Organic are a brand that are very much in vogue amongst the cool kids of the bouldering world. Their bright coloured pads are instantly recognisable, not to mention some of the best around. Thankfully the quality and durability crosses over to their range of accessories and within this review we're going to take a look at the Chalk Bag, Lunch Bag Chalk Bucket, Crag Pack, and Roll Down Pack.
Chalk Bag - £18-20 (depending on size)
I'd have thought there was only so much you can say about a chalk bag, but over the years I've owned a great many and only truly liked a few. What I personally look out for are a nice design (which Organic have succeeded in doing, courtesy of their bold and colourful patterns), a durable feel (not least because a number of my chalk bags have worn out, particularly the draw strings), a stiff brim (floppy brims - so to speak - result in it being hard to get your hand into whilst in extremis), and finally an adequate width and depth (as I've always been a fan of getting my arm in up to the elbow).
Thankfully the Organic Chalk Bags fulfil each of the criteria above, and there are two size options avialable depending on the size of your hands. The 1000d material is realistically overkill, but it does mean that this is a chalkbag unlikely to wear out within your lifetime (or the lifetime of your children). The drawstring is also - touch wood - made of sturdy stuff and so far has stood the test of time. Should that situation change I'll be updating this review ASAP.
Price-wise I'd say these offer value for money, not least because their designs are nice, they are well made, and you're unlikely to have to buy another one due to it wearing out!
Lunch Bag Chalk Bucket - £34
Following on from my theme of how there's actually quite a surprising amount to say about chalk bags, this boulder bucket bucks the trend from many insofar as it's extremely minimalist. There's a single zip pocket, a velcro top, a small clip, and that's pretty much it. There isn't even a fleece lining. That's something I thought I'd miss, but it hasn't turned out to be a problem.
Due to its lean nature it is very light and compressible, which is good for long walk-ins (although I have never personally found my chalkbag to be the heaviest thing in my pack!) but not so good for when it gets windy, as it has the habit of tipping over quite a lot. This is exacerbated somewhat by the fact that it doesn't have a solid/round base. That said, the velcro seal does mean that it's easy enough to close between goes - you just have to get into the habit. Again, the material is 1000d nylon so it's a chalkbag that is likley to last you a long, long time...
Price-wise £34 does seem like quite a lot for what is fundamentally a simple boulder bucket, but at the end of the day I think most people are likely to buy one because they like the look of it - not because of anything I've said!
Crag Pack - £90
The Crag Pack is the smaller of the two packs reviewed, although confusingly no cheaper - presumably due to the more complex design. Much like the rest of the range it's built to last, colourful, and tends to receive quite a few comments down the wall due to its aesthetic look. Size-wise you've got enough space to fit your boots, chalk, food, and drink, but it's not a bag that will fit in additional layers or jackets - for that you're definitely better off with the Roll Down Pack.
When it comes to application, the small size means the Crag Pack is definitely a pack geared towards bouldering throughout the warmer months, or as a pack for heading down the wall with.
Our only gripe is that the valuables pocket is a little on the small side, with only just enough room for your wallet, phone and keys (and even that is a squeeze). Due to the pack being relatively straightfoward a bit more space in this deparment would have been useful as a store for liquid chalk, tape, and other 'essentials'.
At £90 it isn't the cheapest pack out there and given the small size, it lacks the functionality of the Roll Down Pack, which for me is the real winner of the range.
Roll Down Pack - £90
The Roll Down Pack is my preferred pack, simply because of its versatility. Due to the open top design, and the fact there isn't really much to it, you can scrunch it down small when it's empty and pack it up to the brim when it's full. As such it's a pack for all seasons and a variety of disciplines: indoor climbing, bouldering, sport climbing, and even trad climbing if you're going light. It can also be used as a small haul sack due to the 1000d nylon, which really takes a beating.
The only downside I could offer is that much like the Crag Pack, the valuables pocket is too small, and when the pack is stuffed full to the brim there is no way of closing it properly. That said, I'd rather have the ability to stuff it full and have the extra material in which to do that than a smaller and more limited capacity, as that is what makes this pack quite desirable.
As a final word to functionality, there are a selection of daisy chains down the front that you can use for extra storage, but I'm never sure whether anyone other than beginners use these to attach their shoes to. Please accept my apologies if you like them...
Due to the fact it's bombproof, plus can be used over a variety of disciplines, this is a pack I can see me using for some time.
For full info on Organic's range of pads, packs and accessories, see organicclimbing.com