Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

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Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby iindica211 » Mar 3, 2011 2:23 am

Ok guys to start of im sorry if i did anything wrong posting this but I have looked and looked for help on this decision and I am stumped.

I have been looking for a cave pack and have narrowed it down to 3 packs so I was just wanting some opinions on witch one I should get. I do plenty of caving in wet muddy caves if that helps.

First pack is the OR1 Heavy Duty Cave Pack $55
http://www.onrope1.com/store/index.php?p=product&id=378&parent=12

Second pack is the Lost Creek Tag Cave Pack $60
http://www.karstsports.com/loscreektagc.html

Third pack is the Lost Creek Monster TAG Cave Pack $62.50
http://www.karstsports.com/loscreekmont.html

This is my first pack and I am tired of borrowing packs when caving with the group so please help me make a good decision. :tonguecheek:
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby botkin02 » Mar 3, 2011 9:03 am

I'd be interested as well... the 'pack' I've been using is one of the those sacks with two loops for arm holes they give away as promotions...not exactly cave-worthy!
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Scoon1 » Mar 3, 2011 9:07 am

Don't leave these out of the equation.

http://www.innermountainoutfitters.net/ ... and=Swaygo

http://www.innermountainoutfitters.net/ ... =all&brand[]=Swaygo&catalogentryid=165&brand=Petzl

http://www.innermountainoutfitters.net/ ... =all&brand[]=Petzl&catalogentryid=179&brand=GGG

I have a Swaygo Pit that I used for the first time a couple of weekends ago and I'm very happy with it. I used a smaller pack from On Rope 1 for years but always had issues with water in the pack and dragging it through crawls. The Swaygo simply holds everything close to my back (I don't have to take it off as much), and when I have to drag it, it just glides so well over rock and dirt. It waterproof as well.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby LukeM » Mar 3, 2011 9:21 am

Echoing what Scoon1 said...If you're looking for something for wet caving why not look into something made of water-impermeable material like the PVC GGG Personal Pack for a cheap option or, if you can manage to swing the price, the waterproof Swaygo.

I have the Lost Creek Tag pack and while I like it, I'm planning on switching to a Swaygo soon. Not only does it keep everything nice and dry, it also has a nice slim profile and acts as a PFD when needed.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby YuccaPatrol » Mar 3, 2011 10:14 am

If you go with Lost creek, go ahead and get the Monster TAG. I have both the regular one and the Monster. The extra space makes a big difference to me.

I also really like the Swaygo packs and plan to get one for wet caves, but even the big one seems small to me.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Batgirl » Mar 3, 2011 11:39 am

I have found that the bag depends on the trip and the cave your visiting. If you are looking for a bag for very wet caves, then I echo what others said about the Swaygo pack. It's submersible, durable and water resistant. But the more weight you put in it, the less comfortable it is.

I just recently purchased this bag: It's called a Pack Rat. http://www.onrope1.com/store/index.php? ... 6&parent=0

It was one of Howie's old designs that Bruce re-engineered. I was the first one to ask for it since OR1 bought out Howie's business, so the one I have is a newly re-engineered prototype. It's hard to tell from the pic online, but its a good size bag (700 cu in) and can hold your vertical gear, food and water for a lengthy day trip. The design is reminiscent of the military gas mask packs, but more durable because its made of cordura. This past weekend, I packed both a frog and rope walker system in it with ease. The top strap fits across your chest and the the other strap goes around your waist. One of the things I really like about this bag is that it is easily rotated from side to front to back without ever taking it off. This was key for me because I was tired of having to take off my bag and push or drag it in low crawlways.

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 3, 2011 12:15 pm

YuccaPatrol wrote:If you go with Lost creek, go ahead and get the Monster TAG. I have both the regular one and the Monster. The extra space makes a big difference to me.

I also really like the Swaygo packs and plan to get one for wet caves, but even the big one seems small to me.


I can't imagine why anyone would need the Monster TAG as an everyday pack. I suppose if you're the type of caver that wants to carry a bivy sack and sleeping bag for emergencies, then maybe this is the pack for you. I carry the Lost Creek Flint Ridge about 70% of the time. It holds my waterproof box (containing first aid, spare light, spare batteries, multi-tool, mylar blanket), pee bottle, 1-2 liters of water, lunch, and survey gear if needed. I use the TAG if I also need to carry vertical gear. I have even used the TAG for 4-day camp trips (where sleeping bags and stoves were already at camp). If you carry less unnecessary stuff you'll be able to cave faster for longer with less fatigue. Leave the foam pad, 3rd shirt, camp stove, Sam splint, 50' of webbing, etc. behind and you'll have a better time. Carrying a lot of this stuff becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you carry the weight of a bivy sack then you'll probably end up needing it.

I like the Swaygo for wet cave that is mostly walking. I prefer side-packs for fairly crawly caves (e.g. most of Colorado and the Black Hills). I'd love a roll-closure side pack made from the Swaygo urethane material for everything else, but that doesn't exist yet.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby NZcaver » Mar 3, 2011 4:45 pm

iindica211 wrote:Ok guys to start of im sorry if i did anything wrong posting this but I have looked and looked for help on this decision and I am stumped.

The "what pack to get" question is pretty common here on the forum. It's a perfectly valid question, and if you haven't done so already feel free to use the forum search feature (the box on the top right of the page). There are many previous topics about packs - including the ones you mentioned - but not all necessarily in the same topic.

derekbristol wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would need the Monster TAG as an everyday pack.

You're never been caving with me, have you? :tonguecheek: I use a Lost Creek Monster TAG for dry-ish caving, and sometimes I find it too small for what I need. I use the large Swaygo for damp caving, and if there was a bigger one of those I'd buy it. All these packs can be somewhat compressed by rolling them down, so other that the initial cost and a small amount of weight you don't really lose anything by getting a bigger pack. You don't have to fill it every trip.

Why bigger packs? On an average trip I usually carry food, water (2 Nalgenes in warm caves), a small first aid/survival kit, a length of webbing and carabiner or two, a few spare batteries, a spare polypro top and hat in colder caves, and my camera equipment (on every trip). Small point and shoot and slave flash go in the pack, or if I'm carrying the larger setup the camera and flashguns go in a hard case. If I bring a small tripod, that has to fit in the pack. And maybe vertical gear (when I'm not wearing it), unless I have an additional small pack to put that in.

If it's a survey or other project trip, there's more stuff to carry. And if we're doing cave rescue stuff... well, that's a whole other ballgame.

I cave mostly for fun and photos, not for speed. Your own requirements may differ.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 3, 2011 4:57 pm

I guess it's good to know that someone who posts opinions on caving gear is speaking from experience.

I've started to get more involved in photography, and there's definitely a pack size issue if you're going to take quality photos. Why haven't there been more compact and powerful strobes developed along with headlamps? But I digress.

In any case, I still try to follow the philosophy that less is more while exploring caves.

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby self-deleted_user » Mar 3, 2011 5:07 pm

Batgirl wrote:I have found that the bag depends on the trip and the cave your visiting. If you are looking for a bag for very wet caves, then I echo what others said about the Swaygo pack. It's submersible, durable and water resistant. But the more weight you put in it, the less comfortable it is.

I just recently purchased this bag: It's called a Pack Rat. http://www.onrope1.com/store/index.php? ... 6&parent=0

It was one of Howie's old designs that Bruce re-engineered. I was the first one to ask for it since OR1 bought out Howie's business, so the one I have is a newly re-engineered prototype. It's hard to tell from the pic online, but its a good size bag (700 cu in) and can hold your vertical gear, food and water for a lengthy day trip. The design is reminiscent of the military gas mask packs, but more durable because its made of cordura. This past weekend, I packed both a frog and rope walker system in it with ease. The top strap fits across your chest and the the other strap goes around your waist. One of the things I really like about this bag is that it is easily rotated from side to front to back without ever taking it off. This was key for me because I was tired of having to take off my bag and push or drag it in low crawlways.

Image Image


Holy. Crap. Awesome. *nothing* on my neck then. Huh. Does it fit under your tummy then when doing hands/knees crawl?
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 3, 2011 5:22 pm

Sungura wrote:
Batgirl wrote:I have found that the bag depends on the trip and the cave your visiting. If you are looking for a bag for very wet caves, then I echo what others said about the Swaygo pack. It's submersible, durable and water resistant. But the more weight you put in it, the less comfortable it is.

I just recently purchased this bag: It's called a Pack Rat. http://www.onrope1.com/store/index.php? ... 6&parent=0

It was one of Howie's old designs that Bruce re-engineered. I was the first one to ask for it since OR1 bought out Howie's business, so the one I have is a newly re-engineered prototype. It's hard to tell from the pic online, but its a good size bag (700 cu in) and can hold your vertical gear, food and water for a lengthy day trip. The design is reminiscent of the military gas mask packs, but more durable because its made of cordura. This past weekend, I packed both a frog and rope walker system in it with ease. The top strap fits across your chest and the the other strap goes around your waist. One of the things I really like about this bag is that it is easily rotated from side to front to back without ever taking it off. This was key for me because I was tired of having to take off my bag and push or drag it in low crawlways.

Image Image


Holy. Crap. Awesome. *nothing* on my neck then. Huh. Does it fit under your tummy then when doing hands/knees crawl?



I think you misunderstood her. The upper strap is a shoulder strap. if it was worn around the chest it would simply slide down to your hips, simply due to the natural V shape of the human body. ITs advertised as a fanny pack on the onrope1 site. fyi. fanny pack with a shoulder stling if you so choose to use it.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby YuccaPatrol » Mar 3, 2011 6:00 pm

derekbristol wrote:I can't imagine why anyone would need the Monster TAG as an everyday pack.


It's hardly monstrous in size despite the name. The average school-kid's book backpack is probably larger. It holds my basic items plus either my camera gear or vertical gear. And when it is not full the closure rolls down far enough that it is really no larger than the regular TAG when it comes to crawls/squeezes/etc
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby iindica211 » Mar 3, 2011 6:16 pm

Thank you guys for all the replies you all are awesome and have been a very big help.
I am very interested in the swaygo pack being water proof could be used not only for caving but for my canoeing and kayaking trips also.

Is this pack really as tuff as they say? Just looking at it makes me think I could tear a hole in it dragging it across sharp rocks.
Something else I was wondering about this pack is can you roll it up to get rid of any extra space not being used if you don't fill the pack full?
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Batgirl » Mar 3, 2011 6:28 pm

Chads93GT wrote:
Sungura wrote:
Batgirl wrote:I have found that the bag depends on the trip and the cave your visiting. If you are looking for a bag for very wet caves, then I echo what others said about the Swaygo pack. It's submersible, durable and water resistant. But the more weight you put in it, the less comfortable it is.

I just recently purchased this bag: It's called a Pack Rat. http://www.onrope1.com/store/index.php? ... 6&parent=0

It was one of Howie's old designs that Bruce re-engineered. I was the first one to ask for it since OR1 bought out Howie's business, so the one I have is a newly re-engineered prototype. It's hard to tell from the pic online, but its a good size bag (700 cu in) and can hold your vertical gear, food and water for a lengthy day trip. The design is reminiscent of the military gas mask packs, but more durable because its made of cordura. This past weekend, I packed both a frog and rope walker system in it with ease. The top strap fits across your chest and the the other strap goes around your waist. One of the things I really like about this bag is that it is easily rotated from side to front to back without ever taking it off. This was key for me because I was tired of having to take off my bag and push or drag it in low crawlways.

Image Image


Holy. Crap. Awesome. *nothing* on my neck then. Huh. Does it fit under your tummy then when doing hands/knees crawl?



I think you misunderstood her. The upper strap is a shoulder strap. if it was worn around the chest it would simply slide down to your hips, simply due to the natural V shape of the human body. ITs advertised as a fanny pack on the onrope1 site. fyi. fanny pack with a shoulder stling if you so choose to use it.


That's correct Chad. It's a large fanny pack with a shoulder strap. The shoulder strap can be worn as a sling and when used in conjunction with the waist strap, it keeps the pack securely fastened to your body. It can also be accessed (if necessary) without taking it off. Thanks for clarifying.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 3, 2011 6:31 pm

iindica211 wrote:Thank you guys for all the replies you all are awesome and have been a very big help.
I am very interested in the swaygo pack being water proof could be used not only for caving but for my canoeing and kayaking trips also.

Is this pack really as tuff as they say? Just looking at it makes me think I could tear a hole in it dragging it across sharp rocks.
Something else I was wondering about this pack is can you roll it up to get rid of any extra space not being used if you don't fill the pack full?


The swaygo really is tough, very tough, but you can tear holes in it dragging it across sharp rocks, or standing up into stalactites. My pack has about 20 or 25 holes in it that are patched with aquaseal. Swaygo's are great because they don't absorb water and they can be used as a flotation in river caves. Great in crawling caves where you can just clip it to your foot and drag it behind you. I wouldnt do that with a lost creek or the on rope packs (I have both and i prefer on rope packs, many more features that make it much more user freindly). Both have their pros and cons. Swaygo's have 1" webbing for straps. On rope packs/lost creek have 2" webbing, but the onrope style is extremely easy to adjust, unlike the lost creeks.

I have the Swaygo Sink and have used it on over 50 trips. Yes ive popped holes in it, but thats the nature of the cave. ive done dozens of trips with the lost creek/onrope style pack as well and I love them for caves where I am not swimming, which is few and far between. Weigh your options and make your choice.
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