Let’s take a moment today to discuss that unheralded hero of so many canyon equipment quivers: the rope bag. Much like your typical offensive lineman, a good rope bag often goes unnoticed, quietly helping all the sexy stuff happen while reliably toiling away in the background.
Why use rope bags these silly, expensive rope bags, you say? Three big efficiency-increasing reasons:
1. Rope bags reduce ungainly tangles, knots, and bird’s nests by giving us the opportunity to account for and isolate both ends of the rope OUTSIDE the bag.
2. Rope bags allow us to only deploy the amount of rope needed for the rappel (e.g. 20′ of rope for a 10′ rappel as opposed to uncoiling all or half of a long rope).
3. Rope bags allow us to put away longer ropes MUCH more quickly and easily than any coiling technique I’ve ever seen or used.
Though rope bags come in many shapes and sizes, today we’ll focus on my favorite rope bag, the Bagarino. This member of the Imlay Canyon Gear (ICG) rope bag family is smaller than the Silo series, and larger than the Bagettes. The Bagarino holds up to 190-200′ of 8mm Bluwater Canyon Pro Rope (my rope of choice). It would hold somewhat less of the ICG 8mm or 8.3 ropes, as these ropes don’t pack quite as small (smash down as well) as Bluewater Canyon Pro.
• Round shape increases ease of stuffing rope into it (easier than the bagette family)
• New-for-2010 beefier handles last longer
• Bottom grommet facilitates draining and allows the user to poke one end of the rope out the bottom of the bag, for visual confirmation that the rope is TIED onto the bag
• Mesh on 2009-2010 models seems heavier and more durable than 2007 model
• Survives being tossed off rappels quite well
• Easier to pack than the larger Silos from ICG
• Round shape that makes stuffing easier makes squishing it into your pack slightly harder (doesn’t pack very small)
• While it looks good, if it were even sexier, perhaps “non-rope carrying” team members would throw themselves at hiking with rope
• Strategically, traveling with rope bags in Mae West Superslot canyons can be cumbersome. Might want to leave the Bagarino at the car.
Overall, I find the ICG Bagarino to be a great, durable product and a good value for the money. And yes, I would recommend it to a friend any time.