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Reviews for 60L Worksack Average Rating = 5.00/5 Average Rating : 5.00 out of 5

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hot dang! 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: hosh, 2008-04-15

I used to use an Arc'teryx pack exclusively. Now, the only time I ever touch my Arc'teryx pack is to move it out of the way to get at other gear in my closet. CiloGear's innovative use of materials has allowed them to create an extremely light yet functional pack. There are very minimal features, but the pack seems to have everything I've needed. It could benefit from some pockets on the sides for either a Nalgene or perhaps other odds and ends that you might want to stick there, but I've been able to get by without them. The volume is immense, but can still be compacted enough for short trips. The strap system is ingenious and the minimalist design suits my fancy. I love this pack and highly recommend it.

Make momma happy and buy her one, too. 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: chrisb, 2007-04-25

Short Version:

This is a phenomenal, well-designed pack that fits beautifully and carries varying loads with ease. A fantastic technical bag once you learn how to dial the strap system.

Full Version:

I just received the new model of the CiloGear 60L WorkSack. I looked at the old model last spring, but decided to keep my Granite Gear Alpine Vapor (basically a beefier version of GG's popular Vapor Trail with tool loops and crampon straps). I broke down and ordered the 60L WorkSack because I was sick of not-really fitting my winter kit into the GG bag, which was a solid ice/rock crag pack and 3 season backpacking bag. I wanted something that could hold a ton of stuff but also compress for the day, which is just how CiloGear bills their WorkSacks. I'm glad I made the switch (though my non-climbing wife was confused about yet another seemingly-redundant purchase).

This pack is genuinely impressive in an age of impressive-looking gear. I was pleased with it while playing around at home and, after three winter days in the Catskills, can't believe the major manufacturers haven't yet copied the design or bought out CiloGear.

I don't want to repeat what you can read for yourselves at the CiloGear site, but let me give a rundown of what stood out during the first use.

1. Fit:

Excellent. I'm still young, but my first pack was an external frame Peak 1, so I know how packs shouldn't feel. The suspension doesn't look big enough for the loads you can carry, but it works. I bent the framesheet and stay as directed, but otherwise nothing else. Best anecdote: at a food stop (after breaking 5 miles of trail through sometimes waist deep snow with 40 pound bags), my buddy asks, "So how's the new pack?" I then realized that I hadn't even noticed/thought of it since putting it on after strapping on the snowshoes. So I said, "It seems to be a magic hole where gravity no longer functions." And that's not hyperbole.

2. Versatility:

You really can blow this up or shrink it down. On day two, we headed out just for the day, so I threw a bit of gear into the bag, strapped it down, didn't bother to take out the hipbelt, and we spent the day breaking more trail. Again, didn't even notice I was wearing it.

One caveat: you really do need to play around with the bag in order to get the strap system figured out. However, CiloGear has the manual online, in easy to understand language/directions. If you are the type of user who just wants to throw a bunch of stuff in your bag and expend zero thought, you probably shouldn't get this bag. But after about 15 minutes of fiddling with the bag and reading the manual online, I felt set.

3. Durability:

There are a bunch of different fabrics used here and they all seem perfectly suited to their respective jobs. I'm pretty sure the base of the pack is some kind of bullet-proof fabric. The crampon pouch/tool holsters both have very beefy (though pliable) fabric. I'm used to seeing Cordura and not-Cordura.

4. Nit Picks:

-The zippers on the lid should come with pulls. Plus, the lid zippers themselves didn't zip smoothly all the time and seem too low-grade for such a tough pack.

-External pockets (for wands, poles, etc) on the sides would be nice. My GG had some stretch pockets--that would be ideal here. But I did read that CiloGear is releasing a Wand Pocket for just this thing, but I think it should come with the pack--it's a pretty standard feature at this point.

-There's no logo on the outside of the pack, but I'd be proud to have one in this age of over-branding. There is a logo on the inside flap for the pad/frame/stay. On the other hand, there is the appeal of the mystery pack.

5. Overall:

I'm super satisfied with this pack and think the price ($200) is pretty cheap for what you get. Other than my daypack for work, I don't foresee using another pack for anything else. Lots of stuff planned for the year so I'll update this as needed. If you're on the fence and think this bag might be too good to be true, it's not. Get it and you'll be happy, too.

Review 0 out of 5 stars

Review by: j_ung, 2006-05-07

[size=12][b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment provided it free of charge to and then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review. This company does not currently advertise on[/b]

My relationship with my two Cilogear Worksacks began as a misunderstanding. Long before I ever took possession of them, I sent [user]maculated[/user] to cover the Winter OR Show of 2005. While on the phone with her after the show, she mentioned, almost in one breath that some company was making shirts from veggie starch… and that a friend of hers was making backpacks hissssss-blort-click-hiss turkey. Given the context – clothing made from food – and the inopportune irregularity of my mobile-phone connection, is it any wonder that I walked away from that conversation thinking of backpacks made with bird flesh? I, a vegetarian, was astounded, confused and more than a little repulsed.

Flash forward to the August 2005 during the OR Summer Show, when Cilogear (pronounced chee-low) proprietor, Graham Williams and I shared a basement floor in SLC. Only then did I realize I had missed a crucial part of my conversation with K-mac: Worksacks are manufactured in Turkey, with a capitol T.

Oooooooohhhh… I see.

Williams started Cilogear in summer of 2004 by teaming up with an established Turkish gear maker, Linosport. Linosport’s packs and clothing have seen all seven summits and it was one of the first companies outside of the US to include Gore-tex in its products. The Cilogear partnership combines Linosport’s manufacturing experience with Williams’ drive for usability and versatility in a climbing-specific pack.

Williams, a self described “usability freak,” brings a focused history of hard climbing to the table, and his Worksacks are the product of that focus. Worksacks are made from 4-7 tough fabrics, depending on the model. The list is actually pretty exhaustive; click [url=]here[/url] for the complete rundown. But the real goal of the Cilogear line up is versatility. Take a look, for example, at the 40L Worksack. Its myriad adjustment options allows for an exceptionally wide range of sizes. The number “40,” in fact, doesn’t begin to describe the pack’s actual size. Fully stuffed, expanded and with the floating top attached, the “40L” pack expands to sixty liters. What’s up with that? Fully stuffed, but not expanded, it measures 42 liters. Close down the straps on one side all the way and you get 32 liters. Close down both sides for a tiny twenty. The alleged “60L” Worksack ranges from 28 liters to 90 – big enough for any backpacking trip I’ve done.

Even if the 60L Worksack weren’t big enough, my collection of two Worksacks allows me to do something rather unique: piggy-back the sacks! Cilogear’s unique attachment points enable me to fill my 60L with heavy gear, my 40L with a sleeping pad, bag and puffy jacket, and then affix the two together for one pack-mulish but highly practical carrying solution. I’m not bushwacking anywhere with that kind of bulk on my back, but for multi-day approaches, it’s worth its weight in extra GORP. Plus, after I establish basecamp, the 40L comes off and becomes a climbing pack.


[i]The 40L Worksack at work.[/i]

Speaking of which, as a climbing bag, the 40L ain’t half bad. It’s a bit bulky for sunny-day rock climbing, but some of its features compensate in wintry conditions. Dedicated biner loops allow the wearer to rack gear on the waist belt. A reinforced 500d Spectra crampon pouch on the back keeps spikes handy while protecting other gear from them. Sturdy dual axe loops work similar duty.

It goes on and on to the extent that the only thing really limiting the versatility of these bags is imagination. But, because they’re adaptable enough to change one’s opinion of what defines versatility, these packs are not entry level, nor are they for people who don’t want to have to think about their gear. In fact, it’s a challenge to figure how these packs work best for you. Whether that’s an asset or a fault depends largely on the wearer. I’ve had both for almost six months and I still wonder if I’ve missed anything. Actually, I’m sure of it. Cilogear doesn’t include anything even remotely resembling instructions; not even on its website. Williams once mentioned a DVD to cover that base, but to my knowledge he has yet to produce one. When he does, it will be a welcome addition and the non-technically inclined should feel free to join the as-of-now-small but ever-growing club of Worksack wearers.

It’s hard to imagine that packs with so many features and customization options can exist without a snag or two. Well, relax. You don’t have to imagine it. I’ll tell you about it. I have no gripe with the durability of the pack’s fabric. I managed to poke one hole in the 60L, but I regard that as my fault – I slipped and fell backward hard onto something sharp. The hole has since grown no bigger. Stitching is another issue entirely. The straps that bear the biggest loads are stitched internally and secure, but Cilogear opted for a one-tack method to hold a few smaller straps in place and they don’t seem to be holding up.

But after speaking with Williams, I don’t think this will continue to be a problem for much longer. He assures me that a new QA procedure is already in the works and that this one area it will cover. Also, a too-short sternum strap, which is missing a buckle that slipped quietly into the night – twice – will be replaced by one that’s a full six inches longer. All of this serves to illustrate Cilogear’s dedication to customer service. This is one company that thrives on feedback from actual users.

Also in the works for the near future is an upgrade package, which will be available to all Worksack owners, regardless of how long you’ve owned the pack or from where/whom you bought it. The package will include a sturdier hip belt and interchangeable unpadded version, a new floating lid and six colored replacement compression straps. The upgrade will sell for $40 ay most, plus shipping and handling.

Click away for additional reviews of both the [url=]40L Worksack[/url] and [url=]60L Worksack[/url]. Both reviews also include Q&A with company President, Graham Williams ([user]crackers[/user]). Author, Kim Graves, includes a fantastic level detail regarding the many straps and pictures of each Worksack in various modes of compression.

[color=red]Edit: I am mistaken! A manual for using Cilogear's Worksacks does actually exist. I'm told it's 15 pages long, in fact. [/color][/size]

Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: rocketsocks, 2006-04-20

If you could only have one pack...

This is the multipurpose pack to own. Other packs can be better for specific, narrowly defined uses, but if you want something that you can dial in to just about any activity, this is your pack. It's very lightweight and, better yet, configurable so you can adjust the weight to the situation. If you need a strong frame and a waist belt because you're hauling 30+ pounds, you're covered, if you need a frameless, beltless, loftless rucksack that only weighs a pound, you're also covered. On extended stay backcountry trips this pack will carry your ginormous wad of gear with relative ease. On day hikes with smaller loads it reconfigures superbly and doesn't feel excessively large at all. As an added benefit the pack can serve as an emergency 3/4 length bivy sack, and the frame pad can be unfolded for use as a bivy pad, or merely used as a complement to your existing pad on cold-weather trips (esp. when camping on snow). Similarly, on long alpine climbs you've already brought along your summit pack, just reconfigure in the field (takes a few minutes, no tools required) and you're good to go, or just take the loft plus the belt as a fanny pack.

One thing to note though, this pack is designed with the knowledgeable, experienced user in mind. For the most part it's pretty straightforward to use, but there are some complexities in configuration that take a couple minutes of effort to get the hang of. If you're a casual, blase hiker who prefers to remain ignorant of their equipment's finer points and just wants to cram stuff in a bag and start walking, this could cramp your style. But if you're a backpacker or climber who's used to dialing in their outdoor equipment systems, this will come as second nature.

And, of course, at this price, you just can't beat this pack. You could easily spend, say, $450 more for a Spectra Andinista to get something comparable.

Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: jeremy11, 2006-04-17

Super, multipurpose, light, solid, huge, economical, great small company to support. excellent packs for everything - backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing. Cilogear cuts costs thru not advertizing in magazines, so these are really higher quality than the price shows!! Don't get suckered into the big name companies marketing plots... they are overweight, overpriced, overfeatured, and designed to make them money - Cilogear packs are designed to WORK and work well!!

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