The Black Diamond Stubby stands out for its compact and bomber size. Whereas many haul packs look more like backpacks, this really looks like a mini version of the Black Diamond Touchstone haul bag. I have used it on El Cap a handful of times and find it is a great little bag but it is a little small. If you are watching your wallet, I would lean toward a bigger bag like the Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag or Metolius Quarter Dome Haul Bag because they are sizes that can be used for a much bigger variety of climbs. However, if you have the cash, this is a great little bag to have in the quiver. We like the Metolius Sentinel better, but it is $50 more expensive.
Black Diamond Stubby Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Free-standing, easy to get in and out of, comfy to carry.
Cons: No waterproof closure, hard to clip stuff underneath.
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Our Analysis and Test Results
This bag is great for its simplicity. It is easy to get in and out quickly and to tuck and stow the straps. It stands up on its own when resting, which makes it a great crag pack. It's hard to overstate how nice this free-standing feature is until you use it. Instead of always reaching down for your pack and digging through it, you just peer down and can see just about everything in your bag. For multi-day big walls, it is the perfect size to store the extra rack in. As a crag pack, it is the perfect size for a skinny rope, light rack, harness, and shoes.
The closure is not watertight. It if rains, you will have to rig a garbage bag or some other seal to keep the water out.
It is a little hard to clip stuff under the bag on big walls — it would be nice if the straps were a little more separated from the material. I noticed when leaning way under the bag to clip or unclip the poop tube that you have to be much more precise than with the Metolius clip-in points.
This is ideally a crag pack or an extra bag on the wall for rack. This bag is too small to be considered a second haul bag like the Touchstone. We would typically use it on a five-plus day nailing route where you have two other medium sized bags like the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag and this one as a third bag for extra rack.
At $134.95, this is $50 less expensive than the similar-sized Metolius Sentinel. It is not a bad deal for a mini haul bag. However, if you spend another $60 you can get a much bigger and more versatile Black Diamond Touchstone. It all comes down to how many big walls you will do and how much you will use it as a crag pack. I use a bag this size all the time but some people may find it better just to buy a really light and solid crag pack plus a big haul bag.
There are three sizes in the Black Diamond Haul Bag Family:
Black Diamond Stubby - Tiny - 2136 cu in
Black Diamond Touchstone - Small - 4272 cu in
Black Diamond Zion Haul Bag - Big - 8848 cu in
— Chris McNamara