I bought a used CiloGear 40B Dyneema WorkSack, medium size. It was made around 2010. This is a 40B liter pack which is designed for alpine climbing, which is somewhat different from a general purpose pack. It is designed to carry two ice tools (ice axes). That isn't very unusual, as many packs have the same features. The way the ice tools are attached are of a superior design to other packs. The pack is generally of a streamlined design, with little sticking out. That is pretty important for a climbing pack, but not so important for general use. It's construction is a bit more complex than any other pack that I am familiar with. It is more modular and configurable than any other pack that I know of. The quality of workmanship is first rate, and overall it is the best designed pack that I have ever seen. I will be comparing this pack with the WildThings Icesac which is another pack designed for alpine climbing.

Back view

cilo back

This is a view of the back of the pack. Many features of the pack are visible. The central area of the pack is reinforced and has attachment points for crampon straps to secure a pair of crampons or other things on the back of the pack. The attachment points have blue straps attached, though like almost everything on the pack, they can be removed. The two white triangle shaped pieces of material (that have reflective tape on one side) are where the heads of the ice tools go. The ice tool heads are secured with the side release buckles next to the white triangular material. The shaft of the ice tools are secured with the black cords that are higher up on the pack. The doubled red cord is wrapped around the shaft, and then the cord is looped over the cord toggle. Then the cord toggle is tightened to secure the cord loop. The cord is 1/8 inch elastic.

Tool holder

cilo tool

This is a close up of the tool holders on the pack. There is a flap of material sewn to the pack at both ends that secures the head of the tool. The shaft near the head is secured with the black side release buckle. The inside of the flap of material is edged with reflective material to make it easy to see in low light conditions.

Crampon holder attachment points

cilo crampon

This is the crampon strap attachment points. There are 2 blue straps with a quick release buckle attached to them. You can attach almost anything here, such as a sweater or foam pad if you don't need to attach crampons. The standard 40B pack has a crampon pocket, but this pack was ordered without a crampon pocket. A removable accessory crampon pocket can be purchased from cilogear.

Pack extension


This is the gray skirt extension. It is made of two layers of nylon coated with silicone, which is very lightweight, and abrasion resistant. Since it is usually inside the pack, it doesn't need to be as robust as the normal exterior of the pack. You can see there are two draw-cords, one near the bottom of the skirt, which is the one that is usually used. They are Sterling Rope's Glo-Cord, which is 2.75mm cord with a reflective exterior. When the skirt is used, the drawcord on the top of the skirt is used. Also visible in this picture is the brown haul strap on the back of the pack.

Pack side

cilo side

This is the side of the pack. The lid of the pack is on. There are currently 3 compression straps on the pack, though there is room for a 4th. These straps are removable. You can arrange the straps at a diagonal. The owners manual describes some of the many possible options for using the straps. Near the bottom of the pack is a stripe of reflective material. Below that, is the bottom of the pack which is made of a second layer of dyneema, as much wear occurs near the bottom of the pack. It is quite robust. The bottom doesn't look completely filled out. This is a result of my highly sophisticated photos taking technuque using pillows stuffed inside the pack to make it look full :->

Pack front

cilo front cilo shoulder cilo shoulder

This is the front of the pack, i.e. the part which rests against your back. The lid is on the pack, and there is a reflective stripe of material next to the external lid zipper. The lid attaches to the pack with two adjustable red straps, as well as a dee-clip in the center. If you use the skirt to load lots of stuff in the pack, the central dee-clip is disconnected and two higher dee-clips can be used to attach the lid, rather than the lower dee-clips. This is a much more elegant way to attach the lid than the WildThings Icesac's lid. Next to the lid, is a brown haul strap. Below that, is a piece of 1.5 inch wide black webbing. This is where the top of the shoulder straps attach to. The tops of the shoulder straps consist of two layers of 1.5 inch black webbing which is bartacked to the white material of the shoulder strap as well to the 1.5 inch wide black webbing on the pack. This makes a very strong flexible mounting point for the shoulder straps. Not visible, is the bottom of the shoulder straps which attach to a double thickness triangle of material which is the same material as the bottom of the pack. The shoulder straps have load transfer straps which attach to the top of the frame of the pack, and their attachment point on the shoulder strap is adjustable with the black slider visible on the shoulder straps. There is also a removable sternum strap which is adjustable up and down. The shoulder straps are made with a dense foam and a very hard outside layer.

Pack hip belt

cilo hip cilo hip

This is the hip belt. It is pretty similar in construction to the shoulder straps. It uses 2 layers of foam, like the shoulder straps. The belt is a single piece, with some velcro in the center. On the bottom of the pack is a white, sacrum pad area with a slot in it, and some velcro which mates with the hip belt velcro. The pack frame height is adjustable by three inches, based on how the hipbelt is attached. This is very similar to the way the Kelty cloud packs adjust. There are attachment points on the end of the belt for gear loops, which are generally used to hold rock climbing gear while climbing. This belt has one loop per side. The hip belt attaches in the front using 1.5 inch webbing and a standard side release plastic buckle. The 3/4 inch black webbing visible on the belt attaches to the sides of the frame and is used to pull the pack in close to your body. The sacram pad area has in internal pocket where you can add some foam if desired to pad the area. You can add thin or thick foam, soft or hard foam.

Pack lid

cilo lid top cilo lid bottom cilo lid side

This is the pack lid. The top of the lid is made out of some kind of VX fabric. The sides of the lid are made out of some kind of VX fabric (the white fabric with the diamond pattern). There are six lash points around the perimeter of the lid. There is 1/8 inch elastic cord attached. I believe these are designed to secure a climbing helmet, but could be used for other things. On the bottom of the lid is a separate compartment from the main lid compartment, with the zipper half open in the picture. The last picture shows the side view, which shows the reflective material next to the main compartment zipper. It features two zipper pulls as well as an urethane coating on the zipper fabric and teeth for water proofing. Since the main pack has a drawstring, the lid isn't really needed, and can be left off if desired.

Pack frame

cilo frame cilo frame stay

Unlike the WildThings Icesac, the CiloGear pack has a frame. The frame consists of a piece of thin, quite dense foam (2.3 lb per cf) folded in half (its blue). Next to the foam is a thin framesheet (its white) made of HDPE. In the center of the framesheet is black material which contains a pocket for an aluminum framestay. The top of the pocket is secured with velcro. There is a gray nylon tab to make it easier to remove the stay.

There are some people who think frames aren't necessary. Perhaps for actually doing technical climbing, or for really light loads under 20 lbs. For all other occasions, I really like having a frame to transfer the weight. This frame isn't as robust as my McHale's frame (which is a 80 liter pack), but it is the most robust frame I have seen in a 40 liter pack.

Pack interior

cilo pocket cilo
  internal strap

The foam and framesheet go inside a pocket inside the pack. The top of the frame pocket has a flap that folds over and velcros to secure the frame. On the flap is an orange zippered gear pocket. Another feature of this pack is an internal compression strap which is visible in the second picture. The end sewn to the pack has some reflective fabric on it, as well as the other end of the strap, which I tied to the middle of the strap to make it easier to photograph. There is a plastic side release buckle for the compression strap.

The pack is constructed with a wide variety of fabrics:

Pack Modularity

The pack comes with very little sewn onto it. There are many dee-clips, which are made out of steel and sliplocks (double D rings), which are made out of acetal, sewn onto the pack with webbing. You can attach a wide variety of straps on the pack to these dee-clips and sliplocks. You can compress the pack without the use of straps by mating the one or more pairs of the appropriate dee-clip and sliplock on the sides of the pack. I find that quite elegant. You can remove the lid as well as the hip belt. You can remove the foam padding as well as the framesheet (though it is unlikely I ever would). There are many places to strap things onto the pack, such as the six lash points on the top of the lid, and the gear loop attachment points on the hipbelt. You can use the extension skirt, and carry really bulky items, or use the pack as an emergency bivy and stick the lower half of your body inside of it.

One small detail I appreciate is that most of the straps are 0.75 inches wide. This is wide enough to not get twisted up, and plenty strong for virtually any use. My WildThings IceSac uses mostly heavy 1 inch webbing, which is overkill in my opinion.


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