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Multipitch VEST?

Original Post
mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

I do a fair bit of multipitch climbing. In addition to the requisite climbing gear I only carry descent shoes and a very light compact jacket/shell. i.e. no food and water beyond a snack sometimes that fits in pants pocket.

Shoes and jacket dangle from harness, and my partner and I tend to carry the shoes for each other when the other leads.

I inevitably end up depleted of calories and hydration after 5 or 6 pitches. Used to be fine, but due to an ongoing health issue, it would really be better to eat and drink while multi pitching, and I'd be much better fueled for another climb/longer day of climbing by doing so.

I can not stand carrying a back pack when rock climbing. I have a BD bullet pack I never use, but wondering about something more like a runner's vest with enough cargo room for the mentioned items: liter of water, snacks, descent shoes and lightweight jacket/shell

Anyone use a vest? Whatcha got and how do you like it?

grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

Check out some of the Ultimate Direction hydration vests. They might be along the lines of what you're looking for. I don't use it for climbing, but I have a UD Wasp that I use for day hikes that I really like. When loaded up with layers, food, 3 liters of water, and a small emergency kit it barely feels like anything is there.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Hmm, some interesting ideas in those ultimate vests, but definitely not made for climbing, and way too many gizmos/buckles/fasteners etc.

I think I am going to have to make something.

Toughest part of the puzzle is what to do with descent shoes.

jaredj · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 165

I like these for running and hiking, but typically the vests are designed to have pockets ride on the front to hold bottles and snacks. My strong intuition is that having these stick out in front of your chest would be annoying / hinder movement on steeper pitches. Maybe this isn't an issue for the type of multipitch you're usually after.

More generically, the vests with the capacity to hold the stuff you describe (specifically, shoes included), that it'd end up feeling pretty similar to the Bullet pack. Only the largets vests could hold shoes inside (e.g. Ultimate Directions Peter Bakwin vest or the largest Osprey version).

What about a very low-profile hydration bladder pack from Camelbak that is designed to hold a bladder only and nothing else, then clip the shoes to the back of your harness along with your shell jacket or windbreaker folded up into its own pocket. Snacks in pants pockets or the Camelbak?

The vests have a large range of contact over your whole torso and would likely feel movement - limiting for climbing.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Really talking minimal volume. The shoes are the challenge.

No buckle closures either, more like a garment than a hydration pack.

I am thinking more like cutting up a good fitting stretchy shirt, adding a 1L platypus pocket along the spine and maybe arrange some kind of rear pockets like a bike jersey for shoes, but pockets up in the small of the back. They would probably get in the way chimneying, but otherwise might ride in the small of the back pretty well.

Agree, no bottle holders/gizmo pockets on front. At most a couple small flat pockets for energy bars.

Andy P. · · Wisconsin · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 185

Metolius makes a big wall gear sling with the little pocket you describe on the back. I've used mine extensively and it is great to have that backpack built out of really burly material that can survive chimney pitches, etc. I just witch the pocket was just slightly larger, I have trouble fitting an emergency poncho/rain layer in there with my food, headlamp & hydration. Mine is like 6 years old though so maybe there is more volume in the newest ones...

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

fanny pack? or just climb faster?

Andy Spellmeyer · · Boulder, CO · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Check out the Montbell Cross Runner 7. Super light, can fit a pair of shoes inside and bungee a rain shell to the outside. No foam frame so you can pack it into a pretty small stuff sack when it's empty. My 3L Camelbak fits in it perfectly. Pretty cheap compared to other running packs too.

E: the front pockets are pretty slim like you describe. I keep my phone in one and 1-2 gels the other.

Drew Marshall · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 190

I like to carry all my stuff clipped to my back gear loops - it's nicer than carrying a pack.
water bottle on a sling, shoes on a biner and velcroed together, jacket, food and everything else in a little stuff sack.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

The Metolius Big Wall gear sling pack is 2.4L---that's pretty small. Patagonia makes two vests, the 10L Forerunner vest and the 15L Nine Trails pack. They also make the superb 16L Linked pack.

My preference is clip approach/descent shoes to the harness and have the second carry something like the Linked pack.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Thanks for the ideas.

Still thinking more of a garment type vest than a pack.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

For the water, get a bottle that has a lid you can clip to and clip it on your harness. For snacks, pant pockets. Either that or 2nd wears a small pack.

JWong Wong · · Los Angeles, California · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 10

How about a hunting vest? They have the game bag in back, kind of like a big pocket.…

Greg Maschi · · Phoenix ,Az · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0

Possibly a cycling jersey type rear pocket , I know the 3 pockets on my jersey regularly carry my windshirt, a few gels and a couple of Pro Bars with plenty of room to spare, heck I even throw in a pair of socks every now and again, hmm might just give my jersey a try on my next all long climb.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

I have a green with orange top half hunting jacket u could cut the arms out of. Size XL is waay to big for me. Has those back pockets, but stuff would fall out if you inverted or even went horizontal on a roof prob. PM me if u want it. Got it used for $10 Methinks when at hunter safety. Still in great condition.

pooch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 65

Scroll midway down for their running vests.

Been using their packs for years climbing, adventure races, hiking, etc...

Justin G88 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 230

maybe try a foresters vest

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600
I am thinking more like cutting up a good fitting stretchy shirt, adding a 1L platypus pocket along the spine

But do your multi-pitch routes involve zero off-width or chimneys? Cuz if you're going to deal with anything like that, having the ability to move stuff around is crucial. Your solution above, or a vest is going to be rough for that. But maybe where you climb is not like where I climb, so no OWs or chimneys?

FWIW, the only climbing I do these days is long stuff in Yosemite, and I also hate taking packs. For the last few years we've just been carrying 1 litre of water each on a thin cord clipped to the harness. Jacket, if we're taking one, clipped to harness. If we have to take shoes up the climb, also clipped to the harness. Often some flimsy and light sandals or croc-type thing will do - I almost never take regular shoes up climbs anymore. Only food we bring is what each can fit in two side pockets and a cargo pocket if available.

I use a gear sling, so all of that can easily be clipped to the sling and dangled from donut if I'm going up something wide.

If you have strict dietary/caloric needs because of a medical condition, maybe better to take the pack! You can always haul on a mini so that the second doesn't have to suffer.
JK- Branin · · Southern New Hampshire · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58

Camelback classic. Barely qualifies as a pack. Especially some of the older versions. Mine is literally to mesh straps and barely enough of a "pack" to hold a bladder. Has a zip pocket that fits about one clif bar if I force it. It's so minimal I can comfortably wear it under another backpack.

John The Wolf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 50

Cargo shorts for the snack. A chalkbag with built-in pocket for the windshirt and waterbottle on the harness. Maybe consider a big wall harness if you feel like you are lacking real estate in the loops.

The vest will be an issue if you need to remove it for an unexpected chimney.

A bike shirt has pockets already but they might interfere with the harness.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Did you say vest? Why I am still searching for the perfect one!…

I just do the cargo shorts/pants for extra eats. Or make a little clip-on pouch you can throw food and a rain jacket into. Of course it will bob and hit your butt a lot.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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