The Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L pack’s suspension carries sport climbing loads extremely well no matter the terrain and the duffle style handles and main opening allows quick and easy gear access and transport from climb to climb. Patagonia’s corporate stance on sustainability is an added bonus for the environmentally conscious climber.
Comfort/Fit The Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L utilizes an aluminum perimeter frame with a tensioned mesh panel to provide load transfer. Well-padded shoulder straps with load lifters and a hip belt with load control straps complete a well-designed system that comfortably shuttles your gear to the cliff, simultaneously shifting weight to the hips while maintaining enough flexibility to follow torso movement during aggressive scrambles. All surfaces that contact the body are lined with mesh, providing moisture management and breathability in hot conditions. Although the back panel is padded, haphazard packing of hardware can cause pressure points when wearing summer weight clothing. Two back lengths are available and the sternum strap has a wide height adjustment range. The L size fit 6-foot-tall testers well, with the shoulder strap to hip belt dimension being spot on.
Stability Patagonia’s suspension system for the Crag Daddy 45L scores high marks for load stability. The aforementioned suspension components work well together with the two side and one top compression strap to hold loads close to the body and allow the internal frame to do its job. Loads considered heavy by single sport climbing standards felt compact and stable even when hopping from boulder to boulder on descents.
Storage The Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L internal capacity swallows a full-length rope, a day’s worth of sport climbing gear, food and shoulder season layers without complaint. Large and stretchy side pockets hold water bottles and/or rock shoes. One exterior and one interior organizational pocket hold small necessities only, neither being large enough for guide books or first aid kits. The top of the pack forms a cupped shelf and combined with the top and side compression straps, accommodates a carefully coiled rope. Although the exterior rope carry and stretchy side pockets save interior volume, the Crag Daddy 45L would still be limited to small trad racks and fair weather clothing requirements (another concern would be the exposed rope). Overstuffing the pack needs to be done with care, as the compression straps do not cross the main opening, forcing a lot of stress on the main zipper.
Durability Patagonia’s material and hardware selections trend toward the light side for crag packs. 630d nylon graces the main body (50% recycled content) and 940d ballistic Cordura protects the bottom of the pack body. Smaller webbing widths, buckle sizes and zipper sizes minimize empty pack weight, resulting in the lightest crag pack of the test. Crag packs suffer abrasion both internally from climbing hardware and externally from rocky environments, and although the Crag Daddy 45L comes in at sub 2.5 lbs., it suffered no functional damage during the testing period.
Extras Functional extras are minimal by design on the Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L, and are limited to expanding storage possibilities. The stretchy side pockets are large enough to swallow shoes and can even handle two bottles on a single side. The small exterior zip pocket contains two flat pockets and a key clip.
Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure riding test editor at Dirt Rider Magazine and an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. He lives in Wimberley, TX with wife Shay, 3 year old daughter Sequoia, 3 dogs and a cat. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.