Wednesday 23 February 2011

Testing Testing!

The Crag Attack in use on Finnisg-aig Falls
As it is after a hard year
The adjustable 'rails' for chest straps. Current versions have stops on the end to prevent the strap sliding off
For most of the last year I've been using a Crag Attack 42 rucksack on test from Lowe Alpine. I hadn't used a Lowe pack for some years after seeing some of their back systems on expedition packs but I've been very pleasantly surprised by this sac. I've used it on Cuillin Ridge traverses, days out personal climbing and instructing in both summer and working and for mountaineering days like Tower Ridge it quickly became the first bag I reached for.
Here are the specs from Lowe:
"The Crag Attack has been revised for this year. It still offers fantastic value for money and is a great pack for all-round climbing.

Key Features and Benefits:
• Padded hipbelt with gear loops
• Adaptive Fit harness and top tensioners ensuring great fit for maximum carrying comfort

Additional Features:
Lid with external pocket and twin buckle closure; Chest strap with whistle; Haul loop; Front elastic cord; Wand pockets; Side compression with quick release buckle; system for carrying Skis; Twin ice axe/trekking pole fittings; Hydration compatible; Key clip.

Load zone:
11-16kg / 24-35lb
820 grams"
So what did I like/dislike? I'm a huge fan of simplicity in the mountains. I want a light tube which carries well with a lid on it and a couple of compression straps. Anything else in a climbing sac is extra weight and a gimmick. And that's what this bag delivers. I found the profile narrow but not too tall for the size, the hipbelt padded but slim with 2 gear loops that sit in the right place on my hips. The zip pocket on top of the lid was a good size and the second one underneath well sized for valuables. The compression straps were long enough for a thin mat for Cuillin traverses although the wand pockets are (as often seems to be the case) just a little too slim for an axe and a pole when the bag is full. The chest strap is on 'rails' so that it slides up and down easily when you want to adjust its height. I've had 2 packs with this system and a word of caution; if the manufacturer doesn't put 'stops' on the end of the rail the chest strap may slide right off and is then almost impossible to get back on. Fortunately the Crag Attack DOES come with stops to prevent the chest strap coming off the rails. In terms of durability the bag has had a serious beating but despite the fact that it is nice and light is showing no more than a little abrasion. Those of you who know me will attest that I'm not gentle on my kit but this pack has lasted well.
So a light, simple, well priced climbing sack for day use in summer and winter. I wish more manufacturers would ditch the gimmicks (sorry 'features') and make something like this.


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