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 Flight Backpack is a 45-liter crag pack that imitates a carry-on suitcase. A padded back support plus hip belt along with a suitcase-style carrying handles helps this pack transition from the tarmac to the crag. Well equipped to carry a 9.8 70-meter rope, a harness, shoes, 15 quickdraws, an anchor set up, 2 liters of water and loads of room to spare.
The suitcase-style opening gives you full access to your tool box once you arrive at the crag and helps make packing things up at the end of the day much simpler. The included (very) large rope tarp serves nicely as a rope tarp/dry and clean place to sit while putting the shoes on and don’t forget to stash your phone, keys, snacks and guide book in the externally-accessed internal zippered pocket!
The color I have, Green, is a bit more electric than the color on the website
With a 6’2” 200lb frame this pack fit nicely on my back and was an appropriate suitcase size for me to carry with my hands. During testing, it was also worn by a 5’4” 120lb female – the length of the pack was a bit too long for her torso. The geometry is also very rectangular which makes it a bit wider and less form-fitting. This only really comes into play when you are wearing a harness while using the pack – it is difficult to access the rear gear loops with this pack on your back.
I was not expecting to like the suitcase design of this pack, however, after only a few times using it I switched back to a regular-style backpack and quickly missed the quick opening feature of a suitcase-styled pack. The internal gear sling and tie-down straps help aid in keeping everything organized, that way there is no right way or wrong way to open the pack, everything stayed organized. The externally accessed internal pocket is large and roomy: big enough for a phone, snacks, small first aid kit, sunscreen, roll of tape and keys with room to spare.
As a suitcase, this backpack works wonderfully. Lots of room for 3-5 days of clothes, an extra pair of shoes and your toiletry kit. The size means you won’t have any issues using it as a carry on and the straps and padding mean you’ll have no issues lugging it around the airport.
Pros and Cons
- The suitcase opening provides quick access to your gear
- The extra-large rope tarp
- Handles on the top and sides provide lots of places to grab the bag in order to load and unload it from the car
- Large externally accessed interior zipper pocket
- Hard to access the rear gear loops of a harness while wearing the pack
- Abnormally wide for a backpack
Overall this is a useful cragging pack that will double as your jet-setting luggage for short weekend trips but will leave you wanting more for heavier loads over longer periods of time.