Swaygo Pack

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Swaygo Pack

Postby Dangerjudy » Nov 17, 2005 2:53 pm

This past weekend was my first trip with my new Swaygo pack. I got the 'middle' sized one, and went on a grotto trip to Fern Cave, to see the Helectite Heaven.

I have to say, the Swaygo is nice. It carries the weight lower on my back, and I went through some tight spots with it on. No damage from abrasion from rocks.

In it I had a polypro top, some Clif bars, a liter of water, a 20 ounce bottle of water, one of those 'shake and shine' flashlights, and some spare AA batteries.

I carried my vertical gear in a separate pack.

I didn't try putting the vertical gear in the Swago to see if it would fit. I'll have to try that at home and let y'all know.

It took me a couple of tries to adjust the straps so they fit well. There are multiple holes in the sides of the pack to clip the straps to. These holes are outside of the radio welded seam - in no way affecting the seal of the pack itself.

Next I'll have to try it in a wet cave. :grin:
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Postby speloman » Nov 17, 2005 2:57 pm

Cool I have to get one They seem really nice and have been woundering how they are. Maybe I will put it on my Christmas List ;).
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Postby Wayne Harrison » Nov 17, 2005 4:26 pm

I've had one for a couple of years now and really, really like it. I have the original (smaller) size and it's just perfect for me. A couple of people have tried it on during caving trips and said they couldn't believe how light it feels (low center of gravity).
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Postby barcelonacvr » Nov 18, 2005 7:27 am

I have the medium size(PIT) one too and I can't say enough good about it!!.I especially love it's mobility in muddy crawls plus the fact that the mud stays out!! I am slowly trying to assimilate my peers as I loan it out frequently :evil: Once you've had Swaygo...... 8)
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Swaygo Pack

Postby caverjules » Nov 18, 2005 8:43 am

I too tried my new medium-sized Swaygo pack out on the Fern Cave Helectite Heaven trip, and I have to say I was extremely pleased with it. I've used the pack on other smaller trips, but this time I had two 20oz bottles of water, a polypro top, two waterproof containers (about 5" long by 2" deep), and another 3" x 2" waterproof container. I wouldn't have thought I could fit that much in that pack, but it worked great.

(And Kelly- thank you so much- it was a most wonderful trip!!!!)
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Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 19, 2005 9:00 am

Below is a thread about Swaygo Packs from the previous NSS Discussion Board. The thread is not complete, since I deleted the off topic posts and some posts were not archived/cached by Google.

If you would like to find other threads/posts from the previous NSS DB go here: LINK

#1
10-03-2004, 07:10 PM
cheshire
Jedi Master
Location: Mulvane, KS
Posts: 16

SWAYGO packs
Hello. I'm working on another article for the NSS News again. I'd like your feedback on a piece of gear. If you leave your full name in your post I'll give you credit in the article. I'm specifically looking at the SWAYGO Push pack.

I just got a loaner pack in the mail yesterday. It's really interesting. I've never seen such a flat pack. I haven't used it underground, obviously, but I'd like to hear from someone who has. What are the greatest strengths and liabilities of the pack.

It looks pretty sturdy, has anyone managed to puncture one?
Mike Fraley
NSS 45712
http://www.caves.org/member/mfraley
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#2
10-04-2004, 05:22 PM
MMV & Stonewall Caver
Location: near St. Louis MO
Posts: 2

Thumbs up Swago Push Pack
Hi Cheshire,

My mom gave me one for my birthday last month. I took it out for the first time at MVOR this past weekend, and I definitely wasn't pushing anything in the cave we bopped through (mostly walking passage), but I can say that so far I'm impressed. It's larger than the pack I would have taken on such a short trip in the past, but because it's so lightweight and flat, I barely knew I had it on and clean up was a snap.

Denise Hill
NSS# 54096
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#3
10-07-2004, 11:10 PM
Steven Johnson
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 10

Quote: Originally Posted by cheshire
It looks pretty sturdy, has anyone managed to puncture one?

Nope. I've had one for a little while, and it's still in great shape... the material seems to be much tougher than it looks. I'll be curious to hear what it takes to puncture it.

Of course, I'm a Chronic Beginning Caver, so I don't give it much of a workout.

It is, however, by far my favorite cave pack.
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#4
10-18-2004, 12:25 AM
Walt English
Posts: 1
I have had my swaygo for a few months now and have put it through its paces. So far it has performed flawlessly, as a drag pack or a push pack or just as a general purpose pack. If you use common since in loading it, it is quite watertight-I've had it in a VERY wet cave-it floats quite well. It was money very well spent.
Walt English NSS49717
Little Rock Grotto
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#5
10-18-2004, 05:27 AM
Cheryl Jones
Location: Virginia
Posts: 58

Thumbs up
I love my Swaygo! And I was a skeptic when I bought my Swaygo last year, but decided to give it a try. I generally avoid wearing backpacks for normal east cost caving and gear because of the thickness it adds to my chest for negotiating squeezes and stoopwalks. Being over 6 feet tall, I already have to stoop more than most other cavers in low passages. Additionally, a regular back pack kills my back when stoopwalking for long periods, because the weight is carried on the upper half of the back. A normal pack is cumbersome to slip off my shoulders to shift its position or to carry in my hand if the passage requires it, and catches easily when dragged through crawlways or up narrow or jagged pitches.

The Swaygo -- I have the "Push" size -- rides low and easy, so that the thick part is in the small of my back, and thus most of the weight/center of gravity is carried closer to my waist. The wedge shape means that rather than approaching a ceiling with a thick block sitting between my shoulder blades, I have a smooth low angle which generally just slides on by roof protrusions, if hitting them at all, and allows me to stand up higher in a low passage, or wear the pack in a crawlway. Plus, I figure this shape surely must give me an aerodynamic advantage as well. ;-)

The smooth, firm surface slides past mud, jagged edges and rough rock better than any pack I've ever used (including coated fabric rope bags). The only thing close were the sectons of tire innertubes I used years ago for hauling gear. I was surprised at how much passage I've covered with the Swaygo in place on my back -- much more than I ever would have comfortably with a normal back pack.

The long sholulder straps make the pack quick and easy to slide off one shoulder, or to shift the pack far to one side. I can even just sling it over one shoulder, diagonally across my body.

The biner at the top center of the shoulder straps makes it a snap to clip below me rappelling or climbing, and to hook onto the bottom of the openig in my caving suit to drag behind me in a crawlway. The smooth thick polyurathane sides and the angled shape pack allows the pack to slide through a crawlway better than any pack I've used. And on the other side of the sloppy crawlway, stream, or lake, the contents are still dry.

And as Denise HillCaver wrote above, it cleans up easily, and dries quickly, and so far has proven very tough. I've watched cavers at various events tug and pull and yank in attempts to pull out the adjustment holes and pull the seams apart. But no success, and afterwards, the material doesn't even look stressed.

Some people have replaced the lower biners with small quicklinks, and put a locking biner at the top. The buckle, like any other clip buckle of its type, won't work well if caked in mud, but it is farily easy to wipe or wash clean, and hasn't failed me. The shape and sides of the pack are pretty inflexible, which takes some getting used to when packing, after packing the soft sided packs we're accustomed to. I don't know how the two larger sizes of the packs ride or perform, and haven't seen them in use.

So now I'm a convert. Cavers are particular about the design of their caving packs, as they are their lighting systems, and we each tend to end up with a favorite design and system after a few years' caving. No doubt the Swaygo design will suit some people's caving styles, body shapes, and types of caving better than others. But it is definately a design worth looking at and trying out.

Hope this helps, Mike.
Cheryl Jones
NSS Director
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#6
11-21-2004, 03:39 AM
Marbry Hardin
TCBG
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Posts: 1

Swaygo material
I did pull the seam apart on a sample, but that was only a 1" or so wide piece. Actually the seam didn't even fail then, it actually separated the material itself, the weld was still intact.

I do a lot of wet caving, and I'm talking myself into getting one of the larger packs now that they're available. Those I've talked to that had one didn't have anything negative to say about them.

I'm also available for destructive gear testing, intentional or not. Usually not. :-)
Marbry
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#7
11-21-2004, 12:42 PM

Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 100
The pack design looks good. I kinda want to get one. What I wonder about is what happens when you have something moderately thick to put inside. For instance, a hard camera case. It's something that volumetrically would fit, but might be thicker than the low profile design.

Anyone have any experience with this?
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#8
11-21-2004, 02:15 PM
binkymommy
Rebecca Woo
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 1
I received my SWAYGO as a gift last year. I love it. It's very sturdy and I have never had any issues with water getting into the pack. It's kept my camera and other gear completely dry.
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#9
11-22-2004, 12:57 AM
merecaver
A Virginia Caver
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1

Swaygo Cave Pack
I just used my semi-new Swaygo pack (the smallest size, I believe) in Sinnett Cave yesterday. It is the first time I have NOT had to take a pack off and push it through the Dusty Crawl (en route to the Waterfall Room). It is rather sleek and just sort of slides along. Thus it was the first time I've made it through that crawl without much effort and probably the fastest time through too.

I still have not gotten the total hang of packing it, but my daughter, Kelsea, keeps trying to tell me how. She's had hers longer than I have, and uses it in fairly tight situations. She absolutely loves her Swaygo pack!

She actually had a problem with hers and Kevin Quick gladly replaced the pack with no questions.

The more I use it, the more I like it. I used to carry a much larger pack and of course, would carry a lot of stuff that I might need but never did, and it was really heavy especially when it got wet. The Swaygo pack (could be the size, I realize) makes me bring the essentials, though I still manage to overpack, but at least when I drag it through puddles or streams, it does not collect tons of water weight.
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Meredith Hall Johnson
NSS 21477RE (FE)
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#10
11-23-2004, 02:59 AM
Cheryl Jones
Location: Virginia
Posts: 58

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
What I wonder about is what happens when you have something moderately thick to put inside. For instance, a hard camera case. It's something that volumetrically would fit, but might be thicker than the low profile design.

Anyone have any experience with this?

Thicker items need be packed last, where the pack is designed to be the widest. However, unlike a fabric pack, a Swaygo won't change shape very much to fit what is packed inside. Thus, as you figured, there may be room volumetrically for an item, but its shape may prevent it from actually fitting well, or fitting at all and still allowing the pack to be closed.

Better get two packs. One for trips using basic gear and another, larger one, which will hold a camera or kitchen sink. :-)
Cheryl Jones
NSS Director
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#11
11-29-2004, 02:02 PM

Eve
NSS #50678
Location: Crossroads of America
Posts: 62
I've been quite happy with my Swaygo pack. I can't help but wonder what happens if the buckle gives, since the pack is essentially upside-down ... but that hasn't happened to me yet.
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#12
11-29-2004, 02:37 PM
Cindy Heazlit
Cave on
Posts: 230
In all my years of caving/mountaineering/backbacking etc. I've never had a buckle of this type fully (totally) fail on me. I have had the female side of the buckle crack, but this was temporarily fixed with a duct tape wrap. It held for several more trips. In all cases the buckle was on an Outdoor Products pack. But I suspect that there are only a few manufacturers for this type of buckle.

If worst came to worst, you could put the two ends of the buckles together (interlocking them) and then wrap the thing over and over again with duct tape. You couldn't open your pack again that trip, but you could get all your stuff out.
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#13
11-30-2004, 07:34 PM
Eve
NSS #50678
Location: Crossroads of America
Posts: 62
Knowing my luck, I'd be edging across a deep pit when my back gave out, so the contents would be gone forever (knock on wood). I have seen these types of buckles crack on backpacks, but they're probably under more substantial strain under those circumstances. I guess it's like standing on a glass floor - you know it's safe, but ...
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#14
01-10-2005, 01:09 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 117

OK, so I got one
I got one of the big Swago packs and took it underground this weekend. Generally I liked it pretty well. Why they're black, I'll never understand.

The only hassle with them, I thought, was that when you close them, you want the one side nestled under the lip of the other before you begin to roll. With the pack kinda full, it doesn't want to stay there. And, the longer you cave, the more mud gets all over the thing, and you try and not get mud in the seal.

Someone else on my trip had the middle-sized Swaygo. He'd had his for a while and was fairly happy with it. The only time he had issues with the opening on the bottom was once at the top of a pit, he saw that the rolling was starting to undo. He decided to fix it before the contents all fell out.

In typical fashion, I picked up a pack on my way to the trip. Then, I quickly dumped all my gear in, and rushed off. Not bothering to read the instructions. My team member told me to put the carabiner against my back (straps flipped over to the other side) and have the closure buckle against my back so the pack would be turtle-like and not catch on anything.

Next day, I look at the instructions, and see by the picture that it was NOT the way my teammate said, but the other way that I'd originally doing it. Not to be outdone, my teammate pointed out that the written instructions were, as he said all along, the reverse of the pictures.

Anyone have any comments on this (those who've used one, I must clarify)? Carabiner against your back, or on the outside? Buckle the roll in the direction of the roll or away from it? Do either matter?

So, based on one trip, I'd say I liked the pack. Not in love with it yet, but not disappointed, either.
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#15
01-10-2005, 01:59 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 224

Hi Barbara,

Glad you 'liked' the pack.

They are black because that's the only color the material comes in. We could get other colors, but we would have to custom order it in HUGE quantities. Just not an option for us right now.

The packs do not take kindly to be overloaded. The closure needs at least two rolls to be secure. Three is better. Careful, thoughtful packing helps a lot.

The strap and biner configuration is ultimately personal preference. You will have a lower profile with the top biner against your back. But some prefer the other way... The buckle should against your lower back and buckled in the direction of the rolls.

We have found that the most difficult part of selling these packs is writing the directions. Turns out you can get a college degree in writing directions. We don't have this degree. But we're working on it. In person demos work the best, but, as much as we'd like to, we can't do one for everybody. We do have plans to shoot some video instructions this weekend. Hopefully, we'll get some thing good and post it on the web site. Stay tuned.

Please feel free to email Kevin or myself if you like.

scott@swaygogear.com
kevin@swaygogear.com

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#16
01-10-2005, 04:21 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 117
Hiya Scott,

Thanks for the quick elucidation.

One reason I'm cautious and don't gush is because I think gushing tends to be a little "fake" and not very realistic.

When I got my fancy, dancy new mountain bike, all my buddies wanted me to gush over it. I didn't it. But after riding it a few times, I slowly decided I did like it as much as I expected.

Perhaps the same will be true of your pack.

I bought the biggest size, and it didn't seem to be quite big enough. Water bottles? One liter Nalgene. One half litre Nalgene. Two smallish, flat hard cases for batteries and snacks. One smallish, elongate cubic camera box (big mistake 'cuz once I took it in the cave, I found out that BOTH batteries were dead). An expedition weight spare shirt. Balaclava. One small, half filled bag of trail mix. One pouch of survey gear, no tape. And that pretty much over filled the large pack. It didn't seem like I put *that* much stuff in it. Granted, the camera wasn't the best shaped item, and it turned out not to even work. But that's that. NO WAY will I get it rolled 3 times. Though I should get more elucidation. Is that three 180 degree turns, or 3 360? I think I did get 3 180s. Barely.

Oh, yeah, my teammate didn't like the fact that, tho designed to tether, the sling length wasn't long enough. This I didn't view as a deficit, but something to keep in mind. I hooked it to my short cowstail that wasn't doing anything else at the time. You have to bring a tether for any other pack, I don't think it's a flaw that you might have to bring a short tether for this one. I didn't really do enough vertical on Saturday, and nothing free, to see if it were too short attached to my cowstail. It might get in the way of your feet. Will need more experience with that.

One final philosophical comment. There are tradeoffs in everything in life. If I want a bigger pack, then I sacrifice the low profile. That's not a design flaw in the pack.
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#17
01-10-2005, 05:35 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 224

There are numerous ways to tether the pack with the strap. We will work on trying to explain them, with pics, vids and text, this weekend. Stay tuned...

Carrying a smaller pack doesn't necessarely mean skimping on your gear. I does mean making you stuff smaller. Low volume gear is the key. For instance, ditch those hard plastic cases for food and batteries for a zip lock. Vaccuum seal your balaclava and shirt. Etc, etc... Also packing is important. You can't just dump your stuff in. You have to pack it take advantage of every cubic inch available. Doing all this will allow your pack to be low-profile so you can leave it on, thus making you a more efficient, energized, happy caver.

But, I'm sure you already know all this. Sorry for preaching to the choir.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#18
01-10-2005, 06:09 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 117

Oh, but those hard plastic cases have advantages! No longer do I have energy bars that get carried in the cave, then out if I don't need them, but have their wrappers compromised, and then have to be thrown away. No more do I have peanut M&Ms that get mushed and/or wet. No longer does the switch to my spare mini-LED light accidently get turned on. No more do I waste tons of space keeping my spare batteries in mini-Nalgenes that are extremely space inefficient.

Right. Vacuum pack my shirt. That works until take it out to wear during surveying, then have to put it back into the pack. Where would I have space to bring my vacuum device into the cave with me? Do they make extension cords that long?

I don't think anyone ever is entirely happy with the way they set up their cave packs. There have been threads on pack contents here before. I'm not defending mine as best--I'm sure it's not. But, one advantage of the Swago is that when you take a rest stop, it's great for leaning back on. Keeps you from the cold, damp rock. Relatively comfortable. But, liable to mash everything inside that hasn't already been mashed from being banged around in the belly crawls. Ergo, small protective cases do have advantages!

I do try to be somewhat space efficient. Any suggestions on waterbottles? I love Nalgenes 'cuz they're the only ones I've found that are durable and don't leak. But they aren't space efficient, I don't think. Not the round ones, not the square ones.
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#19
01-10-2005, 06:43 PM
hank moon
I © Petzl
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 79

Quote:
Any suggestions on waterbottles? I love Nalgenes 'cuz they're the only ones I've found that are durable and don't leak. But they aren't space efficient, I don't think. Not the round ones, not the square ones.

I've been using an MSR Dromedary bag for the last 5 years or so. Mo' betta space usage and size decreases as you go. Some friends of mine rapped of one in a canyon once, so they're pretty bomber. Just have to keep it away from poky things.
hank
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#20
01-10-2005, 07:44 PM
ian mckenzie
Calgary, Canada
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 240

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
No longer do I have energy bars that get carried in the cave, then out if I don't need them, but have their wrappers compromised, and then have to be thrown away. No more do I have peanut M&Ms that get mushed and/or wet. No longer does the switch to my spare mini-LED light accidently get turned on.

You're taking all the fun out of caving...

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
Any suggestions on waterbottles?

Try vacuum-packing it.
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#21
Old 01-10-2005, 08:10 PM
Cindy Heazlit
Cave on
Posts: 230

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
I do try to be somewhat space efficient. Any suggestions on waterbottles? I love Nalgenes 'cuz they're the only ones I've found that are durable and don't leak. But they aren't space efficient, I don't think. Not the round ones, not the square ones.

I've been using the platypus collapsable water bottles for years. In spite of appearances, they do NOT leak. In fact, they are just as rugged as the hard and pliable plastic Nalgene bottles. And they get smaller as you use them, taking up less and less space as the trip goes on!

Collapsable gear is good!
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#22
01-10-2005, 08:19 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 224

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
Oh, but those hard plastic cases have advantages!

See, I knew you knew all that already. What kind of hard cases do you use?

Quote: No longer do I have energy bars that get carried in the cave, then out if I don't need them, but have their wrappers compromised, and then have to be thrown away. No more do I have peanut M&Ms that get mushed and/or wet.

Yeah! The frosting on my cupcakes always gets smeared.

Quote: Right. Vacuum pack my shirt. That works until take it out to wear during surveying, then have to put it back into the pack.

Well, of course. I was thinking it's just a spare shirt, for just in case. But vaccuum packing things that you don't always use is a great space saver.

Quote: I do try to be somewhat space efficient. Any suggestions on waterbottles? I love Nalgenes 'cuz they're the only ones I've found that are durable and don't leak. But they aren't space efficient, I don't think. Not the round ones, not the square ones.
I have been pleased with the Nalgene and Playpus bag bottles. They eventually (over a year for me) get pin holes, but the patch easily, even the cave. Also, I just picked up some half-quart Nalgene-like bottles at Target, for $1, that are shaped like a rounded rectangle. I suspect it will be slight improvement over the round shape.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#23
01-10-2005, 08:47 PM
Karst97
Posts: 15

Dromedarys are nice
I too have been using a Dromedary as a water bottle, and it has been great. No longer do I have a hard-sided bottle poking from the inside-out, and providing a wear point for the pack material.

Scott
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#24
01-10-2005, 09:07 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 117

Glad to hear the water "bag" reviews. It's just a little daunting to think that you're on a 12 hour cave trip to discover your bag has been compromised by some "pokey" thing and have to go dry (or beg off your buddies) for the rest of the trip.

Not to mention, everything that wasn't in a hard plastic case (or interior dry bag or whatever) was probably soaked. Yes, I put my spare shirt in a ziplock, but that usually does get compromised. Still, better to have the shirt slightly damp than soaked through. Who knows where the water came from that moistened the inside of my pack. I'm doubtful that it leaked in. It really never contacted much water. I think it just condensed on my waterbottles from cave air when the pack was opened. So if your water bag leaked, the water would be trapped--trapped I say!--inside your pack (if you have a waterproof pack).

Oh, and speaking of prevented squishing, my teammate with the Swago pack let me have a bite of his ham sandwich. It was *really* good. Oh man, and the chocolate chip cookies he'd baked and had on the surface. Too bad he's married. He'd make a great wife!

Endless dilemmas.

I got my Otter boxes at IMO. My camera box is the 3 x 3-3/4 x 5-3/4 inch box. I don't have them in front of me, but I think my others are:
3-15/16 x 2-7/8 x 1 and the 6 x 3-3/8 x 1-1/4 inch sizes.

Enquiring minds want to know (or not).

I think with care, I could do less than carry both flat boxes. And if I'd just leave my stupid camera on the surface.... But then, now that I realize that I could put cupcakes in my camera box, I'm gonna rethink....

Ian, I actually do vacuum pack wine. Normally I don't drink very much (contrary to what I am observed to do at NSS Conventions), so it takes me maybe 3 weeks to get through one bottle (I know, I know, hard to believe). I have a special "cork" that I connect to my vacuum pump and voila!

Yeah, yeah, that's not what you meant.....

Ok, that's the end of this stream-of-conscious ramble....
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#33
01-12-2005, 12:53 AM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 174
First, I have started a new thread on disgusting things in cave packs, and will try and vaguely return this discussion to Swago packs.

Interestingly, in the Swago pack, I didn't notice anything jabbing me in the back. I tried to arrange the contents to be somewhat flat on my back, but contents alway do their best to not fit the way you want them to. Regardless, I could just lean back on my pack and no problem. Granted, it was just a one time experiment (until next time), but I thought that was a plus.

Hmmm, I would be a even more concerned about urine in a flexible container. Losin' your water would be bad, but spilling urine all over would be really, really bad.

I checked the REI website and they have all 3 collapsible water bottles mentioned by folks on this thread. AND they have a sale starting on Friday. Unfortunately, the local stores often don't have the full selection. But I shouldn't complain. I'm lucky I have one within 10 miles of me. I'll probably buy one of each type, then see if I like any better than the other. Like if my Platypus leaks and the Dromedary doesn't.....
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#34
01-12-2005, 02:27 AM
lava
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 19
Well, I used Nalgene collapsible water bottles for both pee and water for 6 days in Lech, and they held up fine. I've used those same bottles (making sure to not mix them up!) for a number of cave trips since then (over 1.5 years), and used them to hold wine and water on backpacking trips, and they've still never leaked or broken.

Just yesterday I bought two of the Platypus bottles. We'll see how they hold up.
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#35
01-12-2005, 04:53 AM
hank moon
The ugly one
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 97
Hey Squirrel Girl,

A note about the Dromedary bags: they come in two weights, regular and "light". I have the 4L regular weight Drom and it's heavier than most of the others out there. I have also used smaller, lighter weight ones (Platypus) with no problems, but have less experience with those.
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#36
01-12-2005, 11:41 AM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 174
Hank,

Do you carry a 4L water bag in your cave pack? That doesn't fit with trying to keep gear to a minimum so it fits in your cave pack philosophy. Of course you don't have to fill it completely, but still.....

Maybe you do drink 4L on a cave trip?

Barbara Anne am Ende
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#37
01-12-2005, 06:20 PM
Philip
VPI
Posts: 1
Swaygo operator failure
The only problem I had with my swaygo was when I forgot to close the pack at the top of a pit. I grabbed the pack, clipped it to my seat, and heard the contents hit bottom.

Everything survived (except the water bottle).

Other than this incident, I really like my swaygo pack. I'll definitely look at getting a larger one so I can get my frog in it easier though.

Philip
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#38
01-12-2005, 08:38 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 174
Quote: Originally Posted by Scott McCrea
We have found that the most difficult part of selling these packs is writing the directions. Turns out you can get a college degree in writing directions. We don't have this degree.

Yesterday we had a candidate interview at our company. He was finishing his EE MS. His assignment was to take a calibration tool that didn't work and didn't have any instructions, reverse engineer it, then pass it on to other students. He said THE hardest part of the process was writing the instructions.

You're not alone, Scott

Barbara Anne am Ende
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#39
01-13-2005, 04:12 PM
Matthew Reece
Location: Great Basin National Park
Posts: 19
the only problem i have with the swaygo, as i see it, is it's very difficult to wear as a side pack. some of us do lots of caving where a pack on your back, no matter how streamlined, just won't work.
__________________
these are not the opinions of Great Basin NP, or the NPS. Just mine.
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#40
01-13-2005, 04:40 PM
coferj
nOOb
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 52
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote: Originally Posted by reece
the only problem i have with the swaygo, as i see it, is it's very difficult to wear as a side pack. some of us do lots of caving where a pack on your back, no matter how streamlined, just won't work.

Easiest thing for me is to clip the top 'biner to something on me...ankle, belt, whatever....drag it through...But I may not have seen some of the passages that you are talking about, either.
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#41
01-13-2005, 04:53 PM
hank moon
The ugly one
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 97

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
Do you carry a 4L water bag in your cave pack?

Sometimes, but usually a smaller one - esp. if there's water to be had in the cave.

Quote: Originally Posted by Squirrel Girl
Maybe you do drink 4L on a cave trip?

Not often, but I do 4L a day easy in the desert (i.e. slot canyons) - sometimes more! I finished off 4L on a trip to Neff's cave a couple years ago...
hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
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Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
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Scott McCrea
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Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 19, 2005 9:07 am

Previous NSS Discussion Board thread about Swaygo Packs continued...

#42
01-13-2005, 05:49 PM
mgmills
Moderator
Location: Sewanee TN
Posts: 242
Quote: Originally Posted by coferj
Easiest thing for me is to clip the top 'biner to something on me...ankle, belt, whatever....drag it through...But I may not have seen some of the passages that you are talking about, either.

I used to cave with a guy who always tethered his pack in a crawl. He clipped the tether to his belt and the tether was long enough so the pack dragged behind his feet. It never worked well for me - I always found the pack (or tether) snagging on projections from the wall, rocks in the floor, etc. I spent more time untangling it than making forward progression. Also the tether method isn't recommended in "fragile areas" as you don't have control of the pack.

I also tried the ankle clip method but the weight caused my leg to cramp up in longer crawls. (People who cave with me know I carry a heavy pack because I want to be prepared). Also it it gets stuck/wedged and no one is behind you getting it unstuck can be tricky.

If I can't wear my pack on my back I push it ahead of me.
__________________
Martha Mills
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#43
01-13-2005, 05:54 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by reece
the only problem i have with the swaygo, as i see it, is it's very difficult to wear as a side pack. some of us do lots of caving where a pack on your back, no matter how streamlined, just won't work.

Hi Matthew,

You're right. They suck as a side-pack. We have heard from quite a few side-pack wearers that have switched tho. I'm curious if you have actually tried a pack in a cave. If not, we have some demo packs you are welcome to try.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#44
01-13-2005, 06:01 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by mgmills
I used to cave with a guy who always tethered his pack in a crawl. He clipped the tether to his belt and the tether was long enough so the pack dragged behind his feet. It never worked well for me - I always found the pack (or tether) snagging on projections from the wall, rocks in the floor, etc. I spent more time untangling it than making forward progression. Also the tether method isn't recommended in "fragile areas" as you don't have control of the pack.

I also tried the ankle clip method but the weight caused my leg to cramp up in longer crawls. (People who cave with me know I carry a heavy pack because I want to be prepared). Also it it gets stuck/wedged and no one is behind you getting it unstuck can be tricky.

If I can't wear my pack on my back I push it ahead of me.

Hi Martha, This is another concern that quite a few people have expressed. We find that extending the 'Quick Strap' and clipping it to your 'crotch' (the bottom of your zipper or velcro opening), works well. The pack ends up right between your feet, so it's easy to nudge it one way or the other if necessary. But... since the packs are so sleek and devoid danglies, loops, etc, they rarely get hung up. This also makes it easier to push.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#45
01-13-2005, 07:02 PM

coferj
nOOb
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 52

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott McCrea
Hi Matthew, You're right. They suck as a side-pack. We have heard from quite a few side-pack wearers that have switched tho. I'm curious if you have actually tried a pack in a cave. If not, we have some demo packs you are welcome to try.

Wish I would have known this, then I would have known to get the middle size instead of the small one...No biggie, though...still love it!
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#47
01-19-2005, 04:33 PM
reece
Matthew Reece
Location: Great Basin National Park
Posts: 19

Quote: Originally Posted by coferj
Easiest thing for me is to clip the top 'biner to something on me...ankle, belt, whatever....drag it through...But I may not have seen some of the passages that you are talking about, either.

yeah. dragging, pushing, they're options, but when you're crawling 70-80% of a cave trip, it just sucks, and makes you more tired, because the pack will hang up on EVERYTHING.

and in some places (wind & jewel caves, sd) a side pack is required (i.e. back packs are not allowed)
--
these are not the opinions of Great Basin NP, or the NPS. Just mine.
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#48
01-19-2005, 05:15 PM
Clodhopper
Crawler
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 67

Hehehe....Just got mine in the mail today I got the medium size, if, for no other reason than another guy i cave with has the small so we can tell them apart....that and i'm a big guy...so it's matches my stature... Sorry to add nothing of substance...
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#49
01-19-2005, 06:15 PM
coferj
nOOb
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 52
Quote: Originally Posted by Clodhopper
Hehehe....Just got mine in the mail today I got the medium size, if, for no other reason than another guy i cave with has the small so we can tell them apart....that and i'm a big guy...so it's matches my stature... Sorry to add nothing of substance...

I'm with ya...if'n I get vertical, definitely going to have to invest in the bigger model...small is great for short horizontal trips, but I don't carry too much gear in those.
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#50
01-20-2005, 03:32 AM
Vader
Independent
Location: Westminster, Colorado
Posts: 74

Swaygo push pack
It has been interesting to read all the reviews on the Push pack. I should get mine in the mail in a few days. It is the small one, but I figure if I want to carry verticle gear, I will put it in a second bag like I allways do. Looking forward to many years of good use.
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#51
01-20-2005, 06:31 PM
Wayne Harrison
Colorado Caver #18689
Location: Pine, Colorado
Posts: 38

There's a good two-page article on Swago packs in the current issue of NSS News.
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#52
01-20-2005, 06:47 PM
Squirrel Girl
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 174

Wayne, If you go back 3 pages to the first message in this thread, you'll see that the thread was started to get data to include in the NSS News article. But SWAYGO packs are interesting enough that some of us kept posting anyway.
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#53
01-20-2005, 07:06 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

BYW, it is Swaygo with a "Y". Swaygo is the company. Swago is the cave.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
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#54
02-03-2005, 03:14 PM
WintreLJ1402
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 27

I was measuring myself against the parameters of the bags and um, wow, they seem really big! I am a 5'5 girl. I was leaning toward the PIT, but won't it be too big on me? Using a measuring stick I'm about 9" across and my back is about 18". :-o Any suggestions?
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#55
02-03-2005, 04:26 PM
Squirrel Girl
Go "Beyond the Deep"
Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 174

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott McCrea
BYW, it is Swaygo with a "Y". Swaygo is the company. Swago is the cave.

Scott you are gonna be fighting a losing battle with that! Kind of like trying to disuade people from calling me "Barb."

I'm a big gal--5'11" and broad shouldered. I have zero trouble with the biggest SwaYgo pack.
Barbara Anne am Ende
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#56
02-03-2005, 04:56 PM
Wayne Harrison
Colorado Caver #18689
Location: Pine, Colorado
Posts: 38

Quote: Originally Posted by lava
You think it's scary to put water into collapsible bottles, try urine! It's always in the back of your mind, the whole trip.

I used a nalgene collapsable with a wide mouth cantene for a pee bottle and have never had a problem with it in my SWAYGO pack.
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#58
02-03-2005, 05:00 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by WintreLJ1402
I was measuring myself against the parameters of the bags and um, wow, they seem really big! I am a 5'5 girl. I was leaning toward the PIT, but won't it be too big on me? Using a measuring stick I'm about 9" across and my back is about 18". :-o Any suggestions?

Remember that the dimensions on the web site are for a empty, open, flat pack. When it is loaded and rolled shut, the measurements change.
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto

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Postby Caver1402 » Nov 20, 2005 4:46 pm

I have the medium-sized Swaygo ... and I have a packing question for anyone willing to give advice. I currently use ziploc baggies and they have become rather annoying.

While most of the people I cave with use plastic bottles to store things, none of them have the Swaygo. Things seem to fit just right in their packs. When I'm carrying my Swaygo, I love it. It's when I have to open it to find something inside that it is really irking. It's like a black hole! And my ziploc baggies don't do much, the seals always give out right away. It's a good thing the Swaygo itself is waterproof.

All that blabbing and I haven't asked my question. I am planning on purchasing vertical gear soon and before I go and invest in a new pack, I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what to pack small things in like food and batteries into a Swaygo besides plastic baggies. I don't know if it'd be a good idea to use plastic bottles because they might rub against the material inside the Swaygo, gradually wearing away at it, right?

Or do I invest in a second pack like the OR1 Expedition/Rescue ... I'd be assured to have enough room for everything then, even vertical gear, but would that size pack just be huge? I'm not a large person ... 5'5" 120 lbs.

Thanks for any advice and congrats on getting the bottom of my rambling!
Laura J. Lexander
NSS #52727 / Affiliated with the WCG, NNG, and IKC
CRF Eastern Operations Personnel Officer
http://lexanderfamily.com - Updated 07/28/09
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Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 20, 2005 5:55 pm

I use small stuff sacks in my Swaygo pack. Something like these: LINK. They are made from very lightweight material and have a pull string closure. Different color sacks make organizing easier. I also try to keep hard cases out of my packs. They take up a lot of space and do cause accelerated wear on pack materials (any material, not just Swaygo's). Unless I'm carrying something delicate, like a digital camera or Ho-Ho's, I don't use hard cases.

Oh, also, I have found that the name brand ziplocks with the slider thing seems to stay closed a little better.
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Postby Cheryl Jones » Nov 20, 2005 6:35 pm

I also use small nylon, and nylon mesh, zipper closure sacks/pouches. Since the pack is waterproof, a mesh pouch is fine. Some come in bright colors as well, which really helps find what you're looking for, as Scott pointed out.
You can find them at the Container Store and travel and cosmetics supplies sections of stores. I've found ones that are just the size of what I want to put inside, so I don't have extra fabric just taking up space. Rub a candle on any sticky zipps, and tie a loop on the zipper pull to make it easy to open and close with gloves or muddy cold hands.

Another idea on not using hard containers -- I carry a collapsible Nalgene bottle for water and have one rolled up (held with a rubber band) for my pee bottle.

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Postby caverdoc » Nov 20, 2005 6:45 pm

+1 on the small stuff sacks. You can color code them, too. I use a yellow one for lights/batteries and a black one for my "burrito kit." Thus far I have not used my Swaygo Pack. I'm still using a Lost Creek TAG pack from 1993, the ballistic nylon just seems to wear forever....

On a slightly higher-tech note, Chinook Medical sells something called the "Aloksak" that is used by the military to waterproof items. It's also used in the Adventure Medical Kits ultralight series of first aid kits.

I've also had good results with the brand-name slider-zip bags. In my army days we double and triple-bagged vital stuff (like encryption keys and codes, medications and survival kits) using ziplocks. They even taught a class at Camp Mackall during the SF qualification course on waterproofing, I remember the famous line "Most American troops do a better job waterproofing their Oreos than their radio equipment." The NCO teacing the course had a fearsome reputation but I met him again in Germany and became pretty good friends with him.

For vertical gear, the OR1 pack will do. I have all my vertical stuff (a Frog and a double-bungee, with extra carabiners, pulleys, etc) stuffed into one of the OR1 heavy duty packs. It's smaller than the Expedition, but it's my dedicated vertical pack and this way I don't forget anything. Once I'm at the cave I decide what system I'm using and dump the rest in the car.


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Postby Caver1402 » Nov 20, 2005 6:47 pm

Unless I'm carrying something delicate, like a digital camera or Ho-Ho's, I don't use hard cases.


I grinned when I read that ... thank you!

Thanks for the idea of using little stuff sacks and mesh bags ... that is an excellent idea. And for my water, I do have one of those collapsible Nalgene bottles, very nice.
Laura J. Lexander
NSS #52727 / Affiliated with the WCG, NNG, and IKC
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Postby Wayne Harrison » Nov 20, 2005 9:54 pm

You can find small stuff sacks -- sometimes called Ditty bags -- at most surplus stores. They do work great in a Swaygo pack. When I pack upside down, I push in a garbage bag and a rolled up, extra longsleeve shirt in the bottom (which becomes the top). It conforms nicely to the odd shape at the bottom (top) of the pack.

One man's Ho Ho's is another man's Cheetos. I put my Cheetos in a small plastic container that powdered drinks come in. Keeps 'em fresh and uncrushed.
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Postby Cheryl Jones » Nov 20, 2005 10:16 pm

I put my Cheetos in a small plastic container that powdered drinks come in. Keeps 'em fresh and uncrushed.

Wayne, do they taste worse if they're smashed? :question: :grin:

I sometimes take those little packages of cheese or peanut butter crackers in just a zip lock bag, then when it is time to eat them, I just have to bite open a corner of the package and pour the crumbs into my mouth! :banana: Yum! I think they taste better smashed up....
:off topic:

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Postby bsignorelli » Nov 21, 2005 11:56 am

Cheryl Jones wrote:Another idea on not using hard containers -- I carry a collapsible Nalgene bottle for water


People around here have taken to using Platypus bottles for water. Light weight plus you can replace the cap (if you lose it) with any 20oz coke cap that has a gasket in it plus they have a lifetime warrenty if you get a hole in it.

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