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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Not super comfortable.
Manufacturer: Cilo Gear
Cilo Gear is a smaller company based in Portland, Oregon and they still produce 100 percent of their packs in the USA with quality that is second to none. The 60L WorkSack, like the Mountain Hardwear South Col 70, is a minimalist pack with alpine and mountaineering features. This pack is an excellent option for backpackers and trekkers looking to shed a little weight but still want a durable pack. This pack is light but not crazy light and still features a fairly burly suspension (that is easily stripped down) but with more minimal shoulder straps and waist belt. The pack feels lighter than the scales dictate and feels way bigger than its 60L name would suggest. The same goes for all the Cilo Gear packs; we think the volumes run small and you should expect a slightly bigger pack in whatever volume you are looking for bonus!
-Wasn't as comfortable as some of the slightly lighter packs.
-Lid didn't fit over the pack very well
-Best designed features of a pack for climbing and mountaineering
-Suspension was only okay; it's the same as the smaller packs but not quite good enough for this pack
-Way bigger than its 60L size would suggest
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking backpacks
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
-The Cilo Gear 60L WorkSack is great for loads up to 35-40lbs. Above that, the thin shoulder straps and minimalist waist belt start to make the pack less comfortable than the competition. It is a step up in comfort from the REI Flash 62 or even the much bulkier padded Kelty Coyote, but wasn't nearly as comfortable as the Gregory Baltoro 65 or Arc'teryx Altra 65.
For this volume of pack, it would be great if Cilo Gear would beef up the waist belt a little. It would take this pack from good to awesome. The waist belt is great on their smaller packs (which the 60L waist belt is nearly identical to).
The 60L WorkSack weighs in with all its straps at 4 lbs. 3 oz. but it can easily be stripped down because of its exceptionally modular design. It is a little heavier than the South Col, but can be easily made lighter. It is even tougher than the South Col but might not carry heavy loads as well.
The suspension of this pack far exceeds the size of its waist belt and shoulder straps. Most people who buy this pack are looking for a lighter, more minimalist pack for alpine climbing, mountaineering and ski touring. The pack was a little heavier than we thought it was going to be and this is why: it features a burly stay plus a stout plastic frame sheet and beefy piece of foam. So if you want to shed a few ounces you can drop the stay or the stay plus the plastic frame sheet.
Ease of Use
The climbing features of this pack are second to none. The WorkSack features easy-to-use ice axe/tool sleeves, a nice crampon pocket and a trim design. This pack is for minimalists as it only has two zippered pockets on its lid and nothing else.
The modular compression straps are color coded and are less complicated than they first appear. You can rig the pack in different ways to not only strap different things onto it but also to make the pack carry better. These straps attach in a slightly tricky fashion that can take time to figure out, but once you figure it out it's easy.
The lid doesn't fit over the pack once it gets pretty full. This doesn't seam like a big deal (other than it looks a little funny). But when it rains you have to be more diligent about using other measures to keep your stuff dry.
The 60L WorkSack comes in three sizes and has no adjustment other than the shoulder straps and load lifters. This pack as well as all the Cilo Gear Packs ran a little small compared with other pack frames on the market. If you are typically in between sizes, definitely go for the larger size. Some taller folks (taller than 6'2-6'3) won't fit very well into the Cilo Gear Packs. The flip side of that is the fact that smaller framed men really like the Cilo Gear packs; they also work well for smaller narrower shouldered women.
Cilo Gear even makes a women's specific waist belt for all their packs.
CiloGear 45L WorkSack
— Ian Nicholson
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 9, 2012
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