Pack Envy

  • welcome to the Garble Base, an oft-times hard to read & comprehend style or type of communication that I excel at ("at which I excel", is better structure, technically )

    In the closet, I've got a pile of climbing sacks. Each one in a different state of worn glory, a few chew'd past usable (those dang varmints!)
    but most, 5 at least, are just old.

    There was a moment, it seems like just a few years ago when the 30-year-old bag I was using brought a few smiles from painful jibes:
    ~ "Hey look, mom, the same pack grandma has on in that picture of you & her~ from back when you were 14, too !" !

    IMG_5711 (2)RPU-1.JPG

    The day led to a gig; 4 weekends worth of top roping and some climbing to get the funhog family ready to visit Yosemite.
    I used the promise of more; ~Getting paid to do what I love~ to buy a new version of the same trusty design of pack I have mostly used.

    A Black Diamond "Stone45".("rope bag" not a "duffle" style)
    That I use for 'shoulder' & winter season climbing, when I want to have a full shell & food/water/(stove)
    As you see

    a black, small. The color is a drawback, one of 5 or 6 that are minor.

    I recommend you do the modifications before you use the pack.
    IMG_5645 (2)RPU-2.JPG

    I remember the nervous moments when I stripped the Stone45 down to its 'fighting weight'.
    I had some concerns about whether if, once taken apart,
    would I be able to put it back together or if I was about to wreck it?
    One need not worry about removing the 4.5-inch wide, pre-curved load-transferring hip stabilizer 'belt'.
    This 'pvc-type' flexible plastic 'stiffener' is slotted through the bottom of the sack.
    Then, held in place by a generous patch of velcro & the just under 2inch wide web belt, so it takes some force to remove.
    Going for it, then right away, putting it back, gave me a heads-up; I got to know how it worked, & a feel for the limits of the Stones construction.

    Beyond the color, It is now available in a stone grey called "Nickle" as well as red.
    The biggest draw 'back'(pun intended) is the seam across the back at the bottom of the bag.
    That seam will, over time, wear out. It is prone to collecting dirt & grit.
    Also, due to the location where it rubs against your back, it absorbs sweat, exacerbating the problem.
    I found that a Neoprene/nylon cloth knee strap fit perfectly. Have it professionally sewn on 1st, before you do anything else.
    IMG_6164 (2)RPU-2.JPG

    While this creates 2 new seams, the move in the location & redundancy (protecting the structural seam),
    should add years of protection to the original structural seam & so more years of fun-ction.

    The pack has a short extendable collar with a one-hand adjustable, draw-string sinch-top,
    that I know better than to trust and take care not to yard on.
    The drawcord is only held in place by one flimsy 'tack'.

    The cut of the pack, narrow at the bottom, combined with 4 compression straps,
    allows it to ride high enough above a harness to be able to climb while wearing it.
    There is a 5/8th's long side zipper, adjustable sternum strap with a dual density foam back-
    that is paired with a very stiff removable back panel that is responsible for providing a great carry when fully loaded.
    The complete pack weighs in at a very reasonable 1.45 kg / 3.3 ozs pounds. on average

    Because my world is not flat, & I spend some of my time ascending steep gullies
    up small rugged mountainsides,
    where I & the pack need to be able to be clipped-in:
    & I did not trust the ribbons, that are used for grab loops(Blue Loop)
    IMG_6168 (2)RPU-2.JPG

    I found that I needed to build a harness system for the pack.
    I did this by threading cord thru tubular webbing & then passing this doubled-up 'harness' through every slot
    and around the shoulder yoke arriving -finally- with a bit of a 'Frankenstein'.
    I mostly do full days & remove the fancy pre-curved Hip support & large double pocket "Brain";
    Stripped to fighting weight.
    IMG_6173 (2)RPU-2.JPG
    The working result,!
    while not as streamline as it could be, had I had it professionally modified,
    it's fine for my uses.
    It can be found at very affordable prices online, on sale ,
    & from Black Diamond

  • @The-Gnome

    Nice review of pros, cons, weaknesses and how to address for the DIY'ers.

    This pack would not be my cup of tea but I do have a battered old Chouinard rig from bitd that served me well. And yep, rodents finally got it. Wasn't even any food to be had but they'd been pretty well "educated" by the onslaught of bumblies from the inside hittin' the crags.


    Freakin' near busted a guy on that one. The "LeCrevasse" bit almost put the coffee up my nose. 🤣

  • @MisterE
    damn ya` you svelt Cali-boiz almost NSFW!

    for the luv-a-GotD, Seems they coulda`
    made it more relatable if they used a body with some meat or clothes on
    Snicker/Gawfah-ha #dionkin'-ina-Leopard-skin-speedo,

    If I had to go with only one bag?
    One sack to bind them, One sack to carry all of the _-it,
    Blank It,
    One Haul Bag to rule them all?
    It would be an Atom Smasher Deluxe,
    (insert most likely trademarked, copyrighted picture of a bag)
    , that has the word Deluxe in its name, that's "Marketing genius" right there
    & reason enough to buy one-

    A Fish-ee* thing(not yet trademark'd?)
    that I used to have* & I miss, so only love from afar. (*A story there)
    At just over a hundred bucks, If I could justify it That's what I'd get, ~YMMV~

    Of course, I'm basically a Crag Rhat, so my bags are more geared to that.
    Black Diamond; so from '85?
    (Fritz? can you look to see what year, it also came in black)
    IMG_5640 (2)RPU-4.JPG
    Son of Crag

    Double Lined Inside
    IMG_5639 (4)RPU.JPG

  • Great, Great Grand Pappy of Crag 😉


  • Dolt Rope Bag,

    IMG_5663 (3)RPU.JPG

    Dig the Groovy Seatbelt Webbing

  • @MisterE

    LOL! Le Crevasse

    Help me--my eyes are bleeeeeeeeeding!!!!!

    Where do you find these things? Too damn funny!

  • @The-Gnome

    Hmmm... memory is hazy on this one but iirc, Chouinard Equipment became Black Diamond circa late 80's, early 90's following that Bridwell guiding incident, ensuing lawsuit, and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization into the resulting employee owned Black Diamond? 🤔

  • @toby said in Pack Envy:


    Hmmm... memory is hazy on this one but iirc, Chouinard Equipment became Black Diamond circa late 80's, early 90's following that Bridwell guiding incident, ensuing lawsuit, and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization into the resulting employee owned Black Diamond? 🤔

    Yes . . . . . . . umm. . .

    Show your own old bagz !

    • Trying to stoke the flames in search of information here on the pages of Redpoint Univesity

  • The "Kevlar" version of the Chouinard 'Crag-daddy'

    112433 (2).jpg

  • A picture of a "From Ray Olson's Garage"
    "FROG" pack that was ahead of its time.
    No lightweight, these sturdy mini haulers were
    the forerunner of all the overbuilt packs
    that would dominate the scene for 30 years.
    Be sure to read Roy McClenahan's excellent profile
    of 'FROG'.
    "Ray's Red Truck"
    is Roy's; ("Tarbuster" of ST fame)
    current contribution to 'The Climbing Zine #16' (July 2019)

    The knock-off of the FROG. Made in collaboration &
    Ray's initial contribution to Gregory's line of packs

    Front_Top (3).jpg
    "The Big Wally" crag sack.

    Back_Top (3).jpg

  • @The-Gnome

    Is Gregory still extant? Knew some folks who were friends of his back in my SD days. They were short people Guinea pigs so we got to eyeball some early models. College student budget precluded indulging my fantasies of owning one until years later.

    Wayne made some dandy backpacks before he sold out to Black Diamond. Turned out to not be a good addition to their stable so BD then sold to Samsonite. Shortly thereafter I needed some warranty work on my trusty Palisade. Alas, trying to deal with Samsonite was like pulling eye teeth. After a few rounds of back and forth they won the war of attrition and I gave up on the repair. Actions are loud and Samsonite's screamed they had no intention of honoring the lifetime warranty. Drove it down to REI, related the story and they cheerfully refunded. Last I bothered to check REI had dropped Gregory's line.

  • @toby
    You know more than I.

    Hat's off to you too, to have had the justification to ever own a Gregory.

    They often added a cool $100 to designs that other companies like Lowe or Wildthings also made.

    Whether there was that sort of added value or not, one could almost always duplicate the user experience for less.
    IMG_6448 (2)_420x808.JPG

    • I did learn that there was a difference in the comfort of the carry of the largest packs.

    IMG_6450 (2)_330x600.JPG
    IMG_6440 (3)_440x811.JPG

    I never had a new one,

    but often got to try them when their spoiled owners left them for me to retrieve.

  • @The-Gnome Suspect the premium may have been associated w/the "Lifetime Warranty". Once upon a time was stellar but since watered down to meaningless since they can pretty much attribute anything they so desire, in their sole judgement, to "normal wear and tear".

    Since posting that up last night I checked and they seem to be back in biz in SLC. Would never buy another though cuz.... screw me once, shame on you, screw me twice, shame on me.

    I was into backpacking. And like craggin', I favored ever longer and longer trips to "the outside". Enjoyed some extended twelve to fourteen day solos. Food weight for such is not insignificant so you needed a "heavy hauler". Replaced the Gregory with an Osprey. The Gregory was a better fit for me but the Osprey is made better. Also has a "fer' reals" no hassle, lifetime warranty.

  • I've had this Gregory pack for about 15 years. A Santa Cruz yard sale find. We've been through a lot together! Good day pack but I'm not too fond of zippered packs, which is now faulty. The strap stitching came apart, so now it's a fixed length strap

    I've had the Mountainsmith for about 8 years. Craigslist, $10. It gets used a lot. I have the top-compartment somewhere. A bit on the small side for me but if it's not max-loaded, it works.







  • @The-Gnome Had one of those for 3 or 4 seasons, until worn. Sold it and bought a Mountainsmith. Once the Mountainsmith was worn about like yours, sold that one too. Finally got a Dana Design Alpine.
    pack 1.jpg

  • @risk I take it you liked the Dana Design and kept it? Must have been some while ago? Or did you but it used?

    Between the Dana and Gregory's the latter provided a bit better fit for my body type. Sad that my Palisade would not be warrantied. Would have been a fairly easy repair for those w/the proper materials.

    After selling Dana Designs and... waiting.. and waiting... for the non compete clause to expire, he got into making packs again. Initially for an under served but well budgeted niche: hot shot crews and such. Fighting forest fires is big business. These things "revolutionized" hot shot crew a "kits" and he expanded to targeting military use stuff, and game hunter specialized packs before finally getting around to making boring old backpacking packs again. Then turned his sights to skiing, ice climbing. Various other Bozone outdoor fun hog activities to follow. Yeah, so he specialized some specialized gear tweaks for under served but prime fer' the pluckin' niches there. Smart.

    All this featured "Made in U.S.A." by Bozeman, MT locals. Until... demand just became too much and now most all has subsequently been outsourced. Yeah, one of his kids is also running things nowadays. Anyways... some damn fine packs. I had an opportunity to walk around a bit w/an earlier version of one of these puppies. I guess the patent expired on the Terraplane name and they're leveraging that legacy again as well?

    Anyways, that puppy was Made in U.S.A. and $550 and I didn't have it to spare at the time. But I sure wanted it. 😉

    Not so sure would feel same now that not Made in U.S.A. Yeah, I do try to keep US workers workin'... Especially when it comes to "wants not needs". Uhh... did I mention that I sure wanted it?

    Meanwhile back at the ranch... I'd used to refund to replace the failed Palisade w/an 90l Opsrey heavy hauler.


    I've had some ankle issues that precluded me from using this one much but it's a nice pack. 'Twixt it and the Mystery Ranch Terraplane? Hmm... comparable price wise. I'd have to side by side current incantations. Recollection is that the Mystery Ranch heavy haulers were built pretty bomb proof, and weighed in commensurately. Which I am fine w/because I'd rather carry a couple extra pounds than risk a fragile pack. From the fancy whiz bang website pics, it looks as if they've lightened things up a bit. Both use a similar adjustable yoke and frame system wh/I never quite got used to - lot's of miles under the Palisade and these definitely have a different "carry" to them. Maybe even more comfortable, but I need to log a couple hundred miles w/each before I could do a proper "gear review".

    I shall say this: That sleeping bag compression compartment on the "Terraplane" is pretty sweet. 😜

  • I confess to having suffered in the mountains with a pack that was featured in an
    Alpinest Magazine photo & article.
    Jensen pack photo of mine from Alpinest mag..JPG

    The Jensen pack was invented by legendary alpinest Don Jensen in the late 1960's & its first commercial production was by Larry Horton & his Rivendell Pack Works in the tiny town of Victor, Idaho. My Moscow Idaho outdoor store sold them in the mid-1970's.

    A 1976 photo of me leading Cascade Coloir near Banff with my lightly-packed Jensen.

    ![0_1569375741294_Ray Cascade coloir 1976 small.JPG](Uploading 100%)

    ![0_1569385383050_Ray Cascade coloir 1976 small.JPG](Uploading 100%)

    The Jensen pack did not have a frame & took it's rigidity from being tightly stuffed with gear. Usually a down sleeping bag went in the lower compartment, which then hugged your hips nicely. Filling Jensen Packs was an art & took some time, but it carried close to your back & did transfer some of its weight nicely to a hipbelt. Since the concept was never patented, soon similar packs competed for its market, the Chouinard Ultimate Thule & Yakpack, among others.

    By the late 1970's internal frame packs that carried pretty well & were much easier to fill, had pretty-much killed the Jensen Pack market, although a Washington company still sells them.

  • Gnome: first pic in your initial post. Bolt chopping or replacement?

  • Previously posted elsewhere TNF Back Magic:


Log in to reply