I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Vector from DMM. It’s sold as a trad climbing sack, and my first thoughts before actually seeing one were, “Is this a rucksack for taking on long mountain routes, or a gear sack for getting all your stuff to the bottom of a single pitch crag?”
A quick glance at the DMM website http://dmmclimbing.com/products/vector/made it clear that this is intended to be a cragging sack, rather than a mountaineering rucksack.
First impressions were: great size; love the back system; it stands up on its own!
At 45 litres the Vector is easily big enough to pop a couple of half ropes in the bottom, then a rack on top in the provided Racksack. Add warm clothes, helmet, harness and rock boots, and there’s still room for your packed lunch. For bigger days out your ropes will strap on top leaving plenty of room inside for that even bigger lunch.
The back system is superb. It’s exactly what you’d expect on a full-on mountaineering rucksack with well-padded Flow Airmesh back system and shoulder straps, a good, solid waist belt, and chest straps too.
The lid is not really a lid. It’s a huge opening with a quick-pull and release making for very easy packing, and access too. The whole thing closes over the top, and you can fold it over a bit like a dry bag and cinch the top down with the rope compression straps.
One thing I don’t like about your standard rucksack for climbing is that it can be awkward to pack, and awkward to unpack too, as the sack tends to fall over all the time. The DMM Vector has internal side stiffeners, so it actually stands upright, even when packed with a heavy load.
Other features include a safe pocket on the inside for your keys and wallet, side pocket for a guidebook, side compression straps, and grab handles on the top for hauling it about.
So, what’s the verdict? I think this is a good all-purpose sack for taking to the crag. It’s no frills where you don’t want them, but has a good spec on the details you really want in this kind of bag. There’s not much to hate about it to be honest – some might want a bit more of a lid, with perhaps a lid pocket as per standard on rucksacks, but the great thing about the Vector is that huge opening space which just makes packing and unpacking so easy. I use it for group climbing sessions, instructing on climbing courses, single pitch cragging, and valley multi-pitch routes too, but wouldn’t want to climb with it on my back. You can pick a Vector up at most climbing shops for around £75, so it’s good value for money too. Grab one now!
For more details, have a look at the DMM video here http://vimeo.com/91904701