Top 10 Best Climbing Backpacks of 2021 – Reviews

best climbing backpacks

Welcome to our review of the best climbing backpacks of 2021. Finding the best climbing backpack is not an easy task. The amount of gear that you need for a full day at the crag is quite big. Not only do you have to bring your climbing shoes, harness, chalk, quickdraws, and rope. You’ll also need to pack supplies like food, and maybe spare clothing for changes in the weather, first aid kits, the list can go on and on.

With this in mind, let us point out that the market has quite a lot to offer in terms of climbing backpacks and they’re not all built to the same standards. To help our readers out, we’ve written this guide on buying the best climbing backpacks available.

List of 10 Best Climbing Backpacks of 2021 – Reviews & Comparisons

1. Osprey Mutant 38

The alpine-focused Osprey Mutant 38 is ideal for quick or multiday ascents in harsh conditions. With a framesheet, padded hipbelt, and comfy shoulder straps, it carries and distributes weight better than other streamlined alpine packs, even with loads up to 50 pounds. The removable top lid has an integrated FlapJacket™ below to protect your gear from the elements during the final push.

2. Best Backpack for Cragging
Black Diamond Creek 50

This impressive backpack from Black Diamond is easy to pack and super durable. It features upright base for simple loading and unloading, convenient pockets and full side-zip access to the main compartment.

3. Best Budget/Follower Pack
REI Co-op Flash 18

The REI Co-op Flash 18 pack is ultra light and cleverly converts into a stuff sack when you turn it inside out. It has a top draw cord that can be opened and closed one-handed, a backpanel that can be taken out and used as a sit pad, removable hip and sternum straps, and even daisy-chain attachment points and an ice axe loop.

4. Arc’teryx Alpha FL 45

Attention to detail, maximum functionality, minimalist design and unrivaled craftsmanship combine in the fast, light, hard-wearing The Arc’teryx Alpha FL 45 pack provides maximum functionality, minimalist design and unrivaled craftsmanship. The pack is ideal for climbers and ski alpinists: it’s streamlined, carries well, and is both waterproof and highly abrasion-resistant.

5. Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 25

The Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 25 is durable, powerful and light. Rugged 4-layer Dimension-Polyant™ X-Pac™ fabric provides an incredibly high level of protection from abrasion, punctures, age and general wear and tear over time. The backpack is a perfect choice for trad climbers, peak baggers and off-trail scramblers.

6. Arc’teryx Alpha AR 35

Suited to single-day alpine and climbing adventures, the durable Arc’teryx Alpha AR 35 pack features a removable framesheet and back panel for versatility and packability. With a padded hipbelt and framesheet, the AR is able to handle much heavier loads with ease. Moreover, the framesheet and lid are removable, giving the pack the versatility needed for both the approach and the climb.

7. Black Diamond Speed 40

The Black Diamond Speed 40 durable, comfortable and has a protective crampon patch. The pack comes with micro ice-tool PickPockets, snag-free, removable 20mm crampon straps and a tuck-away rope strap secure gear to the outside. Drawcord skirt provides easy access and keeps out spindrift and light precip.

8. Patagonia Cragsmith 45L

Patagonia Cragsmith 45L is durable and allows for great organization. The Cragsmith’s U-shaped zipper allows easy access to the entire contents of the pack without exposing gear—or the pack’s suspension system—to dirt. Further, it’s lined with a small layer of foam, which helps hold the structure to make loading and unloading easier.

9. Patagonia Linked 28L

The Patagonia Linked is a super durable, comfortable and thoughtfully designed on-route pack that performs just as well on your back as attached to the end of a haul line. The tapered build sits high and close to the body and is secured with comfortable shoulder straps, while the robust 940-denier nylon body and reinforced haul handles make it burly enough to drag up coarse rock.

10. Patagonia Ascensionist 35L

This impressive backpack is designed with both the approach and climb in mind. When loaded down on the hike, a rope strap and side compression straps enable you to attach additional gear. Once you reach the climb, slide the pads off the webbing hipbelt, cinch the bag down tight, and you’ve got yourself a lightweight climbing machine.

Climbing Backpacks: A Buying Guide – How to Climbing Backpacks

Have you checked everything before climbing but yet to choose the backpacks for you? If you have been looking for the right climbing backpacks, you will want to read this guide until you finish so that you’ll come up with the best informative decision. Here are the aspects that you need to take a look in advance shopping around.

The weight of the backpack

It could be a bit tricky to decide to choose the backpack based on their weight. While a lighter backpack could help you carry better than a heavier pack, it does not come with better sturdiness and durability. The heavier backpack, in the other side, comes with more padding and heavier material. In a nutshell, heavier backpack comes with greater durability and sturdiness. The choice will come down to the type of your climbing activity. If you like to travel light, and each climbing session is not too long, then you could pick lighter backpack. If your activity is rigorous, enduring, and lasting, heavier backpack can be your best buddy.

The backpack volume

What will you carry in your journey? You will need ample storage for your ropes, rack, ransom, water, gear, clothing, etc. If you are planning for multi-day trips in the mountains, you will need to upgrade your backpack volume.

The extension

The extension is another important aspect to consider. Some models come with the extra space that you can attain by rolling out, unzipping, or un-tucking. It does not hurt to pick the backpack with extension. Don’t worry if you think you will not be using that extension. You will eventually need it later when there’s an unpredictable thing. You could use the empty space to stick your legs in it to make your night more comfortable. You can thank me later.


The best model is the one which you will be comfortable wearing. So, it is safe to assume that your friend’s backpack won’t work well for you unless you have the exact same body weight and dimensions. The fit is paramount. And this aspect is individual. You will want to check the back-pack by yourself at the store. See if you can use it well. Feel the padding and support. If you notice something was wrong, you will need to move to another backpack product. Don’t stop until you find the most comfortable back that you can wear.

Climbing features

The best backpack for climbing is the backpack for climbing. That means it will be easy to find the features that can help you to improve your game in climbing.

First things first, the good backpack for climbing will provide easy access to your ropes and gear. The best models should include the important climbing features such as the gear loops, suspension, chalk, compartments for your items and gears, trad gear, rope tarp, and other helpful features. You might also need to pick the backpack that is more practical for you. It is a great idea to demonstrate your movements when checking the backpack at a brick-and-mortar store.

Crag, alpine, or gym?

Last but not least, you will want to choose the right backpack based on your climbing activity type. The climbing pack will depend on what you are going to focus on in your outdoors.

The crag pack, for instance, must come with spacious volume which can provide ample space for storing your gear, hardware, and other important items. Crag pack has many designs in the market but the most common ones are front-loading design and bucket style top loading system. The front leading design eases you to access your ropes and other gears.

Meanwhile, alpine backpacks are lighter, more durable, and come with a bunch of features that you can use to improve your climbing experience. The models often come with helpful features such as daisy chain, gear loops, detachable belt, and so on.

If you are planning to do the climbing indoor, consider picking the gym pack types. Gym packs, as the name suggests, will be more comfortable for the gym goers. But the design can be similar to the crag styled pack. The gym pack models conveniently come in crag-style. But it is also possible to find more “gym-like” back styles such as messenger-style backs which have been trending for years in the gym community.


It would take some time until you find the most ideal climbing backpack from the market. But it won’t be too long if you consider all of the aspects we’ve shared above. Happy shopping!

We hope this article helped you find the best climbing backpacks. If you enjoyed this article, you might also want to check our articles on the best mountaineering boots and best bouldering crash pads.