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Arc’teryx Covert Case C/O - The Most Useful Pack For The Travelling Climber
All too easily, air travel throws off the best-laid training plans. Time zone changes, grossly under-speced hotel gyms, airplane food, and the sheer amount of sitting time between destinations take their toll. You often come home fatigued from inactivity. If you’re not willing to accept this level of constant sedation, the Arc’teryx Covert Case C/O carry-on (thanks to its innovative construction) can help you maintain a reasonable level of activity when travelling.

Arc’teryx Covert Case C/O

On the surface, the pack looks like many other similarly sized travel packs; it has a functional rectangular shape found on most other hard-sided roller luggage. But rather than using completely rigid (and often heavy) plastic-reinforced panels, the Covert Case employs dense foam-filled walls that create structure and protect the pack’s contents without adding excess weight. The pack also eschews the typically bulky and heavy roller frame and wheels, and instead uses two stowable low-profile shoulder straps. These straps (which can also be arranged as a single stowable shoulder strap) allow the travelling climber to easily transport the Covert Case in airports and over other less well-groomed terrain.

And it’s these seemingly simple features that can help travelling climbers stay active.

Arc’teryx Covert Case C/O Interior

For instance, depending on the availability of rental bikes, you can incorporate cycling in your airport commute. The pack’s stowable shoulder straps (adapted from backcountry packs), makes it an entirely suitable cycling pack for distances of 10k or less. You can pack a cycling jacket and gloves, and perhaps a helmet quite easily. You can also incorporate fast walking and public transit in ways not practical with traditional roller carry-ons. Fundamentally, you don’t feel constrained, as you always have the option of walking or cycling.

Sure you could simply take a front-loading pack, but they typically lack the structure to keep work clothes looking crisp. Not to mention that making your way down an airplane aisle with a pack over your shoulders is pretty crude. With the Covert Case, it’s easy to stow the shoulder straps and carry the pack those last few metres to your seat without worrying about ever being mistaken for a bike courier.

The Covert Case also makes for a great staging pack for running or gym climbing. A complete “any weather” set of running clothes and the climbing essentials (harness, shoes and chalk-bag) have no trouble fitting alongside work clothes.

Arc’teryx Covert Case C/O Side View

Long transits at hub airports are also no longer something to dread, but rather an opportunity for a refreshing walk when you take the straps out and convert to pack mode. And when your flight is ready to board, the Covert Case (if not over-packed) fits easily in small commuter aircraft, such as the Dash-8, saving you from the timewasting “sky check.”

Finally, the pack excels when used for “airplane cragging” --- made popular by Germans and Brits who fly to Spain for the weekend. The Covert Case doubles quite well as your cragging pack, as it can fit a sport climbing rack and a skinny rope. For Ontario climbers, weekend trips from Toronto to the Red are just that much more seamless as you can easily get on and off the plane and straight to the rental car.

Substitute climbing and running with whatever your athletic passions are, and you can probably use the Covert Case to integrate them with work travel.
You can check out the Covert Case pack at Arc'teryx's website or in person at one of their numerous boutique stores including the new Arc'teryx shop in downtown Toronto.
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lives in Toronto has been climbing in Ontario for over 30 years. He travels extensively for work and climbing and is perhaps best known for his infamous Troll Wall ascent.