Monday, September 24, 2012

BAF Gear: MEC Cragosaurus Pack

I would consider the crag to be a 3-day pack, even though it is technically a 36L day pack -  it has enough room to sufficiently sustain one person for 3 days worth of activities - if packed accordingly. It has more space than my Eagle IIIa pack. What I like about this bag is that it's cheap, it holds tons of shit, and its full of features one would normally find on higher end packs. Backed with MEC's gaurantee, I can always return this pack if not fully satisfied with its form and function. This pack has seen places from Asia to Nevada and Arizona, to Washington and most recently as a one-day 4 person family pack to BAM was able to pack 6 night/7 day trip into Nevada/Arizona with this pack, and she humped it too.

Normally this pack is meant for 3 day missions, but most recently with the addition of little ones, its become a sort of family pack for overnight trips. So, when its inconvenient to lug around a carry-on suitcase, we tote this pack. We opted for the "female" size, mainly because a smaller pack can always be adjusted to fit a larger body, whereas a larger sized pack is not ergonomically efficient for a smaller body. Plus, at the time, I already had my 3 day pack, and BAM needed something similar.

This pack is very civilian-friendly and doesn't scream TACTICAL. It's also not uber bright as to attract unwanted attention - with its subdued colours, and nondescript look, it passes as an everyday run-of-the-mill pack. And best of all, its carry-on compatible. Which means that landing into LAS, we don't have to wait at the carousel with the rest of the stagettes and bachelor party folks who drunk on cheap airplane booze and already dry humping each other. Instead, we just grab our bags from the overhead compartment, bing bang boom to the nearest coach and get going to red rock canyon.

It's got some features that makes it a great pack for us. Besides the main compartment being 30L and side-zip accesible, there is an integrated outer pouch that is also both top and side-zip accessible - this is great for storing windjackets and goretex. All the zippers are fully seam-taped for weatherproofing. Although the interior is lined with pvc, if you are really considering to be in a flash flood, use a bivy bag liner. There's snap buckles everywhere to cinch up that extra space from top down and side to side enabling greater compression. There's the obligatory ice pick loop as well. To close the bag, there are two drawstring rip cords at different heights, to allow for further expansion. The removable and ultra configurable top pocket enables this.

This frameless pack holds its shape with the use of an ergonomically correct plastic support frame with aluminum cross construction bars. This plastic sheet can be removed. The padded foam is vented for air flow, and as you can see, it is shaped like a V, most likely to conform to a female antomy, or cause it looks badass. I'm really digging the padded hip belt. I can hang shit off it, I assume it could be strong enough as a drag handle.

Another thing it has going for it is the padded shoulder straps. I don't know what kind of shoulder strap setup this is called, but I like that its adjustable for both myself and BAM. It sure beats the Eagle IIIa style of setup, that just sucks balls. One thing I'd like to know and would maybe want to test, is whether that drag handle at the top is load bearing - integrated into the frame of the pack or not.  There is an underpocket hidden in the top pocket, perfect for wallets and shit.

By no means is this a trekking pack - and it doesn't pretend to be. It obviously doesn't have the capacity or the durability of a $335 pack. But for sub $100 for a pack that can get you from point A to point B and offer some living out of capabilities, why the hell not.
One thing I do not like is the sternum strap may right higher. But it sits right on the perfect booby spot on the BAM.

We've had this pack since 2007, and it still functions like a new pack. They can be bought at

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Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.