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Metolius El Cap Haul Bag Review

This big, burly bag is one of our favorites for carrying large loads
Metolius El Cap Haul Bag
Photo: Metolius
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $250 List | $249.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, comfortable, water-tight closure, lots of volume
Cons:  Hard to access the bottom, takes some time to get in and out of the top of the bag
Manufacturer:   Metolius Climbing
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Jan 18, 2010
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92
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 8
  • Durability/Material - 40% 10
  • Capacity - 10% 10
  • Waterproofness - 10% 10
  • Closure systems/Ease of Access - 20% 7
  • Carrying/Suspension System - 20% 9

Our Verdict

This large haul bag from Metolius Climbing is one of the best. It is big, burly, and relatively comfortable for carrying big loads. It is a perfectly sized bag for any serious big wall climber that plans to do a bunch of walls. This bag is bomber, versatile, and pretty darn waterproof. If you can only afford one haul bag, we would probably get the El Cap size because it will give you the most options. But overall, we prefer the Half Dome.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $249.95 at Amazon$229.95 at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$159.95 at Amazon$60 List
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Pros Durable, comfortable, water-tight closure, lots of volumeBomber, great size, comfy, one of the most waterproofGreat closure, bomber, great as a crag packGreat closure, bomber, great as a crag packLightweight, can haul outside of haulbag, no assembly required
Cons Hard to access the bottom, takes some time to get in and out of the top of the bagTakes some time to get in and out of topExpensiveExpensive, not the most useful size for most wallsExpensive, not completely air-tight
Bottom Line This big, burly bag is one of our favorites for carrying large loadsOur favorite haul bag for any climbing adventure you can dream upOne of the best haul bags that can be purchased in this volumeThis is an exceptional model, though its small size is a bit restrictive on the wallThe best off-the-shelf poop tube we know of
Rating Categories Metolius El Cap Hau... Metolius Half Dome... Metolius Quarter Dome Metolius Sentinel Metolius Waste Case
Durability Material (40%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Capacity (10%)
10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
1
Waterproofness (10%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Closure Systems Ease Of Access (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Carrying Suspension System (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
0
Specs Metolius El Cap Hau... Metolius Half Dome... Metolius Quarter Dome Metolius Sentinel Metolius Waste Case
Volume (cu inches) 9600 7600 4200 2800 500
Weight 8 lb 7 lb 7 oz 5 lb 1 oz 4 lb 11 oz 10.6 oz
Main container material Durathane Durathane Durathane Durathane Durathane
Closure material Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon
Sewn or welded seam Welded Welded Welded Welded Welded

Our Analysis and Test Results

Likes


This haul bag is big and burly. With the welded seams on this, seam blowout is nearly impossible (we have blown out a few haul bags that have traditional sewn seems). More importantly, the haul bag material is bomber. While you still have to carefully pack the bag for lower angle terrain (as you do with all bags), you are much less likely to wear a hole in the side of this one. In fact, if packed properly on every wall, there is no reason this bag should not last for 50 plus big walls. One of our few earlier gripes with this bag was the lack of a water-tight closure. Metolius fixed that with their river bag closure that is one of the most waterproof closures made. While it is impossible to keep everything dry if you are in a downpour, the Metolius and Yates closure systems do the best job. For an improvised summit bivy, the extra skirt has you covered.

Lastly, this bag gets all the details right. The bottom of the bag is easy to clip your ledge and extras to and is rated to over 300 pounds. The carrying system now tucks away nicely and is comfortable. The internal pocket is right where you need it. The El Cap Haul Bag has reliable compression straps across the top with the Yates model we tested. Other bags tested did not. When your bag is overstuffed, good straps over the top help a lot.

Dislikes


This bag is deep; maybe too deep. You have to really dive to get to the bottom. At a hanging belay, it is hard to get to the bottom. They should make this bag two inches wider and two inches shorter. You would create about the same volume, but the bag would be much easier to access.

Value


While not cheap, considering how long this bag will last you, it is a great value. We did maybe ten walls with ours and then were able to sell it for a good price because there was not too much wear.

Conclusion


This is ideal on a route like The Nose, where you want to get everything into one bag. It is also a handy size if you are going to spend a week on a steep El Cap route and need to pack the whole junk show. In a perfect world, we would own both this and the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag. When possible, we would take the smaller Half Dome because it is easier to access stuff in a smaller-sized bag. But if everything would not fit in the Half Dome, we would switch to the El Cap.

Chris McNamara