The durable 60 Liter WorkSack is currently the largest pack CiloGear makes; with the extension collar loaded it can hold up to 90 liters. Removable straps allow the pack to be compressed down to a 28 liter volume for overnighters or day hikes without all the excess slack and weight in straps. And with further stripping of removable components, it can be reduced down to a 30-ounce frameless pack. The pack has some good characteristics but there is a steep learning curve to mastering strap use and some useful features are missing.
- Durable for all types of use
- Many adjustment options
- Removable straps, framesheet, hipbelt, and top pocket let you reduce weight
- Hipbelt + top pocket convert to a fanny pack
- Foam backpanel doubles as a short sleeping pad
- Hydration compatible
What’s Not So Good
- Removable adjustment straps are confusing and hard to adjust
- No side pockets
- No hipbelt pockets
|2006 CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack|
|Internal frame, top loading, drawstring closure, top pocket|
|3660 ci (60 L), 5490 ci (90 L) with extension collar filled, 1709 ci (28 L) with side buckles connected|
|3 lb 9 oz (1.62 kg) measured weight, manufacturer’s specification 3 lb 8 oz (1.59 kg)|
|Main body is VX51, center panel is VX42, center sides are VX21, side panels are 210d Spectra, crampon pouch is 500d Spectra|
|Removable hipbelt and top lid combine to create a fanny pack, many strap options, one outside front pocket, two zippered pockets on top lid, two ice axe loops, 3-liter hydration sleeve with one port, haul loop, load lifters, hipbelt stabilizers, sternum strap|
Volume To Weight Ratio
|64.2 ci/oz size L (based on 3660 ci and a measured weight of 57 oz)|
Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity
|35 lb (15.9 kg) estimated maximum comfortable load an average person can carry all day in this pack|
Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio
|9.8 (based on 35 lb and a measured weight of 3.56 lb)|
The CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack has a strap system I’ve never seen before. I spent some time trying to figure out the different options available. There are three different types of straps that come with the backpack, for a total of ten straps. There are many places on the backpack where you can place the straps, with no directions on the manufacture’s website or included with the pack on how to use them. Quite a bit of time is required initially to strategically place the straps to best suit your needs.
Once the straps are installed, the pack has a 60 liter volume with compression options. The extension collar lets the pack expand up to 90 liters. To make a 28 liter volume pack, remove the adjustment straps and clip the side buckles together. The option of having a smaller pack without the weight or extra length of the straps is nice, but it also means you can’t compress the load since the straps are removed. CiloGear mentions you can have one side of the backpack with straps and the other side with no straps for a 43 liter pack, but this causes the pack to be asymmetrical and I don’t see any advantages to this option.
Basic strap options for the CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack: straps removed (left) for full pack volume but no compression, buckles connected (center) for 28 liter volume, and straps added (right) for 60 liter volume with compression.
The pack comes in three different torso sizes, small, medium, and large. The hipbelt is removable and attached by Velcro allowing further adjustment for different size torsos. The hipbelt is made of foam that is a little over ½ inch thick. The top lid has a smaller zippered pocket in the inside and a larger zippered pocket on the outside. The lid can also be removed and attached to the hipbelt to make a fanny pack for short hikes around camp.
The top lid and hipbelt can be removed to create a large fanny pack.
The harness system includes load lifter straps to pull the top of the pack in closer to your back. The shoulder straps are curved and include an adjustable sternum strap. The shoulder straps have foam padding that is a little under ½-inch thick.
The harness is easy to adjust but the shoulder straps are closer to the neck than most packs.
The backpanel is made up of a single aluminum stay, plastic framesheet and a closed cell foam pad folded in half that can double as a small (18 inches by 24 inches) sleeping pad.
The closed cell foam backpanel pad of the CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack can be unfolded and used as a sleeping pad, and the plastic framesheet with single aluminum stay can be removed to convert the WorkSack into a frameless pack.
The inside of the bag has some reflective material sewn into one side that brightens up the interior of the pack, making it easier to spot items you’re searching for. There are two ice axe loops and one outside pocket on the pack.
The interior of the pack has reflective material on one side to brighten up the inside.
The CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack performed well in the field with loads up to 30 pounds. The shoulder straps are sewn into the pack at a right angle so they are close to my neck and rub against it with loads over 30 pounds. On most packs the shoulder straps angle away from each other slightly giving your neck a little more room.
The diameter of the pack is smaller at the bottom and gets larger towards the top, with the collar having the largest diameter. This is good for throwing in some extra food near the top or stuffing in a jacket, but if your sleeping bag is large it might not fit in the bottom of the pack - although my three-season down bag fit just fine. The backpanel pad, framesheet and stay, top lid, and hipbelt can be removed to save some weight and turn the pack into a frameless backpack. The stripped pack weighs only 1 pound 14 ounces.
CiloGear WorkSack 90 degree shoulder straps (left) compared to the angled shoulder straps on a Gregory G-pack (right).
The CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack is durable and can stand up to abuse in the field. I’m not afraid to bushwhack or scrape against rocks with this pack like I am with some other lightweight packs. It is capable of carrying a variety of loads with comfort and is well made. The pack is not user friendly at first and it takes some time to get used to the strap system. There are no side pockets and one front pocket so you’re limited to using the front pocket for a water bottle holder if you don’t use the hydration bladder option.
At 3 pounds 9 ounces, the 60 liter WorkSack is about 8 ounces lighter than the popular Osprey Aether 60, but lacks side pockets. It weighs about the same as the new Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian and GoLite Quest, but does not have nearly as nice a feature set as those packs. The main reasons for considering the CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack are its superb durability and volume adjustment, which make it a good choice for mountaineering applications.
The removable backpanel pad that can be unfolded and used as a sleeping pad along with the interchangeable and removable compression straps are a unique combination.
Recommendations for Improvement
- Make it easier to adjust the straps or scratch the idea of removable straps
- Add side pockets to hold water bottles
- Add hipbelt pockets
- Slightly angle the shoulder straps away from each other
Addendum to CiloGear 60 Liter WorkSack Backpack REVIEW
December 21, 2006
Our statement in this review that there are "no directions on the manufacture's website or included with the pack on how to use them" is incorrect. A detailed manual is available on the CiloGear website. We apologize to Graham Williams of CiloGear for this oversight. - CC