Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby icave » Aug 13, 2013 11:22 am

Any experience on how the Swaygo is for pushing ahead in a crawl. Caving mostly in PA means a lot of crawling. I'm always concerned about pulling my pack through behind in case it were to get stuck, and I would not be able to unstick it. This would really suck and could be quite dangerous in many of the tight crawls (which is most of may caving unfortunately). Therefore, I usually roll/push my pack and other gear ahead of me. I think I had a Lost Creek TAG or Monster TAG (bought a grotto auction), but finally killed my pack after 15+ years.

The Swaygos sound great, but how do they do for pushing ahead? I'm planning on seeing Nina and Jeff about a new pack at OTR.

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby intensekarst » Aug 13, 2013 2:00 pm

icave: I have a Swaygo PUSH and have done most of caving in PA as well. Like you, I also worry about dragging my pack behind me and although I have tried it many a time, it just does not feel right for me. So, I push my pack ahead of me when in tight crawls. The Swaygo is easy to push in any situation I have been in, the pack slides very easily over all sorts of substrates. In crawly wet passages, it nicely just floats ahead of you. The only time when I worry about pushing it ahead is when I am crawling in a downward-trending slope, I don't want it to get too far ahead of me :-)
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Aug 13, 2013 5:13 pm

I agree with intensekarst. The Swaygo pushes ahead nicely. I think the exception would be if you had the large size and did not have much in it. That would be floppy and not very pushable.

You should give tethering it a try though. This is where the Swaygo really shines. Its design prevents most hangups. Scott from Swaygogear always recommends attaching the tether to your zipper flap on your crotch instead of your foot so that if the pack does get stuck, it is easy to detach yourself from it. In practice, I have only had the dragged Swaygo hang up when it gets stuck between two large rocks. It will ride over most obstacles.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Extremeophile » Aug 14, 2013 9:44 am

Anonymous_Coward wrote:Scott from Swaygogear always recommends attaching the tether to your zipper flap on your crotch instead of your foot so that if the pack does get stuck, it is easy to detach yourself from it. In practice, I have only had the dragged Swaygo hang up when it gets stuck between two large rocks. It will ride over most obstacles.

I've been using a Swaygo as a camp gear pack in Jewel Cave with great success - following the lead of Kelly Mathis. It drags very well through the ~2,000'-long Miseries, which has a series of 8.5 inch squeezes and lots of extended belly crawling. I prefer attaching it directly to an ankle. I use the included shoulder straps and simply girth hitch it. This allows it to drag directly behind a foot and I can easily back up or lift it over or around obstacles. Although the Swaygo material is very durable and drags well, doing this for an extended period will eventually wear holes and it will no longer be water-tight. The characteristics that make it drag well also make it push well.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 14, 2013 10:06 am

Just an FYI, to increase the life of any pack material, put extra padding around hard or heavy things in your pack.

Also, AquaSeal (by McNett) will easily and durably patch holes in Swaygo packs returning the water-tightness.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby icave » Aug 14, 2013 11:39 am

Thanks for the input. Most of my crawls are "push with your toes" types of crawls. I actually wear through the tips of my boots first, if that gives you a better impression of my type of crawl. I really like the idea of having less mud/water stuck in/on my pack. Many trips my pack seems to weigh twice as much on the way out than it did on the way in. If only WV and VA were closer, oh well. Thanks again for the input.

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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Shane S » Aug 14, 2013 1:37 pm

I have and use three of the packs mentioned above. I have an OR1, a Landjoff and a swaygo. Even the largest swaygo has limited space and the straps are not padded well. I use it on multidrops especially if water is present. It is great for deep water and swims and even helps you float. For tight crawls and deep water it's hard to beat a swaygo. It's streamlined to pull and not snag in tight places as well. The Landjoff offers more room but is not completely waterproof. It drains and I typically put anything that gets weighted like webbing in plastic bags to keep it dry. The good thing about it is that the pack itself don't become heavily weighted. I have put my landjoff through h*ll and it's held up well. The Landjoff is my all around favorite. The OR1 is a great product. I use it on dry short trips. It's rugged but if you get it wet it weighs a ton. My OR1 bag has turned into a rope bag for short ropes on multidrops.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby Mark Ostrander » Aug 19, 2013 9:03 pm

I have one of the largest Swaygo packs, and it has been my main pack for over 5 years now. There are times when it does not have quite enough room in it, especially for some vertical trips, like pull-downs. In those cases, I have to put my harness on at the car and hike in it. But those occasions are not too often. For a multi-drop where I am going in and out the same entrance, I find that I carry my gear up in a medium to large backpack with the Swaygo attached, and then change packs at the entrance when I am kitting up. I did have the original buckle fail on me, but have been using a full-size non-locking carabiner for a couple of years, and am just as happy with that. I have also been through two different sets of straps. I didn't like the original ones, and cut them off at one point to replace them with ones that I sewed that had 2" webbing at the shoulders. They were nice for a while but wore out. My current choice for straps is a long piece of 1" tubular webbing tied in a loop and then doubled. It is long enough to wear comfortably centered on my back or to the side Bandolier style. I have even used the webbing up as an improvised seat harness on a number of occasions. It is good to have a Prusik loop along. When I am using the straps as a seat harness, then I have to tether the pack. The Swaygo drags very well. The smartest thing I did on a recent trip through McBrides was take the straps completely off and stow them inside, and just tether it with a Prusik loop. Even on all those nasty chert nodules, it may have hung up only once or twice. I am needing to get the Aquaseal out, like Scott suggested, as I have a few cuts and holes that are leaking, but I have been really satisfied with the pack.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby BrianFrank » Aug 19, 2013 9:49 pm

Love Swaygo packs, bought 5 so far for kids and wife. I did replace the carabiners with ones that can be used for heavy loads in an emergency.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby icave » Aug 20, 2013 8:17 am

Sounds like I'll likely be a Swaygo user in a little over a week.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby The Seeker » Aug 20, 2013 2:56 pm

I received my Swaygo Sink and it's a whole lot bigger than what I thought it would be. I think it's much bigger than I'll need - I'm considering trading it with someone for a Pit... are there pictures of people wearing each of the 3 sizes somewhere?
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby The Seeker » Aug 20, 2013 3:18 pm

Ended up finding some pics right on the Swaygo site: http://swaygogear.com/gearinaction.htm
Last edited by The Seeker on Aug 29, 2013 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby snoboy » Aug 20, 2013 3:53 pm

I use a PIT. It is usually just right, sometimes a bit small, and a little large for short trips. Luckily it seems to pack and carry fine when under filled, so that's not a real issue other than a bit of extra fabric weight.

Generally I have something like the following for a moderate trip in there:

Camera, 1/2 L of water, basic first aid kit, 8m of 8mm cord, knife, pulley, couple prusiks and a TIBLOC, small candle, lighter, 4xAA, spare gloves, possibly a little bit of rigging gear. I have managed to get my drill in there, but it's a small one!

Have mulled over a SINK as a pack for longer trips, but not willing to trade my PIT.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby NZcaver » Aug 21, 2013 2:59 am

The Seeker wrote:I received my Swaygo Sink and it's a whole lot bigger than what I thought it would be. I think it's much bigger than I'll need - I'm considering trading it with someone for a Pit...

I love the size of the Sink (I think I already mentioned that). I asked Scott if it was possible to make a larger model, but apparently not with the current manufacturing/material setup.

If it seems too large for you, try attach the pack straps short (in the upper holes) and rolling the closure a few extra times. Of course as you fill the pack it also forms a pillow shape and becomes slightly narrower. But if you're still not comfortable, it shouldn't be too difficult to swap out a Swaygo that hasn't been used yet.
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Re: Cave pack Recommendation Needed!!

Postby The Seeker » Aug 29, 2013 7:39 pm

NZcaver wrote:
The Seeker wrote:I received my Swaygo Sink and it's a whole lot bigger than what I thought it would be. I think it's much bigger than I'll need - I'm considering trading it with someone for a Pit...

I love the size of the Sink (I think I already mentioned that). I asked Scott if it was possible to make a larger model, but apparently not with the current manufacturing/material setup.

If it seems too large for you, try attach the pack straps short (in the upper holes) and rolling the closure a few extra times. Of course as you fill the pack it also forms a pillow shape and becomes slightly narrower. But if you're still not comfortable, it shouldn't be too difficult to swap out a Swaygo that hasn't been used yet.


I'm a little late with this update but that was absolutely accurate. I finally got a chance to try it out, put some things in it and roll it up and it's actually a very ideal size (meaning I take back what I said about it being too big :tonguecheek: ). Swaygo FTW! :woohoo:
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