Nick's climbing adventurers with the Osprey Mutant 22

Nick Baron, our Exeter Manager and Climbing Buyer chose the Osprey Mutant 22 as his climbing pack and here's why...

Being a committed climber for over 15 years and working for an outdoor independent retailer for the same time means that there is very little that I don't have in my gear store!

However, a dedicated multi pitch climbing sac was one thing that was missing from my armoury.

I could have used the Osprey Talon 22 that I have had for years but the more comprehensive waist belt was a pain and got in the way of my harness so a new pack went on the shopping list.

There are many climbing packs in all shapes and sizes but for my purposes it had to cover:

  • Comfort – Some level of comfort whilst walking was desirable but primarily range of movement whilst climbing with no rubbing around the neck or shoulders was the priority.
  • Volume – As small and low profile as possible whilst still being able to fit a fairly extensive list of essentials for a long day out multi pitching (see list below).
  • Durability – A necessity, granite is sharp and we were looking at a few routes with multiple chimneys and constrictions that would need to be squeezed into and out of.

After much deliberation I decided on the Osprey Mutant 22

Feature wise, it is as minimalist as I was after and has very clean lines with virtually nothing on the outside of the pack to get snagged up or get damaged whilst climbing.

It has ice axe attachments and some stitched in haul loops in case you want to drag it behind you rather than climb with it on the harder pitches you might be trying or maybe on some awkward chimney pitches. There is also a light weight waist belt which is removable.

Inside the bag there is a sleeve for your water bladder (it will fit a 3 litre one), a small mesh pocket for bits and bobs like head torch, first aid, hats and gloves etc. and a rope strap.

The access into the pack is great as the zipper opening is really big. It also opens away from you so if you are wearing the pack and your partner wants to get something out of your pack it is super easy.

What I had to carry

I mentioned above that I had an extensive list of essentials that needed to go in the bag on every route we walked into and climbed and here it is:

  • My half share of a climbing rack
  • One rope
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Climbing shoes
  • Chalk bag
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Lightweight waterproof
  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Head torch
  • Minimalist first aid kit
  • Small amount of food
  • 3 litres of water
  • Camera phone
  • Total weight approximately 9kg

The Verdict

That looks and sounds a lot but the bag actually coped with it all admirably.

We did several walk/scramble in's of more than 90 minutes and I had no issues with the comfort of the bag at all. My only reservation would be that the back system being of a minimalist nature is quite sweaty. Because it is such a close fit to your back there is no airflow at all and the foam gets hot quite quickly.

The way the pack is designed means that you can carry it in 2 positions with equal comfort.

Position 1 (far left) is as you would normally carry a day hiking pack for the walk in and position 2 (left) is with the shoulder straps cinched right down to lift the pack higher up your back which is ideal when you are climbing as it facilitates easy access to the harness and chalk bag.

Climbing with the pack on was very good, you could almost forget you had it on other than when manoeuvring inside off widths and chimneys which is awkward even without a pack on.

The longest climb we did was a  22 pitch link up of 2 routes called “kundaluna” and at about 800 vertical metres it was a big day out which took roughly 11 hours to walk in, climb and descend again to the valley floor.

We did several other 5 to 11 pitch routes on the trip and in that time I had no complaints at all with the packs performance and would highly really recommend it.

Durability has been excellent so far and I can image with the quality of the fabrics and the simplicity of the pack that it will last for many more trips so all I need to do is book up my next alpine adventure :-)

Nick is the Exeter Store Manager and Climbing buyer. He spends most of his spare time climbing in the UK and Europe and his favourite day out would involve abseiling into a sea cliff followed by camping and an evening around the camp fire with his climbing partners.

Head back to the Taunton Leisure blog

Lots more helpful buying advice