This haul bag is our favorite. For starters, it's a great size: big enough but not so big that you have to go spelunking to find the Snickers bar that fell to the bottom. It is also among the most bomber bags, thanks to welded seems and thick material. The bright color will make you a friend for life of Tom Evans of the El Cap Report and other photographers shooting wall climbers from El Cap Meadow. I used this haul bag when doing the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan and on many other walls.There are lots of other great haul bag options, but this one has one of the better sizes, better features, and is incredibly bomber. For most two-day walls this is a perfect size. If you are doing a longer wall, go with the larger Metolius El Cap Haul Bag. If you are short on cash and want the absolute most bag for your dollar, check out the Fish bags.
Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag Review
Cons: Takes some time to get in and out of top.
Manufacturer: Metolius Climbing
Our Analysis and Test Results
The construction on the Metolius Half Dome haul bag is super-bomber, from the material to the seams to the buckles. I have put a lot of big ascents on this without ever doing too much damage. You still need to line the bag with a foam pad if you are hauling on slabs, but it's not as crucial as it is with a bag made of thinner material. The river bag closure system is one of the most water-proof made. No haulbag keeps everything dry if you're in heavy rain or a mini-waterfall. However, this models does pretty well. The extra skirt also makes this a great improvised bivy sack if you need to bivy on the summit. It's easy to clip your ledge to the bottom of the bag. The carry system is about as comfortable as a haul bag can be. The inside pocket is conveniently placed.
This and the Yates are the only bags with good compression straps across the top. These are key to managing the bag when it is a bit over-stuffed.
If I had to make this bag a little better, I would make it a bit wider. That would make accessing the bottom just a little easier and add enough extra volume that the El Cap size would almost be unnecessary for any climb. Also, while I love the river bag closure, it does add extra time to open and close. I think the tradeoff is worth it, but it may annoy some people.
It is a great size for a route like Half Dome. However, it is hard to fit in everything for a Nose ascent unless you pack real light and spend two nights or less on the wall. Bring two of these on a route like Zodiac or Mescalito, and you are loving life.
The bigger version of this is the El Cap great if you only want to take one bag but hard to get to its bottom. The smaller version is the Quarter Dome which is too small for most walls but a great sidecar to your bigger haul bag or a great haul pack.
This is not one of the cheaper bags, but it probably will last longer than any bag for its price. The burly material and welded seams mean that a seam blowout is unlikely.
— Chris McNamara