Getting Organized for a Climb - Air Contact Lite 45+ SL Women's Pack

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 photo by Meghan Young

photo by Meghan Young

When I was a newer climber, my friends used to always make fun of me for the state of my gear. My harnesses were always falling apart, and the gates of my quickdraws would stick open. I remember watching one of my belay partners packing his backpack at the end of the day, and I couldn't comprehend how meticulously he stacked everything into perfect place, as I shoved all my gear into my bag helter skelter. Nothing ever fit, and I couldn't keep it from turning into a lumpy, chaotic mess, with the weight distributed all wrong. I've gotten a lot better about the quality of my gear, but the art of a well packed backpack has always eluded me. It doesn't help that over the years I've decided that more and more non-essential things (i.e. outside the basics of rope, shoes, chalk bag, etc.) need to come with me to the crag: bug spray, first aid kit, wire brush, elaborate skin care kit, hunting knife, three pairs of sunglasses, guidebooks for areas I'm not at... For awhile I thought it was a hopeless lost cause, and I would always be settling when it came to backpacks. That was when I found the Air Contact Lite, which offered the solution to all my packing woes. It has pockets everywhere, which helps me stay organized by designating different compartments to heavier or lighter things, dirty or clean things, things I want to leave in vs. things to unpack when I get home. The brain doesn't slide off when it isn't packed to max capacity, like pretty much every other pack I've ever owned. The adjustable back and waist is rigid and well padded, so I don't get stabbed by a wrongly positioned cam every time I suit up, and the weight is perfectly distributed. Having all of my previous problems solved has enabled me to tackle longer and harder approaches without fear of it being a sufferfest, while still taking all my extra odds and ends. There is a place for everything, without me having to play tetris, and for once the state of my gear is nothing but successful!