Are CGR hard enough for the indestructible Haglöfs Roc Hard climbing pack…?
Not content with sending us a pair of Rugged Mountain Pants to try and destroy Haglöfs also provided us with the new Roc Hard pack: the burly, no nonsense all mountain day pack.
Way back in June 2009 I reviewed the new Roc climbing pack series for Haglöfs: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1916 . I concluded that review with the words…” It is a great all mountain sack. It fits like a dream and swallows kit. It will fulfil all your requirements for a variety of mountain adventures and will last you years. Do all the fancy extras warrant the extra price tag? No, it’s not the perfect sack and so the quest continues.”
We’ll whilst the quest still continues and after testing many packs I still actually use the Roc 35 for many of my climbing activities. So can the Roc Hard help change my mind. There are 5 packs in the Roc range and the Roc Hard is marketed as a bombproof pack that will last. They have used Mountain Guides to help develop this and that expertise shows through in the design features.
The durable image did indeed show through in the materials. The main body was made from a combination of 840 Denier Ballistic fabric, this had a tight weave and looked the business, it was coated on the inside with a white waterproof skin. This helped locate awkward items in dim light conditions. The high wear areas were made from the even beefier 1680D Ballistic material, all areas that might suffer from excessive abrasion such as the front, lid and base were made from this and coloured Gunmetal. It had a tight weaved polymide skin bonded to it to give a double thickness feel to the fabric. So, no namby pamby lightweight materials here, I’d have to physically cut the material with a very sharp knife to pierce it. I’ve been using it all summer for climbing, mountaineering and hillwalking and it’s showing no sign of wear whatsoever.
The lid was detachable with the very clever system that the Roc had used. It loops through a sewn loop on the Roc this sewn loop came unstitched and on close inspection I would have liked to have seen some bartack stitching on these) and the tape remains attached to the lid. The lid can then be left at base whilst you have a lighter summit/climbing pack. The shoulder strap tension tapes could either stay on or unbuckled and stashed in pockets located on the shoulder strap giving a sleek climbing style. The lid also had two pockets, one large top pocket easily big enough for hats gloves, headtorch, map, compass, energy bars and GPS. The inner pocket had a keyclip and was plenty big enough for wallet, Blackberry, guidebook and all sorts of odd and ends. The lid closure was with two buckled 25mm taped straps so provided great stability when loaded up with kit and balancing the rope on top. The main pack had a rope carry so could be used without the lid. All great improvements on the original Roc.
The shoulderstraps were plenty narrow enough for my shoulders and made from the same 1680 D Ballistic fabric in the high wear areas. The padding was firm and the strapped were well bartacked to the main body, and looking at it they were unlikely to ever come undone. The sterum strap was railed on 20mm sewn tape, once again reverting to a tried and trusted burly system. Although the strap was bartacked at the end where it met the shoulder strap, it wasn’t at the other end. One feature I really liked on the original Roc was the sewn label on the shoulder strap, this label meant I could easily thread my watch through or clip my GPS onto, both useful when winter climbing/mountaineering. I noted that the label needed to be more robust at the time. On the Roc hard not only was the label more robust I had two sewn tapes across the shoulder strap! A real improvement and very handy features.
The waistbelt was narrow enough to be unobtrusive and was reinforced with Hypalon. It tucked into the lumbar pad I to help tidy the pack up for climbing. The Interact Suspension system comprised of a single Aluminium stay, two small glass fibre rods together with a HDPE framesheet. All these were removable; as ever I removed the aluminium stay and never replaced it finding it unnecessary in so small a pack. Maybe if I was on an extended ski or snowshoe tour it could be handy, but for everyday climbing/mountain situations I never felt the need for it.
The ice axe retainers were made from thick and burly, elasticated shockcord and were very glove friendly to use. The loops were made from 20mm sewn tape and could be tucked away by threading them through a small hole under the Hypalon reinforcement, they were a little fiddly to get back in and I preferred the sleeved design of the Roc. Again a neat feature that helps the pack look and feel sleek for summer rock climbing. The snow valance was large enough to extend by 4 litres and was closed with cord, I would have liked to see 4 or 5mm prussick cord used here, this is what I did the Roc and it’s just an insurance feature in the Alps or Scotland in winter.
The back length was great for me and I could climb unimpeded with a helmet on brilliant there aren’t many packs I’ve tested where I can do that! One other interesting note was the lack of a hydration bladder pocket. This is the point that verified the claim that the pack had been designed with the help of Guides. I have rarely seen a Guide using a hydration bladder and dropped using them myself a long while ago for the following reasons – it’s difficult to regulate your liquid intake, the end will always freeze no matter how much insulation you put over it and it’s never wise to fill them with boiling liquid (in the winter). So, a real feather in Haglöfs cap.
In conclusion it has some great features and is an improvement of the original Roc. I’ve been using it all summer and will continue to use all Autumn and for mountain activities in Winter. At 30 Litres it’s a little too small for winter climbing but will be fine for skiing and snowshoeing. I would have liked some tabs for adding lashing shockcord so I could lash crampons, etc. It’s missing wand pockets and I prefer the sleeve system for ice axe retention and at 1400g it’s no ultralight, namby pamby carrier bag type pack. It will last for years and is truly a Ballistic pack, a great buy if you want an all purpose day pack that will outlast your knees then this is the pack for you.