When is a rope bag not a rope bag…?
When it’s a full on gym bag too! We don’t often come a cross a rope bag worth looking at, the last one was the Arc’teryx Haku back in 2013. We’ve also reviewed the Black Diamond Gym 30 which was a great crossover bag that could be used as a rope bag and gym bag. The Petzl Kab is what I have using it as. It’s a large volume bag that will swallow any rope you’ve got, even a 100m one for those super sized Euro routes. Even then you can even fit some climbing gear in it – for your average UK 60/70m rope it’s easily big enough to carry a rope, plus quickdraws, harness, shoes, chalk bag and even a compact belay jacket. Easily enough for a sport climbing day – as long as you don’t have to carry it too far!
I’ve been using it as a rope bag for sport climbing and then once at the crag I can pop my shoes and anything else I need as I move between routes. The Kab is super easy to move about as once opened it has two carry handles and it’s large volume makes carrying it around easy. The bottom is made using a burly tarp type material that is waterproof so it helps keep you rope and kit dry on that wet ground. The stiffened base material also helps keep the bag open when using – this has been great when I’ve been using smaller lengths of gym rope as I don’t even need to use the rope tarp.
The tarp is removable or can be fixed using pop studs. It is triangular in shape and was big enough for the rope lengths I own 60-70m. I felt that for 100m ropes it would a tight squeeze, but if I’m honest most of the time my ropes are never fully on a rope tarp so I had no worries with that. As I said earlier it can be attached to the bag using pop studs but I used it separately as I then had the bag itself to move around with some kit in and it was also easy enough to put the rope back in and carry it to the next route. The tarp has large loops at each corner so it’s easy to pull the tarp along or take each corner and carry the rope.
The Petzl Kab is stuffed full of neat features. There are some gear loops for clipping quickdraws or GriGri onto. There is also an internal security pocket with a key clip for stashing away your wallet, phone and any other personal items you might need. There is also a large, zipped pocket on the front flap that is easily big enough for topos/guidebooks, finger tape and all the myriad of items needed for a routing or training session (nail clippers, liquid chalk, etc).
You can then stuff the whole lot into the bag and the flap secures using the metal buckles, there is a daisy chain for adjustment and that helps keep the bag nice and tight. This is all finished with a large webbing carry strap so the bag carries bandolier style. There is also a concealable belt if you feel you want the bag to be more stable (I have never felt the need to use this).
Any downsides I hear you ask? Well at 1250g it’s a little heavy – I’d be getting tired of lugging up to Ceuese 2 days on 1 day off and it’s also a little bulky so I often have to carry it separately as it won’t go in my pack with everything else and coming to that I would like to remove the shoulder padding as I found it dug into my neck when I was using it with a pack but it’s sewn in.
On the whole though the Petzl Kab is a great rope bag and has been a constant companion as a gym/wall bag. It’s large volume and useful features make it well worth the investment (it will last years) and it stands out against much of the competition.
Available from various retailers.