Is it a rope carrier? Is it a rucksack? No, it's a shopping bag!
- actually it's all three!
The use of rope bags is now pretty common amongst most climbers, particularly when sport climbing. The bags themselves tend to be pretty simple and there is not a lot in the system that can be improved upon. Some have slightly more elaborate carrying methods but the basic principal of a sheet to roll the rope in wrapping into a bag with some kind of strap, or straps, is a sound one.
So the question is, what can a rope bucket offer that a rope bag can't?
In many situations a rope bag will be perfectly adequate and probably easier and quicker to use than a bucket. However where a crag base is uneven or wet, a rope bag can become unuseable and this is where a rope bucket can come into its own. It will store a rope without tangles in virtually any location; it is easy to fill and will allow a steady feed when required; it can be used on hanging belays on seacliffs where keeping a rope out of the sea can be difficult.
The price of only £22 makes it great value and the construction is solid but basic. The addition of some loops which to tie the rope ends would be useful, and a zip pocket for valuables might be appreciated as well, although it is likely that the addition of one or both of these features may affect the price disproportinately.
For most climbers it won't replace a rope bag, but for many, particularly trad climbers, it will be a valuable addition to their kit list especially if you consider its other uses as ....
For short trips when bouldering, going to the wall, the rope bucket makes a superb carrying device, far superior to a rope bag. It is light and flexible and can hold an unbelievable amount of gear. If multi-pitch climbing, and you need to carry a bag to use on your approach and descent, then the lightness of the Rope Bucket will be very welcome.
We should all be trying to use fewer plastic bags and we even started a campaign at UKClimbing for zero plastic bag useage during 2007 - see the thread here. The Rope Bucket doubles up as one of the best shopping bags you can get your hands on. Since owning one it has become our standard carrying device when shopping locally and is big enough for food for family of five (perhaps this isn't strictly true, but it is a lot closer than any other bag we have). The wide open top makes it very easy to load meaning that if you encounter one of those super-fast scanners at the till who fires your shopping through, then at least you have a chance of keeping up. If there is one drawback with it as a shopping bag it is that you can fit so much food in it that the narrow straps actually become slightly painful when fully loaded.
In summary the rope bucket is a great piece of kit, that is good value and can even make you feel good about your 'green' credentials.