Gear Review : Courant's Dock
The Dock, from Courant, is one of the top climbing gear bags on the market. Emily, our in house operations assistant, decided to give it a spin in the Blue Mountains wilderness to see if it lives up to the hype.
When you love the outdoors choosing gear can be a little daunting. You want diversity in your pack, something that works for climbing, hiking or any other outdoor activity, something that’s big enough, but also something that’s not too big, something that’s comfortable but also practical. In steps the Courant Dock. Courant describes the Dock as a ‘sturdy carry bag with comfortable portability.’ Recognised internationally by at-height workers, arborists and recreational climbers, the Dock is Courant’s signature bag. Praised for its durability and climbing-specific design, I was pretty eager to put it through a workout.
The Courant Dock is the bag of my dreams. As a relatively disorganised person, I’ve been shovelling my rope and gear into a tiny 20L bag (well making a rope backpack and then clipping the rest of my gear onto various straps on my bag). Don’t get me wrong, the rope bag sort of works, but the amount of times I’ve aggressively flung a branch into my climbing partner’s face is beyond countable. The Dock offers space, and a lot of it, enough to fit a 70m rope and a whole stack of gear, including my helmet and lots of snacks (my go-to is Maltesers…). The bag has a roll-top meaning that you can extend it out or when you have less roll it up (usually when I’m hiking or have a bunch of groceries). The convenience of being able to pop all your gear into one spot is fantastic. Better yet, there are these internal gear loops which mean you can clip all your quickdraws inside and don’t need to rustle around for them when setting up. It also has a feature where you can attach an additional rope bag to your front as well, a feature probably more suited to rope access technicians. There are also multiple gear loops on the outside of the bag to clip any extra gear that may not fit, although I usually use them conveniently for my keys.
(red raspberries making a great Malteser alternative)
(the internal gear loops)
The space inside the Dock is ample, probably the Dock’s biggest advantage and weakness. Personally, I wouldn’t advocate for climbing with the bag, because of its size, but it’s perfect for a day of top roping or hiking. The roll-top means that if you need to carry a mates rope you can stuff that inside the bag as well. The Dock is pretty comfortable to trek with, I’ve completed numerous sections of the Great North Walk with it, and other tracks in the Blue Mountains. It’s probably a little too big for your average day hike (unless you stubbornly want to prove to your friends that you can carry food for six in your pack) but ideal for an overnight adventure. I could fit an entire camping set up inside; a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear and food. The shoulder straps on the bag sometimes feel a little narrow but with the right adjustment are comfortable for long treks.
The Courant Dock is bright and bold, the flashy lemon colour is very neon, making it easy to spot. It may not be the most subtle bag, but if you like bright colours you’ll love it. It also comes in a rescue red colourway or a tactical black.
The only thing that gets me with the Courant Dock are the outside pockets, they’re good to scrunch up a jumper or something a bit more malleable in but my water bottle falls out every time I try to put it in. The mesh pockets have a little drawstring top, but unfortunately, it’s a bit too shallow to hold my 1L bottles so they are also usually stuffed inside my pack (but not to worry because the Dock is so spacious). There are these cross-elastic straps above the pockets, but they aren’t quite tight enough to secure my bottle (they’re designed to hold the Courant Sk8 seat or saw, a feature a little beyond my needs).
The Dock is great, like really great, it’s big and spacious and I never really have to consider which gear to bring (because there’s enough room to pack it all). The super handy internal and external loops for clipping gear still make me excited, it’s like a fun surprise every time I use them! I find storing my gear in it great (because renting in Sydney often means you don’t have a lot of spare room) and convenient for when I’ve slept in and need to hustle to the gym. The attention to specific climbing gear details is really nice. The carefully considered design makes it optimised for transporting climbing gear. I use the Dock now for a majority of my day to day needs too. I like taking it to the grocery store or delivering parcels with it. The roll-top makes it super versatile. Overall the Dock is visually pleasing and also incredibly functional. It is a fun spin on traditional hiking packs.