The North Face is a well-known brand on the outdoor market. However, I didn’t discover until very recently that they have a dedicated climbing line of products. At first, I didn’t feel compelled to look into it, as I thought only climbing-specific brands would know what I was looking for, but I was wrong…
After much research online for the perfect cragging backpack, I got myself a Cinder 40.
“Our new, versatile 40-liter climbing pack is fully dialed for a day at the crag. This top-loading pack is constructed to stand up on its own and has a roll-top, so you can access and organize gear quickly. Removable hip belt and frame sheet.”
I have to say, the pack looks pretty sexy. The shape is unlike any other packs on the market, which is refreshing, and the fact that it doesn’t feature any zips (apart from the stash pocket one) is reassuring – zips are always a weak point and the first thing to break.
The 840D PU-coated nylon material is very tough, which means it will last for a long time and withstand sharp rocks and thorny bushes. At 1460g, it manages to be tough without being bulky and heavy.
This has been my main cragging backpack for about a month and a half now. The size, 40 liters, is perfect for a day of trad climbing. I manage to fit in it:
- abseiling and belaying gear
- chalk bag
- 35m rope
- climbing shoes
- belay gloves
- 2 extra layers (fleece and softshell)
- guide book
- keys, Ibuprofen, money, and other bits
Sometimes I can squeeze the rope inside the pack, but if it won’t fit, the removable rope carry strap is easy to use and works well. The pack stands up on its own if you load the weight evenly and put the heavier stuff at the bottom, which is handy for getting gear in and out.
The roll-top closure makes it quick to access the main compartment and means that the opening at the top is enormous, allowing you easy access to all the gear inside. The stash pocket, accessible from the outside, is handy for little bits like keys and money.
The frame is comfortable on the back, and the buckles allow for a good fit, while the removable metal hipbelt takes much of the weight off of your shoulders, so the Cinder 40 is an excellent pack for a long approach. The extra handle on the front makes it easy to carry the pack from one route to another without much fuss.
The nylon resisted a couple of light rain showers, keeping my clothes and lunch dry; however, the stash pocket contents don’t seem safe from the water because of the zip.
The 3 haul hoops allow you to pack all the heavy gear and haul it to the top of a route. They can also be helpful for carrying your helmet or shoes to the next buttress by attaching a carabiner to them.
As is standard with these styles of cragging bags, it is not a pack that you’d actually want on your back while climbing a route, but it is designed to be left at the bottom of the crag while you climb.
The Cinder 40 is definitely my current favorite cragging pack. It’s tough, easy to load and open, and very functional. It’s perfect for a day of trad, however long your walk-in is.