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.
|28h x 12w x 10d
|71h x 31w x 26d
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.