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Hands-on Gear Review
Pros: Carrys well, nice pockets
Cons: Smallest rope tarp in review
Best Uses: Sport climbing, cragging
The Metolius Porta-Cord is a small cragging backpack and a rope bag all rolled into one. The Porta-Cord features a typical rope tarp, a small lid pocket, two handy side pockets and two comfortable shoulder straps. It's not quite a cragging pack but it's pretty close. Even if you are not looking to replace your cragging pack, we think it is a pretty cool rope bag. Besides carrying it like a backpack you can use one strap and carry it like a traditional over-the-shoulder rope bag. Not the perfect rope bag for every climber at every crag but certain folks will love the Porta-Cord, more sport climbers than trad climbers. The only real disadvantage to the Porta-Cord is its relatively small tarp (3'x3'), which tied for smallest in the review, and kept it from being our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice is its small tarp.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Porta-Cord has one zipper down the length of the bag that zips open to make it easier to roll up your gear. This system works well but occasionally requires a slight bit of wrestling to zip it closed. Compared with other rope bags we tested, it was easier than the Arc'teryx Pali and about the same as the Dirt Bag. It wasn't quite as easy to roll up as the Rope Ranger, Super Slacker or Super Chute. The best part of the Porta-Cord was how well it carried. It was by far the most comfortable rope bag to carry in the review. It's almost a normal backpack in this regard, comfortable enough that you can use it as your only pack as long as you don't need too much stuff. When using it as our only pack we found we could easily fit 15 quick-draws and a 10.3mm x 70m rope. We found with a 60m rope it is big enough for your shoes, some draws, water and a snack. With a 70m rope we couldn't fit both our rock shoes and the quick-draws but we could fit one or the other. It has a mini-pocket underneath the lid large enough for your keys, phone, wallet or head lamp. We liked the dual side pockets for snacks. They even hold your average sized guidebook. We like the durable and easy-to-use Metolius "unbreakable" metal buckles; they are guaranteed forever.
The biggest disadvantage to the Porta-Cord is the fact that the tarp isn't big enough. At 3x3 feet it is the smallest in the review and you need to work to keep your rope on it. This tarp felt extra small after our side-by-side comparisons with bigger tarps. The backpack-like shape has no real compression straps and doesn't fit inside a larger cragging pack as easily as other models do. Along with the Black Diamond Super Slacker and the Dirt Bag it was the worst as far as how easily the rope bag fit into a larger pack.
It was the second most expensive rope bag in the review, but it has a lot more features and is $10 less than the Arc'teryx Pali. You can think of the Porta-Cord either as an expensive rope bag or as a cheap cragging pack.
— Ian Nicholson
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 13, 2013
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