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crackers

CiloGear Dyneema 45L at Feathered Friends

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This is in the blatent plug department.

 

Feathered Friends, one of your finest local stores, has the finest 45Lish backpack available to play with, paw or even buy: CiloGear Dyneema 45L WorkSack. It's a medium.

 

Just for the record, this is the same model of pack that was used for first ascents of Farol East, Mt Epperly, Mt Vinson, Mt. Ryan something or other in Patagonia, and a whole bunch of just normal climbing in Pakistan, Patagonia, Antarctica, Alaska, Colorado, California and the Adirondacks of New York State (including that funny part up north called Quebec). It's the pack of choice of Kelly Cordes, Maxime Turgeon, Damien Gildea, Jarmila Tyrril and a few other folks who can open beer bottles by just looking at them and drink the bottle down before you get a chance to grab from them. Truly the light and fast group.

 

But don't let that intimidate you, oh no, go down to 119 Yale Avenue North, and have a look at this amazing piece of petrochemical load carrying puissance. And btw, thanks one and all for your sense of humor...I've been writing Propaganda all day. ;)

 

maxpackk67.jpg

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Don't forget we have a 60L Work Sack for sale here, too. Plus we have a selection of models for people to try out in person! What other store is cool enough to lend customers gear before they buy it? You can take any of the following for a test spin:

 

- 20L

- 40L

- 45L

- 60L

 

Stop by for full details.

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Not to put a damper on things, but I tested 40L (I think) one of these out for a local gear shop and could really say that I liked it. The strap system isn't really all that obvious. In order to get the side compression straps to function securely I had to double back them, meaning I couldn't adjust them on the fly. Perhaps I didn't have all the pieces, but I also couldn't rig the top pouch and have full compression: There just were not enough straps and connecting pieces (of which their are several types). I never could figure out how to put an ice axe onto the pack. I'm sure you can, but I couldn't figure it out. No one has ever accused me of being the brightest candle, but I've strapped a few axes on in the past. Because of the unique rigging system, you can't just walk into a gear shop and get replacements or add ons for your pack. Finally, there was a pouch up front that looked like it was designed to hold crampons. Well, my crampons didn't even come close to fitting in there. Not even half way in.

 

Additionally, the pack can only be called light weight in comparison to a Bora 65 or similar porker. My 40 L MEC pack weighs about the same. The materials and suspension are all standard grade in most, but the pack inexplicably uses lightweight nylon in places, such as the extension collar, where seams on ultralight packs are apt to tear. So, rather than using the ultralight stuff throughout and having a truly light pack that you'll thrash in a season, you now have an average weight pack that you'll need to have repaired or replaced every season. Why not just get an average weight pack with a standard compression system that will last for more than a season? If you want ultralight, buy a genuine ultralight pack.

 

I really, really wanted to like the pack going in. The suspension looked solid and I'm a sucker for clever ideas. But the ideas confused me at times with their utility. Granted, I didn't have an instruction manual for the pack and, again, I'm not the quickest of people, but I really should have been able to figure it out on my own.

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Sorry, I should have added that after my experience, I thought that another climber might have better luck. I handed off the pack and he is currently testing it this winter time. The ideas should work, and hopefully he will have more success than I did.

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... I tested 40L (I think) one of these out for a local gear shop and could really say that I liked it. The strap system isn't really all that obvious. In order to get the side compression straps to function securely I had to double back them, meaning I couldn't adjust them on the fly. Perhaps I didn't have all the pieces, but I also couldn't rig the top pouch and have full compression: There just were not enough straps and connecting pieces (of which their are several types). I never could figure out how to put an ice axe onto the pack...

 

Suge: Thank you! It's always great to get an honest critique of somebody's experience with the packs for better or worse, and I appreciate the time you took to write up your thoughts. I get five to six "love letters" a week from customers, and critiques like yours are extremely useful in improving our product and customer service. I hope that you don't misconstrue my comments below, I'm just trying to effectively communicate my thoughts, and I'm in a bit of a rush to get out the door to Outdoor Retailer...

 

Could you PM me about where and when you saw one of my packs? I'm honestly quite shocked about your reaction, and I'd like to talk to whomever it was who had the pack. I agree that the entire workup of our packs is innovative and takes a bit of adjustment, however, that's why I try to work with shops where we can make sure that everybody understands and has used the product. You shouldn't have had those problems figuring it out, and honestly, it's my fault for not communicating effectively with whomever had that pack. There is an online manual which is available as both a downloadable .pdf for printing and as a wiki for those of us who don't want to print it out. We are currently almost done with the new manual showing everything in pictures in a LOT more detail...

 

The straps work like this:

cilostraps.jpg

 

Suge,I'd bet that you had the strap upside down. Incidentally, we've got several patents pending for these things, and we've got just over a thousand (non military and about 20k Turkish Army soldiers but they don't count IMHO) users of these packs who are using them successfully to adjust them on the fly. I'm really sorry that whomever showed you the pack didn't know this. I apologize for that.

 

I'm also really shocked that you couldn't get the lid to fit over the extension. From the first packs we've made -- check out Calvin in Patagonia for an example -- to the newest ones, the straps on the lids are designed to fit over boots stuck on top of the totally full extension.

 

Recently, over on Mountain Project the ice tool attachments were called:

First off, the ice axe holders on this pack are brilliant. Similar to the BD packs, you can slip the head into the sleeve, buckle it down, and use the bungee cord to secure the shaft to the pack. This system provides a simple, reliable attachment for all kinds of ice tools.

 

Notice that both the Quark and Nomic attach securely to the pack. I've carried both tools on long approaches and never once thought about them after attaching them to the pack.

 

I'm really unclear what confused you about these, and any specific information you may be able to provide would be a great benefit to me and surely to other potentially confused customers.

 

Could you tell me what kind of crampons you were using? I designed the crampon pouch around Grivel Rambos, Rambo4s and G14s. Some customers reported minor problems (almost too snug but still managable) getting their newmatic style crampons into the V2 pocket, and the V3 pocket is just a teensy bit bigger to accomodate newmatics. Any information you could provide me about crampons that don't fit, and how they didn't fit would be most welcome, especially pictures.

 

In terms of weight, I've gotta say that the CiloGear packs are lighter and have proven significantly more durable than other alpine climbing packs on the market. Comparing the MEC packs currently on their website (and may I say that I really do like their packs and their people) to our packs, the CiloGear packs are made from uniformly more robust material and are still significantly lighter. Compared to the MEC packs, CG packs are about 200 grams lighter (MEC 30L to 85L alpine packs range from 720g to 2.3kg "standard" I don't have the time to call my contacts there and get the low down on how they weigh things but our max weights run from ~840g to 2kg for the same size packs). Compared to CCW, WT or BD, it's more like 300 - 400 grams. Our packs are all about versatility and user discretion: while we provide a ton of straps, we really wouldn't recommend using them all at the same time. Stripped down, the pack bags are among the lightest packs available for their capacity.

 

Interestingly, the 30d SilNylon that we use in the extensions has been the cause of only 23 returns for repair in the last three years. In comparison, there were about 35 people who convinced me to use grommets in 2007 alone. The V3 packs are all made using grommets for the extensions. ;)

 

Several guides -- from folks at AAI to IMG to JHMG to TMG to ... -- have put several hundred days a year on their packs. The packs aren't wearing out any faster than anything else put through that level of abuse, and I'm working on a picture gallery of these packs that I hope to get up in March.

 

All the above said, there is a learning curve, and one of the reasons we're so excited to work with Feathered Friends is their willingness to get the packs on their staff to use, learn and enjoy. We are currently working a new manual that should be done by the second week of February. We are also working on a new hang tag that will show the three basic techniques used to get the most out of these packs.

 

Edit: Forgot:

 

Suge, I wanted to conclude my post by thanking you for your feedback again. It's always useful. I hope that I have the opportunity to show you our packs again, and perhaps when I come out to the PNW in the early summer, I can personally show them to you and get your feedback. I'll gladly buy the beer!

 

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The new 30L is looking good. Estimated date FF will get some?

 

The new 30L's should arrive before the end of Feb, and I'll be sure to get a demo pack into FF's hands. I'll try to get them one after the show, but I can't promise it...

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I bought the 60L at FF tonight. It looks like a great pack, and while I would have preferred the 50L or 45L it was too nice of a pack to pass up. My other choice was the Osprey Atmos, and for climbing, I think there's really no comparison. I'm looking forward to putting a lot of time into this pack and I'll definitely post back about my thoughts.

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