First off, I want to start by saying that I am a huge an of Black Diamond Products. For example, I don’t believe it gets any better than their camalots. There ice axes are fantastic, their backpacks are great for skiing and climbing, and their tents (especially the floorless megamid) are super tough and lightweight. However, I have not been all that impressed with the haulbag.
I purchased my zion haulbag when I first got into big wall climbing and did my first wall (the south face of washington column) with it. The bag has a good detachable shoulder harness system for carrying big loads to the wall and I definitely appreciated the extra padding in the shoulder straps when it came to the longer off-trail hauls – like heading into the ribbon falls wall. Plus the shoulder straps and waste strap all get tucked away and are protected while hauling.
And there are good attachment points, with one side being a little longer than the other to facilitate opening up the bag while it is hanging from the wall. So far so good right?
But the biggest problem I have had with the black diamond haulbag is durability. I have done a few walls with it now and it is covered in hauls from dragging over rocks while hauling. Significant dragging has occured on a couple of the walls I have done. Like the top pitches of Lurking Fear – which are low angle , but not low enough angle for me to want to actually carry the bag on my shoulders while I fourth class climb.
Now I wouldn’t be that upset with the durability of the bag, if I didn’t have something better to compare it to. However, my good climbing buddy Jacob uses a Metolious haul bag. And we have done a couple walls together. The same walls that beat up my black diamond bag pretty bad didn’t seem to phase Jacob’s at all. Where as I came back down off the wall with small holes rubbed out of my bag, Jacobs Metolious held together fine. And he has done many more walls than I have with the same bag, with much less wear.
In conclusion – I love my Black Diamond Zion Haul bag but wish the material was a little tougher. For the price difference, if I was to buy another one I would probably spend the 20% extra to get a Metolious.