlylite
    August 11, 2011

    I suspect the Jensen became popular in the early 70's because it was the first pack with a non-external tube frame to let you carry a load close to your torso for better stability off trail or on rock.That would have been particularly good for climbers with ropes and climbing gear. I suppose it's ironic that this is the rationale behind internal frame packs too. But Rivendell is in an interesting bind. They can't change the pack design to overcome the compression or torso slump issues without significantly impacting the vintage heritage of the pack. An interesting dilemma. Still it is appealing to wear a piece of history and I still have some reverence for the pack even though it didn't work out.

  3. Betsy
    August 11, 2011

    I have one of the original Rivendell 1400 CI daypacks, bought when a Starving College student- thought seriously about the Jensen, but couldn't justify the cost. Some years later got a structurally similar "YakPack" which is still pressed into service for longer trips, even though the PU coating has long since departed the Cordura shell.

    What seriously impresses me even to this day is the weight to Volume ratio- my benchmark for a 'lightweight' pack is 1lb/1000 C-inches available; and surprisingly few of the big name Mfrs

    meet this criterion, even thought they use much lighter fabrics; it really makes me wonder…

    Thanks for the memory jog! B

  4. Earlylite
    August 11, 2011

    I agree – It's impressive that Rivendell has kept this pack so light even though they use 1000 denier Cordura. The pack is bombproof! Thank you for the comment!

  5. John Whynot
    August 11, 2011

    I wonder if the pack would have worked better for you if it was filled with vintage gear? Looking back on the gear I had in the late 70's, it may have been light for the times, but it was bulky. Zero degree rated down bag, pile jacket, Svea stove and fuel bottle. Sigg cooking pots…

  6. Earlylite
    August 11, 2011

    I tried the pack with all kinds of gear including larger synthetic and down bags, heavy winter clothing, cans of beans, etc to simulate bulkier vintage gear and a climbing rack. I just couldn't get it to work on par with a more modern bag that has compression and even a minimal frame. If it were up to me, I'd just cut that middle piece of fabric out, drop in a piece of neoprene for a better back panel and the pack would probably work a lot better. But it was a loaner, so remodeling with scissors was out of the question.

  7. Dan Steinwender
    November 13, 2011

    I wonder if one were to split a neoprene sleeping mat in half ( requiring innovative reassembly at night ) and place one half in each cylinder for a stiffener. That might alleviate the sagging issues observed.

  8. kgwilcox
    January 11, 2012

    I do not understand the problems identified in this review. I use the Giant Jensen for pack trips and ski tours in the Sierra, and it loads and carries perfectly. I have not had any sagging issues. This pack is a brilliant design, and it is especially good for skiing! It takes skill to load this pack properly. When the load gets smaller towards the end of the trip, you just leave the top area empty.

    • Earlylite
      January 12, 2012

      kg – that’s fair. I suspect we just have very different backpacking styles and needs. Do you hang any gear off the back? For winter, I’d imagine not. Thanks for the note.

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