Hands-on Gear Review

Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag Review

Metolius Half Dome
Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $219 List | $218.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Bomber, great size, comfy, one of the most waterproof.
Cons:  Takes some time to get in and out of top.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Metolius Climbing

Our Verdict

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.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Haul Bags for Big Wall Climbing

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Sunday
January 17, 2010

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Likes


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.

Dislikes


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.

Best Application


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.

Other Versions


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.

Value


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


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 5, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (5.0)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (5)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Chris McNamara at Big Sur  2008

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 5, 2012 - 02:30pm
Chris McNamara · Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab

in response to ItsAtrap, yes the Half Dome makes a good travel bag. However, it is big. My feeling is that you would get a LOT more use out of a bag that is the size of the Metolius Quarter Dome Haul Bag or the Yates Rock Sac Haul Pack. I use the Yates all the time for travel, as a cragging pack, and to take SuperTopo books to the Post Office. The Half Dome is a size that you probably will not use much except for big walls and your trip. And it is not nearly as comfortable to hike with as a backpack. I would never take any haulbag on a backpacking trip (the back doesn't breathe and the suspension is not nearly as comfortable as a backpack).

So I would say, get a Quarter Dome or stick to duffel like the The North Face Base Camp Duffel which is light, can be carried as a backpack for short distances and is very versatile. It is also a lot less expensive. Another alternative is the The North Face Rolling Thunder which is similar to the Base Camp but comes with wheels making it a lot easier to get through airports.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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   Jul 5, 2012 - 01:23am
Mark Hudon · Climber · Hood River, OR

Mine has six walls on it and it's just starting to look broken in!



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


Jul 4, 2012 - 11:10pm
 
ItsAtrap · Climber · Wonderland

I read your gear review about Half dome haul bag, the question is whether I can use it as a travel bag as well?

Long story, I'm gonna meet up a couple of friends in Yosemite and Boulder later this summer and climb with them. Since I don't have a car, I have to take the shuttle (cheaper than flight) and put all the gears in a pack or two. My 70 L backpack is only enough for camping gears and harness kind stuffs. I also need to bring a rack and a day pack, other than the backpack. It's awful to be a sandwich. Since I just start aid climbing, I think a haul bag would be a good investment even though I might not actually haul in the near future (only do some free climbing in the valley this time). I can fit everything I need in this trip in this 125 L bag. However, it doesn't have compression straps like backpack, would it be a bad idea to take it onto flight or bus? And hiking 20-30 miles with it (I'm assuming the suspension isn't as good as a backpack's)

Thank you for your time!




Apr 19, 2011 - 02:12pm
 
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA

Looks like a nice bag if you can find one. Metolius website says they are out of stock, and when I called they told me they won't have any half dome or el cap bags till about June 15. Looks like it might be crowded up there this year!



Climber

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   Mar 25, 2011 - 09:03pm
Matt Thomsen · Climber · Places

I love this bag! It is just the right size to be able to easily get to you stuff. I also have the BD Zion, and I like the size of the HD Mel. Much better. This is the biggest bag I would haul. I would take two HD's before I would go up a size to the El Cap.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

The future

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   Mar 11, 2010 - 11:38pm
xtrmecat · Climber · Kalispell, Montanagonia

This bag has been up some pretty slabby and sharp routes and only one hole. I am sure as sharp as the edges of the hole are that is more my fault the bag construction or materials. I have the bland gray material as well as the orange sided critter, and the orange is visible from like miles away. Probably not a good choice if a stealthy ascent is desired, use the gray one.

All joking aside, the suspension system is nice on these units, as some of the stuff I have done has long approaches, and even though it is intended to haul, it does spend a fair amount of time on my back, in very unlevel terrain. I also have a fish of the nearly same size, and although it has it's good points also, it carries much more like a workbench than a backpack. But again, they are haulbags right. Another nice touch is the zippered pocket inside for the critical "can't loose this" stuff.

The suspension comes off easily and can even be reattached in the dark days later. Likely scenario, trust me. I pad mine, but I am not sure it is needed, the material is pretty thick and stiff. I would however recomend plastidip the top and bottom rims, the sandstone in zion and slabby stuff fuzzes them up in a big hurry. Also they are a little pricey, but hey, how many times do you buy a pig?

Bob



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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