Stands up on its own for easy loading and unloading
Outside dimensions large, awkward in narrow places
No internal pockets
Lack of back panel air circulation
The Trango Crag Pack’s 48L capacity combined with its stout suspension system, handles both sport and trad climbing loads. This haul bag style pack stands up on its own, making packing and unpacking quick and easy. Although simple in basic design, this pack has features that effectively address issues commonly encountered while at the cliffs. These aspects, combined with the price, make the Trango Crag Pack extremely attractive.
Comfort/Fit The Trango Crag pack comes in two sizes, regular and short. The regular size fits this 6-foot-tall tester with medium build well. The double aluminum vertical stays (can be bent to fit) combined with load lifters on the shoulder harness, provided satisfactory comfort that didn’t degrade even as loads approached 35 pounds. Although the back panel has mesh lined foam inlays, the foam’s low density allowed the tarp like material to ride against the back, limiting air circulation, making hot days feel hotter.
Stability The simple suspension system, essentially comprised of only two vertical aluminum stays (removable) worked together with the stiff, tarp like material to provide a stable ride that is actually optimal when the pack is full. The pack’s material will keep it upright when partially loaded, but lack of compression straps can allow contents to shift, which may bother some climbers.
Storage The Trango Crag Pack’s 48L capacity contains even full length ropes and trad racks without complaint. The single large, tube style compartment has a full size top opening, making stuffing bulky items easy. An almost full length vertical zipper allows quick access and easy packing of smaller volume items while on the go. External storage options like a large mesh pocket for climbing shoes and a pair of large side pockets (can carry larger water containers), not only allow convenient access while on the approach, but also keeps the main interior volume free of some clutter. The lid has a zippered top pocket for smaller sundries. Buckled straps on each side of the pack allow exterior lashing of clothing and gear, and proved perfect for a stick clip. While the large volume and external storage options proved handy, the large overall dimensions can prove awkward when negotiating narrow areas on the approach.
Durability The coated tarpaulin “Titan Wrap” material used on all main exterior facing surfaces warded off abrasions without issue and the simple basic design leaves little to break. The haul bag design, with main top opening and lack of compression straps, keeps stress off the main zippers, which are YKK #10 units. Non-minimalist straps and buckles add to the durability.
Extras Extras are simple, but effective and usable. The aforementioned exterior mesh shoe pocket allows airing while traveling between sectors and after climbing. One side pocket accepts most guidebooks, allowing route searching without removing the pack. The other side pocket has a tethered mini tarp, providing a clean area big enough to shoe up or lay out hardware. The top zippered lid pocket contains a key clip and as mentioned, side straps accommodate a stick clip. The pack also comes with a roll of 25 mini trash bags.
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.