I have used a ‘duffle style’ backpack for years. I love the ‘stuff it’ packing style and the quick accessibility for times when I think I have forgotten something at the crag. However, over the past few years, I’ve had some trouble with my lower back when hiking to the crag. The pack that I’ve used in the past didn’t provide the support I needed for long hikes and I often ended up carrying my rope separately just to make room for all the hot/cold weather essentials. I needed something that was going to give me both the support for my lower back and the convenience of easy access. With this in mind, I decided it would be a great idea to check out Patagonia’s Crag Daddy Pack 45L.
As summer approaches, most of us with climbing goals more than 15 minutes from the road need a sturdy pack that can hold everything from pants and shorts, to a 70 meter rope, and all our climbing gear. The Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L features the support of a regular backpack with the convenience of two handles and a full length zipper. This bag proved reliable, providing comfort and support, enough room to hold our stuff, and convenience at the crag. Here is what we thought after our six week field test of this bag.
Review: Patagonia Crag Daddy 45L
To guide our review, we have broken the pack into its specific components to give you a full summary of its features.
In order to serve you the best, we have listed the items we used to test the pack. When buying a pack, it is essential that you know what can fit inside without having to bring all your stuff to the store. Here is what we packed:
-70 meter rope with rope tarp
-1 Grigri, 1 ATC, and 1 ascender
-2 pairs of climbing shoes
-1 chalk bag
-1 pair of pants
-1 light down jacket
-3 litres of water
-1 big lunch
The frame on the Crag Daddy pack is one of its major selling points. It is lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable. Because of this, it is almost a misnomer to put this pack into the ‘duffle’ bag category. This is a solid backpack frame and it responds that way when commuting to the crag. With a removable lightweight aluminum frame and Ergonomic Air Flow mesh straps, this backpack naturally moves with your body when hiking. It is by far one of the more comfortable day pack that we have used. It should be noted that the aluminum frame insert is also removable for washing so that when you put it back, it will give you the same feel as before.
Shape and Volume
This pack features a 45 litre main compartment that can hold all your essentials. Unlike your typical top-loading crag pack, the main compartment of this pack is an irregular shape, with the bottom of the pack shaped like a regular pack and then increasing its volume as you reach the top of shoulders. With this shape in mind, the pack lends itself to putting all your smaller gear at the bottom, such and shoes and harness etc, and then stuffing your rope in at the top for an easy fit. It also has a hook that can cinch the pack smaller for lighter loads and act as a top strap to hold a jacket or rope on the top of the bag for easy access.
The volume of this pack adds two litres to the Back Diamond ‘Demon’ Duffel and 10 litres to the Beal ‘Combi Cliff’ Rucksack if your are comparing duffle bags and falls right in the middle when comparing your typical crag pack. The Crag Daddy fits all the gear we used in our review with relative ease. However, we do think that two or three litres more could really put this pack into the sweet spot for carrying that four litre water jug. This being said, extra gear can be managed using the strap on the top of the bag and the side pockets that fit your typical two litre water bottle. If you are the type that loves to coil up your rope at the end of the day, you will really love this design.
Pockets and Accessibility
This pack gets full marks for accessibility. I don’t know how many times, when I am leaving the crag, that I have to stop and check if I remembered my shoes or my Grigri. With a long zipper that runs the length of the pack, looking to see if you forgot something is easy and once you experience this convenience there is no going back. The zipper seemed reliable every time without getting caught up and could withstand a lot of pressure when stuffing the pack full.
Pockets are always a personal preference. Some folks love a lot of little pockets and others want to throw everything they have in a big bag and get going. This pack meets both of these personalities right in the middle. With one big main compartment, you can throw everything in and quickly get going. The pack also features an inside ‘safety pocket’ to keep things secure, as well as an outer pocket that separates your wallet from your phone and adds a key clip, so you don’t have to hitch into town. This outside wallet pocket adds an extra convenience for all the times when you don’t want to unpack just to get your wallet. The two side pouches on this pack also come in very handy. The top of these pockets are made of tight, stretchy mesh material on top and solid cordura on the bottom to protect your belongings. Each pocket easily fits a typical two litre water bottle.
With a back panel that seems to naturally fit your torso and Ergonomic Air Flow mesh, this pack continues to provide comfort, even after hiking for long periods of time. The load straps on this pack are also easily accessible and can be re-adjusted to tighten a specific load.
The duffle style handles on the Crag Daddy could be more comfortable. Although this is a bit nitpicky, the handles on this pack are made of flat, sling-like material that lie flat on the pack and they are not as comfortable as the handles on other duffle style packs. This may be due, in part, to reduce the amount of space the handles sit out from the bag. It would be great to see these handles rounded out in later models to provide easier handling.
The testing period for this pack was six weeks and during that time, the pack held up to all conditions without any visible wear and tear. The Cordura fabric seemed durable and strong. All straps looked reinforced with no unusual pulling on the seems. After stuffing the pack for six weeks, the zipper continued to do its job. The only thing that may wear over time is the pull string attached to the ‘duffle’ zipper, but we do have it on good authority that these are easily replaceable at any Patagonia store. Overall, this pack held up to the test of repeated day crag-use again and again.
This pack looks good! Three different colours to choose from. The red and the blue are our favourite!
Overall, Patagonia’s Crag Daddy 45L is a sturdy backpack that will keep you coming back season after season. With all the great features of a ‘duffle’ combined with a solid frame, this pack is for everyone who likes to move with ease both on the approach the crag and when they get there. This bag gets top marks for comfort, a sturdy frame, and easy access. If we had to change anything about the pack, we would give it an extra three to five litres and add round inserts into the duffel bag handles for added comfort. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a pack with the accessibility of a duffle bag with the frame of a proper pack, then this bag is for you! Squamish Climbing Magazine recommends this bag.
-Super durable Cordura® nylon for puncture- and abrasion-resistance
-Massive main compartment has duffle-bag style opening making loading and unloading gear simple; zippered stash pocket for guide books; stretch mesh water bottle side pockets
-Side compression straps accommodate various loads
-Air Flow-mesh shoulder straps and back panel; padded waist strap; adjustable sternum strap; load lifters
-Large reinforced grab handles
-Internal stash pocket
-Body: 7.4-oz 630-denier nylon (50% recycled/50% high tenacity) plain weave with polyurethane coating. Base: 9.25-oz 940-denier 100% nylon Cordura® Ballistic with polyurethane coating. Both treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
-1190 g (2 lbs 10 oz)
-Made in the Philippines.
Price: $209.00 CAD Available at patagonia.com