Gregory Cirque 30: A great little pack for those technical day needs

Gregory Cirque 30 loaded up for a day of drytooling. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

The Cirque 30 is a great little pack for all those day needs.  Don’t expect to bring the kitchen sink AND the whole armada.  I did try though, just to see if I could.  I found the Cirque great for day use but too small for mutli-day glacier climbs or multi-day very technical climbs were you need a lot of gear.  But that’s not what this pack is designed for.  A day at the crag.  Great pack.  A single day multi-pitch rock climb. Great pack.  A day of ski touring. Great pack. A day dry tooling. Great pack.  A stellar day of ice climbing. Great pack. A 2 day climb of the North Ridge of Stuart or Mt. Rainier. A little small, at least for this user’s needs.  Though don’t let it’s small literage fool you, with all of it’s creative pockets you can really pack some gear into the Cirque.  The front pocket runs from the top of the pack all the way down to the bottom (I lovingly refer to it as “The Nose”).  This is a pocket to stash that warm little jacket or fleece you want easy access to. Also a great place to stow your lunch and snacks, biners or ice screws or other small gear and clothes.  There’s a smaller pocket on the top of the pack that is greats to store all those smaller items – sunglasses, sunscreen, compass, camera, keys, tape.  The rounded head at the top is the perfect shape for sliding your helmet on top of all your gear.  The zipper configuration allows the front to be pulled completely back, letting you have access to all your gear at once or pack efficiently.  Or if you’re on a belay ledge half way up a climb and need that cam you brought “just in case” which is buried at the bottom of your pack, you can zip the side down and quickly grab that item.  The ice axe/ice tool loops at the bottom of the pack have a nifty stow away slot they slide into.  If you aren’t using them you can tuck them away so they won’t get snagged on trees, shrubs and random people.  The compression straps do a good job of holding everything in your pack snug, whether you are trying to bring the kitchen sink or your pack is half empty.  It has ski loops too for carrying skis.

I did have difficulty attaching a rope when the pack was full since there’s no rope strap or top to strap over the rope.  One solution is to strap it to the side, or just trade your partner the rope for the ice screws and carabiners.  At only 30L (the XS is only 28L), I never had enough gear to surpass the comfortable 35 lb mark.  The weight I did carry, at most 25 lbs, always sat comfortably on my back.  The arm straps and waistbelt are nicely padded adding to the comfort of this pack.  The hip belt has both a pocket for us pocket people (thank you Gregory) which is perfect for that snack, chapstick or snot rag; and a gear loop which really comes in handy on multi-pitch climbs.

Overall this is one great little pack for nearly all of your day needs and single day climbs.

For more on the Gregory Cirque check out Gregory’s site: http://www.gregorypacks.com/products/womens/technical/95/cirque-30

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~ by Genevieve Hathaway on November 3, 2010.

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