If you’ve been hiking for a while and love the challenges that nature throws at you, it’s only a matter of time until you discover the beauty of mountaineering. And it’s also a matter of time until you find out that having the proper gear can make all the difference for your experience.
When you go mountaineering, your backpack becomes sort of your new “home,” so it makes sense that you get one that works for you. The market gives you numerous options, but we’ve selected only the very best so keep reading to discover a detailed look over some of the best mountaineering backpacks right now.
- Top 5 Mountaineering Backpacks
- What should you consider when selecting your mountaineering backpack?
Top 5 Mountaineering Backpacks
1. Mammut Neon Gear Climbing Backpack Men’s
Even if its white color doesn’t show it, the Mammut Neon Gear Climbing Backpack Men’s is, in fact, a reliable and great backpack for mountaineering.
- It’s top-loading with side opening on the back (with zipping)
- The back ventilation is efficient.
- It comes with a rope bag and rope attachment.
- The waist belt is removable.
- It’s not a fancy backpack with bells and whistles.
- Some may not like that it’s white.
The pack’s build is impressive, with smart design and features that make your rock climbing a lot more comfortable. Not only that the pack provides plenty of space for your items, but it also ensures efficient ways to organize everything. It’s a top-loading backpack, but the side opening on the back will allow you easy access to your items whenever you need it. It’s a huge back zipper that takes intense use.
The backpack has a built-in rope bag that you may remove and layout complete, so the rope remains clean, without cinching. The rope fixing strap on the flap is highly functional too. The daisy chain holder allows you to attach more gear, whereas the lid compartment features both inner and outer pockets.
The backpack is very comfortable and has added a hip belt. It’s made with 3D EVA foam with air ducts (excellent ventilation for your back) and U-frame 5mm, easy to adjust. The shoulder straps are well-padded, and the backpack stays in place while you’re on the move. You can also remove the padded waist belt for better comfort is some situations.
Even if it’s a white fabric for the backpack, it doesn’t collect dirt. The backpack could be your very next all-around mountaineering pack.
Regardless of the inherent flaws, the backpack still makes a reliable, all-year-round pack that is comfortable and ready to support you when rock climbing.
2. Osprey Mutant 38 Mountaineering Pack
Designed especially for mountaineering, the Osprey Mutant 38 Mountaineering Pack is loaded with features that will ease your time in the mountains. It comes with a snowshed fabric back panel, which protects the backpack and your snow.
- It has several features for attaching
- It has an A-frame ski shape with a dual hip belt.
- It has upper and lower compression straps
- It presents a three-point haul system
- It’s top-loading, so it’s difficult to reach things that are at the bottom
- Some had a hard time figuring out how to attach the helmet
It’s a top-loading backpack with a top lid that you can remove and a built-in Flap Jacket for the pack’s lidless use. The list of great features continues with Dual Tool Locks with bungee tie-offs for ice tools and front panel daisy chain for more gear to attach.
Carrying water isn’t going to be difficult as the backpack has a built-in hydration sleeve (for maximum 3 L reservoir). You will also easily take a helmet on top or front and attach the rope you need when mountaineering.
As a backpack like this gets quite heavy, features for comfort are essential. It’s a reinforced A-frame ski shape for the pack, with well-padded shoulder straps that hug the body and dual hip belt. The latter comes with gear loops for more attachment possibilities.
The buckles are glove-friendly, and the side compression straps on the upper side are comfortable to release and completed by lower side compression straps. The backpack also has a three-point haul system for hauling and securing it.
The flaws are minor, and the backpack makes a reliable choice for mountaineering as it’s loaded with features for a great experience in the mountains.
3. Deuter Aircontact Lite 45+10 SL
Women who love mountaineering should take a leap of faith with Deuter Aircontact Lite 45+10 SL. The backpack is engineered for women, by women, and is made concerning ergonomics for comfortable performance on the trail. It comes with a shorter back length (but you may adjust it), narrower shoulder harness, and conical shaped hip belt made for the women’s body.
- It’s made to fit woman bodyWomen’s bodies shape it.
- Straps are adjustable, and even the length of the back is easy to adjust.
- It has fantastic ventilation.
- It’s hydration compatible, spacious, and comes with numerous pockets and loops.
- Some reported missing the flower when they got the backpack.
- You may not be able to take it when flying.
Ventilation is impressive thanks to the Aircontact Lite back system, which reduces perspiration by 15%. The padding is made of open-cell with hollow-chamber foam for maximum breathability. The internal X-frame is ergonomic, allowing cold air in and hot air out.
It’s an auto-compress backpack with ergonomic comfort lock hip fins made with a dual-density foam, which gives stability and comfort. The VariQuick back length is adjustable, fitting torsos from 14 to 19in.
The backpack is also adjustable for better load weight management, as the hip belt comes with a Pull-forward build, ensuring fast tightening with heavy loads. The shoulder straps are padded and comfortable to adjust so that the weight is transferred from shoulders to hips. The chest strap is also adjustable (height and width) and comes with a signal whistle for emergencies.
If you need more space for your items, you may use the extendable 10L pack collar. The side compression straps will make the backpack more compact and comfortable to carry.
On top of everything else, the backpack is hydration compatible and comes with numerous loops and pockets (both internal and external) for organizing your items.
The list of great features is far too long, so that you don’t give the backpack a chance on any given day.
4. Mammut – Trion Spine 50 Mountaineering Backpack
The Mammut – Trion Spine 50 Mountaineering Backpack brings numerous good things to the table, with durability and muscular build as some of the most significant to name.
- It comes with a suspension system and Active Spine technology
- You may easily adjust the suspension system.
- It provides vast space for your items
- The back padding is breathable and comfortable
- It could use more loops for gear attachment
- The hip belt isn’t removable
Thanks to its build, Mammut Trion Spine 50 will make any outdoor activity less strenuous and joyful. It features a suspension system with patented Active Spine Technology, supporting a natural gait. You only need to make one movement for adjusting the height of the suspension system, keeping you focused on other things. The load transfer is efficient even when walking or carrying heavyweight.
The backpack comes with high-density, two-layer EVA back padding, so your back remains comfortable without sweating. The shoulder straps and hip belt are well padded, and the shape of the backpack ensures balances, stability, and comfort no matter how heavy your backpack becomes. The stretch fabric cover is durable, and the stitches are very well made.
The front zipper is huge and eases out the access to the main compartment. The backpack provides generous space and lets you organize your items as you need.
Durable, reliable, and adjustable on many levels, the backpack becomes one of the safest investments to make for mountaineering.
5. Gregory Mountain Products Denali 100 Liter Expedition Backpack
The more you’re willing to pay for your mountaineering backpack, the more you should expect performance, build, or features. It’s the case of Gregory Mountain Products Denali 100 Liter Expedition Backpack that manages to tick most boxes in terms of outdoor enthusiasts’ requests and needs.
- It’s tough, durable, and excellent for winter mountaineering.
- It provides excellent space and organizational possibilities for your items
- It is hydration compatible and puncture-resistant
- It’s comfortable and has a dedicated avalanche safety pocket
It’s a top-loading backpack, but accessing the items inside is effortless thanks to the full-length side slash zip. The top lid is easy to detach, becoming a reliable daypack for some short hiking.
The strippable aluminum frames remain in place while you’re moving, and the hip belt is padded for increased comfort.
Storage and organization of your items should also come easy. Not only that, the main compartment is enormous, but you also get side pockets (durable and expanding), but also a front panel pocket with a zip-wat internal divider. The backpack also features easy to access side zip map/ headlamp pocket and dual front-panel daisy chains.
The hip belt comes with tubular gear loops, sled pull loops, and ice clipper slots, which are essential when mountaineering. The hip belt also features an accessory pocket. Let’s not forget the traditional and hammerless ice axe attachments that are easy to adjust and stow.
It’s a hydration compatible backpack (the hydration reservoir sleeve also has a tube port) with an impressive build. The dual-layer front panel (internally laminated) is puncture-resistant, taking a beat. Its construction is also abrasion-resistant, and the backpack is made for winter use.
Remember that we told you that the backpack ticks most boxes for mountaineering? Well, it comes with a dedicated avalanche safety pocket, so you’ll always have effortless access to probe, shovel, and various essential accessories.
- The buckles could be better
- It’s not cheap
Should you be determined and ready for winter mountaineering, this one is the first thing to buy for equipment as it’s worth every penny.
What should you consider when selecting your mountaineering backpack?
Should you look at the market, you will see that your options are various and plenty, so some aspects should be used for guidance. The type of your climbing, the duration of your trip, and personal preferences are factors to keep in mind when picking a model. Size, fabric, and other fundamental features will be chosen with much consideration to the mentioned factors.
Here are the most important factors to pay attention to when picking your mountaineering backpack
Mountaineering is a strenuous and challenging activity, and carrying a heavyweight backpack is only going to make it more difficult. Therefore, you should look for a lightweight pack, without compromising on the toughness or comfort.
Level of comfort
Climbing a mountain is not the same as a hiking trail. You will move more than a hiker, climb up and down, over steep ice, move your hands and legs simultaneously, rotate your body, thrust forward, etc. You want your backpack to provide you freedom for your movement, without losing the safety or comfort.
Many aspects make a backpack more or less comfortable. The backpack’s length is fundamental, and many people mistakenly buy a model that it’s too long/too short for their torso, causing uncomfortable carry. Some of the best options would come with adjustable length, fitting various sizes of torsos.
The backpack’s shape, the proper amount of padding in the right places, and breathability will also make a backpack more or less comfortable.
The more options you have for adjusting the straps, the more comfortable and reliable the backpack becomes. Look for a model with adjustable shoulder straps, hip belts that are both adjustable and easy to remove, and so on.
Any feature that allows adjustment according to your needs at the moment will count for comfort and functionality.
Straps and hip belt
When we talk about adjustability, we have to speak about straps. You want your backpack to have flexible and well-padded shoulder straps, good build, and the right size for your body. Straps that come with mesh for air circulation will reduce the risk of sweat and increase your comfort.
The sternum strap will connect the shoulder straps, and they should always be adjustable. The buckle should be rugged yet easy to employ at all times.
Most dependable backpacks come with compression straps on both sides, allowing you to compress and reduce your pack volume for more comfortable carry.
A fundamental detail for mountaineering backpack is the hip belt, which should be padded and well build. It’s essential for evenly distributing the weight; some come with pocket and loops for gear attachment.
When it comes to your backpack’s capacity, the duration of your trip and the level of difficulty will count the most. The backpacks for mountaineering range from 30 to 105L, so you have plenty of sizes to choose from.
To give you an example, you could buy a smaller model for some small peak climbing/ski mountaineering when there’s no technical climbing involved. Should your mountaineering get more technical, with many crampons, ropes, and axes involved, you need a larger backpack.
Fabric and build
The material of your backpack will make it capable of taking a decent number of trips. The lightweight fabric is great for the light load, but it’s not going to handle the wear and tear like a heavy material. It doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t lead to improvements, as materials are lightweight and rigid.
With mountaineering, there will be a lot of climbing through rocky corners and rough walls, so you want your backpack to take contact with rock surfaces.
More importantly, the backpack has to be strong enough to keep your items secure and safe. When your pack doesn’t make use in cold temperatures or is not waterproof, your essentials will get wet. You won’t be able to use your sleeping bag, and wearing wet clothes is one sure way to freeze.
The backpack should come with features for climbing, especially if you like technical climbing. Rope hanging loops, crampon attachment points, and components, as such, will make the backpack a more appropriate model for mountaineering.
Q: How do you figure out the right size for the backpack?
A: Torso length is more significant than your height. You have to measure the distance between your tops’ hip bones and the C7 vertebrate (typically, it sticks out the neck). Ideally, you want someone to help you. Place your hands on waist and thumbs on top of the hip bones; your friend measures the C7 vertebrate and thumbs’ distance.
Most reputed backpacks come in different lengths or at least allow adjustments for height.
Q: Should the backpack come with an extension?
A: Some top-loading backpacks may come with an expandable lid that provides expanded space (un-zipping or un-tucking) for your items to store. Should you be in an emergency, you may put the legs in the empty pack, pulling the sleeve up around the waist, using the pack as a half bivy bag.
Q: Do women need different backpacks?
A: Some companies design and make backpacks, especially for women. These models come with closer shoulder straps, narrower hip belts, and smaller lengths. Either way, women have differently shaped bodies than men, so they have to look for one with the best fit.
Q: Is the frame type necessary?
A: Should you need a backpack for shorter trips, a closed-cell foam pad model will do. However, if your mountaineering is more technical, you should look for packs with plastic or metal frames for even weight distribution and shock absorbency.
Either way, your backpack should rise close to your body, so plastic frames hugging the body are more common for mountaineering.
Q: Why are top-load models better for mountaineering?
A: Top load packs present a better waterproofness than panel-loading models. They’re relatively easy to manage and have a low risk for spilling in high-angle situations. The majority of mountaineering backpacks are top-loading, even if accessing the items (especially those on the bottom) is tricky.
Best mountaineering models are top-loading and provide side or back access, typically with a large zip.
Q: Do you need many external pockets?
A: Unlike hiking backpacks, mountaineering backpacks are relatively simple. A crampon carrier is a useful feature, but you shouldn’t buy a pack with numerous external pockets. They only snag and make packing trickier.
Q: Are daisy chains mandatory?
A: When it comes to mountaineering backpacks, it’s the daisy chains (both internal and external) that will keep things organized. It would help if you used the external daisy chains for managing the rack and easy clip-on for stuff sacks, water bottles, and other useful items.