This is the best haul pack we have tested. Durability is top notch and the closure is both relatively fast to close and weather resistant. For a haul bag, its comfortable to carry (but not nearly as comfortable as a daypack). We liked it a lot more than the Black Diamond Stubby that costs $49 less. However, the Stubby is a great value. Another $25 gets you the much more versatile Quarter Dome and another $50 gets you a real haul bag like the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag. Still, if you can afford it, get it. It's a great bag for big walls and would also serve as a lifelong crag pack. If you are on a budget, there is more bang for your buck elsewhere.
Metolius Sentinel Review
Cons: Expensive, not the most useful size for most walls.
Our Analysis and Test Results
This bag nails pretty much all the details both big and small. Big picture: it is very bomber, has a comfortable carrying system and has a great closure system. It's the type of bag that may live longer than you will. The carrying system easily stows away. The haul straps are long enough to be useful but not too long to get hung up on branches when hiking.
On the more detailed side, the closure system opens up to give you great access. While the lack of drybag closure means less weather protection, it also means better access. For most applications, where you are not operating in bag weather, we think this is a good tradeoff.
While comfy, this bag does not breath well. Even in cool weather, expect sweat to accumulate on the back panel. Because it doesn't have a drybag closure system, it's not quite as weather resistant in a downpour. It also required the bag to be filled to the top or water will pool on the lid and make its way in. If you're expecting bad weather, we would bring a trash compactor bag and extra-string to securely protect the top of the bag.
This bag can replace a small duffle bag or daypack. However, for most applications, you will be better serviced by just having a great daypack, crag pack or duffel. So it's for the person that wants one super burly back to do it all in this size.
— Chris McNamara