ProView – Black Diamond Creek 20
Any experienced canyoneer knows there is a pretty large gap between comfort and durability for their gear. One of the toughest topics in a canyoneer’s gear quiver is their backpack, it must be small, lightweight, durable, comfortable, drain well, and have secure storage. That’s a tall order for any backpack, let alone one that hopefully would last a full season or two of canyoneering… Enter the Black Diamond Creek 20.
Black Diamond Creek 20
Product Description: A simple, burly on-route pack inspired by our haulbags, the Black Diamond Creek 20 provides durable protection for your essentials, whether you're carrying or hauling. The top-loading design features a drawcord skirt and an integrated, stowable rope strap, while an internal zippered pocket stores your phone, route topo or bars. When it's time to deal with the crux or a thrasher chimney pitch, stow the shoulder straps, remove the waistbelt and haul away. The two top grab handles easily clip to the belay and double as haul points, and mini side daisy chains let you attach shoes or extra gear outside the pack.
Price: $100 MSRP
One of the toughest topics in a canyoneer’s gear is their backpack, it must be small, lightweight, durable, comfortable, drain well, and have secure storage. That’s a tall order for any backpack, let alone one that hopefully would last a full season or two of canyoneering… Enter the Black Diamond Creek 20.
- Fits everything needed
- Not for everyday use
I spent a LOT of time researching bags before I got the Creek 20. I was nervous it wouldn’t be comfortable enough with all the gear I carry (two liters of water, half a liter of electrolyte drink, five to six HMS carabiners, two rappel devices, emergency ascenders, 100’ of six milimeter cord, three quick links, GPS unit, and first aid kit), but it does surprisingly well carrying all the gear despite the thin waist belt. And despite the lack of load tensioners, it carries the weight of my gear very well. It never causes me to lose circulation in my arms. Once I figured out the ideal way to pack this bag for my adventures, I began testing it in the Colorado Plateau in three specific areas: The San Rafael Swell, Robbers Roost, and North Wash. I brought this bag through ten unique canyons varying in difficulty (most are famous for being very “squeezy”). The shocker here is that after the abuse of ten canyons, this bag shows no sign of wear, not even the logo.
The Creek bags contain the same materials used in the traditional haul bags, so theoretically these bags should be near bulletproof. So far, I agree. The sidewalls of this bag are insanely durable. I feel that the bag will fall apart at the webbing seems before anything happens to the structure of the bag itself. We’ll see how the webbing around the bottom continues to hold up as I keep doing more canyons.
The Creek 20 is extremely basic, as it should be. This bag was not designed to be an everyday carry crag bag. Anything but. However, it does serve a specific purpose to multipitch climbers as the ultimate small, lightweight route bag. It has a large internal pocket for phones, maps, snacks, and has a clip for your glasses case. The shoulder straps are also stowable in the external snap pocket. I have elected to simply not use the hip belt as it feels uncomfortable without being padded. The hip belt is easily removable. The most obvious feature is the cinch strap that closes the bag on top. It could be used to hold a rope saddle bag style, but I prefer to carry my helmet on top of the bag. Conveniently, my Mammut El Cap fits perfectly in the opening of the bag and the strap cinches tight enough to keep the helmet from moving at all. The daisy chain straps on the back could be used to attach anything to the bag using carabiners, quick links, or extra cordage. They are parallel running the length of the bag, so the options are endless. The bag is however, missing a bladder sleeve/hole and internal racking loops.
This bag was designed for multi-pitch climbs, so I also tested that as well, it’s perfect. It has two loops for attaching a carabiner to. They are obviously very sturdy and could take the weight of a decent drop (from the bag, and I’d expect nothing less from a haul bag). The bag also has a cross section of webbing on the bottom that not only keeps the bag open (good thing) but also serves well to attach more bags below for a true haul scenario.
Given the durability and functionality of this bag, it’s surprising just how well this bag looks. It is nothing short of a designer’s keystone work. It looks stunning with the shiny blue buckles and the sleek and thinning lines that make up the daisy chain. It is clear that a lot of thought was put into a bag that from another brand would look more like a 5-gallon bucket than a functional and stylish bag that goes far beyond the crag or canyon.
Garrett recently obtain a bachelors in Recreation Management (emphasis on experiential education and minored in portrait photography) and has spent the last ten years working on helping others find a passion for the outdoors via skiing, climbing, mountain biking, and mountaineering. You can connect with him on Instagram at @ggilesphotos.