Cotopaxi Tarak 35: A versatile single quiver backpack
“What do you want out of a pack?” As a young practitioner of the outdoor arts, it is rarely a thought on the top of my mind. I’ve left the choice of my gear to my father for most of my life. But as I gain more independence, knowing what I need, and how I will use it is a skill worth developing.
The discussion of a new backpack started last summer. My father and I were planning a trip to the U.K. to visit family and climb. My old backpack (a GoLite Jam 35) had lasted eight years and was beat up. A new one made sense. My father and I decided to look into Cotopaxi packs, found the Tarak 35, and decided it was a good fit.
Since getting the Tarak, I have used it for a variety of exploits, each leading to new discoveries about the bag. First, it was my carry on and main bag for the UK. I also took a messenger bag. They managed to fit 3 weeks of clothing, climbing and camping gear. Once there, it served as a fantastic daypack for climbing and hiking. Since my return, I’ve used it for hikes, camping trips, and snowy adventures, which were all improved by the pack.
The bag itself has an excellent design. It is comfortable, sleek, and functional. These traits are often compromised in an attempt to make the others successful. As the name suggests, the pack has 35 liters of space. It has a single zipped main compartment that swallows a good load.
There is a sleeve for a bladder, an internal suspended mesh pocket for small bits such as snacks or keys (it has a small clip inside too!), a front pocket, a side pocket (both have zips), a water bottle holder, and a sleeve for ice tools on the outside of the pack. There is also an excellent system of straps. These reduce and control the space inside the pack. They also secure items such as skis, sleeping mats, or spare jackets to the pack’s exterior.
The Tarak 35 is a great bag, I love its weight, comfort, and adaptability. Its slim profile fits my slight frame well. For a pack of this size, it keeps the weight close to my body and maintains a stable load. I hope Cotopaxi contemplates increasing the sizes of the side pocket. The water bottle sleeve will also benefit with similar treatment. This will make them easier to use when the pack is full. Also, if the Tarak is a ski pack, widening the bottom of the bag would improve it. This allows you to strap the tops of skis together making an A shape when carrying them. Yet, the pack’s straps allow other carrying configurations if preferred.
Aside from these few minor adjustments, I can’t ask for more from a bag. Especially in consideration of its size, weight, and usability. Throw in that it is a technical pack with a fresh color scheme. It looks good in the city as well as the backcountry; this pack gets a big thumbs up from me.
Despite his age, Cai Rickards has managed to spend upwards of a decade and a half exploring nature. The first time he slept through the night was in a tent during a thunderstorm. He started his exploits before he could talk. Skiing almost as soon as he could walk, climbing not long after, hiking trips became a weekly occurrence before he was 2, and he began canoeing, climbing, and kayaking before he was 3.
Alongside a heavy presence of outdoor activities in his life, Cai has spent his free time being a nerd. From a very young age, he began learning about different world histories and mythologies, in particular, the legends of Camelot and history surrounding pirates. Later on, those interests shifted to fandoms such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, with academics and music (particularly violin) becoming central to his life.
Currently, Cai attends an arts school, climbing on a regular basis, playing D&D, and dressing in a manner preppy enough to annoy his father on a regular basis. Despite being a teenager he still does leave his room to see the world, with ski adventures and backpacking trips being the major perpetrators. He lives at 5280 with his dog, Baggins, and his father, Wil, both of which have and continue to support and further his interests in the outdoors.
Cai Rickards and Baggins