Osprey Variant 37 Gear Test

Gear Review: Osprey Variant 37

I loaded the variant with over 30 lbs of winter climbing gear for an initial test hike. It felt comfortable and solid.

I loaded the variant with over 30 lbs of winter climbing gear for an initial test hike. It felt comfortable and solid.

My old climbing pack finally retired this year; worn thin and never really all that comfortable, I might still use it for abrasive slot canyons where getting another hole in it won’t bother me. This summer I started looking around for a pack that would be good throughout the year – on ice, rock, or light mountaineering. While there are a lot of good packs out there, (and I tried out many of them) my enthusiastic top choice was the Variant 37 by Osprey.

Weighing in at 3lbs, 8 oz. (for the large) it can comfortably haul loads up to 45 lbs.

Features I especially like about this pack:

  • The EVA foam expedition hipbelt and shoulder straps are incredibly comfortable.
  • The ErgoPull hipbelt closure adjusts quickly and easily.
  • I hauled a 40 lb. load up a steep approach and was impressed how comfortable the pack was.
  • If I ever want to go ultralight, the pack easily strips down to just 2 lbs.
  • It carries my skis comfortably.
  • I can throw my crampons right into the reinforced front panel without having to carry a crampon bag.
  • All the zipper pulls and the ice axe holders are easy to use with gloves on.
  • The ice tool carriers keep the picks enclosed where they won’t poke or catch on anything.

One thing that seems like it’s missing is that the removable dual-pocket top lid doesn’t convert to a summit pack. I’d like to see that in future models.

Dollar for dollar, the Variant 37 is one of the hottest climbing packs that I’ve seen on the market today. While marketed as a winter pack (ski mountaineering and ice climbing) it serves well as an all around mountaineering/rock climbing pack as well. The Variant 37 is available in three sizes, Small, Medium and Large. Retail price $180. More details on the Variant series are available on OspreyPacks.com.


Cubic Inches 2075 2258 2441
Liters 34 37 40
Lbs/Oz 3/3 3/6 3/8
Lbs/Oz(Stripped) 1/14         2/0         2/3
Inches 28h x 12w x 10d
Centimeters 71h x 31w x 26d

Variant 37 Diablo Red

Osprey provided us with a sample of Variant 37 for testing. The opinions expressed here are our own and we receive no compensation for a favorable review.

Comments 2

    1. Unfortunately, we test loaded it but haven’t had opportunity to need crampons since we got the pack. Skiing pretty much took over our winters! We use the pack regularly as a climbing gear bag and find it holds up well to abrasion etc. but that doesn’t answer your question. There is a semi-ridgid panel in that space to prevent punching through. I’ll ask Steve which of his crampons he used. Thanks for writing! E

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