Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pack it up I'll take it

This blog is about gear and good times. I will admit, I enjoy my gear a lot given how seldom I actually get out. I enjoy it's functionality and aesthetic qualities. I seem to have inflicted this on my young son, who at 7 has no less than 4 packs in steady rotation. Eyes have been known to roll in our household, and I will admit to actively considering how I can sell some of my dozen or so sacks, if I can bear to part with them.

The oldest are a Wild Things Andinista, a great classic which got use from winter camping trips to the north face of Pitchoff in the Adirondacks and some alpine work up on Cannon in New Hampshire. It was even used a bit as a haul bag and bivy sack when needed. Then there is a Fish haul bag. Not sure why I got it, because I know squat about aid climbing, but it was on sale for less than $50 and seemed like it might have a role over time. That role has been largely storage. Then there is a Dana Designs Arcflex, probably 70 liters, likely last used for canoe camping where size matters and weight is no object.

In recent years, mostly cragging on rock and ice and occasionally skiing, the range has narrowed much in line with the activities. I mostly use packs by Randy Rackliff of, a really outstanding maker of climbing-specific packs. I have a Valdez which is about 15 years old (no worse for wear, if not very waterproof anymore), a Chernobyl which I sold to my cousin Joe who has older style, straight shaft tools which fit in the old tube-style axe holders, a custom Chaos I bought from Dane Burns, and a new custom Ozone which is longer in the back and has simple ice tool attachments, per Dane & Ryan This recently caused a friendly guide at the Gunks to snicker 'That's a custom Cold Cold World pack, isn't it'. Guilty.

I have recently also has occasion to use an overnight pack for ski camping and ski mountaineering. I've used an old Black Diamond 55 liter item (gray, can't recall the name) which has generally been great. I did go through the bottom in JTree when foolishly using it there years back. I've got a new Hyperlight Mountaineering 3400 Ice pack which I plan to put through it's paces up on Mt. Washington this winter and have high hopes for on a weight to performance ratio. There are also occasions when I need a small ski pack (Camp, or BD Avalung, both around 20 liters or less) or just a plain daypack (I really like the REI 18 liter glorified stuff sack, which has been useful in many circumstances when I might not otherwise have had a pack. Finally I've got an old BD fanny pack which works just fine for that.

If there is anyone out there who would be interested in some used (some lightly, some heavily) packs, I'm in treatment and would welcome your assistance.