When I did my post on the Onecoolbackpack, I told you that my solution for packing my gear had been simply to use a couple of compression sacks and do away with the “pack” entirely.
What I chose to buy were a pair of Block Rock Solid Bags from Granite Gear. I purchased a 31 L as my basic bag and a second, smaller, 11 L bag to hold my sleep system [bivy-bag, whatever sleeping bag, and tarp]. I don’t care about going all camo and incognito in the woods. As a matter of fact, if I were to get lost, I would rather my gear was highly visible. With that in mind I got what they call “tigerlily”… Everybody else would just call it burnt orange.
My cost for the pair of bags was less than a discount store, cheapo day-pack. They have proven to be even larger than my actual current needs. Not only do they usually contain the gear I need, they do it without even being compressed particularly tightly. There seems to be plenty of room to stretch my load out for extended trips. Since they do lack all of the little pockets that you would find on a dedicated climbing pack, my intention is to find a cheap fanny pack at a yard sale, and just belt it around the 31 L bag. At that point it would seem to me that I have achieved all the utility of an Osprey or a BlackDiamond pack at a fraction of the cost. One last thing to mention, since it is not overly visible in the packaging, these bags are actually rectangular in profile in all three dimensions [or as rectangular as a “bag” can get]. This means that they mount much more closely and efficiently to the frame than a cylindrical bag would. The closer your load is to the pack frame, the easier the load is to carry.
The Block Rock Solid bags are everything I hoped. And exactly what I expected out of an experienced company like Granite Gear. They are sturdily made, with strong but light weight straps, high-quality snap buckles, and the end caps are catenary cut so that they pull down tightly and securely. The nicest, and most unexpected bonus, was the zip-up bags that they came in. As it says on the side, “100% reusable package”.
The one side with the product info is waterproof vinyl, the other is lightweight mesh. Because of the end-to-end zipper and the bathtub shape, they are absolutely the perfect thing for dumping your EDC pocket stuff in when you turn in for the night. No more putting stuff in your shoe. They weigh next to nothing, they have hanging tabs at each end and who can’t use another, small, “possibles” bag?
[sorry about the quality of the photographs. I don’t know what happened, but once I had them loaded into WordPress I realized they were quite blurry]