The Joy of Rollers

Every dirtbag climber goes through stages when it comes to gear, but the general consensus is the older you get, the more you want your gear to work for you. Thus, began my process toward the joy of appreciating the roller.

I always looked at rolling luggage in the airport as a luxury. While headed back home to the Midwest or out on a big climbing trip I’d always cram everything I could into a backpack and cram it into the overhead compartment, or at a very last resort, check the bag. Either way, in transport I’d be lugging this big backpack around, already exerting energy like I was on my trip. My shoulders and back would often feel like I’d already spent a day out in the wild.

Finally at 35 years old, I decided it was time to cave in and try a roller. The result was magic. Instead of walking around with a massive pack, I put it all in a roller. Ideally I like to use a smaller roller that fits in the overhead compartment to avoid bag-checking fees, but if it’s a big trip and I’m bring a rack of gear, I’ll check a larger roller. I put a few items in a small pack that I carry on my back, but I try to put the heavier items in the roller. It really lessens the burden while navigating airport terminals, and when you need to make that mad dash to your next flight, it’s a lot easier to sprint with a roller rather than a heavy backpack.

I own two Deuter rollers: the Grant Flight and the Helion 80. The former I use when I’m traveling light and not checking a bag and the latter when I’m headed off on a longer trip with a bunch of climbing gear.

The Grant Flight is the perfect weight for going light and using as a carry on. It has compartments for everything you need: a sleeve for your laptop, a main compartment for your clothes, gear, etc., and another front compartment to slip some additional items into. I absolutely love this roller.

The Helion 80 has been perfect when I’ve head off to places like Squamish or Yosemite. I check this pack and fill it up with my rope, gear, sleeping bag, daypack, tent etc. I usually fill it to the brim and make sure it weighs less than 50 pounds, but it always gets the job done. When I pick it up at baggage claim it’s a lot easier to roll it around than lifting a massive pack onto my back.

Deuter has an array of valuable packs in the quiver, and I use them all, from the smaller Speed lite packs all the way up to the larger rollers, like the Hellon 80. They’ve never let me down, and the joy of the roller ... once you make the leap, you’ll never go back to lugging a huge pack around an airport, I promise.

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