Test Review – Creek 50 Pack, Black Diamond
The Creek 50 Pack is a Toploader for climbers intending to spend a gear-intensive day out at the crags. And it has all the benefits of a haul bag to go with a sports climbing session outdoors.
The pack list for climbing is pretty straight forward. Quickdraws, ropes, shoes, hydration and cold weather attire. We had enough instances and surprises when access to some sport climbing crags gets sketchy. Scrambling over ridges and rope secured pull up slabs can be a hard job if half of your gear is dangling all around the body. A 35-litre pack came often to its limits if it’s not carefully compressed. And it’s a nuisance when the rope that’s hanging on top of the pack gets tangled in a bush while you‘re moving. A huge pack that keeps everything inside had to come in.
What’s black, sleek and has blue loops?
Black Diamond gave me an opportunity to test some gears this summer. The Creek 50 Pack was one of them. As I unpacked the box, the sleek and shiny top loader appeared. It looked similar to a haul bag, with a zipper at the side front. The bag looked promising – as a sure organizer.
The Creek 50 Pack comes with a durable outer shell fabric that’s waterproof and super durable. A drawcord on the top closes the contents in one pull, a full-length 2-way zipper, installed at the side to “rip-off-open” the bag when you need something real quick. The extra huge front flap at the front is big enough to hold a 1.5 liter PET bottle, clothing, wallets, car keys, whatever. A stow-away rain hood cover doubles as a helmet holder and the top strap holds a rope if there’s still too little space inside. Padded adjustable shoulder straps and a removable hip belt adds more comfort to the hike during longer access. Like all haul bags, this pack has a flat bottom so that while you pack or unpack or leave it alone, it stays upright.
Let’s go climbing!
We were ready for the next road trip. In the main compartment, I packed in an 80m rope with rope bag, 25 – 30 quickdraws, 3 pairs of shoes, chalk bag, harness, multiple slings, and a few old single carabiners. And then comes a down jacket, helmet, gloves, beanie, long johns, finger trainer, tape,
PET bottle my TK Wide, guide book, belay glasses, swiss knife, first aid kit, stuff to munch and DSLR incl. objectives. Smaller items went into the front compartment. The stow pockets there kept everything organized and in place. It was great to be able to sort out all the small things into different pockets and finding them quickly when you need it. Finally, the guide book stays in shape too in front.
At the base of the crag, I laid the pack to its side and opened the side zippers to get hold of the contents that I need for climbing. The rest went back into the pack without distributing the stuff everywhere. The 2 blue loops at the top of the bag was great to handle the bag on the ground. If the ground is not level, I could lay it at the side and access the contents via the side zipper.
There’s one less worry in changeable weather – the pack is waterproof and comes with a flap on top that doubles up as a helmet holder. Forget the weatherproof covers or brollies, everything that is inside, stays dry.
If there’s any reason to leave the crag in a hurry, I could put in all the contents without the eternal stuffing and compressing. That’s a plus!
Size and fitting
It’s quite essential to adjust the pack to fit your back. Without a good fitting, a bulky and heavy pack can quickly become uncomfortable to carry. My torso measures 45 cm and size S worked well for me. The hip belt was well padded and there was enough strap space to pull the belt real tight. Further adjustments are possible at the top of the shoulder straps and at the bottom, just like the conventional hiking backpack. There’s a size chart on Black Diamond’s website to find the right size for you, however, it was a little confusing to me why the waist size was used instead of the hip size. Whichever reason it was, the pack size overall still worked well for me.
Things I liked:
- very durable
- extra big front flap pockets with an excellent pocket organizer inside.
- rain covered top flap doubled as helmet holder – waterproof. Stowed away when not in use. I would omit the zipper with an inverted double flap to save some weight.
- Plenty of headspace when you have to look up often.
- Packs in everything quickly.
Things that could’ve been better:
- compression straps at the sides when the bulk is missing.
- weight: Leaving out 500-800 g off this 2 kg bag would be great. Perhaps there’s a lighter material for the outer layer that works just as good?
- The shoulder-padded straps are great when the pack isn’t packed to the rim. However, when it gets really heavy, these straps feel a little scrawny and thin in ratio to the huge pack behind.
- The front zipper needs a back up to prevent it from opening by itself.
The Creek 50 is a durable backpack for climbers who wants to have everything along with them for the day. I loved the top-loader style and especially the side zipper for quick access to the contents. It’s a great pack that works well for sports cragging.
This pack accompanied us this whole summer and went along on diverse climbing trips.
The Creek pack is available in 3 sizes: 50, 35 and 20 liters. The Creek 50 costs 160 € (LP) . You can check for offers in different online stores in Europe.
*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.