Category Archives: Climbing Bags

UNDO Review – Cassin DAMA Bouldering Bag


I need an new or at least another bouldering bag bag to help deal with all the clart that I’m lugging back and forward to the climbing centres and crags these days. I have, up until now stuffed everything into my Tendon rope bag while carrying my shoes, chalk bucket and juice in my Simond boulder bag. I love my Simond bag it’s solid, but it’s what I use to travel and for daily use. I need a bag to use specifically for my climbing gear, so I can just grab it and go.

So I was pleased as punch when I got a hold of a Cassin Dama bouldering bag for our reviews.

The CAMP website blurb goes like this “A messenger style bouldering bag designed to integrate seamlessly with the Domino pad. Features a total of five compartments (all different sizes) for rigorous organization. One compartment is separated for carrying shoes and imprinted with a full size chess board for playing games at the crag or on the road.”

So yeah, um, chessboard on a bag… yeah. Ok.


Lets forget about that bit for the moment, On picking it up the bag feels really light and insubstantial compared to the Simond bag and other bags that I have checked out. This aside, it is made of a cordura type material so it should be pretty strong and the Dama bag does have a rubber/plastic waterproof coating similar to the Simond bag but again it is nowhere near as heavy duty.  The Dama is designed to fit inside your bouldering mat as pictured however it does retail at nearly twice what the Simond bag does, definitely something to think about.


Moving on to the construction of the bag it is held together by single row stitching, and the outer (black) face of the bag does seem to be doubled up in thickness, most likely waterproofed in the same way the pockets are throughout the bag. Pockets are something that this bag is not short of 5 in total, 2 x side by side looking suitable for 2 pair of rock shoes or possibly one mid size trainer in each. 2x laptop style slots overlayed on each other with the outermost slot being split in 2 down the middle again rock shoe sized. Which brings me bag to this chessboard idea, what the hell is that all about. Maybe, just maybe you could stand chess or draughts (checkers for those stateside) pieces on it if this was the pocket for the laptop but it’s not this is where your lumpy stuff like shoes, etc go.

By way do not put your laptop in this it will die, there is no padding. It would have made more sense for the laptop pocket to be on the outer side so as to be cushioned by your spare cloths and shoes but as it stands it probably couldn’t even keep your laptop dry if it rained heavily. Zero points for oddball ideas.

Cordua, chunky zips, skinny handle

Hey it’s not all doom and gloom about this bag though. What I really like are thepockets, cos there are loads of them and they are really spacious if you want to take spare clothes, chalk, books, and other rock related bits and bobs. The pocket all have chunky, durable YKK zips and cordura tags on these so you can still open and close them when you have ripped your fingers to shreds.



Although the bag is sold as a messenger bag, I think CAMP/Cassins thinking behind the design was mainly to have it fit inside a folded bouldering mat, this would explain it’s thin material and total lack of padding. In this case the bag works well. The Dama comes with a nicely padded strap sporting a set of those well used aluminum buckles we see often on high quality bouldering mats. Cassin say this is to allow the Dama to be fitted to the Domino mats (If they send us one we will let you know how that goes!) this can be removed completely. This is a major bonus as an extra strap with these hooks will work well to secure mats together and locate them at tricky spots. Increasing the chance of you not maiming yourself!

All in all the Cassin Dama isn’t the worst bag you could pick up. I find the $59.95 or £45-50 retail price a bit much considering how flimsy it feels as a messenger bag. I think if you jammed it full to bursting everyday it may just fall apart. I know there are better messenger bags out there; Momentum, Simond are just a few.  This one fits inside your bouldering mat, which is what I bought it for. It will be more suited for the Project mat I have, which is a taco folding mat as opposed to the Phud which is used for size and ease of use purposes.  I like it for this use and the buckles on the strap but if you need a heavy duty bag I’d look elsewhere.

As a little side test I checked out if the Dama bag could be used as a panier bag. It certainly fits but securing it may be tricky and no guarantees on your stuff keeping dry.


P.S. If you are in the Glasgow area, I noticed the GCC has them on sale at just under £30, not bad at that price!



Bouldering Bags – Climbing Equipment

Ok, so I’m getting a bit sick of lugging around a back pack full of climbing gear, a mat and my refreshments. All I want to do is boulder, and with time constraints that modern life puts on us I just want to grab the minimal kit and launch up to that rock. Ideally I’m looking for a separate kit for my bouldering gear, one that holds my shoes, chalk and a few bits n bobs. I’ve been checking out some of the bouldering bags available.

One of the most common styles of bouldering bag have a shape similar to a suit carrier. This is a long flat sheet of material with various pockets and compartments along one side. The pocket arrangement tends to be a little different depending on the manufacturer, but they tend to hold shoes, carabiners, towels, chalk, etc, etc. The bag is designed to fit within a bouldering mat when it is folded. Usually these bags are fitted with a shoulder strap, the bag then folds in half and becomes what for all intents and purposes looks like a messenger bag. These bags are generally pretty good for storage but depending on the thickness/stiffness of your pad or the way it closes, it could deform your pad or squash your gear.

The Dolomite Deluxe bag is one of the more eye catching of this style. I say eye catching as all Dolomite’s bags can come manufactured from recycled vinyl signs. An excellent idea, the deluxe range has extra internal and external pockets for maps, keys, bottles, chalk the works. There’s also loops for carabiners and being made of vinyl signs its tough and water resistant. The only downside to the Dolomite range of bags is that they are expensive, up to 3 times the price of the nearest equivalent bag.

Dolomite Deluxe Bag

The equivalent would be the Metolius boulder bag is almost identical to the Dolomite bag in design. The back is made from new materials and opts for two large zippered pockets and a small zipper pockets instead. Again the bag can be laid flat within a closed mat or folded in the middle and carried by the padded carry strap.

Metolius Boulder Bag

Messenger bags are great. I’ve used this style of bag for all sorts of stuff, being able to get access to bits and bobs while carrying it off your shoulder is handy as hell.

Moon have taken this design a bit further by making their messenger bag double up as a backpack. But wait! There’s more, The Moon bag offers nice little features such as separate compartments, keeping your shoes, clothes and food away from your chalk. This bag also provides a tidy zip pocket on the front. The durability and hardwearing properties of these bags have been upgraded giving you even more bang for your buck.

Moon messenger bag

Perhaps you’re looking for something a little prettier, something dual purpose so you can take to work or out on the town. I have for you the Flashed HT Natural bag. Again a shoulder bag though a little more, trendy or “Stylin” as Flashed describe. The bag is two-tone effort, constructed of hemp, hypalon and polyester. The interior pocket is big enough for a laptop or shoes, thin layers of clothing and your chalk bag, but not much else. There are pockets on the outside large enough for a water bottle. It’s not as roomy as the Moon bag, but it is a rugged alternative that won’t make you look like a trekker in the local bars. This one is a bit more for the scenester in you.

Flashed HT Natural Bag

Backpacks are another way to go. I’m not a big fan of them these days due to not being able to easily access it while it’s on your back and my crash mat is also back mounted. Other than these personal points I can’t fault them. Backpacks or rucksacks whatever you want to call them. They offer maximum load capacity while at the same time allowing you to carry that load for longer. Back mounted bags are definitely better for your spine than messenger style bags.

Asana team bags are particularly massive for something that isn’t meant to be a hiking bag. The Team bag has been reviewed in 2011, an increase in size means that its about the size of a large hold all with handles to carry it like one, a handle on the top for generally lugging it around plus back pack handles to, well carry it like a back pack. The Team bag keeps it simple with a side pocket for your odds and ends and a massive full length zip pocket for the main compartment. This bag will hold loads of gear such as your ropes, shoes, rack bits and bobs. It is a nicely curved shape so it doesn’t seem bulky on your back. Oh yeah, it only comes in orange and black so you’re not going to lose it.

Asana Team Bags

Moon again covering all the bases also do a nice backpack The Ariel backpack is a simplistic affair offering a nice top to bottom zip meaning you can cram all your gear in without the opening causing you problems. If you have maxed out the bags capacity then you have the same strap and alloy hook combo they use on the crash pads, so you’re safe in the knowledge the bag isn’t going to spill it’s guts mid approach. The top of the bag has a hood which works similar to the waterproof covers you can get to cover walking backpacks. In addition to this thoughtful feature the Ariel backpack also has a pocket on the back panel which takes a water bladder for those long treks or climbs.

Moon backpack

Of course there are many, many types of bag on the market but these are the few that stand out the most. Everyday backpacks from sports shops are fine, however in my experience they just don’t last. I often find the inner lining falling to bits between compartments or zips and straps failing. The bags listed are designed by people who climb so you know that it is at least designed specifically with your requirements in mind.