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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Monday, January 10, 2011

My climbing pack?

I have gotten a number of emails asking me to be more specific on my own climbing pack design that Randy sews for me @ Cold Cold World.

These are the specs off the Spectra Ripstop version of the Ozone:

Pack weighs in at less than 1.5 #. Material is Spectra ripstop. Shoulder harness is off a full size CCW pack for the extra padding required on heavier loads. Some where above a 35L in my 21" back size.

Pack weight goes up as you add material weight.  Same pack in the red ballistics nylon shown in the pictures is 2.5#.   Better weigh your own pack if the maker published the weight.  I found one of the current manufactures a full 1/2#  heavier than advertised on their "2 LB" 210d Dyneema Ripstop, 30L sack with a 17" back panel.  I use a quality digital postal scale which seems to help.  My packs have a 21" back panel and the weights published above are those pack's actual weights in Spectra and Ballistics nylon.  No gimics.

Custom sizing (which everyone should do if it is available to you)
custom pattern originally based on the Ozone size but with a bigger more oblong bottom
2 liter+ water bottle size top pocket
2nd zippered pocket in bottom of the lid with key holder
Zippers reversed on the pockets for use on hanging belays
pull down shoulder straps instead of "pull up"
main bag has a zippered "guide book" pocket...I use it for food and a head lamp generally
covered lid buckle which protects it while being hauled
removable foam pad
oversize shoulder straps for the extra weight when required
Perlon haul loop which is easier to clip on and off the anchor in difficult stances
dbl strap patches on lid  (which I have yet to  use but couldn't live with out)
dbl rope straps across the top of the pack, attaches ropes or tools just as easily
dbl bottom
10" extension with draw string
lid is extendable and or removable
bar tacked daisy chain on the bottom of the lid strap

There are no other attachment points on the pack...everything including, helmet, tools and crampons go inside the pack.  You are forced to pack light.

I generally climb with the pack without the lid.  If the lid is attached, it is likely stuck down inside the pack while climbing.

I've been using this "same" pack for years in many different and seemingly unlikely places.  Randy's version is the best of those packs for my own use.

Sitting on a similar sized pack, during a quick ascent of the West Buttress of Denali in the late 70's, using three pin skinny skis below 11K.

Bottom pattern shape we ended up using for more comfort and volume is the larger orange pack.   Shown with an earlier smaller CCW prototype.

Final pattern for the bottom panel of these packs.

Internal, 8" x9"  pocket in the main sac.  The higher, second zipper is the foam pad pocket.

Sewn on Ozone lid and an the extendable lid version I prefer with Velcro showing on the right.

Loaded and slightly extended, with tools strapped across the top under the lid.  The tools also easily fit inside the pack as hard as that may be to believe.

In all the pack is very simple.  But it is the detailing and attention to details when it is being sewn that makes the pack so awesome for my own use.  The internal pocket for a bit of food or gel and a head lamp as an example,  the extra thick, full size shoulder straps, the easily accessed and manipulated haul loop, the clean design when you need to haul, the easy extendable or removable lid, the small unpadded wings to give extra support on the hip belt when needed with heavier loads.
who, what and where:
Randy Rackliff  @ Cold Cold World  603 383 9021


Anonymous said...

Does it come with rope strap or do you put rope inside? Why not just ask CCW to sewn on ice tools holders?

Dane said...

I have two rope straps sewn on. Generally I'll put ropes on top of the pack or ropes and my tools.

Just depends how much you are packing. I've also put everything including the ropes (twins) in the pack.

I prefer a clean pack as they last longer if you have to haul them. So no tool, crampon or ski attachments. It is an acquired taste.

Anonymous said...

Question for you- I've been thinking about using your pattern at CCW to sew a pack for me. Why did you go with the tear drop/pear shape as opposed to the cylindrical shape that the Ozone has? Also, how do you think the oblong shape would for a tall thin person? And, did you have Randy make a pack for you in red Cordura or the gray/black pattern rip stop I see in this blog entry? Thanks! Brian

Dane said...

I have found the pear shape carries much better. Took me using the original Ozone pattern for a while to realise that fact.

The real trick is to get the pack to fit you. Order the right size to fit your back. If you do that the pear shape will carry better.

I had a friend recently tell me that he wanted a climbing pack to carry above his harness. I don't. I do want my climbing pack to carry well with or without a harness on. I seldom (if ever) use a waist belt when climbing but do use the sternum strap. But going in and out of climbs I do use the waist belt.

I have both a red codura pack and a black rip stop one in the exact same patetrn. Worse yet I have another one on order in a different fabric, yet to be delivered ;-).

kinsan said...

Thanks Dane! You rock! Yeah, I have been experimenting with various packs over the years and I'm still looking for "the one." Thanks for the tips, I'm going to have Randy sew one in the standard red with the larger bottom as you suggested. I'll let you know how it works out. I may have him had some compression straps- I often don't carry a full load and don;t want it flopping around. Thanks! Brian

brian p. harder said...

Shit, Dane. I had no idea Randy was still making packs. Nice surprise, really.

I guided Denali with a Chaos, if you can believe that. One day moving from 14K to 17K with clients whining and falling apart and me taking shit out of their packs until they would move, I probably had 100 lbs on that thing. All I know is that I could not get off the ground without someone pulling me up. That's HEAVY!

I used some after market Dana Design side pockets to increase room. Seemed abusive to me and the pack but the thing held up. Solid work.

Cole Nelson said...

Hello Dane,
Enjoying your blog. I have some questions for you. Unfortunately I have been unable to play around with any of the cold cold world or blue ice packs, but am looking at them for my new mountaineering pack. Previously I've just been hauling things in with my old green monster 100+ L Lowe Alpine and stripping it down, compressing as much as possible, and climbing with a baggy mass. Not the most stylish, but cheaper than buying a new pack and it gets the job done. So, no matter what I get it'll be in an improvement while climbing.

I've got a fun year planned, AK for the summer, PNW for the fall, first trip to Chamonix in the winter, and hopefully cordillera blanca next summer. I need a new pack or two....


How small does the chernobyl get when fully compressed/tightened down?

I like the Blue Ice and Cold Cold World designs...what are your thoughts on chernobyl vs BI 45 L for a multi day pack?

Same question for the BI 30 L, BI warthog, and CCW Valdez and ozone?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Dane said...

Hey Cole, I'd suspect you'll need a couple of packs. I would anyway for what you have planned. Best to just compare the sizes and volumes of what is available and what you think you'll need.

Get very big (over 45/50l) and you'll simply have a nice back packing rig not a climbing pack.

Josh Allred's Blog said...

Like this pack. You may of convinced me. I work in the outdoor industry and get deals. With that being said I would be very happy to pay full price on these packs if they live up to what you say. I have gone through TWO BD packs in two seasons. My newest pack only made it three months! I like BD but there packs are not living up to par imo. I will have to call Randy.

What do you do if you carry a picket with the ozone? I sometimes carry them on routes.

Great post!

Dane said...

Randy's packs are a screaming deal. Besides being the best packs made at the matter the cost. He charges about 1/2 of what I think they are worth. So everyone gets a Pro deal from CCW.

Pickets on a Ozone? Either have Randy add straps to your pack to carry them or slide them inside. Either way works fine for me.

Josh Allred's Blog said...

I completely agree with ya. The pack price on CCW is incredible! It is refreshing to see a company like CCW. Especially when packs are starting to cost over $700!!! What the heck??? If you are not getting what you need the first time around you will just have to buy a new pack in a couple months when you realized that I have made a mistake (again). Ive learned that the hard way. Ive had lots of different packs and none of them have worked out in the last year and half. I would be glad to pay full price IF IT IS THE RIGHT PACK. Im very excited to switch over to CCW. With dealing with different vendours customers service is HUGE for me. It keeps me going back to the same companies.

Just out of curiosity what is your favorite of the two ozone sytle custom packs you have. My wife will only let me get one ;)

I try to do a lot of mountaineering when time allows it. Im thinking of getting the Chaos for approaches and an Ozone on summit days, alpine excursions and ice climbing crag days.


Anonymous said...

just saw this via supertopo. have a chaos AND chernobyl. best packs ever-chernobyl is perfect for any alpine climbs with Bivys, and the chaos is a great pack for longer backpacking trips with a lot of 4 and 5th classing. Did a 10 day, hunred mile loop in yellowstone, climbed over 15 peaks in 3 days with that thing. Love it!

Brian said...

I got all psyched to grab myself a new, custom CCW pack, but it sounds like Randy is getting out of the business of customizations, at least for those of us out of the loop. What a shame...

Dane said...

Not surprised. While it lasted Randy was offering the best bang ever for fully custom packs. His production packs are of equal quaility. And I suspect he will still leave things off (which is what I always wanted) any standard model he makes. IMO still the best climbing packs made. Glad I have the ones I do own.

Brian said...

Yeah, I totally get it, but now I'm torn as to whether one of the production packs will be the right one for me. The Ozone doesn't have a removable lid, and the Valdez seems like it might be a little bigger than what I'm looking for (plus no leashless tool attachment, but I'm trying to open my mind to the thought of keeping tools inside the pack).

A friend had good things to say about the Cilo 30L, so I'm tempted to give that one a try.

Dane said...

No more Ozones with a removable lid? Really? That is dissappointing.

Brian said...

Well, that's the standard setup. I didn't specifically ask about having only that modification. Maybe I should call and ask nicely for very basic mods...

Dane said...

A smile and a pretty face always goes a long ways :)

Matt said...

Randy has always hooked up a slight modification like a removeable lid on the Ozone, and extra strap here or a double bottom for a small fee. Many of the guides in the Mount Washington Valley are wearing his packs.

Unknown said...

Hey Dane,

Love the blog! Just had a few follow up questions regarding the Ozone and would be soooo appreciative if you could take a minute or two to respond!

-Can you tell me a little bit more about your choosing of the bottom pattern? Does the oblong pattern simply just allow for more space?

- I am 5'11 and maybe even 6'' on a good day. I'd like the pack to ride at the hips, I am thinking 19.5-20" as a back size since that is my typical. Which do you think effects randy's sizing more? back length or bottom pattern (oblong vs the normal narrower)?

-Can the standard lid of the Ozone hold 2L or did you ask Randy to make it bigger?

-Do you think that the Ozone is true to size meaning that it can hold 38 L without much cramming? Or would you say it holds more so along the lines of 30, 25, or 18L's? Is it as spacious as it looks for being such a durable and I imagine stiff daypack?

-When ya fill the pack up to its full capacity do ya ever wish for load lifters or would you say the weight transfer feels fine since its made to sit close the back?

Thank you so much for taking a minute to answer some of these nit-picky questions!!!!!

Dane said...

Thanks David,

> Love the blog!

> -Can you tell me a little bit more about your choosing of the bottom
> pattern? Does the oblong pattern simply just allow for more space?

Happy to but Randy is likely the guy that should be answering.
Some extra space. But I am convinced the pattern carries better because
it fits your back and hips better than a square which how the standard
Ozone is made pretty much.

> Which do you think effects randy's sizing more? back length or bottom
> pattern (oblong vs the normal narrower)?

back size for sure...on any pack.

> -Can the standard lid of the Ozone hold 2L or did you ask Randy to make it
> bigger?

He ahs just made bigger lids for me.

> -Do you think that the Ozone is true to size meaning that it can hold 38 L
> without much cramming?

no clue on that one sorry

>Is it as spacious as it looks for being such a durable
> and I imagine stiff daypack?

Fabric defines these packs in some ways. Stiff fabric. Stiff pack. I
use the black Kevlar rip stop.. It is not stiff.

I only used a standard Ozone for a short while prior to asking Randy to
make me a bunch of custom packs. Sold the Ozone once the first one

> -When ya fill the pack up to its full capacity do ya ever wish for load
> lifters or would you say the weight transfer feels fine since its made to
> sit close the back?

seems fine to me but I don't carry a lot either. 35/40# max usually much,
much less. 20/25# is better.


stevemcgee99 said...

"Zippers reversed on the pockets for use on hanging belays"

I have been looking at the photos and don't see what you mean by this - unless you mean reversed position as in from bottom to top. The stock lids are smaller on the Ozone, so maybe you just asked to have the zipper higher than lower?

I'd expect 'reversed' to mean the zipper is across the front, so when clipped to an ancho with the back against the wall, you can open the lid pocket. My Karrimor is like that.

Dane said...

Hi Steve,

Typically the top lid to a pack has the zipper close to your head. If the pack is hanging and you open the pack, and flip the lid back, then the lid is hanging down and the zipper is now covered and unusable.

stevemcgee99 said...

So then I don't understand how the zipper is reversed. From a lower position to a higher position?
Left to right it's the same as the CCW photos of a stock pack.

By the way I was looking at the Black Diamond Blitz packs and they're on the same lines as this legacy of climbing packs you talk about. Although made of pretty flimsy material. Comments in reviews of the Blitz mostly focus on how well it wears while climbing.

Dane said...

There is a zipper on the bottom of the lid that allows access to the entire pocket when the lid is open and flipped back that allows easy access to the entire pocket contents. More typically that same zipper would only allow access to a smaller "map" pocket" on the bottom of the lid instead of the entire contents of the lid. Eventually I ended up using an even more simple pack with no lid but a draw cord extension top.

stevemcgee99 said...

OK, that makes sense. My chouinard packs have that feature.