Rack Sack — rock climbing 'rack' organiser & carrier
Dumping your rack into a backpack creates one big tangle. Get on your climb sooner by having an organising pack for your rack.
Rack Sack is a better way to store and carry your rock climbing rack.
Most climbers clip their rack onto a sling and dump it into a backpack. I used to do this but it takes a while to find and pull out what you need from the tangle. With a young family and a a small business my climbing trips are infrequent and short, half a day at the local crag at best, so time getting set-up is critical. This led me to rethink how I managed my rack.
Let me explain a rack to any non-climbers who have bravely read this far: it is a collection of equipment used with ropes to secure climbers if they fall. A rack generally consists of: carabiners (you will have heard of), nuts, cams, slings, quick draws, hexes, RP's, belay devices... to name a few. Climbers love gear. You would too if your life depended on it.
Rack Sack is designed to keep groups of gear separate and easy to access. From a cylindrical pack it zips open to lay out flat like your rope bag/tarp. You can now see and get to the pieces you need as you "rack up" for a climb.
The internal dividers keep things organised and untangled; each segment has rows of loops to clip gear to. The top layer Velcro loops are designed to quickly release a handful of quick-draws or cams — instead of laboriously un-clipping one piece at a time. Lower rows of loops in each segment allow you to off-set the bulky items like big cams, and store lesser used gear.
Each segment holds a different type of gear, cams in one, quickdraws in another, however you organise your rack. One zipped segment is for slings, etriers, aid ladders, cordelettes etc, all the things that easily get snagged; this compartment keeps these tangle masters out of trouble.
Rack Sack's layout also encourages organisation when you return gear at the end of the day. This way you are all-set for next time. Or you can dump it in and zip up to get home.
The roll-up design closes the segments and forms one neat cylindrical pack. Rack Sack has a light-weight strap system that can be either a single shoulder strap, a back-pack type harness (with or without waist belt) or removed to use Rack Sack inside a backpack with other gear.
Rack Sack is made from heavy-duty canvas: awning stuff that is made to be outdoors: tough, weatherproof, and durable. This is a proven material that Industrial Sewing Workshop has used for bike panniers and satchels for years. This first Kickstarter batch will be in grey with black trim and straps.
I've worked with Cathy Parry of Industrial Sewing Workshop on the prototypes of Rack Sack and will commission her for this first Kickstarter batch, and ongoing production. I'm also keen on local production and working within my community. This means the discussions evolving this design are fluid and timely. Of course off-shore production is attractive financially but Cathy and I are both committed to developing our own skills, earning an ethical living, and contributing to our local economy,
For Rack Sack and future Climb Design products, we will focus on local batch production and not go to low wage/condition manufacturing in a poorer economy. We believe the maker creates something of value so should be able to earn a reasonable living. The makers are us in this case but we'd like the principle to apply to all makers.
Product development via Kickstarter has the capacity to re-write business as usual in two ways:
- 1) Equitable distribution of the value of a product. Kickstarter direct funding means there is no chain of intermediaries that add little value to the made thing. Often this also entails exploitation of: labour, poor economies, resources, and states with lax pollution laws, to create an unfairly shared profit.
- 2) Kickstarter allows a direct relationship with the maker. This way you can know about the materials, processes, and labour conditions that go into your stuff. As a maker I prefer this relationship too; it's great to have a little interaction with the users of the things I make. I still get a buzz when someone loves something I've made — this is a satisfaction beyond the money exchanged and allows for the best work.
Our Kickstarter funding will be used for the second prototype of Rack Sack and batch production of pledge units. Other costs include: crack gloves and postage, printing of Climb Design labels, hardware for the strap system, Kickstarter fees, and a shipping subsidy so our international supporters aren't paying a lot more than our local supporters. Some of the first batch will be sent to climbing media for appraisal and promotion to set Rack Sack and climb Design on course for future success. You will see Climb Design here again with some more exciting climbing products already prototyped.
A big thank-you to Sholto, Terry, and Alison for their feedback and advice on this campaign.
Risks and challenges
Being a small business owner I know time management can get out of whack. It's one of the reasons we decided on small batch production as it's easier to fit in with other commitments. Many years of experience in designing and making has taught us how to manage time and multiple jobs. Being an established business the chain of supply is known and operating; we aren't using exotic materials or processes so the likelihood of problems with supply is low.
An interesting challenge is incorporating feedback into the next batch. Design is the fun part where you can resolve things as you see fit. It is a challenge when users offer a different perspective on a design that works so well in your head! We'll look forward to that evolution, and being makers we know that it takes many goes to understand and refine a design and its production. Trial and feedback is critical to this process, and to delivering a useful thing into the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)