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Tech Tip: Question Choosing a chest pouch

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Fat Canyoner, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. Fat Canyoner

    Fat Canyoner T2

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    I'm keen for feedback on the various chest pouches currently available.

    It seems like the various iterations have become pretty popular among US canyoneers in recent years, but they haven't really made it to Australia, so I haven't had much of a chance to get hands on.

    I've looked online at the three options I'm aware of, the Imlay Pic Pocket, Atwood Chester Pouch, and On Rope Access Point.

    I'm curious how people have found them in real world use and which one you'd recommend. Key points are how well the straps fit (so comfort, ease of adjustment, etc), how durable the pouch is (particularly the zipper, as that seems the likely weak point), how well sized they are (I can't really tell the exact size, so not sure which is best suited for carrying common items), and the pros and cons of the differences in design (i.e. addition of knife attachment on the Access Point, varying use of drainage mesh, etc).

    While they're not an expensive purchase, I'd really like to get my hands on the best option. I'll probably use it for hikes also, to hold my phone, so feedback on how it goes in warmer, dryer settings would also be nice.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I use a Chester, but mostly because I have signed up for Atwood Prime.

    OnRope is new to me. Who's that? Looks like someone named Jeremiah Beltran. I don't think I've met him. Is he on here?

    Kind of amazed to see someone else elbowing into this space actually. I'm not sure there is room for two companies to make a profit, much less three. It's still a pretty small community, especially with Zion essentially closed for COVID. But maybe that is pushing people into more abrasive canyons where the gear has to be replaced more frequently.
    Fat Canyoner likes this.
  3. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

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    I have to laugh, they all look literally identical. I guess if the design works, why change it?
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  4. Jolly Green

    Jolly Green

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    I'll chime in on the Atwood version as it's the only one I have experience with. I burned through my first one in about 2-3 years. This may have been the 2nd one he ever made so it was kind of a test product at that point. As you mentioned the zipper is the weak point. I didnt care for the zipper in the least, so it died. If you put some lube or Vaseline on it occasionally and put some actual effort into preserving the zipper it will last much longer. My current Chester hasn't had any problems since I got it in 2016. It was easy to adjust to fit me and newer iterations fit even better than what I have. My phone takes better pictures than my camera, so I have used it to just hold my phone in dry canyons, it's actually somewhat reasonable to fit both in there. As an aside I've also taken mine on a few rafting trips where others were wishing they had something similar. Hope that helps.
    Fat Canyoner likes this.
  5. Fat Canyoner

    Fat Canyoner T2

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    Thanks all. Very helpful feedback.

    Dan, I agree about them being similar. That's part of the reason it's been so hard to decide which one to buy!

    Jolly, good to hear the zipper has been improved on the newer versions of the Atwood design. That is one of my key concerns. Also helpful feedback about the phone. My rugged point and shoot camera died in a canyon in January and I haven't replaced it. The phone takes much better pictures, but it does require a bit more care. The shift from camera to phone is the main reason I'm transitioning to a chest pouch.
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Imitation is flattering, but it would be helpful if people would stop imitating my gear. Especially on the items that are already difficult to make money on. Although, I suppose, that is better than the other way around. ;-)

    Tom
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  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    No mention of the zipper being improved, only of the zipper maintenance being improved.

    I realize in a sandy environment, the zipper is the part that wears out first. But at least for me, when the zipper stops working, the rest of the thing is looking pretty tattered too.

    Some lubricants applied to the zipper will attract and hold sand, making the problem worse.

    Tom
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  8. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    You could make it so indestructible that nobody ever replaced it and thus inspire more loyalty, but that would have the same impact on the bottom line. I really empathize with you guys trying to make a living on this stuff. We all know what happened in Vegas.
  9. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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  11. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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    Wow thats hard:(. I happen to be a vet of 13 years
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  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    And are you angry and PTSD'd up, like the MEN in their pictures? Do you carry a firearm when running?

    Tom
  13. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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    No and No. But I do like the bags.
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  14. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    I have video of overly aggressive Zion LEO's who wear loaded Hill People chest bags when harassing private citizens out on hikes...
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  15. Jolly Green

    Jolly Green

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    I have no comments on angry vets but I will state that Tom is correct in this quoted statement. I will note that most of my zipper care is done after a trip when I won't have any chance of getting sand in there for a few days at least. The more fortunate amongst us who canyoneer nearly every day may have some issues with their zipper maintenance schedules. :speechless:
  16. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    As a reminder,

    I was the first of the three mentioned brands to offer these commercially (2014)

    I have long since upgraded from standard #8 YKK zippers to #8 REVERSE slider zippers. The coil is on the INSIDE where it is protected.

    This is hugely effective in mitigating wear on the zipper.

    I’ll offer now to make one of custom dimensions for anyone who may require it at no extra cost.

    Re: zipper maintenance - A judicious application of food-grade silicone spray after a trip through the washing machine does wonders for the zipper and has, in my experience, not shown any unreasonable proclivity to attract dirt or sand while greatly prolonging the service life of the zipper.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  17. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Don’t tempt me...

    I have access to materials to accomplish this, though it may prove cost-prohibitive to offer on any significant scale.
  18. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    You might be surprised what some of us would pay to have the perfect tool for the job...
  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I show my first formal effort in this area as 12 September 2014. Developed off ideas starting from 2006. First recorded sale 12/1/2014.

    Tom
  20. stefan

    stefan wandering utahn

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    fwiw, i recall getting a prototype from you in may 2013. (i love it! thanks!)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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