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 Vector is a 45-liter bucket-opening crag pack that is well-designed for carrying large loads. This pack has the volume to carry quads of DMM Dragon Cams (.3-4), a harness, pair of shoes and a 70m 9.1mm rope without bulging out the top of the pack; strap the helmet on the sewn loops on the outside of the pack and you are packed for a full day at Indian Creek. The side pocket, designed for a guide book, is a great spot for the book (if it’s not in your hand!), sunscreen or a roll or two of tape. Stash your keys and wallet in the hanging zippered pouch on the inside of the bag to keep your valuables a bit safer.
Two haul-bag styled handles on the top of the pack will help you man-handle the fully packed bag in and out of the car as well as double as a quick-access racking sling for when your climbing partner returns your cams from their harness to your bag.
The color I have, Red, is exactly as it looks on the website. Think primary red.
With a 6’2” 200lb frame this pack fits wonderfully on my back. 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. It weighs in at 2.7 pounds (nearly a whole pound lighter than similar packs on the market) and provides enough comfort to carry the above mentioned gear for a good 45-60 minute approach. After an hour or so, the lack of an internal frame makes you notice your carried weight a bit more.
This pack held up of marvelously while guiding out of it for nearly 30 days. Only slight wear-and-tear from the fine grained sandstone here at the Garden of the Gods and the few trips to Moab, Utah for canyoneering. The pack was hauled down and up a sandstone wall while canyoneering in Moab with little-to-no wear markets visible.
The outside material was well-thought-out, with it being reinforced around the bottom (a must for desert climbing!) and the top (specifically around the draw string opening).
I never once ran out of room in the pack like I have done with other 30-40 liter bags: the self-standing bucket design of the Vector is definitely the key reason why this pack was able to carry all of my things.
Pros and Cons
- Lighter than the most comparable bag on the marked (BD Creek Pack, 35L)
- Self-standing bucket design – makes packing and unpacking a cinch
- Two haul handles on the top help lug it in and out of the car
- Reinforced bottoms
- Only two pockets, besides the large main compartment. The guidebook pocket fits a book nicely and a bottle of sunscreen (barely when the bag is fully packed) and the internal zippered pocket barely holds the phone, wallet and keys.
- The frame is a bit too soft for a fully-packed bag; limiting your time you would want to wear the pack under heavy loads.
- No external water bottle pocket
One of the better crag packs I have used in the last 10 years of climbing. Well thought out and useful for trad climbing. Pair the Vector with the $130 price tag ($89.67 pro price) and it’s a winner!