I have traditionally been more of a day hiker, meaning I don’t usually camp out overnight. The lyrics of Charlie Daniels have always agreed with me when he said “there’s things out there in the middle of them woods that make a strong man die from fright.” I never claim to be a rational person.
However, I am always willing to try new things so when some friends asked me to go camping, I said what the heck. So with a need to gear up, I started looking around for a nice backpack that would meet my basic needs, without killing my bank account or spine. I knew I wanted a framed backpack for support and a decent capacity (even though I do not over pack). Everything else was icing. So when I came across Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack, I though why not? The price was decent and I knew Teton from owning one of their backpacks that I used as a “bumming around” bag.
Ordered one from an online retailer who shares the same name as a famous river (I won’t name names). As with most equipment I buy, I took some time to inspect the pack and familiarize myself with the Teton backpack before heading out into the woods. So after that initial inspection, and actual usage, here are my thoughts.
• Capacity: The specs say the Scout 3400 has a capacity 3400 Cubic Inches or 55 Liters. I’m not a numbers guy, so these figures just bounce around my brain banging off the sides. What I can say is that my needs were met and the Scout was able to hold what I needed for a few days in the woods (sleeping bag, some extra clothes, basic essentials, etc.) with room to spare. Since I’m not climbing Everest, my needs are pretty simple. I have never had to put a tent in it (yet), but I’m pretty confident it would fit. Additionally, the two main compartments are divided by a separator that can be opened to form one big compartment. A nice touch. (click here to check out more 55L backpacks)
• Durability: Part of me worried that this area would be a problem considering the Scout 3400 was so inexpensive compared to other similar backpacks. Teton states the pack is made out of “600D Diamond Ripstop.” I think they are just making up cool words to describe basic materials. However, I can say so far, so good. I’ve used the pack on several “expeditions” and the backpack frame and pack have held up remarkably well. I’ve read reviews of others having straps or zippers break, but mine are still there holding strong. My Scout 3400 even held up after being kicked across the campsite by a friend after he got into a shouting match with his girlfriend. She was going to kick it back at him, but luckily I intervened. Maybe that kind of durability can be worked into an ad campaign?
• Appearance: Well, it is a backpack, so there are no surprises in this area. I had a choice of Hunter Green or Mecca Orange. Went with the more traditional green, but the orange looked nice. Though I wonder how they decided Mecca matches up with the color orange.
• Comfort: This is where the Scout 3400 might fail for some people. Depending on your height/torso length, the Scout might be too small or uncomfortable to wear because of strap and support placement. Luckily, I read about these issues beforehand and made sure I picked a pack suited for me and my height. Be sure to take your torso length into account when shopping. Teton says the Scout 3400 is for torso lengths of 15″ to 19.5.” Also, I will say it took some time adjusting the straps to get it just right for my comfort level. I do not think this is a minus, but just something to be noted. Once the straps are set, it is a nice fit.
So when all is said and done, the Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is a nice pack when you consider the price, build quality and features. I am not a heavy duty camper or explorer, so this pack met my needs.
If I was heading out to discover a long lost city or scale a mountain, I would probably consider some other high end backpacks for their stronger builds. However, if you’re planning to do some weekend camping or backpacking across the country, then the Scout 3400 more than meets the requirements (taking into account you meet the height/torso specs for maximum comfort).