The Deuter Gravity Pitch 12 is the smallest small climbing backpack in our review. Some of our testers felt it was too small to be useful. While the low volume and ultralight fabric keep this pack lightweight, there is lighter competition in the review. However, this is one of our favorite packs to have on while actually climbing, and we almost never noticed in on-route.
Deuter Gravity Pitch 12 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Light, comfortable
Cons: Small, flimsy, not versatile
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Deuter is a venerable pack manufacturer, and the Gravity Pitch 12 is the smallest of their climbing oriented "Gravity" series. Our testing team found it to be frustratingly small but comfortable.
Weighing in at 14 ounces, the Gravity Pitch is the third lightest pack in our test, behind the REI Flash 18 and Arc'teryx Cierzo. It's the only pack in our review to have any sort of rigid frame, which in this case, is a Delrin rod. This strikes our testers as overkill for a pack with a 12-liter volume, and we wonder if it's the reason this small pack is heavier than the competition.
The Gravity Pitch's 100 denier fabric is the wimpiest, regarding abrasion resistance, in our review. However, in a few places, including the bottom of the pack, climbers at least get a double layer of fabric. The zipper openings on the outside of the pack are a smaller size coil zipper with no protective flap. In the experience of our testers, these wear out quickly, particularly if the pack is overstuffed on a regular basis. Climbers looking for something durable but still svelte should consider our Editors' Choice award winner, the Patagonia Linked Pack 18L.
Some packs in our review seemed to be more voluminous than their stated volume, this is not one of them. Savvy packers, climbers with small approach shoes, and those who don't drink or eat much on route will have the best results with this pack.
Its small profile and smooth exterior are a boon when bushwhacking if you botch the approach (or bushwhacking is a typical occurrence). Those qualities are also beneficial on-route. Our testers found we could leave this pack on while climbing through short squeezes or chimneys where we might have chosen to dangle a larger pack off of our harness.
Despite its light weight, we didn't favor this pack for use inside a larger one whilst on longer missions. The Delrin rod made it harder to cram this bag into a larger pack, and the Flash 18 is our favorite for that job.
The Gravity has most of the conveniences we've come to expect in this category. There's a key clip in the external pocket and inside is a stretchy drop-in pocket for a hydration bladder with a Velcro loop, which keeps it upright and allows the hose to pass through. There is also a loop on each shoulder strap, just below the sternum strap. A photo on the Deuter website seems to indicate that these are for racking gear, but we found doing so to be annoying at best.
The low profile outside has four loops designed to work with an accessory flap (not included) to hold a helmet on the pack. These loops could be used to strap limited items to the outside (perhaps an ice axe or large cam) with some rigging; overall, there are few outside carry options. The loops could also be used to back up some sort of hauling rigging, as there are no dedicated haul points on the pack aside from the standard grab loop.
More than most other packs in our test, we forgot we had this one on while climbing. It might be that the low volume means that objects in the pack stay put. Additionally, the short back length insured that this pack never got in the way when we were reaching for chalk or anything else on the back of our harness.
The Gravity 12 is a favorite pack for around-town use when we're not carrying much. Small laptops will fit inside, and it could also be good for lift-served skiing, mountain biking, or trail running, as long as you don't have much to pack inside. The low volume and lack of external attachments keep us from recommending this bag for any alpine pursuits or longer day hikes.
The Gravity Pitch has shoulder straps that are very similar to those of the Flash 18 and a back panel that is slightly more padded. Our testers think it's slightly over padded, given that we just can't put much gear into the pack.
The Gravity 12 is a good pack for climbers who don't carry much beyond the rack but don't want all that "stuff" jangling around on their harness.
At $50 list price, this pack is inexpensive, which is good because you're not getting much. We think penny-pinching climbers should consider spending $10 less for the flimsy but light and featured REI Flash 18 or $10 more for the much more durable and useful Black Diamond Bullet.
The only thing the Gravity Pitch 12 really has going for it is light weight. However, that weight comes at the cost of features, durability, and volume, and many of our testers felt this pack crossed the line of being too small for the application. If your kit for a day of multi-pitch climbing can fit in this pack, you might want to consider not bringing a pack at all.
— Ian McEleney