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Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag Review

It's comfortable, simple, lightweight, comfortable, and comes at a decent price
Black Diamond Touchstone Haul Bag
Photo: BlackDiamondEquipment.com
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Price:  $220 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Simple, light, easy to get in and out of, comfortable to carry
Cons:  Not waterproof, not as durable as other options
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Nov 18, 2016
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Durability/Material - 40% 7
  • Capacity - 10% 6
  • Waterproofness - 10% 5
  • Closure systems/Ease of Access - 20% 10
  • Carrying/Suspension System - 20% 9

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Touchstone stands out for its value, comfort, and simplicity. Of all the haul bag options we tested, this one is probably the most simple and streamlined for its size. We have used it in Zion and Yosemite and find it a great size for one-day ascents or as a second bag to a bigger bag like the Metolius El Cap Haul Bag.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $220 List
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$60 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
77
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69
Star Rating
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Pros Simple, light, easy to get in and out of, comfortable to carryBomber, great size, comfy, one of the most waterproofGreat closure, bomber, great as a crag packDurable, comfortable, water-tight closure, lots of volumeLightweight, can haul outside of haulbag, no assembly required
Cons Not waterproof, not as durable as other optionsTakes some time to get in and out of topExpensiveHard to access the bottom, takes some time to get in and out of the top of the bagExpensive, not completely air-tight
Bottom Line It's comfortable, simple, lightweight, comfortable, and comes at a decent priceOur favorite haul bag for any climbing adventure you can dream upOne of the best haul bags that can be purchased in this volumeThis big, burly bag is one of our favorites for carrying large loadsThe best off-the-shelf poop tube we know of
Rating Categories Black Diamond Touch... Metolius Half Dome... Metolius Quarter Dome Metolius El Cap Hau... Metolius Waste Case
Durability Material (40%)
7.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Capacity (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
1
Waterproofness (10%)
5.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Closure Systems Ease Of Access (20%)
10.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
Carrying Suspension System (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
0
Specs Black Diamond Touch... Metolius Half Dome... Metolius Quarter Dome Metolius El Cap Hau... Metolius Waste Case
Volume (cu inches) 4272 7600 4200 9600 500
Weight 5 lb 4 oz 7 lb 7 oz 5 lb 1 oz 8 lb 10.6 oz
Main container material 37 oz vinyl-laminated nylon Durathane Durathane Durathane Durathane
Closure material 840 Denier ripstop Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon Ballistic nylon
Sewn or welded seam Sewn Welded Welded Welded Welded

Our Analysis and Test Results

Likes


This bag has a very simple and clean design that makes it easy to get in and out of whether on the side of a cliff or at the crag. The process of opening it, accessing gear, and closing it, is about as fast as it gets. It is a great size. We take this on one-day El Cap ascents of routes with mostly aid. It is quick to get things in the bottom of the bag (you are not diving down head first to find things). As a crag pack, it is a perfect big size — it will fit everything and stand up on its own so you can access stuff easily. The suspension systems are one of the best and easiest to use when carrying the bag.

Dislikes


The top of the bag is not watertight. It's difficult to improvise a way to keep water out in a storm if the bag is hanging. You can try and use a trash compactor bag and accessory cord and "make a big version" of using a ziplock bag and rubber band on a mason jar when you close the lid.

While the haul straps are a nice length for big walls, they are a little long for a crag pack (they are more likely to get hung up on branches and snag). Because there are no big compression straps across the top it is not an ideal travel bag or a substitute for a bag like The North Face Base Camp Duffel. Although you can check it in on airplanes, you have to be extra careful about closing it up in a bomber no-snag way. By contrast, a bag with big compression straps and a "lid" like the Quarter Dome is much more travel-friendly.

Value


This bag is a little more expensive than its Metolius counterpart and also a lot less featured. We would recommend the Metolius.

Conclusion


For most applications, this haul bag is too small for single haul bag use. It will likely need to be paired with a bigger model, such as the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag, on steep routes.

Chris McNamara

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