Patrick Betts began climbing in 2008 while visiting Colorado and he has never looked back. Since then, he has climbed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. He is now the Chief Operating Officer and Head Guide and Front Range Climbing Company. Patrick has a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Leadership from Colorado State University – Pueblo, and has been working in the outdoor industry since 2009. His passion is to help people get the opportunity to experience nature in a way they never thought possible. He is an experienced adventure photographer who loves to travel and photograph the climbers, climbs and landscapes that are close to his heart.
“Rock climbing is a powerful tool for an individual to explore their true potential, both physically and emotionally. The places that rock climbing can take you, on the grand scale of things, are places that very few people have ever stood – this is why I climb.”
The DMM Zenith is an 18-liter, 1.2 pound fully-functional climbing pack: bucket opening, tapered design for full access to your harness, additional gear loops and daisy chains for increased clipping options. This pack truly performs on and off the rock. Whether you are taking trip up an 800-foot route in the South Platte of Colorado or taking the motorcycle for a mountain drive this pack will provide both comfort and functionality.
The color I have, Grey, is accurate to the website.
With a 6’2” 200lb frame this pack is a wonderfully non-existent feeling pack. This pack fit comfortably in the center of the back and sits close to the body. During testing, it was also worn by a 5’4” 120lb female – this pack also fit her torso surprisingly well. Compared to many other climbing packs of the 18-liter size that she and I have shared while multipitch climbing, this is one of the few packs that sits comfortably and appropriately on these two types of bodies.
The Zenith is an excellent climbing pack. The low profile and tapered shape helps make sure that this pack will not interfere with your harness on long multipitch routes. You will have full access to your harness when wearing it. The extra daisy chains allow you to hang your pack from multiple points while at the belay ledge and the extra gear loops are great for clipping on your packable rain jack or other non-essential climbing items.
Honestly, though, with its slim 18L size, I never ran out of room with this pack. I was easily able to carry a dromedary bag with 4L of water, a sweater and snacks with loads of room to spare. Even when fully packed this backpack stays comfortable and close to the body. Although the waist belt is not padded, therefore not able to take much weight off your shoulders, I found that the construction of the pack allowed for multiple hours of use before noticing any hotspots on the shoulders.
Away from the crag this pack performs marvelously. It fits a 17” laptop in the Camelback sleeve; inside zipper pocket for keys, headphones, wallet or other small items. Outside of climbing, it replaced other messenger/bike backpacks while commuting on the motorcycle. It’s low profile design means no obstruction over the shoulder or while looking down and to the side.
Pros and Cons
- Low profile, tapered design provides unobstructed access to your harness
- Zippered outside pocket for items you need more frequently than those inside the bag
- Extra daisy chains to allow for multipoint hanging options while at the belay
- Doubles as a commuting pack on a bicycle or motorcycle
- None that I could determine
This is the only small multipitch climbing pack that I have used that transitions so well from the crag to the city and performs at the level it does while climbing: a must buy.