CiloGear is a pack company based in Portland, Oregon that focuses on making high end packs for alpinists, and anyone else who appreciates a good sturdy and versatile rig. I got my hands on one to test out for a month, and I was thoroughly impressed. In fact, I’d probably have to say it’s the nicest carrying pack I’ve ever used.
I tried out the 45L WorkSack, which is designed as a workhorse pack for people going fast and light in the mountains. Apparently it has appeared frequently in Alpinist Magazine, and numerous Patagonia catalog shots. I, of course, prefer my recreation to be, well, a little more recreational, so I simply used it for cragging and route development. I did test it with a bunch of heavy stuff, including a drill, bolts and ropes, and it carried like a dream. The internal frame was light yet sturdy and I was impressed with how well it handled the load every time I went out with all my gear.
I like packs that let me fit everything inside, I don’t like walking around with stuff strapped to the outside or swinging around. The 45L seemed to be a good size for this, and if you extend the collar, you can actually get 75L of space out of it! I generally use a Metolius Quarter Dome as my cragging pack, since I can just throw everything in and it’s good to go, but I found myself reaching for this pack more and more, as it just carried so darn well.
I don’t have much of anything negative to say about this pack, perhaps my only complaint was their adjustable strap system is a little confusing at first. Basically, this pack is set up so that you can add compression straps how you see fit, and use the pack in any configuration that you like. I’m sure the alpine crowd loves this, but for general use, I just went with a standard set up, once I figured out how it worked.
Bottom line, this is an incredibly solid pack. The materials, the workmanship, everything is top notch. Plus, it’s built in Portland, Oregon, so if you buy one, you’re stimulating the economy! Also, the packs are built when ordered, so there is a several day delay between the time you order one, and the time it ships, but that’s a small price to pay for such high quality. Also, the prices are very reasonable, and are comparable to what you’d pay for other high end packs, except these aren’t mass produced by some ten year old in China.
Next time I need a new pack, CiloGear is going to be a the top of my list.