A Cool Dry Back

The Vaucluse Cool Dry Frame. This looks like such a good idea and may well work. It is an open hexagonal frame intended to sit your pack of from your back an inch or so to allow air flow and (hopefully) prevent that nemesis of all backpackers, a wet back. You will have to pay for a dry back. It is US$97.95 plus shipping (May 2022).

NB: Brice from Vaucluse points out that you can earn a $20 discount just by taking a survey though.

Vaucluse Cool Dry Frame Vaucluse Cool Dry Frame

Rather more than the $3 model I tried out here A DIY Dry Back Hiking Pack (which also worked by the way, but it was a bit awkward). I bought some approx 3 mm carbon fibre tubes intending to make a lighter, slightly more functional model but it has not happened yet. Getting the joiners has been a problem. Perhaps if I had a 3D printer? I will think of something – 1/4″ plumbing fittings perhaps?

I have been using the Gossamer Gear Air Flow SitLight Camp Seat at US$24 (May 2022) with moderate success for a number of years now –  which I have been attaching to a pack like this:

Airflow Sitlight

At the moment I am experimenting with some of the wicking material I wrote about in the above post on a completely new DIY backpack I am currently making – a revolution in backpack design actually. I am nearly finished the prototype – and it will work. As I often say, “Watch this space. ”

The Vaucluse seems to be 3D printed from thermo rubber (or TPU). It weighs 6 ounces – which is a fair bit. I would want a dry back for about 50 grams myself – and will keep on working at it, but it may not be possible. Brice is also working on bringing the weight of the Vaucluse down.  If you had a 3D printer this would not be that hard to make yourself perhaps. Brice at Vaucluse Gear  does offer an extraordinary good warranty however which is important.

Its dimensions are 15 x 9 x 1.4 inches (depth is based on 0.75-inch spacers) – so it should fit most packs. 1.4″ is quite a long way out to place your backpack weight. I would aim for some ventilation which kept your load closer to your back than this or just put up with a wet back, more like 1/2″ – but it might not be enough. My worst (wet) spot is in the ‘small’ of my back.

The pack I am working on conforms to the shape of the back (and has a completely novel suspension system). This turns out too be superbly comfortable as compared with any pack I have ever bought, so I may just keep on trying for the moment.

(Update: I made the prototype just a bit small to take all the gear for myself and my dog for a week, so there will be a prototype #2).

I am wondering about some plastic mesh (eg anti-bird mesh scrunched up behind a layer of wicking mesh. I would need two of aprox 4″ wide x 12″(10 x 30 cm) high pads of this to create the ventilation I need. Just need something to sit the pack off the back just a bit. Suggestions would be welcome.Time will tell.

PS: To make your own copy of the ‘Cool Dry Frame’ for a few dollars you will need some of these World’s Lightest Tarp Clips:

and some of this plastic mesh from Bunnings etc. I already have these things ‘lying’ around – but you may not, particularly if you don’t own a farm!

You would sew the poly balls at the intersections of the mesh (by pushing a needle through the centre and then tying off each end). At least you will be able to see whether the idea will work before you buy the commercial one for US$77.95 – which comes with a warranty after all!

See Also:

A DIY Dry Back Hiking Pack

Budget Pack Mods



2 thoughts on “A Cool Dry Back”

  1. Good day, mate! I’m Brice, the CEO and Founder of Vaucluse Gear. Thank you for your review of our Cool-Dry Frame: “This looks like such a good idea and may well work.” Check out our growing list of testimonials and sweat checks on our site:

    Regarding your comment about getting the weight down to less than 2 ounces (50 grams), we are working on making it lighter. At the moment, the weight is equivalent to two pairs of socks.

    Regarding your comment on price, at the moment, we offer a $20 discount when taking our sweat survey (see website). Additionally, we offer even bigger discounts to our “sweat” community via email. So make sure to take the sweat survey!

    See you on the trails! ~ Brice

    1. Hi Brice, It’s a great idea and I wish you luck with it. I’m sure many people will not mind the bit of extra weight to have a dry back. I had not noticed the $20 discount which will no doubt make it more attractive to some people. Lots of people spend huge amounts of money on hiking equipment whilst I often make my own gear for $20 or so. Mostly people can’t be bothered developing the skills to do things themselves so I’m sure people who can and sell them will continue to do well. Hope you sell a million of them. Cheers, Steve.

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