CGR reviewer Katie gets her rope out to test the new sport climbing pack from The North Face.
The North Face Cinder Pack 32 is a dedicated, technical sport climbing backpack with the versatility needed for a day at the crag.
Value for money ****
So apparently the season for sport climbing started ages ago, I’ve been too into bouldering to realise this, but by getting the New TNF Cinder pack (sport climbing specific) through my door I’ve been catapulted back into the world of ropes and shiny gear.
The North Face Cinder Pack is a 32 litre technical sport climbing back pack, this is the smallest pack in the Cinder family but no less great. Helped in design by the legendary Peter Croft, this pack is ready for anything you have to throw at it.
The pack itself is super robust made of 800D PU coated nylon, it’s tough. Think, dropping it down the crag and it bouncing for miles and looking fine at the end of it tough.
One of the designs of the pack is it that it stands upright even when empty, it has a sturdy square base reinforced around the edges to create a very handy upright pack.
The Cinder is a hybrid between a haul bag and a regular crag pack, I’m not normally a multi pitch sport climber, so I haven’t been able to properly test out the load bearing haul loops, although I’ve found them pretty useful for standard things like grabbing it out of the car or carrying it by the haul loop when I’ve got other things on my back.
The back panel is great, it’s made of light weight E-VAP perforated foam panels, which aim to increase air circulation improving breathability and evaporation, stopping you from getting that horrible sweaty back syndrome we all hate. I found it really supportive as well, the pack can hold quite a lot of gear so gets reasonably heavy, but once you’ve clipped the waist belt and chest strap up it’s really comfy and distributes the weight well, definitely a plus with a long uphill walk in.
The E-VAP panels also feature on the waist belt and shoulder straps, so no uncomfortable cutting in as a side effect.
There are a few simple zip up pockets, one on the top lid of the pack and one on the inside back, for me this was enough, and I like having an easy access pocket which is big enough for all your important stuff (phone, purse, keys etc).
I would have liked the pack to be the same dimensions all the way through the pack but it’s slightly smaller in diameter at the base which I find a little annoying sometimes when trying to fit things down to the bottom. Saying this I happily fitted a 70m rope, harness, down jacket, two pairs of shoes and chalk bag into the bag with a little room to spare. The good thing about sport climbing is you need two people, so even though I didn’t have room for lunch I had an extra person to bring that part up!
It’s not the biggest bag, so if you like to carry all the gear, snacks and all other crag amenities, you may want to opt for one of the larger versions (55 or 42), but I don’t know too many people with that craving.
Colour wise, in this size the bag comes black as standard so no hard decisions there and the price is pretty reasonable for the lifetime you’ll probably get out of it (£90.00 RRP). The pack weighs in at 1380g so no real extra weight other than what you put into it.
The only thing I would add to this pack if I could would be a side zip so I could get to the bottom of the pack quickly if necessary, bare that in mind if you prefer that as a feature. Other than that I’d say it does exactly what it says on the can, so if the pack ticks all the boxes when you read about it online you won’t be disappointed with it when you buy it.
I have no doubt The North Face Cinder 32 will be with me for a long time to come, and I’m not one of those people who are careful with their things.
Always good when a company takes advice from someone who knows the sport inside out, I only wish others did it more!
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