My wife sent me a text regarding a package that was delivered to our house. “You got a really nice backpack from your editor”, she said. It was strange to me because she hardly ever cares enough to comment about the gear I receive for reviews. It made me think there must be something special with this backpack. The Diamond Brand Gear Belay Bag certainly didn’t disappoint, and after several weeks of regular wear, it is without a doubt a durable and versatile option for a professional, adventure, or EDC bag.
My favorite feature is the interchangeable straps that make customizing the wearable configuration incredibly easy. They can be modified for single or double shoulder-strap wear with cross-body or traditional configuration for a precise fit. The key aspect is the speed that they can be switched out. There is no looping nylon straps through buckles. It is as simple as releasing the buckle and moving it over to where you want it. Sternum and waist straps can be purchased for an additional cost.
The Belay Bag is sporty and stylish but also unassuming as an EDC bag. It is made from 1000D Nylon fabric, and pockets are made from recycled Diamond Brand Gear tent material. These bags can take a beating. With a 22-liter capacity, it offers a large main compartment with a raised computer sleeve and one internal pocket, and two large front pockets each with their own internal pockets. All zipper and buckle hardware is made of metal so there is no fear of them breaking or warping. All metal items have a snug fit in their respective spots so there is no clanking or other noise from those areas. Zipper pull-cords are included with two colors for selection. The front of the bag includes a Nylon daisy chain system that allows for the attachment of other pouches or items.
Main compartment dimensions are 19” tall, 12” wide, 6” deep. For EDC, this compartment is ideal for holding items such as an IFAK, MREs, survival kit, extra clothes, etc. I opted to carry my Kel-Tec sub 2000 carbine in the computer sleeve and it holds in place nicely. The smaller internal pocket is good for securing smaller items that I don’t want to be mixed up in the main compartment. I would have liked a few more internal pockets in the main compartment for organization, but the current configuration forced me to keep my packing list minimal and I appreciate that.
Front pocket dimensions are 14” tall, 2 1/2” deep. These pockets are designed to store a water bottle and various small items. I keep a LifeStraw Go Water Filter bottle in one pouch along with some power bars, and I keep spare magazines and a fixed blade knife in the other. These pockets provide much-needed organization for smaller items in this bag.
Comfort was a focus during the design of this bag and it shows. They advertise a raised back pad that is meant to “relieve spinal pressure and maximize thermal comfort”, and while I don’t know the science behind it — I can attest that whatever they created is very comfortable and doesn’t make my lower back sweat from friction. It is basically a recessed ridge up against the spine of the pack that allows your back to breathe. I suppose they got it right. The Diamond Brand Gear Belay Bag is a great product that is going to last if taken care of. While I wish there were a few more small storage compartments it is a solid option if you are looking to carry the essentials for work, outdoor adventure, or personal protection (EDC). At $139 you can check out the color options at their online store.
*All photos courtesy of the author