Fiddlestick-style retrievable anchor systems are an amazing tool that allow canyoners to save time, use a greater range of anchors, reduce how much rope is required to descend canyons, and reduce abrasive wear on both ropes and the canyons themselves.
Integral to these systems is the use of very thin pull cords which, while extremely strong and light-weight, are prone to tangling if not stored securely in a compact rope bag.
With limited options on the market, I set out to produce a design specific to Australian canyon conditions. I wanted something that would solve the core requirements of providing a compact bag that made stuffing the pull cord as easy as possible, allowed reliable deployment of the pull cord when thrown down smaller drops or hung on a gear loop, and was perfectly sized to hold an appropriate length of pull cord and a fiddlestick. The bag also needed to be free-draining, freestanding, floating, and hard wearing.
An initial prototype was used extensively for almost year, revealing what features were unnecessary or unhelpful, and what issues I had overlooked. After all that effort I finally had a design that was ready to go.
The result is a small, light-weight bag that makes pull cord management extremely easy. I firmly believe there is no other bag available that makes managing your pull cord easier.
The final design:
The body of the bag is made out of 1000 denier Cordura fabric, with rugged mesh side panels to make it free-draining.
A flared shape (the fabric panel is slightly wider at the top than the base) means the bag is widest at the mouth. Combined with reinforced edges and the mesh side panels, this design keeps the bag standing upright — even when empty.
The throat, which cinches tight to prevent cord coming out when not in use, is designed to be pulled down over the body of the bag when being stuffed. Combined with handles that naturally hang down, the result is a wide open mouth with no obstacles to slow the process of restuffing your pull cord.
While Dyneema pull cord naturally floats, a small floatation panel inside the base ensures that the bag remains on the surface of the water when the cord is fully deployed. This prevents it from sinking and becoming tangled in submerged branches or other debris.
A loop on the inside of the bag provides a tie-in point, ensuring the bag never becomes separated from the pull cord.
The adjustable throat allows it to be fully opened for stuffing, fully closed when not in use, and partially opened when the pull cord is being deployed (having it fully open can allow large clumps of cord to fall out).
The bag is tough enough to be deployed by throwing it from the top of an abseil, while the reinforced handles allow it to be hung from your harness when deploying the pull cord through vegetation or other obstacles.
Best of all, being something that I am hand-making in small batches, improvements can continue to be made based on the feedback of fellow canyoners.
The bag is available in red or blue (contact me if you want a custom version in a different colour or material) for $55 inc GST from CanyonGear.com.au.