Though no longer available in the blue we tested, you can pick up this Best Buy winner in green! All features and specs remain the same.November 2018
Metolius Dirt Bag II Review
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Metolius Dirt Bag II
$29.95 at REI
|$64.95 at Backcountry|
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$39.95 at REI
|$39.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Inexpensive, easy to pack inside anotherpack, durable, single shoulder strap is surprisingly comfortable||Large removable tarp, comfortable backpack straps, useful compression straps||Easy to roll up rope, big tarp, compressible||Large tarp, plenty of space within the bag to pack extras, tarp window||Ridiculously easy to pack your rope, large volume, super light, easily packed into larger packs|
|Cons||Not as easy to pack the rope into||Thin fabric, not as durable as other models||No smaller pockets, not as nice to carry for long distances||Outer nylon not as heavy duty as other bags||Fabric is not as durable, no extra features|
|Bottom Line||Incredibly functional and offered at a fantastic price||A top-notch model that is comfortable to carry and easy to pack||An upgraded version of the original Ropemaster, that we found to be much more useable than the older version||The Trango Antidote is a basic rope bag that is a little cheaper than other options you'll find in our review||A fantastic lightweight option for those that like to pack their rope in their cragging pack|
|Rating Categories||Metolius Dirt Bag II||DMM Classic||Metolius Ropemaster HC||Trango Antidote||Black Diamond Full...|
|Carrying Comfort (25%)|
|Rope Protection (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Metolius Dirt Bag II||DMM Classic||Metolius Ropemaster HC||Trango Antidote||Black Diamond Full...|
|Tarp size (inches)||52" x 58"||43" x 51"||52" x 58"||48" x 60"||40" x 40"|
|Number Shoulder Straps||1||2||1||2||0|
|Metal or Plastic Buckles||Plastic||Plastic||Metal||Metal||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dirt Bag II scored slightly below average among our testers in the ease of packing the rope category. While it wasn't hard, and the zippered opening certainly helps, it just took a little more effort to stuff and roll the tarp/rope/whatever else back into the bag. This was even more noticeable when we had a 70m fat rope over a 60m skinny cord.
The Dirt Bag was surprisingly easy to pack inside a larger cragging pack, while it didn't compress down or have any cinch straps, the fabric and construction's supple nature made the Dirt Bag easier than you'd think to shove into any pack. The Dirt Bag II packs much more efficiently than most "backpack" style models and is simple to load with any rope. Its main shortcoming in packability is that it doesn't have any compression straps to reduce any unused space in the bag.
The Dirt Bag II features a single padded shoulder strap, which proved to be enough for most approaches up to around 30 minutes. For shorter moves, the Dirt Bag wasn't quite as easy as some other models like that stay open like a bucket, but it wasn't far behind.
The zippered opening of the bag did allow us to easily pile everything inside and walk a short distance while the zipper was left open. When we over-stuffed, zipped it up, and slung it over our backs, the button came undone on a few occasions and the bag slowly unzipped as it jostled with each step.
The new Dirt Bag II does a much better job at keeping the rope out of the dirt than the original. The old Dirt Bag's tarp felt tiny; just 36" x 36" and our testers would have to try hard to keep our cord off the ground while sorting ropes. Now that Metolius has gone to a 52 x 58" tarp with the Dirt Bag II, this is no longer the case, and its tarp feels big enough that users won't have to take meticulous care when flaking.
While the tarp was average in surface area among rope bags in our review, its tarp is bigger than most compared when looking at rope bags in general and it felt big enough to catch falling ropes effectively. So while the Dirt Bag doesn't feature the biggest tarp, it is big enough.
Ease of Use
The Dirt Bag 2 pretty much has no "extra" features but is very simple to use. It sports no pockets or gear loops, but it does have a few nice, very functional features like a zippered opening to make packing the rope easier, a top grab loop and a padded shoulder strap.
The Dirt Bag II is one of the most affordable rope bags in our review. With a large tarp, simple design, and compact profile, the Dirt Bag II is our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy Award Winner. Despite its low cost, it delivers decent performance in a streamlined package. There are better options available if you have a large budget, but for those seeking a basic rope bag that keeps your rope off the ground, the aptly named Dirt Bag II gets the job done.
The Metolius Dirt Bag II is a no bells and whistles rope bag that will do a great job of adding longevity to your rope and could last for a couple of decades of abuse. We also really like its single shoulder strap for medium distance approaches. If your rope bag purchase decision is primarily price-driven, get this model.
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