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© Andy Hutchinson, Apr 2007
I finally admitted it to myself - I needed a new sack for the crag, although I had been saying that for 10 years or so. But when Old Red, my Wild Country Quantum III finally started to give out on me after 18 years of solid use on trips around the world, I needed a replacement that would match up to it after all these years...
But what to go for? Old Red would be a tough act to follow. Step forward POD sacs. I was almost tempted by a Berghaus or a Lowe Alpine sack - my day sack is a Lowe Alpine and has seen many a trip over its eight-year longevity and I was searching for a fine Lowe sack- just needing to find one that fitted my rather exacting specification.
The POD range is unfussy, not strewn with pockets, loops or straps. It is a simple design, clean good-looking and best of all so damn comfy.
The Crag Sac range is a superlative set of well made sacks by Pete O' Donovan (POD) and after using his bouldering mats for a number of years, I knew that the quality of the stitching and the build, design and last matched my expectations.
Ergonomically shaped to fit the spine, the sac comes in three sizes for the shorter, medium and taller back shape. It has a removable frame sheet plus a flexible alloy stay to create a custom fit. Foam-padded shoulder straps and the typical waist and chest belts provide impressive stability when tightened. You feel comfy and ready to hit the crag.
The bag welcomes all your climbing kit - rack, water, food, camera gear etc and has a handy compression strap over the top of the drawstring to attach your rope, carry mat or jacket. On the front of the sack is a bungee shock-cord attachment that will accommodate any kind of climbing kit you want to tie in, from ice tools to clothes, sleeping bags and roll mats. A floating top lid has a large zip pocket for all those extra items that we seem to need these days. It boasts five compression straps (two each side, one top) for volume control and stability and has heavy-duty 'Leno' mesh wand side pockets, which are handy for water bottles etc. Three colours - black, blue and red are available.
This isn't really an alpine climbing sack due to its size but it's a great crag sack for trading, sport climbing and bouldering. My only real gripe with the sac is that I would like the handle on the back of the sac to be a tad thicker as it cuts into your hands a bit as its quite skinny. Also I would have liked another pocket on the underside of the lid, as my W.C Quantum III did.
© Andy Hutchinson, Apr 2007
But these are minor grumbles. This is the comfiest sack that I have ever used and a bargain too for its RRP of £110.00. Even though Old red is consigned to the cupboard, I'm sure he would consider this rucksack a worthy successor.
POD - Crag Sack Capacity
Andy Kirkpatrick on POD sacks
"For my money the best 'sack is the Pod Black Ice, which combines both the old and the new in one bombproof design. Weighing in at 2kgs (37grams per litre) it is constructed from the toughest materials, has bags of reinforcing and a suspension solid enough to carry even the heaviest loads and has every feature you'd want. Yet the best thing about it is that you can strip the thing down to around 1kg (18 grams per litre) making it incredibly adaptable and able to overcome the Alpine 'sacks impossible design criteria. I know it must seem that I'm always flying the Pod flag, but it never ceases to amaze me one guy can get it right so often when the multi million pound companies, with their high paid designers are so often wide of the mark."
Simon Jacques is the BMC Bouldering Access representiative for the Peak District. His last article for UKClimbing.com was, An Alien On The White Coast - Costa Blanca Bouldering
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Simon Jacques: