True Rock Climbing Day Pack




About: "I'm saving the world - I need a decent shirt. To hell with the raggedy. Time to put on a show!" - The 11th Doctor

There are a few very nice daypacks our there that are marketed towards climbers. While they are nice, and from respected brands, climbers weren't the main priority in the design process. Four gear loops on the waist belt doesn't justify the title Climbing Day Pack. This day pack is geared towards climbers in every way. It houses comfortably three peoples gear with the rope attached to the outside or carried by a buddy in a rope bag, or two peoples gear and a rope attached to the pack. The photo below is exactly what I pack for a day of climbing with myself, my roommate, and my fiancé. My roommate carries the rope in a rope bag and my fiancé carries a regular day pack with snacks and water. 

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Step 1: Materials

Purchase a Double Bin daypack. Military Packs have a lot of ability to add and hang gear/accessories to the outside. I used the daypack from my days in the Marine Corps. If you want to purchase a backpack, for this instructable or for general use, the good folks at REI have these infographics on their websites. The link is on the graphic for your convenience. 

Materials you will need:
  • Double Bin Backpack
  • Lanyard
  • Scissors
  • Package of Zip Ties
  • Velcro 
  • High Strength Fabric Glue
  • Ruler
  • PVC Clear Vinyl Tubing 
  • Dental Floss or Fishing Line
  • 550-cord or General Purpose Cord

Step 2: Alterations

We are creating the arch to attach the gear loops to. This allows all your quick draws, carabiners, cams, etc.. to be organized in the center and lets you get gear from either compartment without digging through loose gear. Also makes getting specific cams and draws quick and easy because you can keep them all separate by hanging them on different loops.
  1. Remove the wall that separates the two main compartments.
  2. If it has pockets and good stuff; relocate it to the back of the pack using the fabric glue in the next steps to keep some more pockets available. 

Step 3: Gear Loops

  1. Cut off the end of the lanyard to convert it into a solid line of nylon webbing.
  2. Measure and mark the PVC into 5" sections and cut them into 5" pieces. 
  3. Tie the dental floss or fishing line around the tip of the 550 cord or paracord and pull it through all the pieces of PVC tubing.
  4. Using zip Ties, connect the gear loops in equal intervals to one side of the webbing. 
  5. Tighten as tightly as you can and cut the tail of the zip tie off. 

Step 4: Rope Tarp Velcro Ring

The pocket in the back of most packs will hold a H2O bladder or in my case also a second rope tarp. 
  1. Overlap and glue the velcro about an inch.
  2. Wrap the loop around about 2 or 3 fingers to size the rest of your loop.
  3. Cut it and set it aside to attach to the upper inside, close to the back, just above the tarp pocket in the next steps.

Step 5: Setting Everything Into Place

If you're scared of glue go grab gloves. I don't suffer from adhesiphobia, but to each their own.
  1. Glue the gear loops as close to the middle seam as you can. 
  2. Glue the gear loop to the top inside corner, closest to the back, and above the tarp pocket.
  3. Allow everything to dry. (about 2 hours is fine, but check the back of your adhesive for its cure time.)

Step 6: Men Do Not Sew!

Men do not sew, but we do zip tie like a boss! The glue will hold it in place but we want to really secure everything. Iron Man didn't glue his suit together and then just give it an awesome hot-rod paint job! 
  1. Using the zip ties on your gear loops as a guide, make two VERY SMALL incisions to each side of the lanyard on your daypack.
  2. From the inside, loop your zip-tie through and tighten it. NOTE: Make it all self contained. It looks better and will save you from cutting your fingers  on the trimmed tails. OUCH!
  3. Make sure you get them as tight as possible and repeat the same steps for the tarp loop.
From the outside you should only see some small black dots, it doesn't look bad at all, and we didn't have to borrow grandma's thimble. Score.

Step 7: Packing Your Daypack for the Crag

Shown is everything I keep packed in my daypack. The rope can be attached to the outside, although I keep mine in a Black Diamond rope bag with its own tarp. Since my pack clearly has three peoples worth of climbing equipment, a full hammock system, and rope logs/some carious snacks and first aid equipment, I let Eric carry the ropes (Hey, he works out!) and Erikha carry the snacks and water. 

The images below show an easy way to pack everything. This configuration makes getting to specific items fast and painless.

Now go shopping (lists are on step 8) and make your own True Rock Climbers Daypack!

Step 8: Shopping (Gear) List

  • Intro Page
    • Gear Ties $16.50 or $25.50 REI
    • Metolius Anchor Chain $49.95 REI
    • Black Diamond 18mm Nylon Runners $3.95  - $8.95 REI
    • Black Diamond HoodWire Quickdraw $19.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Positron Screwgate Carabiner $8.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Rocklock Screwgate Carabiner $9.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Neutrino Rackpack - Package of 6 $34.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Vari-Width Dogbone $$3.95 - $7.45
    • C.A.M.P. USA Orbit Wire Express Quickdraw Set - 11cm - Package of 5 $59.95 REI
    • ID and Gear Marking Tape $2.65 REI
    • Black Diamond ATC Belay Device $16.95 REI
    • Black Diamond ATC-XP Belay Device $19.95 REI
    • prAna Chalk Bag with Belt $20 REI
    • Metolius Chalk Bag $14.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Wiz Kid Climbing Harness $44.95 REI
    • Black Diamond Momentum SA Climbing Harness $54.95 REI
    • ENO DoubleNest Hammock $69.95 REI
    • ENO Guardian Bug Net $59.95 REI
    • ENO ProFly Rain Tarp for Hammock $79.95 REI
    • Mad Rock Men's Drifter Climbing Shoe $68.95
    • La Sportiva Nago Rock Shoes $99.00 REI
    • FiveTen Men's Dragon Climbing Shoe $164.00
  • Materials Page
    • (550 Cord) Lehigh 3/8-in x 100-ft Braided Polypropylene Rope (By-The-Roll) $9.98 Lowes
    • PVC Clear Vinyl Tubing $0.14/ft Lowes
    • Lanyard $1.50 Lowes
    • Sandpiper of California Three Day Pass Backpack $54.95
    • Velcro Tape $3.00 Wal-Mart
    • Amazing E-6000 Craft Glue, 2 oz $4.00 Wal-Mart
    • 4 in. Zip Ties (100pack) $3.41 Wal-Mart



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    18 Discussions


    1 year ago

    thats a LOT of quickdraws!


    5 years ago

    no cams, nuts, etc - sport climbing may as well bring a ladder

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Very cool! Once I actually get the motivation and money (mainly money) together, this will be a very big help to me. Thank you for the great instructable!


    5 years ago

    What is the inner and outer diameter of the plastic tubing you put the paracord through?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It depends on what kind of climbing you're more interested in. They can be as elaborate or minimal as you wish. But the bare bones minimum would be bouldering, up to traditional climbing and then all the way to mountaineering. These suggestions but id recommend making friends at a climbing gym or going on a few group climbing trips with a guide to test each discipline out, and see what you enjoy most, before spending any serious money on any of these.

    Bouldering: Shoes, Chalk, Chalk bag/bucket, crash-pad.

    Indoor: Harness, shoes, chalk bag.

    Sport: Harness, shoes, belay device, rope/tarp, 6 quick draws, something to carry it all in + park fees if they apply.

    Traditional (Trad): Spirt package + helmet, .3-4 size cams, nuts, but tool, slings, caddy strap (holds all the gear your harness can't) at least 6 extra biners. LUNCH!


    6 years ago on Step 8

    Great job. I am impressed. This gave be some ideas for a tool tote I am planning. I am more impressed with the fact that your fiancé comes along and "carries a regular day pack with snacks and water."


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Most organized climbing bag I've ever seen, nice work! As rillettes says good luck fitting a giant cam in that bag (not that that fits well anywhere)! But it's a great idea - coming up with a trad version of this would be a fun project, thanks for the inspiration.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes.. most organized..
    And I envy you Mave_rick!! :)

    Thanks for sharing and making me drool.. :D


    6 years ago

    Wow that looks very well organized and nice!
    Would you kindly please explain the reason for so many duplicate pieces in this set?
    I'm familiar with repelling, and free climbing, but have only a small idea what most of the gear is for.

    Like why is there no harness or belt system?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The harness is there on the top left next to the shoes. You need a draw to clip into every bolt while climbing, hence the repetition. If you want to learn more about the gear pictured above, research sport climbing. Trad climbing has a different set of gear.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea. You fail to mention, however, that this is for sport climbing. You would need a bigger bag if you were to include trad or aid gear. However, the idea is good.
    /I just shove my rope on the bottom of a 35 liter bag, quickdraws and then rack on top of that, and then all the extra dross.

    It is incredible that you were able to pack all that in there! Thanks for such a complete list of supplies!


    6 years ago

    Oh! I think I found them! Are they what the shoes are tucked into?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I have 2-3 climbers worth of gear that I carry out with me. For repelling/caving the gear setup looks completely different. Though is can be organized much the same way. We primarily climb sport (i do set top ropes, which should explain some of the gear) and I boulder with my fiancé. Its nice to have draws already set to various lengths in order to keep your rope as straight as possible while climbing, as well as the few extra pieces to make a custom length on the spot. Example for this is when transferring from a vertical wall to a ceiling you may want a very long draw made from a sling in order to keep the load even on all your protection. And yeah, Erikha's harness isn't pictured, just mine and Eric's are tucked into the shoes.