Pusher The Sack | $129 www.pushergear.com | 3 Stars
If you wax nostalgic for those brimming days when the Mandala was the “hardest thing in the world,” you can count yourself as a part of that charged moment of climbing called the Bouldering Boom. And, of course, you’ll remember one of the first companies to fully embrace this movement: Pusher.
Though the brand name Pusher disappeared from the market for a few years, they’re back with classics and new favorites, like The Sack, a backpack/rope-bag hybrid that shines at single-pitch sport-climbing crags.
Is it a rope bag? Is it a rope bucket? Is it a backpack? Is it a padded tarp on which to sit and put on your shoes? Like Optimus Prime, The Sack is all of these things, and as with those early Transformer toys, assembling its configurations initially requires some direction before becoming intuitive.
The Sack offers 16 square feet of padded tarp space—way more than any rope bag or tarp I’ve used and plenty of room to hold a flaked rope and have a comfortable spot to sit. The Sack is like a giant tortilla in which you can easily roll up a rope (or two!) and all of your climbing gear. In fact, one of the best things about The Sack is the range of its internal volume: It’s able to carry as much as 4,300 cubic inches but when cinched down, compress to a mere 1,900 cubic inches.
I found it packs up quickly and makes moving between adjacent routes casual: Two handles on the square flaps of The Sack act like a shopping bag that allow you to shuffle your gear, perfect for single-pitch crags.
The Sack carries a load well enough, though you really have to be careful to pack your rope and gear evenly and fold up the flaps well, or the load will be way off center. The strap system is similar to that of a crash pad, and it’s about as comfortable to carry.
Despite a price that’s roughly three times that of a normal rope bag, The Sack justifies the expense with convenience and speed. At first, I tried using The Sack as my one and only backpack, simply dumping my shoes, chalk bag, water bottles, knee pads, clothing, harness and draws on top of the rope and folding everything up. Negative! My gear ended up strewn about the crag when my partners were using the rope for their routes. Though The Sack is a sexed-up rope bag, it’s a rope bag nonetheless, which makes it communal property. My solution was to use an additional small, lightweight backpack tucked inside The Sack to keep my gear separate, a total inversion from the norm, but no more redundant than the normal rope-bag/backpack set-up.
- Built with a ¼” of closed-cell foam, giving The Sack structure and providing a comfortable place to sit and lace up.
- 16 square feet of space when opened.
- Folded up, The Sack holds 4,300 cubic inches, but can compress down to 1,900 cubic inches.
- Two small internal/external easily accessed storage pockets.