The CiloGear 40B WorkSack is what the manufacturer
calls a “Lightweight Alpine Day” pack. It
is meant for “Alpine Cragging or serious routes
in more civilized areas”. The WorkSack is a top-loading
great-sack pack (meaning it has no compartments and
is accessed only from the top) with a floating lid.
The WorkSack came to me with nothing in the box but
the pack and two postcards. The product information
listed above came from CiloGear’s easy to navigate
web site. The web site also had a link to the instruction
manual. The instruction manual is huge and has instructions
for fit and various configuration options.
The pack is constructed of an absolute plethora of
materials. The bottom of the main pack is made of Dimension
Polyant VX51. This is 500x1000d Cordura laminated in
a five-ply sandwich with Dacron X-Pac for rip resistance
and structural stability.
The top of the side panels are made of Dyneema 500d
ripstop. The bottom of the side panels are made of Dimension
Polyant VX51. The Dyneema is the white grid pattern
on the black fabric on the sides, lid, crampon pocket,
back, and portions of the inside of the pack.
The middle of the center panel is made of Dimension
Polyant VX42, and the sides are constructed of Dimension
The lid is made from Dimension Polyant VX07, 70d Cordura
laminated in a five ply sandwich with Dacron X-Pac on
the sides with the Cordura / Dyneema 500d ripstop used
for the top. All of the fabrics above are rated 200
Side view of the 40B WorkSack showing
the huge extension sleeve.
At the top of the pack body is a huge 11 in (28 cm) extension
sleeve, made of 30d Cordura SilNylon. A cord runs around the
top of the sleeve and through a spring-loaded cord lock, allowing
the top to be drawn shut. There is another cord and lock that
runs around the extension sleeve in the middle that acts as
the main body closure.
On the front of the WorkSack are the following features:
An extra layer of Cordura is sewn in the center of the body.
On this reinforced area a grab-hoist loop is sewn at the top.
Below the loop is a crampon pocket, which is a rectangular
bellows style pocket with no closure.
On each side of the crampon pocket is a short daisy chain
with a cord-locked bungee tool keeper attached. Below the
daisy chains are the tool loops which, instead of just being
made from a sewn on loop like my other packs, are made up
of a strap with a quick-disconnect buckle.
There are two reinforced flaps trimmed with highly reflective
tape are at the bottom of the pack. The purpose of these flaps
is to carry ice tools. Since I will not be carrying ice tools
this time of year I may be able to find a different purpose
for these flaps.
Inside the pack is a white 9 x 6 in (23 x 15 cm) stash pocket
that closes with a zipper. This pocket also acts as the cover
for the orange framesheet pocket. The top of the framesheet
closure is made of 70d Cordura SilNylon and the bottom of
the framesheet closure pocket is made of 210d Cordura SilNylon.
Inside the framesheet pocket are the three pieces that give
the WorkSack its internal support. This framesheet pocket
holds a folded blue foam bivy pad that cushions the back and
can be used as a sit pad or bivy pad. A black hard plastic
panel serves as the framesheet, which has an aluminum stay
that runs down the center. The aluminum stay is secured in
place by a hook and loop closure. Also inside the pack is
a centered strap with a quick disconnect buckle. This strap
is intended for load transfer.
The web site gives detailed instructions how
to adjust the framesheet and stay to fit properly. I want
to have the assistance of a second person to help me fit the
WorkSack properly with a good fit.
The shoulder pads are constructed of a very thin, stiff,
dual density, closed cell foam covered with nylon. I am actually
surprised how thin the straps are, mostly because I am accustomed
to packs with thicker shoulder straps. The shoulder straps
are a fixed type sewn to the pack body, that can not be moved
up or down to accommodate various torso lengths. The shoulder
straps have the usual two adjustment straps, top and bottom.
The top ones adjust the distance that the pack rides away
from my body. The adjustment straps at the lower ends pull
the pack down onto my shoulders changing the balance of weight
between my hip and shoulders. An adjustable and removable
sternum strap spans between the shoulder straps. Between the
shoulder pads, at the top, is a red grab-hang loop.
The hip belt is made of a thin, stiff, dual density, closed
cell foam foam that is covered with nylon and connects by
means of a large quick disconnect buckle. It has straps on
the sides to pull the side of the pack tighter into the lower
back. The hip belt provides torso adjustment for the pack
by sliding up or down and attaching with a hook and loop type
fastener at the desired location.
The top lid is very large and is accessed by
way of a waterproof zipper that has some of the reflective
tape right above it. I should be able to find the zipper fast
with a dim head lamp. When the lid is flipped open another
map/permit pocket may be found on the bottom.
The lid is easily removable to lighten the pack
weight when it not needed, or it can be moved to the front
of the pack (over the crampon pocket) instead of the top.
It floats higher on the pack than any top lid I have seen.
An extension strap is provided to allow it to perch on the
top of the fully extended sleeve.
Instead of normal straps that are sewn on CiloGear
uses Sliplocks and Dee-Clips to change the volume and the
compression system of the pack. The Dee-Clip is a metal squared
off D-Ring. The Sliplock is a plastic slide buckle. The Sliplock
is passed through the Dee-Clip at an angle then straightened.
This allows the Sliplock to be held in place and will not
allow it to slide out of the Dee-Clip. The pack can be compressed
to its smallest volume size by attaching all the sewn on Sliplocks
to the Dee-Clips opposite them.
By undoing all the straps
the pack may be used to its fullest volume size. By using
the extra straps provided with the pack it can be adjusted
in many ways and volumes. At first I thought that this could
easily be done with regular straps at less weight. But as
I read about the pack I realized that the extension straps
may be used not only for sideways compression but set up
in vertical or horizontal V patterns for more control of
loads. I see now that the WorkSack is meant to be able to
do a lot of jobs and carry various types of gear and loads.
I like the possibility that I can easily adjust the pack
in the field for comfort and load type by carrying the extra
straps with me.
I noticed upon receiving the pack that there
is a large amount of unfinished threads on my pack. These
unfinished threads have been trimmed. One area on the ice
tool pocket has threads hanging out of one side, and missing
on the other. I will watch this during the testing.
Hanging and missing threads on ice tool
So far I am happy with the looks of the WorkSack.
The material appears to be durable and I love the various
configuration options for various load types. The pack appears
to be complex to initially fit and configure for various load
options. I was a little bit overwhelmed when I saw the pack.
However, the instruction manual on the website did an excellent
job of explaining how to fit the pack and compression/load
I am little surprised at how thin the shoulder
straps and the hip belt are. There is just so little padding.
This makes me wonder how my shoulders and hips will feel after
carrying a load of climbing and backpacking gear.
So now I am off to fit the WorkSack.
During the past two months the CiloGear
40B WorkSack was used on three climbing trips and one
backpacking trip in the following locations:
Big Cottonwood Canyon Utah: Rock
climbing trip that involved 4 mi (6 km) of hiking and
scrambling. The starting elevation was approximately
6,200 ft (1,890 m). The temperatures was 82 F (28 C).
This was a multi-pitch climb and a few single pitch
Maple Canyon Utah: This
was a rock climbing trip involving 3.5 mi (6 km) of
hiking to two climbing areas. The elevation was 6,800
ft (2,073 m) and the temperature was 57 F (14 C) in
the a.m. shade and rose to 78 F (26 C).
Malibu Creek State Park, California:
This was a sport climbing trip with a high
temperature of 77 F (25 C). The elevation was 561 ft
(171 m). The distance hiking to the crag was 3 mi (5
Mt. San Jacinto State
Park, California: The pack was used on a two night
backpacking trip at the Buckthorn Camp. The weather
was sunny with a slight breeze and the high temperatures
were around 75 F (24 C).
in the Field
I have been a recreational rock climber for the past 9 years.
I was very excited to see the CiloGear test come up and even
more so when I was chosen to test it. Finally a reason to
dump my heavy old climbing pack, even though it had served
well for many years and many routes. At this point I have
mixed feelings about the WorkSack, I believe I am jumping
the gun to toss my old climbing pack. My old climbing pack
is very comfortable and I am experiencing discomfort when
carrying the WorkSack with heavy loads around 30 lb (14 kg).
I was told by the test moderator right after the Initial
Review was posted that I had not received the correct straps,
and that I could expect to be contacted by the manufacturer
to get the right accessories. I never was contacted and preceded
with what I had.
My first trip with the WorkSack was a multi-pitch climb and
the pack weighed over 30 lb (14 kg). I carried two 60 m (197
ft) ropes, climbing gear rack (quickdraws, cams, nuts, friends,
runners, etc.), harness, two pairs of shoes, jacket, helmet,
food, water, and miscellaneous supplies for a total of 4 mi
(6 km). I climbed with the pack up a multi-pitch route and
also rappelled with it. To initially pack for this trip I
spent a great deal of time fiddling with the Sliplocks and
Dee-Clips making sure I had the pull straps facing the right
direction to make quick adjustments as needed. Now I believe
I am more proficient with the orientation of the Sliplocks
and Dee-Clips. But, it is still taking me longer than usual
to configure my load.
Generally I do not mind climbing with a pack on. Yes, there
is some lack of freedom of movement but usually I can handle
it just fine. With the CiloGear pack I climbed with all my
necessities in the pack (configured to the smallest volume)
and had my extra rope secured to my harness. It was a pleasure
to be able to compress the pack to a smaller volume within
a few minutes. I was able to wear my harness while climbing
but some of my rear fixed gear loops were covered by the back
of the pack. I improvised and used my side gear loops. I found
that the shoulder straps were digging into me in the humeral
head, clavicular area of my arm and shoulder while I was climbing.
I also found that I was more limited in my range of motion
climbing with this pack on a multi-pitch. My other climbing
pack has a different angle on the shoulder straps and I find
it more comfortable for climbing. Even while hiking with the
CiloGear pack I experienced some shoulder discomfort and some
pressure on my back where the horizontal seam of the lumbar
pad presses against my back. I found the shoulder straps to
be hard and thin and not conforming to my anatomical shape
well. So I thought maybe I just had to break the pack in.
The second trip I only carried one 60 m (197 ft) rope, a
small gear rack, a harness, one pair of shoes, helmet, jacket,
shirt, food, water bladder, and miscellaneous supplies. The
shoulder straps felt a little bit better but they were still
digging into my humeral head and putting pressure on my glenohumeral
joint. But, the pressure from the pack seam was digging into
my back. On this trip I sat for 30 minutes trying different
load configurations to help alleviate the pressure from the
seam digging into my back. But, my efforts availed no effective
On the third climbing trip I carried most of the climbing
gear even though my husband offered to carry the rope. We
spent a great deal of time the night before coming up with
an optimal loading method. So off we went and again I was
feeling the pressure from the seam on my back. I asked my
husband to feel inside the pack between my back and the WorkSack
and he verified there was a seam that was hitting my back.
No matter what I did I could not make the pressure from it
I will say that the WorkSack is pretty durable. I have dragged
the pack on conglomerate, quartzite, sandstone, and volcanic
rock with no damage to the fabric. Except for the loose threads
mentioned in my initial report, it has held up quite well.
I wish that all my packs were made with the materials CiloGear
employs. The haul loop is a handy feature to pick up the pack
or hauling it up a face by attaching it to a carabiner after
topping out. This pack is very durable and makes a nice small
haul bag when it is configured to its fullest volume.
On the backpacking trip I carried a lighter load under 30
lb (14 kg) and the shoulder straps were a little bit more
comfortable. But, I need to be able to carry heavy weights
semi-comfortably on multi-pitch and multi-day climbing trips.
I do not have the Oral Straps for this pack so when I attach
or remove my trekking poles on the sides of the pack I have
to release the compression straps.
Since I did not have to carry crampons on any of my trips
I used the crampon pocket to hold a water bottle. But, I can
not easily reach my water there. I need to ask my partner
to get it for me or I have to take off the pack. I did store
a hydration bladder in the inside framesheet pocket and that
worked out OK. But, the routing of the hydration hose was
not optimal. I wish there was some sort of side pockets to
place a water bottle so that I can reach it. I would also
like to see some type of hydration bladder hanger system inside
The lid is every large. Actually it is the largest lid I
have ever used. I wish that is was somehow sectioned off that
when it is less than half full the items are not moving around.
I alleviated this issue by placing my jacket in the lid with
the other items when it is not half full. I like to have a
lid on my pack to store my smaller items that I do not want
buried inside the main compartment of my pack.
I did notice that the aluminum stay pocket on the framesheet
is not centered and I am wondering if that has something to
do with the discomfort I am feeling when I carry the WorkSack.
I would think that this should be centered to not potentially
cause acute back discomfort and anatomical back problems in
While the strap and buckle system seems pretty cool, it seems
to take me longer to configure my loads with this pack. I
do not know if this is because I am new to this type of load
system or because I do not have an effective loading method
with this pack yet. Plus I have not carried the same type
of load in the pack over two trips.
I like the various compression options using the Sliplocks/Dee-Clips
and I like having the option to immediately compress or expand
my pack out in the field. I have used the pack with and without
the hipbelt and trialed balancing the load weight different
ways with various strapping methods. I still have not achieved
the optimal way to carry a load in this pack, but I will keep
During the long term reporting phase I will be using the
pack on multi-pitch climbing routes and day climbing trips
and I will attempt to carry the same loads on each of these
trips. If I can just tinker with the pack and configure it
to decrease the compression on my shoulders and the lumbar
seam from pressing against my back this would be a wonderful
Since the field report the CiloGear 40B WorkSack
was used on two climbing trips in the following locations:
Red Rocks, Nevada: This was
a two day climbing outing with approaches to the crag averaging
1.5 - 2 mi (2 - 3 km) with temperatures reaching a high of
about 95 F (35 C). The elevation increased from 3,500 ft (1,067
City of Rocks, Idaho: This
was a two day climbing trip with the highs around 40 F (4
C). The elevation was around 5,800 ft (1,768 m). The ground
had a dusting of snow the first day and the second day the
ground was damp and wet in some areas. The approaches was
about 3 mi (5 km) in length.
in the Field
Through the long term reporting phase I used the CiloGear
40B WorkSack on two rock climbing trips. I used the pack on
one multi-pitch climb and for carrying my gear to and from
I have not been contacted by the manufacturer regarding the
straps I was provided with at the beginning of this test series.
The test moderator communicated to me that the manufacturer
would be contacting me to provide me with the correct straps.
So I continued to test the pack with the straps I initially
During the long term reporting phase the WorkSack was placed
on wet ground and snow. The material has proven to do a good
job at repelling moisture since none of my gear inside the
pack became wet. Only the bottom of the pack on the outside
On both my climbing trips during the long term reporting
phase I generally carried the same volume and weight. The
pack weighed 30 lb (14 kg). I carried one 60 m (197 ft) rope,
a split climbing gear rack (quickdraws, cams, nuts, friends,
runners, etc.), harness, one pair of shoes, jacket, helmet,
food, water, and miscellaneous supplies. In City of Rocks
I climbed with the pack up a multi-pitch route and also rappelled
with the pack on. I did not use a hydration system on either
trip and I resorted to carrying a water bottle in the crampon
pocket and another one inside the pack.
I found that I am spending less time adjusting the pack and
configuring the straps for the pack load. I am better oriented
with the Sliplocks and Dee-Clips and have become more knowledgeable
about different strap configurations. I like the versatility
of this pack, I can easily compress it for small loads while
climbing up a face and then expanding the pack after climbing
or loading it with gear after topping out on a climb.
I am still feeling discomfort where the horizontal seam of
the lumbar pad presses against my back. It is less pronounced
when I am wearing a heavier insulated jacket, but when I just
wear a shirt I can feel the seam dig into my back. I also
noticed that I do get a wet spot on my back when carrying
the WorkSack in warm temperatures. There is no mesh on the
rear of the pack to assist with ventilation. Also the shoulder
straps became damp.
I think I am getting more used to the rigid shoulder straps
and they do not seem to bother me nearly as much as the pressure
I feel from the lumbar pad seam. They have held their shape
and the pack is much more comfortable in the shoulder area
when I am wearing an insulated jacket.
The pack has held up well with no breakage of any of the
components. Also the material has held up well especially
after the pack has been dragged across rock and from general
climbing abuse. I really like the materials that the pack
is constructed of. There also has not been any snagging of
the lid zipper during the past four months of testing the
This would be a great pack if it just fit me better. I am
thinking that maybe it would fit me better if there was another
model made especially for a female. I am also wondering if
the fact that the aluminum stay pocket on the framesheet is
not centered has to do with any of the shoulder discomfort
I am feeling when I carry the pack. I would like to see an
easy way to transport water bottles with this pack because
many times while climbing I do not carry a hydration bladder.
Things That Rock:
- Ease of adjustment
- Multiple compression options
- Large lid capacity
- The pack is lightweight
Things That Are So So:
- No place to hang a water bladder system
- No designated place to store a water bottle
- The shoulder straps dig into my shoulders
- The seam on the lumbar pad digs into my
concludes my reporting on the 40B WorkSack. Thank you CiloGear
for providing me with the opportunity to test the 40B WorkSack.