I seem to have an obsession with packs. The last time we moved, I realized we had packs I hadn’t seen in years (but of course I couldn’t get rid of them, what if I needed it later?) That being said, it seems that a lot of packs aren’t all that great, instead marketed to the masses who don’t really know better and will buy whatever the sales rep at the local gear shop tells them to. Every now and then, however, you come across a great pack that actually does what it’s supposed to, and in that category I would put the Osprey Mutant 38, loaded with features designed specifically for climbers.
I’ve been using this pack since last August for everything from casual cragging, to full on sport development, to ice climbing. It has held up to the abuse rather well, minus a puncture in the bottom that nothing outside of a haulbag could have withstood. As far as carrying capacity, it’s listed at 35L, but the floating lid allows it to be expanded to 48L, and it felt like it held significantly more than my Black Diamond Sphinx 45L. Maybe there is some shoddy math going on here, but whatever the reason, this is one of the few climbing packs that I feel can carry everything I need for a day at the crag, plus a rope on top. The outer fabric is durable but light, and the pack’s shape makes it easy to pile stuff into it. The suspension is nice and carries really well, even with heavier loads like, say, a drill, bolts, rope, etc.