Most big wall climbers fall into one of two camps, there’s the “light is right” camp and the other camp. In the wise words of Chris McNamara, “don’t be a vertical baggage handler.”

The Kurt 55L haulbag is a strong addition to the tool kit of those subscribing to the “light is right” camp (the correct camp). The Kurt (which I really hope is a nod to Kurt Albert) is approximately 60x30x30cm, has a 55L capacity (though there’s some room to overstuff up to 60L), a padded harness system, and somehow only weighs 1.3kg (around 1.0kg without the harness and straps). That’s roughly half the weight of the 40L BD Wall Hauler & 46L Metolius Sentinel, and only 0.1kg heavier than the Metolius’s own lightweight Express haulbag with is still only 39L. Of course it’s easy to just make something lighter, but Edelrid seems to have accomplished this while still delivering something which is robust enough to actually be a haulbag!

The harness carry system is generously padded (considering the weight) and has sliding foam on the waist belt. There’s a reasonable amount of adjustability, but the insertion points are fixed so smaller folks may want to double-check that the harness size isn’t too big for them. In terms of carrying comfort, I’ve found it similarly comfortable to my Ascentionist 45L under medium to moderate loads. 

The place this really shines is when it comes to dismantling the harness and straps for hauling. The waist belts attach via some heavy-duty velcro and only take a few seconds to remove. To detach the side compression straps and shoulder straps you simply unhook the boomerang-shaped toggle from their canvas eyelets and pack them into one of the two zipped internal pouches or the velcro slot where the foam back panel sits (this is also removable and could be added to your sleep system). 

Removing the straps was a quick and painless process, much smoother than my experiences with the Metolius Express 39 which can be a bit fiddly at times. I also appreciated the heavy-duty canvas covers that protect the eyelets from abrasion when hauling. One thing that did surprise me however was that the toggles are made from tough plastic and not metal. While I’m not too worried about the durability of the plastic (they seem pretty bomber) it feels like a small detail that would add peace of mind and not too much extra weight. My only real gripe with the harness system was the pocket on the hips belt—there’s only one and it’s quite small, definitely too small for a phone or camera, maybe just big enough for a victory Clif Bar for your walk-out.

The feature that really got me excited was the full-length zip on the front of the pack. This thing made packing and unpacking the Kurt a breeze. Being able to access the bottom of your pack without tipping out all your gear is a seriously underrated feature. Unfortunately, since the zipper is just a top-down single zip, this feature is only really useful when you’re able to lay your pack down on the ground or on a ledge to prevent things from spilling out; it can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) be used while the bag is docked (hanging). 

Final Thoughts:
Overall I think the Kurt Haulbag is a great option for people looking to move faster over big wall-style routes, especially given how easily the harness system can be dismantled, allowing climbers to switch between hauling on harder pitches and carrying it on easier pitches. Personally, I think using it in this way would pair super well with a thin hyperstatic tagline (like the Edelrid 6mm Rap line protect pro or the Petzl PUR line) when hauling lighter loads. Features like the comfy harness system and full-length zip would also make for a super robust crag bag with plenty of room for all your gear. Since being sent a review unit (thanks Intertrek) I’ve only had a chance to test it on smaller stuff, but I’m very much looking forward to putting it through its paces at Mt Buffalo and the Darran Mountains.

Overall, I’d rate it 4.5 out of 5 blue offsets.

Pros:

  • An impressive balance of lightweight and robustness
  • Very thoughtful rucksack system
  • Full length zipper for easier access

Cons: 

  • Lacks a double zipper 
  • Hip pocket is too small

Best suited for:
Those wanting a lightweight (but still robust) haul bag for more “fast and light” style adventures, or those after an absolutely bomber crag bag with a full-length zip for easy access.

RRP: $299.95

Available now at https://edelrid.com