Lucky me! I recently received a new multipitch bag from Trango. And let me tell you, I had no idea how much difference a little bag like that could make. I’ve yet to have been lucky enough to take it out on any crazy alpine expeditions or anything crazy yet. However, my partner and I did pass it off a few times on a 14 pitch day in Tahquitz last weekend and my girlfriend got well acquainted with it following up Fingertrip. Among these 18 pitches were finger cracks, hand cracks, off-width, chimneying and of course (thank you Tahquitz) slab. I feel as though between the three us we were able to climb a couple different styles and get a good, solid feel for the bag.
The Trango Ration Pack
Before the Trango Ration, I was using whatever lightweight bag (with a zipper) that I could get my hands on. This isn’t the worst way to go and can teach you a little about minimizing your needs. But still, I’m pretty grateful to have a new one with some bells and whistles. Such as:
- A weight of 16 ounces including the 4.5 oz removable haul bag
- 11.5 ounces for just the pack (in case you hate math)
- Approach shoe attachment to save interior space
- Removable and replaceable cover for protection on crux pitch hauls
- Volume expansion sleeve for easier access at hanging belays
- Single ice axe attachment
- Two small internal pockets and one bladder sleeve
- Comfortable fit with adjustable sternum strap and low-profile, removable hip belt
- 18L volume
- Can easily fit a tagline, water, food, and shoes on the outside clips
The actual pack weight of 11.5oz makes it one of the lightest bags on the market, beaten out only by the 10oz REI Flash. The Flash, though it weighs almost nothing, doesn’t really have much else going for it. The Rations approach shoe attachment doesn’t use the greatest clips in the world (they say they’re rated for 100lbs) but they do clear a good amount of space in the bag. The only issue with them is getting things on and off is a tad of a pain. Bright side? Your shoes aren’t going to fall off of them. We also shoved one pair of shoes in the bag old school style and it still had a lot of room.
My personal (unbiased) opinion
My favorite thing about the bag (other than the weight) was the low-profile hip belt, and the interior pockets. The bag was able to comfortably be strapped around my waist while staying out of the way of my harness and chalk bag. My partner did complain that it sat a tad low for him at first. However, a minor adjustment to the shoulder straps moved it up and out of the way just fine. The interior pockets were able to keep essential goods (a flask of scotch and some snacks) near the top of the bag and easy to access when needed.
The only thing I would want to add would be an exterior pocket. Not only is it convenient for holding small things you want quick access too, but it is almost essential for picking up trash on your decent/hike back. I was forced to shove bar wrappers and beer cans in the main pouch like a common plebian. Overall though, I would 100% recommend the bag to anyone.
It has almost perfect scores in the two most important categories to me, weight and comfortability.
Multipitch bags aren’t your jam? (climbing pun)
I personally have been getting more and more into the freedom of simply filling your pockets and clipping all your needs to your harness. There is a pretty cool blog post from Arc’teryx about ditching the bag completely if you’re into that sort of thing. I think I will continue to use the pack for now though. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear about how you personally multipitch or alpine with or without a pack.