The Metolius Quarter Dome is my favorite small haul bag. It is super bomber, has a great closure, and is relatively comfortable to carry. Its main competitor is the Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag. We prefer the Metolius because it is a little more burly, more waterproof, and makes a better travel pack/duffle bag alternative. This is a great bag to have whether you are a big wall climber or just want a super bomber crag pack. The only bag that we like more is the Yates Rock Sac Haul Pack because the Yates comes with a great big watertight closure system. However, the Yates costs $395!
Metolius Quarter Dome Haul Bag Review
Manufacturer: Metolius Climbing
Our Analysis and Test Results
This bag stands out for is bomber qualities. It uses a welded seam that will not blow out until the rest of the bag falls apart (most haul bags use a sewn seam that is less durable). The material is the most bomber material we have seen on a bag. Not only does this material keep the bag from getting holes, but it also keeps it upright if you want to use it as a crag pack. It is this feature that makes small haul bags like this even better than many standard backpacks, which won't sit upright on their own.
It has nice compression straps across the top. They help you fit more in and also make the bag much better to travel with; you can compress it down and be sure it won't burst open mid-journey.
We like the short clip-in points. They stay out of the way when this bag is used as a backpack. While it does not have a riverbag closure, it is still much more waterproof than similar-sized haul bags like the Black Diamond Touchstone. We actually prefer this type of closure for this size bag. It is really easy to access, both when on a wall or at the crag.
Like all haul packs, this does not breathe very well. Not a big deal if you are a wall climber. But it is something to consider if you are buying this mainly as a cragging pack. It is also not nearly as waterproof as a bag like the Metolius Half Dome that uses a river bag style closure.
This bag is both the most versatile size and the most unnecessary. It works great as a mini-haul bag, travel bag/duffel alternative, and cragging pack. At the same time, it is a size too small to be used as a single haul bag unless you pack really light on a route like the Regular Route on Half Dome. We used a bag this size on a one-night ascent of the Salathé Wall on El Capitan but we packed exceptionally light, brought tiny sleeping bags, and climbed it in August (it was warm so we didn't need tons of extra clothes). Typically, this size bag is paired with a larger haul bag like the Metolius El Cap Haul Bag on a steep route like Zodiac. It also makes an excellent crag pack or travel bag. It is an alternative to a big duffel like the North Face Base Camp Duffel.
This bag is expensive. For only a bit more you can get a full-size haul bag like the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag. This bag is for people who plan to use it a ton as a haul pack or backpack. If that is what you are using it for, it is a great value considering that you can probably use it for decades.
— Chris McNamara