If you don’t already have a rope bag, you should get one now. Flaking and dragging rope through the dirt can cause it to wear out 25 per cent sooner than if you keep your rope clean.
Other than the obvious safety issues surrounding a worn rope, they are not cheap, and keeping yours clean means less trips to the gear store and more money in your pocket. A good rope bag can also make your crag missions more efficient, which means climbing more routes or a few extra burns on your project. We took the Edelrid Drone 2 rope bag out for a few laps to see how it performs.
Coming in at $85 from Amazon.ca the Drone 2 is pretty feature-rich for a rope bag. It has a very large square tarp that folds out easily from the main compartment and offers plenty of room for flaking out rope or catching falling rope being pulled from the chains. Considering keeping the rope clean is a rope bag’s primary function, it’s great to see the Drone 2 has such a big tarp that makes focusing on your belay easier when you’re not concerned about your cord. The tarp has tie-off points in each corner which help make for easy rope management, and there are safety diagrams printed all over just in case.
Packing up rope is simple and fast. You can cradle rope in the tarp and funnel it into the bag quickly where a cord cinches your rope tight in the main compartment before securing it with two buckle straps. You can almost pack up your rope at the end of a climb as fast as your partner can untie. This really speeds up time in between climbs or packing up before heading home.
The padded adjustable backpack straps make the Drone 2 great for shuffling around at the crag without having to constantly coil and uncoil your rope. The straps are comfortable enough for longer approaches, but also not too large to dissuade you from packing the Drone 2 inside a larger pack. A small outer pocket is great for storing keys and your phone where the outer buckle straps are great for attaching extra layers. Depending on what rope you bring, there can be some extra space in the main compartment for a set of quickdraws and a harness.
There are a lot of different rope bags out there offering loads of different features and functions depending on exactly how you like to manage your rope. Some people will want a more minimal bag designed to be packed in an additional bag, others will want something bigger that holds their whole kit.
The Drone 2 fits right in the middle and offers the best of both worlds in a durable package. It’s small and light enough to be stored in a larger pack, but also equipped with straps and additional storage if you choose to use it alone.