The Touchstone stands out for its value, comfort, and simplicity. Of all the haul bag options we tested, this one is probably the most simple and streamlined for its size. I have used it in Zion and Yosemite and find it a great size for one-day ascents or as a second bag to a bigger bag like the Metolius El Cap Haul Bag. That said, I would get the Metolius Quarter Dome Haul Bag instead because it has a more watertight closure and is burlier.
Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag ReviewPrice: $190 List | $142.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Simple, light, easy to get in and out of, comfortable to carry.
Cons: Not waterproof, not as durable as other options.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Haul Bags for Big Wall Climbing
Our Analysis and Test Results
This bag has a very simple and clean design that makes it easy to get in and out of whether on the side of a cliff or at the crag. The process of opening it, accessing gear, and closing it, is about as fast as it gets.
It is a great size. I take this on one-day El Cap ascents of routes with mostly aid. It is quick to get things in the bottom of the bag (you are not diving down head first to find things). As a crag pack, it is a perfect big size — it will fit everything and stand up on its own so you can access stuff easily. The suspension systems are one of the best and easiest to use when carrying the bag.
The top of the bag is not watertight. It's difficult to improvise a way to keep water out in a storm if the bag is hanging. You can try and use a trash compactor bag and accessory cord and "make a big version" of using a ziplock bag and rubber band on a mason jar when you lose the lid.
While the haul straps are a nice length for big walls, they are a little long for crag pack (they are more likely to get hung up on branches and snag). Because there are no big compression straps across the top it is not an ideal travel bag or a substitute for a bag like the North Face Base Camp Duffel. Although you can check it in on airplanes, you have to be extra careful about closing it up in a bomber no-snag way. By contrast, a bag with big compression straps and a "lid" like the Quarter Dome is much more travel-friendly.
For most applications, this haul bag is too small for single haul bag use. It will likely need to be paired with a bigger model, such as the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag, on steep routes.
This bag is a little more expensive than it's Metolius counterpart and also a lot less featured. We would recommend the Metolius.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 18, 2016
100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Of course, you will look like you're geared up for a yosemite bigwall when you're hiking to the crag but who cares?
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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