Marmot Centaur 38 Rucksack – Climbing Gear Review

Marmot Centaur 38...available in a range of colours

Marmot Centaur 38 Rucksack – a fully featured pack for year round use

Performance ****

Quality *****

Value for money *****

RRP  £110.00

Marmot Centaur 38 front view

– Removable Lid with Zippered Pocket and Key Clip
– Stow-able Waist Belt with Gear Loop and Carabiner Sleeves
– Hypalon Reinforced Haul Loops
– Storm Collar with Top Compression Strap
– Hydration Sleeve with Hanging Zippered Pocket
– Molded Back Panel
– Removable Frame Sheet – Versatilty
– Dual Ice Axe Loops
– Lid and Front Lash Points
– Integrated Vertical Rope Carry System
– Silicone Touch End Points on Webbing

Marmot Centaur 38 back view

– Weight: Medium 2 lbs 13 oz / 1276 g
– Volume: Medium 2320 cu in / 38 liters
– Main Material: 210d Nail Head Nylon
– Main Material: 420d High Density Nylon
– Reinforcement Material: 840d Ballistic Nylon





There are a few rucksacks around at the moment that fall into the day sack/cragging, 38 litre range. Of these, the Centaur 38 from Marmot, is the newest on the market. This is obvious when you first see it. It has that ‘modern’ look. It is also available in some funky colours too, all very important to the performance of a good rucksack.

Adam Lincoln tests the Marmot Centaur 38 Rucksack on some technical scrambling ground

Now I have a rucksack I use for sport climbing days out. What I needed was something that is going to be up to a day out on Scafell, and days out on the sea cliffs of the UK. For this, a few things are vital. First and foremost, size. I can get my rack, rope, climbing shoes, chalk, spare chalk, food for the day and 2 litres of water comfortably in this sack. On top of that, you might want spare clothes as well. This will all fit in nicely. If you need that little bit more space, the rope can attach to the top of the sack, just under the lid via a retainer buckle. This buys you some more space inside for a few more essentials…or a bit more cake.

Marmot Centaur 38 on the way to the crag with Adam Lincoln

“…it isn’t just a summer cragging bag. It has full winter functionality too.”

The next factor, and as important as the size, is the comfort. When slogging up to Scafell, the last thing you want to be worrying about is the heavy load on your back. Now whilst the sack doesn’t have the thickest padding around (it is cut for climbing specific activities) you won’t have any complaints either. It is fully adjustable too, so if it doesn’t fit quite right for you then you can make it fit. I had a little air pocket in the lumbar region on mine, but this was due to not getting the right size, and this could very easily be rectified. Just make sure when trying it on, you fill it up loaded with weight in the shop, and make sure you get the correct size for your height.

Marmot Centaur 38 arrives at the crag

The good thing about this ruckack is that it isn’t just a summer cragging bag. It has full winter functionality too. This means you don’t need to have two rucksacks if you go winter climbing. You can attach two ice axes easily, and the straps retain them very well indeed. Well, it did in the comfort of my living room, but then walking up to Scafell with some ice axes on my back last weekend (in summer!) might have raised a few funny looks. These straps are also removable so they don’t get in the way on summer cragging days. Just remember where you store them, so you don’t lose them.

The sack also has numerous haul loops and belay attachment points. Very useful when at the belay of the chosen route, and you don’t want the sack taking the ride down any steep slopes. The haul points are very strong and well stitched, so if the sack does need to be dragged up a pitch, or lowered down one, you can feel safe in the knowledge the point won’t fail. Also the ballistic nylon does a great job of protecting the sack from any abrasions and sharp edges.

On top of all the above the Centaur 38 has some other added features to make life easier. It is hydration pack compatible, very useful on long hikes when stopping for water is not ideal. It also has a floating lid. This means you can fully remove the top lid/pockets for reducing weight further, or just for making packing the sack, accessing the pack a much simpler process. All these features are designed to make life easier.

So in conclusion, if you are after a fully featured pack, that can give you year round use, that is just at home walking into Scafell in summer, or Ben Nevis in winter,  single pitch cragging at stanage, or multi pitch epics in the Dolomites, then this is the sack for you.

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