Typically, climbing gear is not something you’d want acquire as part of a cost cutting initiative. Much like any other tool, you quite often get what you pay for. That’s why when I come home with a shiny new piece of gear, I can present the argument to my wife that you can’t really put a price on the safety of a loved one, and as long as she doesn’t argue to the contrary I know that divorce isn’t on the cards just yet. Having said that, there are areas where a wise purchase can give your climbing buck a bigger bang elsewhere. Saving money on the none safety critical items may mean you’ve got more to spend where it matters most.
Enter the Frakta: a Nordic innovation and denizen of retail parks from Southampton to Glasgow. Ikea’s big blue bag gives so much, yet costs so little. As a rudimentary rope bag it’s large enough to hold a wealth of equipment; several ropes, climbing shoes, draws, a helmet and many more essentials. It’s equipped with no less than four ample handles, which act as tie-in points keeping the ends of your rope at hand, and it’s woven polypropylene construction helps to prevent dirt and moisture penetrating your valuable lifeline. Quite a big offering for only 40p.
But, why use a rope bag at all? The benefits are clear; a good rope bag facilitates carriage, keeps your rope clean, tidy and ready for use without the need to unravel metre after metre of frustrating tangles. All considerations which the Frakta is able to cater for to one degree or another.
Furthermore, think outside the bag and you can join the ranks of those who have re-engineered the Frakta to become much more than the sum of it’s parts. Elsewhere on the web you’ll find examples of people who’ve deconstucted one or more carriers and used the components to fashion functional rope bags with integral tarpaulins. If necessity is the mother of invention, frugality might be considered its influential uncle.
Is the Frakta the future of rope bags? Probably not, but it does have it’s place. If you see the Frakta as a symbol of cultivated indifference or cool disenchantment; a protest against the avarice of capitalism, you’ll probably get on quite well with it. Similarly, if you want a functional and cheap rope bag with no frills, this could be the bag for you. But, if you prize form as well as function, you should probably look elsewhere.