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Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag Review

Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag
Price:   $180 List | $179.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple, light, easy to get in and out of, comfortable to carry.
Cons:  Not waterproof, not as durable as other options.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Touchstone stands out for its value, comfort, and simplicity. Of all the haul bag options we tested, this one is probably the most simple and streamlined for its size. I have used it in Zion and Yosemite and find it a great size for one-day ascents or as a second bag to a bigger bag like the Metolius El Cap Haul Bag. That said, I would spend the extra $25 and get the Metolius Quarter Dome Haul Bag instead because it has a more watertight closure and is burlier.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Haul Bags for Big Wall Climbing

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Friday
November 18, 2016

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Likes


This bag has a very simple and clean design that makes it easy to get in and out of whether on the side of a cliff or at the crag. The process of opening it, accessing gear, and closing it, is about as fast as it gets.

It is a great size. I take this on one-day El Cap ascents of routes with mostly aid. It is quick to get things in the bottom of the bag (you are not diving down head first to find things). As a crag pack it is a perfect big size — it will fit everything and stand up on its own so you can access stuff easily. The suspension systems is one of the best and easiest to use when carrying the bag.

Dislikes


The top of the bag is not water tight. It's difficult to improvise a way to keep water out in a storm if the bag is hanging. You can try and use a trash compacter bag and accessory cord and "make a big version" of using a ziplock bag and rubber band on a mason jar when you lose the lid.

While the haul straps are a nice length for big walls, they are a little long for crag pack (they are more likely to get hung up on branches and snag). Because there are no big compression straps across the top it is not an ideal travel bag or substitute for a bag like the North Face Base Camp Duffel. Although you can check it in on airplanes, you have to be extra careful about closing it up in a bomber no-snag way. By contrast, a bag with big compression straps and a "lid" like the Quarter Dome is much more travel friendly.


Best Application


This size is too small to be used as a single haul bag unless you pack really light on a route like the Regular Route on Half Dome. I used a bag this size on a one-night ascent of the Salathé Wall on El Capitan but I packed exceptionally light, brought tiny sleeping bags, and climbed in August (it was warm so I didn't need tons of extra clothes). Typically, this size bag is paired with a larger haul bag like the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag on a steep route like Zodiac.

Value


While this is less expensive than it's Metolius counterpart, we think its also a lot less featured. We would still lean toward spending more money on the Metolius.
Chris McNamara


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Most recent review: November 18, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   May 9, 2013 - 05:17pm
HighPlanesDrifter · Skier · Telluride, CO. USA
I bought this as a secondary haulbag for walls but I actually ended up using it more as a crag pack. It's like a "wearable bucket" for my gear and it carries well if you slip a pad into the back panel sleeve. The fact that it stands up on it's own makes for super easy to load/unload. Also, it's super tough which keeps the hardware from destroying this pack from the inside out like other soft crag packs do.
Of course, you will look like you're geared up for a yosemite bigwall when you're hiking to the crag but who cares?

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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