First Look Gear Review

Runout Customs Double Portaledge Review

   

Portaledge

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: February 22, 2013
Street Price:   $695
Pros:  Light, fast to set up.
Cons:  Made to order only.
Best Uses:  99 percent of big wall applications (aka climbing a wall in spring, summer or fall in Yosemite or Zion).
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Runout Customs
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 22, 2013  
Overview
This is our new favorite portaledge for most big wall applications. The main reasons: it's light, easy to set up, and based on the design of the most popular and time-tested ledge of all time: the A5 double. Most other portaledges weigh 15+ pounds and the Runout Customs (in the two-pole model we recommend) is under 10.

Two Versions
The exact same ledge comes with two frame designs:
  • For $695 you get a frame with three pieces on the long side and two on the short side.
  • For $650 you get a frame with two pieces on the long side and one piece on the short side.

We strongly recommend the frame with two pieces on the long side and one on the short. It is lighter, much faster to set up (especially at a hanging bivy) and you get to save $50.

Weight
This version with two pieces on the long side weighs 9.12 pounds (without the bag). This is much much lighter than the Metolius Bomb Shelter or the Black Diamond Cliff Cabana. It's actually even lighter than the old A5 Double. It is the ideal balance of being light weight but still plenty bomber for most conditions you will encounter in Yosemite and Zion.

Weight is key, especially on a 2-3 day wall. It is not a bad idea to take a portaledge like this on a route like The Nose because it gives you more bivy options and storm protection. It is harder to recommend the larger and heavier double portaledges because (with the flys), they add an extra 5-10+ pounds, which is just too much on long and lower angle route where you need to move fast.

Ease of Setup
No spreader bar! This ledge is easy to set up with one person at a hanging bivy once you practice ten times. Most other larger portaledges require two people or lots and lots of training (and no wind). Setting up a Cliff Cabana by ourselves was an ordeal… and then we got to deal with the pesky spreader bar. This is a big deal because when we climb walls, if our partner is going to take more than an hour to lead a pitch, then it's nice to set up the ledge and save the weight of bringing a less comfy belay seat. This is easy to do with the Runout Customs design.

That said, we have seen Tommy Caldwell set up the Cliff Cabana really fast by himself. So it can be done. But Tommy has also probably set up and broken down that thing more than anyone on the planet.

Size
It is just a hair longer than the old A5 double ledge. For two guys who are 5-10 and 170, it is snug but not too cramped. If you are over 6 feet, it will probably feel small. For a 2-3 day wall, it is a fine size. If for some reason you want to spend 5+ days on a wall, then you might want a larger ledge since at that point you will have such massive loads the weight savings is negligible.

Rainfly
Runout Customs is still working on a rainfly. For now you will need to use and old A5 rainfly or contact them to see what other rainflys from other manufacturers might be compatible. You must bring a rainfly on a big wall, even Yosemite in the summer.

Ordering
All ledges are made to order. So that is one downside; no last minute purchases for that wall you are getting on next week. You can see a link to the ordering page here
And more photos are available on the Runout Customs Facebook page


  • Photos
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Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 22, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 21, 2013 - 08:50pm
Russ Facente · Climber · Moab
I have the 3 piece design (or 3x2 piece or whatever- the one that packs smaller). It is a great bed, easy to set up, basically all the things Chris says. I can fit the 3 piece into my large haulbag which make long approaches much nicer, no one has to deal with the looong bag. But for the 15 minute approach to El Cap, I think the 2 piece design would be better (lighter and even easier to set up). I don't think I'll ever want to haul a behemoth ledge (BD or Metolius) ever again! I have an old A5 fly which works fine but the seam tape is peeling so I'll need a new fly when they become available.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Runout Customs Double Portaledge
Credit: Chris McNamara
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