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Black Diamond Rock Blitz 15 Review

This is a great pack for multi-pitch rock climbs at a very fair price
Black Diamond Rock Blitz 15
Photo: Black Diamond
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $60 List
Pros:  Simple, sturdy, light
Cons:  No emergency whistle, draw cord and cord lock blend into pack
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 26, 2021
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Climbing Utility - 25% 6
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 20% 5
  • Weight - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Rock Blitz 15 is one of our favorite small packs for rock climbing at a great price. It has a simple, easy-to-use design, and the materials strike a nice balance between durability and weight. We wish this pack had an emergency whistle built into the sternum strap buckle and that the cord and cord lock were more visible. And while our taller testers found the pack to be comfortable, we're not confident that would be the case with all shorter torsoed climbers. Despite these weaknesses, this is a great pack for any climber looking to get way off the deck without breaking the bank.

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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $60 List$80 List$69.95 at Amazon$69.95 at Amazon
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Pros Simple, sturdy, lightSimple, great zippered pocket, streamlinedComfortable, easy to pack, great packing volumeComfortable, lightDurable, sleek, stylish
Cons No emergency whistle, draw cord and cord lock blend into packLimited attachment points, easy to drop stuffHeavy, average durability, no emergency whistleSmall, flimsy, not versatileUncomfortable shoulder straps, no external carrying options
Bottom Line This is a great pack for multi-pitch rock climbs at a very fair priceThough there are no extra features, this bag ticks all the boxes for multi-pitch climbingThis pack is great to climb with and easy to load, though it's not particularly lightThough it's one of the most comfortable small climbing packs, this bag isn't very abrasion-resistantThis classic is still going strong, though you cannot carry anything on the outside of the pack
Rating Categories Black Diamond Rock... The North Face Rout... Petzl Bug Mammut Neon Light 12 Black Diamond Bullet
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Climbing Utility (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (20%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
7.0
Versatility (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Black Diamond Rock... The North Face Rout... Petzl Bug Mammut Neon Light 12 Black Diamond Bullet
Capacity 15L 16L 18L 12L 16L
Measured Weight 0.9 lbs 1.1 lbs 1.1 lbs 0.9 lbs 1.1 lbs
Padded back? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fabric Type 840D nylon 420D nylon 400D nylon 70D nylon 420D nylon, 1260D ballistic nylon
Whistle? No Yes No Yes Yes
Accessory Pockets? One external zip, one internal zip One external zip One external zip, one external open, one internal zip Two external zip, one internal zip One external zip, one internal zip
Outside Carry Options? Top strap doubles as rope strap Daisy chains Top strap, one daisy chain Daisy chains No
Hip Belt Yes, removable Yes, removable Yes Yes, removable Yes, removable
Hydration System Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Key Clip? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Over the years, Black Diamond has made a number of packs that have defined the climbing daypack category. They introduced their Blitz series several years ago with two models aimed at alpine climbing. The Rock Blitz 15 shares some of the DNA from those original packs — a simple design, one-handed top-loading opening, and a top strap — but has some important differences that make it more ideal for multi-pitch routes.

Performance Comparison


The Rock Blitz is a great pack for multipitch climbing.
The Rock Blitz is a great pack for multipitch climbing.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Comfort


Our male testers who are on the middle to taller end of the scale found that the Rock Blitz rode in just the right place on their backs — not so low that it blocked access to their harnesses, but not so high that the back of their helmets hit the top of the pack when they looked up. The back of the pack tapers noticeably, so there's excellent freedom of movement and no chance that it will interfere with the movement of a climber's arms. This taper also contributes to easy chalk bag access.


Though most of our testers liked this pack, our team members with shorter torsos found that it occasionally interfered with access to their chalk bags or gear clipped to the back of their harnesses. Climbers with shorter torsos should try this pack before buying.

We never noticed the Blitz when climbing.
We never noticed the Blitz when climbing.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Climbing Utility


The Rock Blitz is about as simple as a climbing pack can get while still having most of the features our testers think are important. It doesn't have a dedicated pocket for a hydration system (not all of our testers want one), but it does feature a small plastic tab to hang a bladder, a spot for the hose to pass out of the pack body, and two ribbons of webbing on each shoulder strap to secure the tube.


Aside from the top-loading main compartment, the Blitz sports two zippered pockets, one in a fairly standard spot inside and one external pocket that sits against a climber's lumbar spine. The interior pocket sports a key clip and is big enough to hold a phone, headlamp, sunscreen, and maybe a bar or two. The exterior lumbar pocket is big enough to hold most guidebooks — it's also a very protected spot to stash a phone. While this pocket is pretty much impossible to access while the pack is on, if you slip the left shoulder strap off and swing the pack around, you can get in there. This makes it easy to quickly pull out a topo, guidebook, or phone without stopping on approaches.

The outside of the pack is streamlined — there's nothing to get hung up on while bushwhacking or hauling. Speaking of hauling, this pack doesn't have any features that are designed for that purpose. Climbers who want more peace of mind can back up the standard grab handle with the attachment point for the top strap or one of the shoulder straps. The hip belt and sternum strap are attached with a simple girth hitch system. The pack features an optional higher hip belt attachment point for climbers who want the belt but don't want it interfering with their harness. This is a really nice feature that some of our shorter testers appreciated.

Unfortunately, the sternum strap buckle does not double as a whistle. The black color, which we tested, can also make smaller items disappear inside the pack — we would recommend any other color option. We also wish that the drawcord and piece of webbing that's pulled on to open the pack weren't black. This would help them stand out from the surrounding fabric, making the pack faster and easier to open.

The drawcord, cord lock, collar, and top strap are all black. We...
The drawcord, cord lock, collar, and top strap are all black. We wish some of these were a different color to help them stand out.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Durability


This pack is made of 840 denier nylon. This is among the more durable fabrics in our test. The simple design of the pack keeps the weight low while still using this high denier material. The simple design also means there is less to break or wear out. Our tester pack was hauled for 4-5 pitches from the grab loop and showed little sign of wear or tear.


We read a few online reviews from customers who had the cord lock on the top of the pack break. We did not experience this during our testing period.

Sustained corner climbing can cause damage to some packs but...
Sustained corner climbing can cause damage to some packs but generally wasn't a problem for the Rock Blitz.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Versatility


The Rock Blitz is a reasonably versatile small pack. It does the trip around town as well as any of the competition. Some of our testers did not think its stripped-down look was stylish, others did. While it's not the lightest pack in our test, it's not far off, and it packs down quite well. This makes it a good choice to carry inside a larger pack when climbing rock routes from a base camp in the backcountry.


Hopefully, those routes won't call for any snow or ice climbing gear, though, as the Rock Blitz has no points on the exterior to attach that stuff. The only attachment point for a rope is with the top strap of the pack. This can be a challenge if your rope is long, thick, or the pack is overstuffed. Little else can be easily attached to the outside without spending some time rigging.

When the pack is less than full the top strap can contain a rope...
When the pack is less than full the top strap can contain a rope, but if the approach gets rowdy the rope will flop around.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Weight


At 13.6 ounces (385 grams), this is one of the lighter packs in our review. Additional weight can be shed by removing the hip belt and sternum strap.


We think this low weight is due in large part to the pack's simple design. Lightweight materials enhance this: the webbing and buckles are narrow and small, and the fabric in the body walks the line between durability and low weight. We don't think a rock climbing pack could get much lighter without sacrificing durability or important features.

Weighing the BD Rock Blitz.
Weighing the BD Rock Blitz.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


This pack is a great value. Few small climbing packs have a lower MSRP, and those that do will either be missing some features or be significantly less durable (or both).

Conclusion


When it was time to pick a pack from the pile for a day of climbing, the Rock Blitz 15 was one of the most often chosen. That, combined with the more-than-reasonable price, earn it our Best Buy Award. The simple design allows for all of the features we like plus decent durability while still keeping the weight low. It's also pretty comfortable. It has few options for attaching things to the outside, and while that could be an issue for routes that involve snow or ice, if your climbing tick list is all rocks all the time, this just might be the pack for you.

The Rock Blitz stays put when climbing and scrambling gets rowdy...
The Rock Blitz stays put when climbing and scrambling gets rowdy, now where is that walk off?
Photo: Ian McEleney

Ian McEleney