Interested in a Cilogear 45L W/NWD WorkSack


Original Post
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

I bought a Black Diamond Mission 50 two years ago. The top zipper's broke, the bottom is falling apart and the ice tool attachments got maybe a week left. Don't get me wrong the pack carried weight really well. I thought the pack was well though out and enjoyed it for about 100 days. Now it's falling apart.

I know, I know you're going to say that's BD. OK well then I'll get something fancy. I was reading up on the 45L w/NWD and it sounds bombproof. It's got a Al framesheet. That's a must. I only use a 45-50L in the winter so the eight week wait is no problem.

So anyone cough up $700 for this thing and can tell me it's worth it? Interested in hearing some user reviews please. Anyone got a large for sale?

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 137

I've used the hell out of my 45L Worksack.

It's not the dyneema version, but it has held up to about 200 nights in the backcountry, 5 years of climbing, 5 1-2 month-long desert trips, carrying tools on a season of trail crew, and many overnight ski tours.

It has a 1 inch hole from a crampon, and the fabric covering the lumbar pad is torn. Five years of daily beat down, and I'm not really in the market to replace it anytime soon.

Get the $700 dyneema if you want, but I wouldn't worry about durability with any of their packs. I recommend buying from a retailer though. A friend waited 3 months for his pack to show up.

Mark Ra · · Frange, CO · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Bill,

Have you looked at the Alpine Machine from Alpine Luddites? You can get a custom pack for around $500 + a little more depending on your mods. Choose what you want on your hip belt, pockets, zippers, roll-top or removable brain, tool attachment, etc... Sewn to size for you.

https://www.alpineluddites.com/collections/backpacks/products/alpine-machine-roll-top-40l-50l-60l

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 137

Those look sweet. I wonder if they can accommodate a removable frame like the Cilogear packs. Could be nice to have more than the foam for bigger loads. Love the simplicity though.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740

I have been using a 45L Worksack (not Dyneema) for 5 years or more. I've really enjoyed it, esp. the way it carries (routinely up to 40 lbs). But over the years some petty annoyances have grown to become major issues, such that - if they are still present on current Cilo packs - I wouldn't buy one again. So in that vein, here are a couple things that you ought to check for. They are IMO inexcuseable problems in an otherwise high-end pack.

The webbing in most of the straps is too stiff. Tightening a strap often requires two hands; loosening one is impossible without two hands to feed the webbing back through.

The fabric under the top flap is too thin and anything sharper than a ball of Silly Putty will cut through it in time.

The fabric over the framesheet is also too thin and the sheet will cut through at the top and bottom.

For all the talk about durability, the main fabric tears rather easily. Some rips are to be expected, but one of the bar tacks holding the mini daisy chain on the back just ripped out.

The top flap flops every which way and rarely stays on top of the bag. The front straps slipping sideways over the corners of the framesheet is the main problem.

The grab loop at the point where the top of the shoulder straps attach is too low, and hoisting the bag with it generally turns the bag sideways. I end up lifting the pack by slipping a finger into the little tunnel over the hydration slot at the top of the bag - not good; someday I'm going to blow a finger tendon doing that.

Finally, the oh-so-flexible strap system just doesn't add anything useful to me. Give me fixed compression straps on the sides and crampon lashing straps on the back. The first time one of the cutesy square rings came off in the wintertime was one time too many for me.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Thanks for the info Z!

Mark, I got back issues so I need a pack with an Al frame. That company looks sweet though. Maybe I should ask them about my need for a metal framesheet. They are custom.

Mike, thank you for such a detailed review. I bought a 30L work sack for Kathy. I couldn't be sure of durability. I did borrow the pack for a solo day and a guided day. The pack felt comfortable and I put my crampons in the pack without a bag. So I thought why not buy a 40L fancy pants one.

Ty Falk · · Park City, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 270

I own two W/NWD packs from Cilogear a 45 and a 30. I have nothing but great things to say about them. My 30 is 5 years old and 45 is about 4 years old. It seams like the regular cordura Cilogear packs are not much more dutiable than any other cordura pack so I only recommend really the w/nwd packs from them. I use them a lot with skis a framed on the pack and the sides look brand new still. Others with the same pack in the cordura version have ripped the sides with sharp ski edges quickly. I almost never use the frame sheet or brain in my 45L pack unless I have a huge load. I can upload pics of how well they are wearing later today but like I said earlier they are holding up amazing after hundreds of days on each. I was sick of going through cordura pack every year. These are truly packs that you can pass down to your children if they can ever get them out of my hands some day when I am old. I love the removable straps and although I typicaly keep it set up the same I like being able to move them around. It's great to be able to go skiing in the morning and rock climbing in the afternoon and use the same pack. The wait and price are well worth it in my opinion. I am already saving money on not having to buy new packs after 4 years.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

I got my W/NWD 30:30 as part of the initial production run sometime in 2011? 2010? I don't remember. I can tell you that it is the only pack I've used since and the only damage is sweat stain on the back. I've beat it to hell and back and I can't damage the thing.

Before that I had a 40l worksack and I couldn't damage that either, but there were some things that I didn't like, all of which were fixed in subsequent iterations of the pack. My 40l was made in New York, and they've been made in Oregon for 8 years now, I think? 9? I'd have to ask Graham.

At any rate, Cilogear is pretty boutique and definitely high end. If you're looking for a pack that you want to be able to customize to your tastes, it's well worth it, imho. Once you get it set, they're amazing.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Thanks Ty!

John,

I thought you can't customize those packs? I would like a crampon pouch but didn't even wanna ask per Cilogear's website.

divnamite · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 170

When they were in Brooklyn, I got two from them. So my impression might be outdated. Overall, they weren't that impressive. They carry well enough but nothing amazing that justify its price at that time. I went to CCW for my last 2 customized packs and I'll never buy another ice or alpine pack unless Randy closes his shop.

I do like about Cilogear's adjustable D-ring design and some of its other designs.

Ty Falk · · Park City, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 270

My all time favorite piece of gear. I really hate zippers. Hundreds of days on both of these packs and not one issue or point on them that is wearing out. I did seam grip the stiches.

Cilogear

Wnwd

Wnwd

Ty Falk · · Park City, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 270
divnamite wrote:When they were in Brooklyn, I got two from them. So my impression might be outdated. Overall, they weren't that impressive. They carry well enough but nothing amazing that justify its price at that time. I went to CCW for my last 2 customized packs and I'll never buy another ice or alpine pack unless Randy closes his shop. I do like about Cilogear's adjustable D-ring design and some of its other designs.
Did they wear out? We're they w/nwd or the regular cordura? What was the problem with them? Simplicity sometimes is underestimated.
divnamite · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 170
Ty Falk wrote: Did they wear out? We're they w/nwd or the regular cordura? What was the problem with them? Simplicity sometimes is underestimated.
I had the old one, so whatever material it was. My shoulder straps were rolled so the foam inside were all twisted. I ripped one the d-ring attached to the body. I personally would buy CCW before anything else because it's as durable as it gets for cordura and I think you can ask for dyneema material instead.
john campbell · · Ouray,CO · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0
Z Winters wrote:Those look sweet. I wonder if they can accommodate a removable frame like the Cilogear packs. Could be nice to have more than the foam for bigger loads. Love the simplicity though.
Hi,
I do offer removable frames and/or frame sheets with my packs. typically ,I use aluminum stays, but I also have tubular titanium stays available. they weigh almost nothing, and are much stiffer than alloy. all frames are custom sized for each customer.

i'm happy to answer any other questions.

JC
john campbell · · Ouray,CO · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0
Bill Kirby wrote:Thanks Ty! John, I thought you can't customize those packs? I would like a crampon pouch but didn't even wanna ask per Cilogear's website.
Hi Bill,
all the climbing packs I build at alpine luddites are fully custom. If you are looking for something specific I'd be happy to talk you through the design process.

JC
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

I have a Cilogear 30Z. It is regular one not the hybrid dyneema composite. I do have a HMG 55L ice pack though which is hybrid dyneema composite. It's not the exact same fabric, but they're both dyneema composite/polyester hybrids. The dyneema composite provides tear resistances and lightweight strength. The polyester (I'd assume Cilogear uses some form of DimPoly Xpac) provides abrasion resistance. Used together you get the best of both.

I've been incredible happy with hybrid dyneema composite fabrics. It's hard to understand the limitations of either if you don't work with them as raw materials. Dyneema composite is pretty delicate on it's own, and I would never put crampons or ice tools anywhere near it. It punctures pretty easily, but it doesn't tear. My rain jacket (dyneema composite) has a few holes from bushwhacking, and I'm really careful to not abrade against much with that jacket. My HMG pack even has a few micro holes but is certainly more durable than my jacket (I've dragged it over rocks and it shows no signs of wear).

So W/NWD or whatever you want to call it is definitely an awesome fabric. That being said, my HMG pack has a dyneema gridstop patch for crampons and ice tools. Similarly the Cilogear crampon pouch is made out of X Pac and not their W/NWD.

As far as my actual Cilogear pack, it carries like shit. Then again I don't have a framesheet. I only use it for skiing, so just a puffy, shovel, snacks. I tried it with all my climbing gear once and do not want to ever do that again. As Mike pointed out, the straps are kind of difficult. It's a novel idea, but they are a pain in the ass to adjust. I'd give the build quality an 7.5-8/10 with my HMG being closer to a 10.

I'd also expect to wait longer than 8 weeks. I got a call three months after placing my order saying they hadn't started on my pack and wanted to know if I wanted to buy a different one they had in stock.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Thank you to everyone who posted some information! I think I have game plan. I'm going to call Randy at CCW and see if he can build me a CHERNOBYL with a metal framesheet. I've carried a friends Chernobyl and felt it was very comfortable. I'll explain my concerns about my back and see if we can come up with something.

If that doesn't work, John C sounds like a stand up guy. I'll call him and workout something with him.

What says you? Thanks again guys for your advice.

john campbell · · Ouray,CO · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0
Bill Kirby wrote:Thank you to everyone who posted some information! I think I have game plan. I'm going to call Randy at CCW and see if he can build me a CHERNOBYL with a metal framesheet. I've carried a friends Chernobyl and felt it was very comfortable. I'll explain my concerns about my back and see if we can come up with something. If that doesn't work, John C sounds like a stand up guy. I'll call him and workout something with him. What says you? Thanks again guys for your advice.
that's a great plan .I really like Randy and spent time with him and his partner when we lived in North conway. His packs are really nice and well built.

JC
John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Bill Kirby wrote:Thanks Ty! John, I thought you can't customize those packs? I would like a crampon pouch but didn't even wanna ask per Cilogear's website.
Oh, I meant the D-ring system- not so much a custom build.

Sorry, i was typing on my phone. Graham will probably be happy to put a crampon pouch on the front if it doesnt already come with one- but yeah, expect to wait for it- they can take a long time and the snowpocalypse in Portland last month shut their factory down for several days, so they're likely behind schedule.
john campbell · · Ouray,CO · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0
Bill Kirby wrote:Thank you to everyone who posted some information! I think I have game plan. I'm going to call Randy at CCW and see if he can build me a CHERNOBYL with a metal framesheet. I've carried a friends Chernobyl and felt it was very comfortable. I'll explain my concerns about my back and see if we can come up with something. If that doesn't work, John C sounds like a stand up guy. I'll call him and workout something with him. What says you? Thanks again guys for your advice.
Hi bill,

This review of one of my packs was published yesturday in Alpinist: alpinist.com/doc/web17w/ms-...
Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 483

I have used both the standard hybrid Cuben and more expensive Full Dyneema Ice Packs from Hyperlite Mountain Gear. The standard fabric abraded and cut from things like ski edges. The Full Dyneema version is completely different and absolutely bomber. Here's a dude testing it: 

 

The pack has removable aluminum stays. Hyperlite will make the Ice Pack in Full Dyneema in any size they offer as a custom thing. I picked up two of them from Backcountry when they had them accidentally listed at the standard material's price. I replaced all the plastic buckles with metal G-hooks I got from Organic Climbing. Super comfortable, bomber, and super happy.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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