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Perfect Climbing Pack from CiloGear

Alex Gauthier Alex Gauthier
Gear

Meet Your Ideal Alpine Climbing Pack– 30L WorkSack

CiloGear is a household name in many parts of the Pacific Northwest but the boutique brand’s name is spreading elsewhere as well. Cilo is known for its ultra-light customizable climbing packs. They are minimal and functional. Though the 30L WorkSack comes with a ton of straps, lids etc., like any other pack, it is left up to the user how they would like to configure their’s. You can easily ditch the hip belt, lid and even the foam back pad if you want an ultra-trim version. Need to carry skis? Throw on some straps to make packing them a cinch.

cilo gear on quandary

Photo Katrina Kiang

Though I use mine for most of my climbing trips in the alpine, I also find it makes a great ski pack. It’s simple, durable and effective. It’s become my go to pack for most everything I do in the mountains these days.

The 30L WorkSack rides naturally above my climbing harness which is a really big plus compared to so many climbing packs out there. The hip belt is thin but comfy. You won’t find a super thick ultra-plush hip belt like you’d see on something more for heavy loads. This is definitely an alpine climber’s pack. The shoulder straps are similarly spare but very appropriate for the pack’s intended purpose. I do not find either the hip belt or the shoulder straps to be uncomfortable in the least. They also have plenty of adjustability.

The 30L WorkSack’s main compartment is a simple bucket to shove gear into with a double draw string closure which comes in handy when the climbing pack is mostly empty. The fabric choices for the main compartment provide a great balance of durability and weight. I never worry about tears or damage when jamming cams, stoves etc inside. Within there is a load retention strap that you can use to make the load ride a little nicer but I don’t find myself using it.

It includes a small closed cell foam pad that slides into the back to create a frame sheet. The rigidity is nice but I appreciate it for winter ridge climbs here in Colorado so I can stick it on the ground if I hang out on an icy summit. If I were desperate, I suppose it would make an ok sleeping pad for an unexpected benighting. You could probably also put a water bladder in the pad’s place but I prefer water bottles, personally.

Cilo

Photo CiloGear

Though the pack comes with a decent lid, I opted not to have one for my pack. I appreciate the smaller size and would use a different pack if I wanted to carry more, anyway. Instead, I connect one of the included straps to tabs at the top of the lid to fasten a rope which goes on quickly. Simple, with neither muss nor fuss.

The only complaint I could offer for this climbing pack is that the strap configuration can be confusing when you first get a Cilo pack. Unlike most brands that have fixed configurations for various straps on the pack, Cilo leaves it up to you to move them around according to your needs. This is great but also means you have to figure that stuff out on your own. Luckily the company understands this and offers a series of short videos online to help you out. Once you get the basic idea for how they go together, you begin to appreciate the versatility of this design. You’ll definitely want to experiment and find out what works best for you.

Most light and fast types will probably gravitate towards the 30L WorkSack as an ideal climbing pack but CiloGear has many other options up to 65 liters and down to around 20 liters. The WorkSack line is mainly geared towards climbers but this Portland, Oregon based company also offers a line of urban, ski, and travel packs.

climbing pack

Photo CiloGear

Also notable about this company is the fact that they make all their products in the United States and take great pride in both craftsmanship and keeping their manufacturing here at home.These days, that’s a rare thing and something to be treasured and rewarded. If you’re looking for a new pack, especially for climbing or ski mountaineering you really ought to give their product a close look. Cilo builds packs according to demand so you’ll want to be aware that if you order a pack from them it may take a short time for them to put it together for you. Plan accordingly.

The pack weighs 2.18lbs if you put everything on it. You can strip it down fully to around 1.25lb.

Though, I received a discount on this product it was not given to me and I purchased it with my own hard earned cash.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier is the head adventure junky for Subaru Adventure Team and part time outdoor adventure photographer. His first love is climbing of any kind but can also be spotted on mountain bike trails or working on building sea kayaks which he may or may not ever get to paddle.
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