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Slot Tower 36 Climbing Pack and Rope Bag Review: Desert Tough, Designed to Work Together

A year ago, desert brand Slot launched with a line of tough and well-designed canyoneering packs. This spring, it has expanded its line with the Tower 36 climbing pack and the Rope Bag, which mates with the pack.

Slot Tower 36 climbing pack and Rope Bag(Photo/Berne Broudy)
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The Slot Tower 36 and Rope Bag work together to enable climbers to carry a loaded rope bag on the inside, top, or face of the pack. The pack brings the impressive durability and comfort of Slot’s canyoneering packs to the crag. 

“With the Tower 36 and Tower Rope Bag, we’re expanding into a new category not as niche as canyoneering that still has a strong desert connection,” said co-founder Ben Conroy. “We’re bringing the durability and innovation that’s the foundation of our brand to a bigger market. Places like Indian Creek beat up packs and other gear. This is a pack made to survive Indian Creek’s harsh conditions for years.”

And while it’s made to survive abrasive desert conditions, I loved this pack just as much for climbing in New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Adirondacks. 

In short: The Slot Tower 36 and Rope Bag delivered an effective, comfortable, and convenient way to get all the climbing essentials to the crag. The ability of the Rope Bag to live in one of three positions offered flexibility in packing and carrying characteristics, while the brand’s focus on durability offers years of trouble-free use.

Slot Tower 36 Pack


  • Capacity 36L
  • Weight 3 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Body materials 1,000D non-PVC tarpaulin and 1,680D ballistics nylon
  • Style Bucket
  • Suspension 3 horizontal foam panels
  • Hydration bladder compatible Yes


  • Durable materials
  • Carried well with heavy loads
  • Interior gear loops aids organization
  • Structured hip belt is removable


  • Can pull away from body if Rope Bag is attached to front

Slot Tower Rope Bag


  • Body materials 840D ballistic nylon
  • Tarp materials 210D nylon
  • Color coded tie in points Yes
  • Tarp dimensions 48" x 44"
  • Weight 1 lb., 4.4 oz.


  • Attaches to Slot Tower 36
  • Multiple handles make it easy to move
  • Large tarp


  • Pricey for a rope bag

Slot Tower 36L Climbing Pack

Slot Tower 36 pack and Rope Bag on a climber's back
Testing the Slot Tower 36 Pack & Tower Rope Bag; (photo/Berne Broudy)

The Slot Tower 36 ($279) is big enough to hold a trad rack, shoes, chalk, helmet, water, and snacks for the day. Even when stuffed to bursting, it carried better than most climbing packs, almost as well as a backpacking frame pack.

There is no internal frame in the back panel. The stiffness comes from multiple layers of tough fabric and three contoured horizontal foam panels. The pack is designed to contour to your back under load, which is why Slot decided to forgo an internal frame.

There is a broad and stable removable waistbelt that supported the load carrying a pack full of draws and cams. With the structural waistbelt removed, the pack still has a webbing waistbelt.

Slot tower 36 climbing pack interior gear loops
(Photo/Berne Broudy)

The Slot Tower 36 is a bucket-style pack with specific features to help manage gear. It has two sturdy haul loops near the top of the shoulder straps and two gear-organizing loops inside for draws and cams. The stable back panel, broad supportive waistbelt, and load lifter straps made hiking with loads of 40 pounds comfortable. 

Slot chose to maintain its streamlined canyoneering aesthetic in creating this pack, with a small top pocket for belay specs, tape, keys, and nail clippers, and an inside lid pocket big enough to hold chalk and shoes.

Slot hydration port
(Photo/Slot USA)

Because it’s made for the desert, Slot built in a zippered hydration reservoir pocket that has a hose port and loops on both shoulder straps for hose routing.

Slot decided not to add hip belt pockets, but webbing attachments let me add my own aftermarket pockets. The hip webbing is also compatible with Slot’s water bottle pockets, sold separately. I missed having hip pockets, but I liked the open, simple, gimmick-free look and approach. More webbing loops on the top allowed for attaching an extra rope or accessories.

Slot’s Tower 36 comes in two sizes: S/M and M/L. It has abrasion-resistant zippers and zipper pulls that were easy to operate. The pack weighs a verified 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

The Slot Rope Bag

The Slot Rope bag tarp
(Photo/SLOT USA)

The Slot Tower Rope Bag ($70) is a standalone product that mates seamlessly with the Slot Tower 36 climbing pack.

The rope bag has the standard features of the best rope bags: rope tie-off points, a spacious tarp, and four corner haul handles for moving the tarp without repacking the rope.

It also sports a handle on the back and handles on the top and bottom, as well as daisy chains and haul loops. These additions made this rope bag extremely easy to pick up from any side and carry in almost any way.

Slot also includes a shoulder sling. The bag also has quick-release cinching straps and metal clips on the webbing to attach the bag to the pack. The tarp is big enough to serve as a workstation for managing the rope, putting on shoes, and more.

The Slot Rope Bag weighs a verified 1 pound, 4.4 ounces.

Slot Tower 36 and Tower Rope Bag Together

The Slot Tower 36 is a great climbing pack, and Slot’s Tower Rope Bag is similarly stellar. But the biggest win was when they were used together. There’s no one perfect way to carry a rope, but Slot gives climbers options.

Slot Tower 36 and Slot Rope Bag on a climber's back
Slot Tower 36 pack and Rope Bag combined; (photo/Berne Broudy)

The Slot rope bag attaches to the bag in several ways. Clips and webbing on the Rope Bag thread through webbing loops on the pack, and then run back to the Rope Bag. I could carry the Rope Bag on the front of the backpack or on the pack lid, or inside the pack.

The front-of-the-pack attachment option left easy access to the top of the lid, so I preferred that position for exterior carry.

Proven Durability

Slot builds the Tower 36 and Rope Bag from the same materials as its bomber canyon packs. Both the ballistics and tarpaulin of the main body were extremely tough, with excellent resistance to fading, abrasion, rot, and mildew. River raft manufacturers use the same tarpaulin material, and the military commonly uses ballistics material for applications that require extreme durability.

Slot hasn’t had a single return or warranty claim from someone wearing through the main body materials of any of its packs. Even after weeks of dragging the Tower 36 around crags and the climbing gym, and hiking into routes off the beaten track, the material showed no wear. 

Room for Improvement

Since Slot released its first packs last year, it’s tweaked some details that make this pack even better. It offers multiple frame sizes, zippers, and pulls that are easier to operate and even more abrasion resistant. And, with the Tower 36, it has also introduced new colors, black and gray. These colors are far more crag-friendly and climber aesthetic-compatible than white.

My only criticism was when the pack wasn’t fully loaded with a rope strapped to the front; the upper back sometimes pulled away from my body. It didn’t affect how the pack carried for me, but it looked uncomfortable when I saw it on other testers.

Slot Tower 36 Pack and Tower Rope Bag: Verdict

The Slot Tower 36 is a solid climbing pack, and it’s the one I reach for first for routes with long or technical approaches. The pack carried everything I needed for a full day out, whether I was trad or sport climbing. Paired with the Slot Tower Rope Bag, there was no better system for carrying a full load of gear to the route of choice.

Slot’s history is in desert canyoneering, which can shred gear quickly. The brand leveraged its canyoneering experience to apply the same durability to its climbing offerings, and it showed. From bomber fabrics to abrasion-resistant zippers, the Tower 36 and Rope Bag proved to be tough.

Slot makes these for the desert, but there’s no reason to restrict usage. Wherever you live, you can comfortably carry climbing needs in an organized manner, scrape the bags through keyhole cracks, and haul them up faces all day. They won’t be worse for wear. 

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