Climbing rucksack recommendations

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 James Oswald 17 Oct 2022

Hi, I'm looking to buy a new climbing rucksack around 40-50 litres. Criteria are:

  1. Really robust and will last a long time
  2. A full length zip so you can access the bottom without removing everything
  3. A big pocket accessible from the outside for keys phone etc.

The BD crag pack fits 1), but doesn't have a full length zip. The original Trango crag pack wasn't very robust and the new version doesn't have a full length zip. 
Any other suggestions? Thanks!

 spenser 17 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

Deuter Guide Rucksacks fit the bill nicely. Mine worked very well up until someone dropped a 2m tall flake on it and chopped through the one of the shoulder straps (I did manage to repair it, however wound up buying a Blue Ice Rucksack which fits my needs better).

 petegunn 17 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

Personally I would ditch the full length zip if you want it to last! I've still use my Lowe Apline and Macpac both are 25/30 years old and have only replaced the string and toggle. 

Zips these days only seem to last a year!

In reply to James Oswald:

I just went looking for the same thing and ended up buying the Mountain Hardwear Crag Wagon 45 (they also do a 55). Very impressed with it and wouldn't really change a thing. It was the Outside video review that convinced me:

The whole thing feels very beefy and indestructible, including the zips. I always used to be of the same opinion as petegunn above, that extensive zips were a bad idea, but I reckon maybe times have moved on. The zip on my Osprey Mutant has held up really well for years now. That's just for closing the top, but it actually gets a lot more abuse than the Crag Wagon zip when trying to pack it really tightly and then force the zip closed. Whereas with the Crag Wagon, you would mostly load from the top with the zip already closed. So very little reason to be trying to force the zip closed under pressure, which always feels like the thing most likely to damage a zip. Yes, it would be a tricky repair if the zip did fail. But it doesn't feel likely and the convenience of being able to easily access everything in any order is really nice.

 Jon Read 17 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

BD Stone 45?

 Myfyr Tomos 17 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

If you could do without the zip, Aiguille Alpine do cracking, bombproof climbing rucksacks. 

 olddirtydoggy 17 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

Ikea bag!

Personally I use a Mountain Hardwear Crag Wagon, built well and nothing I'd change about it.

 galpinos 18 Oct 2022
In reply to Luke90:

Is the 45L big enough to just stuff all your kit in regardless or do you need to “pack it”. Considering a “crag bag” instead of a lightweight alpine pack but was thinking I’d need a 50+L bag to get the “stuff and forget” -ability but the crag wagon next size up is 60L and that feels a bit DofE for a day trip to the crag!

In reply to galpinos:

I guess the answer's a little different for everyone depending on how much stuff you take. But I tend to have a "take it all just in case" mindset and find it pretty spacious. I'm in the habit of packing my ropes in a rope bag and then putting that in the bag, which uses up a lot of space, and then I do have to pack a bit to fit a generous rack in on top. But that's with two triple-rated 60m half ropes packed inefficiently (the triple rating seemed a good idea at the time but with hindsight I'm less certain, they're quite fat and heavy). If I'm splitting the ropes with a partner, strapping one over the top or even just using smaller ropes, there's ample room to just chuck everything in without any care. And it still carries alright because it holds its shape well.

 Fraser 18 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

I have a much older version of this pack (mine is probably 15 years old now) which I regularly find myself coming back to purely for ease of access and I tend to over-pack! It's robust enough for me, has a full length zip and decent pockets & compression straps. One slight caveat is that I don't use it for bigger days out or ones that involve a long walk-in as it could be a touch more comfortable. I always go to my Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack on such occasions.

 Andrew95 18 Oct 2022

Not really anything you are looking for.... But I have been using the BD speed for the last few months and really loving it.  Not a lot to say about it, its just one big hole, the lid can be removed, but if left on its really big and really easy to get things in and out of. 

In reply to petegunn:

> Zips these days only seem to last a year!

I've found that simply isn't true - my main crag pack is the Arcteryx from this review I was reviewing the packs the previous year, so it must now by 11 years old. I use it a lot and the zips still work as new. My mate Tony has the Grivel pack from that review and has taken it all over the world, as well as cragging trips locally - so has possibly used it even more than I've used the Arcteryx, and it's still working fine.

Of smaller gauge zips on lighter packs, my main small daypack is this one and the zip is still fine after over four years of use. Somewhere I have a 27-ish year old zip-up KIMM sack, that got used a huge amount until recent years, from lightweight backpacking to going to Lidl to get the shopping. At some point I lined the base with duck tape because it was wearing through, but the zip still works fine.

I used to be sceptical about zip-closing packs but in decades of using them I've never had a zip fail on a pack.  

In reply to James Oswald:

When you say "climbing pack" do you mean a pack to take all your kit to the crag in - but not climb whilst wearing? Or do you mean a pack you can climb with on your back?

 Iamgregp 18 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

How has nobody said the DMM flight yet?

So good I've bought it twice...

 yodadave 18 Oct 2022
In reply to Fraser:

its like a carbon copy of the Moon Aerial!!!

 yodadave 18 Oct 2022
In reply to James Oswald:

BD creek 50

Ortovox traverse 40

Arcteryx Muira 50 (if they still make it???)

DMM flight

Moon Aerial

Crag wagon as mentioned above

Osprey farpoint?

Rab outcast

lowe alpine rogue 48

I love zip open packs! I definitely tend towards the clamshell over a single straight zip. I still have a 20year old Lowe alpine with a massive zip opening, the zip is still bomber.

Post edited at 14:56
 Kryank 18 Oct 2022
In reply to spenser:

+ 1 for Deuter guide I have had the 35 + for about 3 years now and love it as my winter hill bag / trad sack. It’s bombproof! 

In reply to James Oswald:

Think you just described the Mammut Neon 45😃

even has clip stick loops.

In reply to A Nidderdale boulderer.:

That's interesting - looks basically the same as the one I reviewed a decade ago in the review I linked above. Unfortunately I don't know how that one is now doing - I gave it to an Italian mate in Helsinki when we both lived there, and he's back in Italy and I'm back in the UK so don't know if the pack is still in regular use! I liked it when I used it though.

In reply to TobyA:

Still on zips - I've recently reviewed two medium sized all round mountain packs, but both that have big zips down the side, from Lowe and Salewa. Not full on crag packs, but work well because of the big zips.

If you wanted a pack that you could winter climb with, but could also work well as a crag pack at Stanage or Dancing Ledge, either would do a good job. Both were nice packs but I preferred the Salewa personally.

OP James Oswald 20 Oct 2022

Thanks very much everyone, I'll have a look.

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