DMM Flight 45L Review

DMM Flight 45L Review: Good Allround Sport Climbing Backpack (2020 Update)

A good sport climbing backpack is one of the things that just make your life easier. Sure, they’re not super crucial for climbing per-se, but if you ask me, life is just more comfortable when you have a decent backpack. Not only to hold your rope, but also carry a jacket, some food and water supply for a session at the local crag or gym.

My verdict for the DMM 45L long term review? It’s a very good all-round sport climbing backpack. I’d give it a 5.0 rating if it weren’t for some little flaws like the zippers. They are getting stuck a little too easy. The upper liner material is not super durable, either. But all the really important features are spot-on. And that’s why the DMM 45L backpack achieves a whopping 4.8 out of 5.0 in our review!

Quick Pros and Cons of the DMM Flight 45L Backpack

PROS:

  • Very easy to unload and load
  • Clean and minimalist design
  • Belt pocket
  • Storage for guide book and glasses
  • Rope straps for helmets and mesh outer pockets for quick storage
  • Big volume for carrying rope and water bottle
  • Rope tarp included high quality and detachable
  • Zipped compartment for jackets

CONS:

  • Zipper somethings hangs and needs regular cleaning, sometimes the cord around it shifts and makes zipping hard
  • The outer liner of the front side of the backpack gets ripped a little to easy on rocks
  • Volume is limited: Sport climbing only
  • Not super great stability or suspension (but I don’t need it for sport climbing)

Review Verdict

DMM made a sport climbing crag pack with the 45L that is a little unique: It has enough storage to carry more than just the essentials, while still being surprisingly comfortable. It’s clean and compact, and with a little effort, I can carry two sets of climbing harnesses and helmets, quickdraws, rope and safety devices with it! I haven’t had a sport climbing backpack with this capacity before! Thanks to the suitcase design, it’s easy to load and unload and move to different routes, and you can also use it in an airplane as it is clean and minimalist with almost no loose ends.

Things I loved about it (subjective):

  • I love how easy to pack and unpack it is
  • The suitcase design makes it super easy to carry it from route to route while at the crag – no closing of the zips needed, I just throw my shoes into the backpack, fold it and carry it
  • I can find my gear easily, as it lays open and organized – no need to stuff and rummage through the bottoms of the backpack
  • The top pocket is super large; i can fit my belay glasses, knife, sunglasses, and guide book
  • Extra rope can be carried or two sets of harness

Detailed Review: The DMM Flight 45L Is Really Spacious yet Compact

Time for our detailed review.

Comfort and Fit: 4/5

The DMM Flight 45L comes in one size that fits well on average-sized climbers (6ft give or take), but if you are smaller or for some female climbers, I can see it being a little bulky. My wife, who is only around 110 lbs, has trouble carrying the Flight 45L when packed to capacity. The back of the backpack is supported with an HDPE frame with padding of foam and mesh. It’s not the best suspension, and for a longer hike, I would prefer something more stable, but for sport climbing, this is perfect.

It’s also fairly well ventilated, making the DMM Flight 45L backpack a good choice in summer or hot days.

Stability and Suspension: 4/5

The backpack is pretty stable for a sport climbing backpack. That being said, I think the waist belt combined with the non-existing compressing straps are not ideal if you have very heavy loads or scramble through steep and difficult terrain. But it’s not what the Flight 45L was designed for anyway, so I’m not blaming DMM. For a sport climbing day pack, it has plenty of support and stability, even when you carry a full climbing set and a rope!

Storage: 5/5

DMM really outshined themselves in this regard. The DMM Flight 45L doesn’t look or feel large when empty, but you can stuff so much into it that it’s almost frightening. There are dedicated rope storage, a zipped mesh panel on the other side with a gear loop, and outside pockets. You have external stretching pockets, a top loader pocket with a zipper, and even slings for your helmet as well as a flap to cover the helmet. You can use this flap to store an extra coiled rope too. And within all this, there is always enough space to squeeze an extra soft-shell jacket for the colder days of spring and another water bottle for backup.

Durability: 4/5

The exterior panels of the DMM are foam-lined, which provides shape to the whole backpack. The foam also protects the outer fabric from scratches from the hardware that you store inside. If you use the mesh pocket, where the gear loop is placed, cams can damage the outside shell of the backpack. Better pay attention when packing them!

The front side panel is also fairly thin, so make sure not to throw the backpack on rocks, as they might damage it. It’s kind of a bummer, but I think you should treat your gear good anyway.

Pro tip: Wrap your sharp hardware into a linen cloth and store them in the mesh pocket. That way, they won’t pierce through anything and cannot damage slings.

The main zipper, which is YKK #10, works well, but I noticed that after some months of use, it tends to hang from time to time. I identifier the cord loop connected to the zipper as the reason for this problem, as it moves under continuous use, ending up in an awkward angle that makes it hard to pull the zipper. It’s easy to readjust, and then the zipper works well again. Overall, the DMM Flight 45L is well designed and has good durability.

Extras: 5/5

DMM comes with lots of extra features. There is a generous rope tarp that you can detach from the backpack, and it works quite well. Its yellow color can even serve as an emergency flag when you climb in exposed conditions. The inside of the backpack offers two internal straps that you can use to secure rope and tarp, and on the top side of the backpack, you can find a security pocket for your wallet or key. The straps on the outside of the backpack secure your helmet, and you can hide them away if you don’t use them.

Thanks to the rectangular shape of the backpack, you can stow it everywhere, even when it is fully loaded, and it leaves a convenient opening for a clip stick to store. Handles on the sides complete the picture, and when moving the backpack into the trunk of your car, you can easily haul it around with the handles – super easy and nice!

Others love the DMM Flight 45L too apparently 😀

Personal Long Term Remarks and Conclusion about the DMM Flight 45L

I had the DMM Flight 45L given to me as a present. And to this day, it’s the best climbing backpack I ever had. Not only can it carry all my gear, but I routinely pack my wife’s harness, helmet, and shoes into it as well. I can access all the gear without problems and quick. Simply opening the two-way zippers and flapping it open is convenient!

I even fit my via Ferrata and traditional set into it. Show me another day pack with THAT amount of storage!

The only downsides I noticed are the moving loops on the zippers. And the fact that the outside liner of the backpack could be more durable. Ah, and the gear loop is not super large. I think it could be a little wider and would work even better to store large sets of quickdraws and carabiners.

The DMM is perfect for any sport climber. I would probably get a more durable backpack with more stability for mountaineering or long multi-pitch routes. But that’s not what DMM designed it for!

If you need a super large, convenient backpack for everyday sport climbing, and need to carry your partners or kids gear, the DMM Flight 45L is more then perfect!

My Rating: 4.8 / 5

Thanks for reading and check out my reviews of other climbing gear too:

La Sportiva Tarantulace

Best Winter Climbing Pants 2020

Best Climbing Helmets 2020

 

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