The North Face Route Rocket 16
A tiny, multi-pitch pack that doesn't sacrifice functionality for size.
“Should we bring a pack with us or just clip things to our harnesses?” It’s a question my partners and I debate virtually every time we rack up for a multi-pitch. On the one hand it’s convenient to put everything in a pack; on the other, few packs are small enough or comfortable enough to be practical.
Enter the Route Rocket 16 liter pack, part of The North Face’s Summit Series line. At a compact one pound, weight and size are a non-issue.
Within the main pocket is a hydration compartment for a water bladder, and a hole through which to thread the hose to the outside. The exterior of the pack has a sewn daisy on each side: one with four smaller loops, the other with three slightly larger ones. There is also a haul loop at the top.
“But if I’m going to haul, I don’t want lots of doohickeys hanging off the side.” The North Face seems to know me too well—they designed the Route Rocket like a mini haul-bag; both the waist belt and the shoulder straps are stow-able. You simply tuck them away behind the semi-detached back panel and you’ve got yourself a little nugget of a pack that will withstand the beating of being dragged up the wall (thanks to the 420d nylon it’s made of).
Finally, the Route Rocket elevates the small front-pocket—a virtually ubiquitous feature on packs—by making it accessible from the outside and the inside. A minor feature, but much appreciated.
Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice.