Steve Ramras, known as “Ram” in the canyon world, does more canyoneering than anybody I’ve ever met. This guy regularly puts together 14 – 21 day canyon trips, pieced together with partners from his incredible multi-state social network and canyon routes from his vast prior experience and his highly topographic imagination. First descents, 20th descents, returning-after-15-years-away descents… Ram regularly combines them all in one trip. With that kind of mileage under his belt, it’s easy to imagine he has learned a thing or two over the years. So when Ram offers thoughts or advice on gear choice, I’m always interested to hear what he has to say.
Ram is a guy with ample access to gear. Each morning, he has the freedom to pour over a full quiver of packs, bags, ropes, carabiners, etc. and choose his plan of attack, a la carte, for the day. (Well, at least at the BEGINNING of his 3-week trips, he does…) Which pack is big enough, but not too big? What combination of ropes will be both high functional, but reasonable in terms of weight and volume. Etc, etc… So when Ram says he finds himself using the same item over and over again, you know that either a) it must be good stuff, or b) he must have some sort of weird personal subconscious relationship with it. Check out Ram’s recent gushing over the Spry pack on the Canyons Group, and decide for yourself what the case is this time:
Just off a 21 day trip, I realized that I used my Spry pack on 19 of those days. Only the overnight to Spearhead (Heaps pack) found me using something else. I have grown to love the pack. Its size is perfect for day trips. Some of the trips were in the 15 hour range and I was able to use the straps to add rope, wetsuit etc on the outside and still have it carry nicely. Other days, with was explorations with sandtraps, potshots etc. Easy open, easy cinch down in a variety of ways such as lid tucked or removed and packed in the pack or strapped down. On one of these type days you can end up with 2 ropes and a sandtrap or nothing at all group gear wise and everything in between, a dozen times during the adventure. The pack was perfect for these constant changes. We dealt with mostly potholes and the tethered (connected daisy chains) pack offered many a hand line and performed admirably. It is also light weight enough when we were forced into high stemming. The sides cinch down far, lowering the pack profile, when needed. So for VERSATILITY, I am a huge fan of this pack and never leave home without it.