Review by: luke, 2003-04-04
I have had the zodiac gear sling for about 5 or 6 years and like it a lot. It is excellent for times when you have a lot of gear to lug around, especially because of the "backpack" kind of fit which puts weight on both shoulders. Before I bought this I had mostly just racked on my harness and on regular slings over the shoulder. I havent used any of the purpose-built gear slings that go over one shoulder only.
The Zodiac has held up well under climbing use, including scraping and thrashing up some offwidths and chimneys. It is not frayed or damaged. It was a bit more pricey than some other options but I think it was worth it. One thing I like a lot is that I can carry all my gear to the cliff on the sling and not arrive feeling lopsided from having all the weight on one shoulder. This also saves me from putting the gear in my pack, which I always found to be a hassle because everything would get all tangled and snarled together. On the Zodiac my gear hangs neatly where I put it - though I do make a lot of clanking noises on the hike. One day I want to load it with bongs so as to get the full windchime effect!
As with all racking systems, the way you want to position your gear depends on what sort of climbs you are doing. This is an excellent rack for vertical and steeper climbs, but not so good for slabs as the gear tends to fall forward on the rack, collecting in front of you and obscuring your foot placements or even making your body position awkward. I would recommend racking your gear more behind you on slabs, and the Zodiac is not much good for that. I have tried hooking the gear back with an extra sling so it doesnt fall forward, but find that it makes the gear harder to get at when you need it.
One more piece of advice. When I first bought this I got one that was too large. That was a mistake. Luckily a friend had one that was too small for him and right for me so we traded and were both happy. Fit is important with this rack - otherwise the gear falls too low and gets in the way or too high and awkward to get to under the armpits. The shoulders also feel funny if it is the wrong size - my girlfriend doesnt like to climb with the Zodiac I have because it is too big for her and feels wrong. This might mean this rack should be bought at a local store rather than online, so you get to try it before purchasing.
Overall this is a good product. It is comfy and durable, and in my opinion good value for money. The main drawback is that it is not so good for low angle routes and the main issue to keep in mind when buying is how it fits.