For years climbers have used alpine sacks for all their climbing needs, however if we are honest most of us spend 90% of our climbing time cragging. This means the ice axe loops, removable lid and hip belt and soft back “sit higher than the chalk bag” system are useless. A few brands have made cragging specific bags, but while these have been “OK” I've always thought they could be better. One nerdy day I was thinking about how I could design the perfect crag bag, and in walks our chirpy Trango rep with this one on his back. It was pretty much ideal and definitely the best I've seen.
So what makes a good crag sack? Well for me the most important thing is that it stands up like a haul bag, for easy quick packing between routes and bailing to the car when you see the rain coming down the valley. This pack does it perfectly, the base is totally flat and the lid zips all the way round making a huge opening. This means dumping all your gear is really quick and faff free. The 48 litre size is also great, it's true that I take more gear to Stanage than on multi-day routes! In this bag I can easily fit 2 x 60m ropes, a double rack of cams, more wires than you need, harness, quickdraws, coat, lunch, helmet and more! It's basically awesome.
The material is extremely tough just like a haul bag, which keeps nearly all the weather out and also helps the bag keep its shape when packing. Often the alpine bags we use at the crag are floppy with soft flappy lids that make packing and finding your gear hard work. It carries brilliantly too as the back is very structured with a chunky hip belt.
The lid pocket is huge. I keep my guide book in there along with my lunch and even more. It also has a great side zip that goes straight into the main compartment meaning if you have packed your coat half way down you can get at it without emptying the whole thing out. There are also 3 external side pockets, one at the bottom of each side and a large mesh one at the top of one side. These are a good size, easily big enough for a Nalgene bottle, and very tough. When sport climbing it's great to drop in your clip stick in a pocket and the top strap holds it in place. The mesh pocket is huge and very stretchy, which is built for your rock boots, I can fit in 2 pairs and I have size 11 feet! Leaving your climbing shoes sealed up inside your rucksack for days on end is not a good idea – this mesh pocket gives them a chance to air out after use, which really helps to keep the funk down. I also stick my chalk bag in there so if you have a little warm up or a boulder first your boots and chalk are on the outside of you pack, mega.
The crag sack comes with a couple of gimmicky add-ons. First there is a small tarp in the side pocket. This is meant to be for gear but I doubt anyone uses it, good for sitting on though to keep your bum dry! The other is a roll of bin bags to encourage you to clean up while at the crag.
So all in all I’m sure you've guessed it but I love this pack. It really does save me time and that means more climbing, and that's awesome. I also really love how easy it is to find everything. It carries like a dream and so tough I can treat it bad and it really doesn't matter.
So admit to yourself that you don't climb big gnarly mountains every day, save your fast and light alpine pack for that. Us mortals normally spend our time struggling up 10 metre high rough cliffs with a thermos in our bag. The Trango Crag Pack will suit all your cragging needs.
Watch this American guy in this video tell you all about it, I would have been a bit more excited if I was him but oh well!
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