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CiloGear 60L WorkSack: Simple Success

Posted on: September 27, 2008


Price: $220

Weight: Variable, from over 2 pounds to 4 pounds, 3 ounces

I wear a pack no fewer than 200 days each year. And as time goes on, despite supposed advancements in technology, it has become harder to find packs that are simple, lightweight, and well-made.

I rarely need most of the features that modern pack companies have added in efforts to distinguish their brands from one another. When guiding, my clients routinely show up with mass-produced packs that weigh upwards of 7 pounds, empty, and have complicated suspensions and adjustments that befuddle seasoned guides and generally detract from performance. Recently things became so bad that I resorted to renting packs for work on Denali; I simply could not find any that seemed worth buying.

Six months ago I unpacked a new 60-Liter WorkSack made by CiloGear, and it was love at first sight. I marveled at its simplicity and then loaded it up to find a number of basic-but-brilliant features: a removable frame sheet and bivy pad; lightweight, strong techy materials such as SilNylon; removable compression straps; simple suspension; all the right pockets and no extras; a single interior compartment; a dense foam hip belt: PERFECTION!

And did I mention lightweight? With all of its components—pack body (940g), hip belt (160g), top lid (190g), ten removable compression straps (180g) and framesheet and bivy pad (450 g)—the pack weighs in at about 4 lbs. 3 oz. When stripped of the framesheet and bivy pad, six of the compression straps, and the top lid, as it was on my recent summit of Cho Oyu, the pack weight drops to a trim 2 lbs. 9 oz.

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At the heart of the pack's versatility is something that CiloGear calls its patented Dee-Clip System, which includes a series of simple, lightweight buckles that can be placed at any of four side positions when used as compression straps. These are easily removable, and I found that in most cases two to a side took care of compression while still allowing me to attach ski poles, skis and more to the sides. Although it adds weight I found the crampon pouch on the back very useful, and appreciated the security and simplicity of the ice ax attachments.

It takes extra effort to refine something down to simple, and the folks at CiloGear nailed the Work Sack design with only useful features made of the most modern materials. When I found out that this nearly perfect pack was selling for $220 I immediately bought one for my wife, and then another spare, as the price can only go up.

Two things stood out as less than perfect: The zipper on the top pocket seemed almost too lightweight and had to be babied, and the geometry of the shoulder straps occasionally dug into my chest a bit. A recent call to CiloGear confirmed that these things have been corrected in the latest version.

Over the past six months I used the 60L WorkSack for over 100 days and took it to the summits of Denali (2 times), Cho Oyu and Mt. Rainier. I used it while ice guiding, while ski guiding and even on a short backpacking trip. Whether loaded up for a three-week Denali expedition or just simple summit gear, it was equally comfortable.

Rarely have I been so enthusiastic about any outdoor product and I remain amazed that the best pack on the market can be had for a fraction of what other companies charge. CiloGear has revolutionized modern pack design by focusing on what fundamentally matters: comfort, durability, weight and function.

Pros: Simple; lightweight; well-made; comfortable; durable; functional.

Cons: Zipper needed babying; shoulder straps dug into the chest (however, CiloGear claims to have corrected these two issues since).

Rating:

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Comments
Himalayanclimber

Cilogear * weight * Durable? Cons * Almost everything

I have tested expensive bag 75L W/NWD bag $1500 in the Himalayas on an expedition to Ama Dablam for 1 month. This bag is the most uncomfortable bag I have worn in my mountaineering career. I wonder if you have field tested it? This bag is 75L but it cannot carry more than 20 pounds comfortably. Why make such a large volume ice climbing bag for $1500? Are the materials so expensive? I have hyperlight mountain gear backpacks which are also 75 liter, made of same damn material and they are lighter and 1/3 the price. This is a SCAM!! The shoulder straps bit into my shoulder, causing intense pain and caused the blood supply to stop to my hands. It's in fact a dangerous bag and can lead to accidents on the mountain. I covered more than 80 miles with this backpack, so I know what I am talking. I spent lot of money on this and could have bought three backpacks which were more comfortable. I want modifications done on it or please take the return. 1. Shoulder straps very short and not well padded and very uncomfortable. They even block blood supply in the axilla/armpit because it creates a tourniquet effect 2. There should be more padding over the sacral area for heavy loads. 3. Side pockets are impossible to access while the bag is on my back and it's full. They are also useless to store anything when backpack is full because they lose their volume. This bag is not waterproof!! It's damn stiff! Stiff! And stiff!!  The chest strap connecting the shoulder straps will rise up to your throat if you try loosening the shoulder straps to give your painful shoulders a break! I carried 30 kg in this pack!! I was miserable!! It's not possible to shift the weight to the hips when the shoulders are getting tired! That's why I say, has this pack been field tested?

2017-11-13 10:19:03
Himalayanclimber

Cilogear * weight * Durable? Cons * Almost everything

I have tested expensive bag 75L W/NWD bag $1500 in the Himalayas on an expedition to Ama Dablam for 1 month. This bag is the most uncomfortable bag I have worn in my mountaineering career. I wonder if you have field tested it? This bag is 75L but it cannot carry more than 20 pounds comfortably. Why make such a large volume ice climbing bag for $1500? Are the materials so expensive? I have hyperlight mountain gear backpacks which are also 75 liter, made of same damn material and they are lighter and 1/3 the price. This is a SCAM!! The shoulder straps bit into my shoulder, causing intense pain and caused the blood supply to stop to my hands. It's in fact a dangerous bag and can lead to accidents on the mountain. I covered more than 80 miles with this backpack, so I know what I am talking. I spent lot of money on this and could have bought three backpacks which were more comfortable. I want modifications done on it or please take the return. 1. Shoulder straps very short and not well padded and very uncomfortable. They even block blood supply in the axilla/armpit because it creates a tourniquet effect 2. There should be more padding over the sacral area for heavy loads. 3. Side pockets are impossible to access while the bag is on my back and it's full. They are also useless to store anything when backpack is full because they lose their volume. This bag is not waterproof!! It's damn stiff! Stiff! And stiff!!  The chest strap connecting the shoulder straps will rise up to your throat if you try loosening the shoulder straps to give your painful shoulders a break! I carried 30 kg in this pack!! I was miserable!! It's not possible to shift the weight to the hips when the shoulders are getting tired! That's why I say, has this pack been field tested?

2017-11-13 10:19:01
Himalayanclimber

I have tested expensive bag 75L W/NWD bag $1500 in the Himalayas on an expedition to Ama dablam for 1 month. This bag is the most uncomfortable bag I have worn in my mountaineering career. I wonder if you have field tested it? The shoulder straps bit into my shoulder, causing intense pain and caused the blood supply to stop to my hands. It's in fact a dangerous bag and can lead to accidents on the mountain. I covered more than 80 miles on this backpack, so I know what I am talking. I spent lot of money on this and could have bought 3 backpacks which were more comfortable. I want modifications done on it or please take the return.

1: shoulder straps very short and not well padded and very uncomfortable. They even block blood supply in the axilla/armpit because it creates a tourniquet effect

2: there should be more padding over the sacral area for heavy loads

3. Side pockets are impossible to access while the bag is on my back anf it's full. They are also useless to store anything when backpack is full because they loose their volume.

This bag is not waterproof!!

It's not possible to shift the weight to the hips when the shoulders are getting tired!

That's why I say, has this pack been field tested?

2017-08-02 11:27:55
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