The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Arc'teryx Pali: The Thinking Man's Rope Bag
Posted on: July 23, 2008
Weight: 100 grams
It seems that any square piece of plastic can suffice to keep your rope out of the dirt at the bottom of a climb. I personally have used everything from reflective car windshield shades to extra clothing to keep my cord clean—it was time to get a new rope bag! Not only are rope bags great for cragging, but the Pali looked innovative, and I was excited to see what possibly could be new in rope bag design.
I was right: the Pali is unique—you could call it a "thinking man's rope bag." Arc'teryx designed the Pali bag to integrate with the their Mura 50 cragging bag, but its features work well with any pack. It has a large tarp sewn on a diagonal to the main compartment, giving it a very large surface area for stacking your cord (approximately 56"x63"). The fold-up design of the tarp wraps around the rope and rolls into a cone-shaped, water-resistant main compartment with a roll-top closure system. A single compression strap runs beneath the bottom of the bag, turning it into a very small package and making the rope pack inside easily.
I used the Pali while climbing with friends at Indian Creek, as well as on remote days near the Colorado and Green rivers around Moab. Here a rope bag is key, as sand covers the ground and backpack space is limited due to the need for so many cams. For all the amazing, simple design features mentioned, I found the compact size of the Pali limited the tie-on capacity to the outside of a fully loaded pack.
A reprieve to sport climbing sessions with short approaches and a light selection of quick draws gave me an opportunity to use the Pali with a smaller load. The Pali fit perfectly in my "other brand" 40-liter pack. The compressed cone nestled neatly in the bottom of my crag sack, leaving plenty of room for all my gear. When open, the bucket shape of the main compartment made transport of the rope from route to route easy; no more grabbing the corners and hoping the rope doesn't slide out.
The Pali rope bag gets four stars. If it carried better on the outside of a pack and had a more intuitive closure system, I would give it the Alpinist Mountain Standards medal.
Pros: Large and light offset tarp; cone shape offers easy entrance into the bottom of a pack; water-resistant closure; integrated design to work with Arc'teryx packs; when open, bucket shape is great for moving rope from route to route.
Cons: Limited tie-on capacity when used outside the pack; carries big on small people as messenger bag; closure system for compression is not very straightforward.