Pack hauling/lowering questions

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
409
A common tip for backpacking in rough terrain (particularly in canyon country) is to bring a length of rope/cord to raise or lower your pack so that you can tackle the trickier scrambles unencumbered by the heavy pack. I've done this a number of times and it does indeed help a lot. However, I have a few questions for others who have experience doing this:
  1. What kind of rope/cord/webbing do you use?
    1. I have mostly just used a stretch of parachute cord, but I find that this gets tangled easily and it also can be rough on my hands when I lower the pack. Thinner cord would burn/cut the hands even more.
  2. Do you have any tricks to keep your rope/cord from getting all tangled up? Mine has inevitably turned into a tangled/knotted nightmare.
  3. Do you use any tricks to protect your pack from abrasion as you lift/lower it (as it slides against rocks, etc.)? I have usually done nothing in this regards, although on one trip where I knew I would be doing a lot of lifting/lowering, I bought one of these, which was just barely large enough for my ULA Ohm and it worked quite well: https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/frakta-storage-bag-blue-90149148/. For those of you who don't take any such measures (which I believe is most people), have you torn up your packs doing this?
  4. When you haul it up (less common than lowering it I know), has anyone tried rigging up a pulley of some sort to make it easier? (I haven't but I've wondered if there are tricks like that to make it easier, 'cause hauling it up can be a real pain!)
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,799
I carry a 50' piece of tubular webbing in canyon country, mostly to use as a handline in a pinch but also to raise and lower packs. It's very strong and doesn't get tangled. Obviously it's much bulkier than paracord but it has come in handy enough times that I don't mind.

I don't have any strategy for avoiding shredded packs and as far as I can tell almost all of the damage to my current mid-sized pack is from getting dragged up and down sandstone.
 

priz1234

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
176
Second on the tubular webbing. Great for a handline and have also used it a lot to lower packs while canyoneering. I tend to roll mine up into a little circle and put it in a ziploc bag. Seems to keep the webbing from becoming a mess while you aren't using it or while it is stored. I also don't really have any tips on how to protect your pack from the rocks. Canyoneering packs are pretty tough and can take quite a bit of abuse.
 

futurafree

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
76
If I'm sure I won't need a handline, then the 2.0mm Zpacks Z-line cord weighs and packs down to almost nothing. I've never had trouble with it getting knots, unlike the thinner Zpacks cords. It's useful for hanging clothes and other fixes. I always wear fingerless weightlifting gloves regardless, so it protects my palms while using the thin line.

1" tubular webbing is great if there is any chance of needing a handline or a makeshift harness.

Most of my pack damage comes from bushwhacking, not from scraping while lowering packs. I've never tried it, but you could wrap your groundcloth around the backpack before lowering it. If you don't use a groundcloth, maybe wrapping the extra webbing length around the backpack could give partial protection.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,264
40 ft webbing. Regular carabineer. You daisy chain tie the webbing, makes mine about 2 ft long then biner it to the outside of the pack. When you need it pull the end and the chain comes apart no tangle

Even though I carry everytime in canyons, seem to always find way down or up without a rope assist. Rarely use it
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,799
Interesting, the webbing is a more popular choice than I realized. I've not tried the ziplock trick but rather just leave it in sort of a sloppy climber's coil. This 50' piece is about 1.1 lbs including the biner
PXL_20220305_224023186.jpg
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
409
This 50' piece is about 1.1 lbs including the biner
That's pretty heavy! Totally worth it if it's needed for a handline, but for simple pack hauling (such as when I'm solo), I'll probably stick with a thinner cord and just deal with the downsides.

Thanks all!
 
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