Following my sparkling endorsement of the phantom 20, I have found a fairly fundamental issue with the phantom 20. I still consider the carrying system (i.e. the yoke system to avoid asymmetric loading whilst running) to be exceptional, but the issue is related to the back panel.
During long runs (longer than about an hour), the thin foam panel which should reduce or prevent abrasion works its way out of its sleeve in the back of the pack. This is probably exacerbated by the presence of a bladder, but especially for Lite events, a bladder is an unavoidable necessity.
The result is excessive chaffing on the lower back which has happened every time I’ve used the bag fully loaded. The nub of the issue is that the foam back panel is too soft and therefore rucks up during a run, and coupled with a top-flap which is insufficiently secured, the foam rides out of the bag over and over again.
The solution is pretty simple; add a few grams to the bags’ weight. Increase the overlap of the flap at the top with the panel below, and add more Velcro. Three times the amount that’s presently there would make a reasonable start by my reckoning. Add some sticky rubber to the foam back panels, and increase the rigidity of the foam back panel to prevent or reduce it from riding up whilst running.
On that note, I’m off to make some changes to my bag. And to OMM – it’s frustrating; the Phantom 20 is so close to being an excellent bag. Please, please, please sacrifice some grams on the bag, and fix the one issue I’ve been banging on at you about for over a year!