The Patagonia Crag Daddy won our Editors' Choice award in 2015 for two basic reasons: it's designed in our favorite duffle-bag style and it's got the capacity to accommodate enough gear for any climbing discipline. Other packs may be more rugged or less expensive, but none can match this one in convenience or versatility. Compared its closest challenger, the Metolius Crag Station, our testers preferred this bag's elastic outer pockets and padded hip belt. Should the rack grow large enough to fill the 45 liter main compartment, three compression straps let you secure a rope or helmet outside. Finally, we also discovered that in a pinch its duffle bag handles combined with its wide opening let it work as a functional stand-in for a forgotten rope bag.Although we feel great about declaring the Crag Daddy the best all-around crag pack, we found others superior for specific purposes. The aforementioned Metolius Crag Station was our favorite for sport climbing and you can check out our preferred choices for top-ropers or budget shoppers in The Best Crag Pack for Climbing Review.
Patagonia Crag Daddy Review
Cons: Expensive, durability concerns
Our Analysis and Test Results
Featuring a duffle bag design with a center zipper, the Patagonia Crag Daddy has what we find to be the most convenient crag pack design.
Weighing in at 2.5 lbs, the Patagonia Crag Daddy is more than 10 oz lighter the second lightest crag pack tested, the Metolius Crag Staion. This difference isn't huge, but over a lifespan of potentially hundreds of approaches it becomes more meaningful. We also really like this bag for when your schedule only allows a short climbing session. Loaded with only the bare essentials for a couple pitches you aren't slowed down by a needlessly heavy or bulky pack.
This pack is equipped with a strap on either side with another on top to restrain a load and keep it close to your body. When properly used, this prevents clutter inside a half-full bag from sliding around, decreasing the unpleasantness of lugging around heavy, metal climbing gear. Should you fill the 45 liter main compartment, the compression straps can also be used to clip on a coiled rope. When fully loaded, only the Metolius Crag Station is smaller.
The Crag Daddy has features that are useful for all types of climbing. Its adjustable capacity lets it be slimmed down for a short sport climbing outing or overstuffed for a marathon trad day. This versatility makes it hard to chose a 'best application'. Instead we'll just say it works well for all single-pitch outings.
With a $179 price tag, this is the most expensive pack we tested. For many, this will be too much, but for dedicated climbers who crag regularly, the convenience and utility of this well-made center zipper pack are more than worth it.
Other Versions and Accessories
Patagonia makes the Crag Daddy in a few different colors and in sizes large or small. We tested the large. They also sell a smaller 35 liter pack for cragging, the Cragsmith.
— Jack Cramer