The ice climbing season is quickly approaching, and it is time to start pulling things and taking inventory of your gear! While having all of the necessary equipment is essential, you should also ensure that you have a backpack that can withstand all of the demands you will place on it. But don’t be overwhelmed by the number of options available; our team has narrowed the field to bring you the ten best ice climbing backpacks, so you can get out there and climb that ice before it melts!
Whether you’re going out for a day of fun or intend to stay a little longer, there’s a backpack to suit your ice activities. So there’s no need to waste time browsing stores and the internet when this list will help you find the perfect pack in less time.
- Osprey Mutant 38
Our favorite mountaineering backpack is the ever-impressive Osprey Mutant 38. The newest mutation of the pack is even better than the previous one, with enhancements to usefulness, versatility, durability, and climbing comfort. In a matter of seconds, this pack can transform from a gear-hauling beast to a light and nimble summit pack. It boasts great suspension for bigger weights as well as logical and practical climbing characteristics for tough routes.
Many climbers are still skeptical about Osprey as a producer of advanced climbing bags. We did as well. Some of their packs have so many features and straps that they hit you in the face when you’re on the most difficult part of the climb (classic). This pack has more features than others, but it can be pared down to compete with the simplest and lightest packs in this review.
- Very comfortable
- Easy to overstuff
- Carries heavy loads well
- Black Diamond Blitz 28L
The Black Diamond Blitz 28 is a great, low-cost addition to your mountaineering pack quiver. This pack is basic, light, and tiny, making it an ideal partner on routes where you’re pushing your grades and trying hard. This is the only pack in the study that we would take in the mountains as well as on long multi-pitch rock routes, treating it as a small on-route climbing backpack. The main drawbacks of this pack are its lack of durability and versatility for all types of mountaineering. You’re unlikely to carry this pack ski mountaineering, but you could love its lightweight simplicity for a relaxing day of backcountry skiing.
- Easy access and organization
- Low weight-to-volume ratio
- Low profile
- Simple and streamlined
- Hyperlite Prism
Prism has entirely changed our perception of how comfortable a technical climbing backpack can be, as well as how fresh we can feel after a long and difficult journey to basecamp. The simplicity of the design astounds us. Many guides have picked this pack because they can no longer afford to beat up their bodies with large, unwieldy, awkward, and overall destructive backpacks. The monetary cost is far less expensive than the cost of bodily harm.
So that brings us to the sole major disadvantage of HMG packs in general. The purchase price. However, if you spend a lot of time in cooler alpine areas, the Prism is a wonderful investment for your lifespan and enjoyment. With a crampon pouch, easy side straps, a low-profile wand/picket pocket, and a removable cover, this pack is designed for demanding alpine climbing.
- Black Diamond Speed 40
Black Diamond’s Speed packs are another series of packs that we enjoy – one for each of your moods or objectives. This 40-liter variant, we believe, strikes the sweet spot in terms of adaptability and carrying comfort. This is the closest thing to an all-star pack-of-all-trades we’ve ever discovered at an affordable price. The features are straightforward but comprehensive, and they will accommodate any tools you may require in the mountains. The materials are both strong and light.
There are only a number of minor flaws, but they aren’t deal-breakers. The top strap slides through to either side, allowing you to stretch one side more than the other for heavy, light objects.
- Highly versatile
- Excellent streamlined features
- Gregory Denali 100
On adventures, the Gregory Denali 100 stands out for its comfort and versatility. We like how comfortable the Denali fits on the back and how it doesn’t obstruct your view or freedom of motion in locations where it rises above your head. We particularly enjoy the snow-specific features, as most packs of this size will most certainly experience snow at some point during an adventure. When properly packed, it feels safe and sleek while yet enabling easy access to essentials through huge zippered sleeves and pockets.
- Snow and expedition specific features
- Comfortable when empty or full
- Well-designed frame and supports