5 Best Mountaineering Backpacks

Rilor Staff
Update: October 20, 2021
Table of Contents

As a fellow mountaineer, I always emphasize the importance of investing in the best mountaineering backpacks. These packs are different from the packs you carry on your urban commutes or weekend backcountry trips. They have specialized construction that lets them haul your gear without getting in your way. Of course, they are durable enough to withstand different terrains and weather conditions. 

If you are planning to swing on the peaks or trudge against perilous altitudes, then get the suitable mountaineering pack. If you are clueless about which one to get, then check the list below. There, you'll see some of the finest mountaineering backpacks today. 

5 Best Mountaineering Backpacks

 CapacityTorso Length Waist Size
Osprey Mutant 38 Pack M/L: 38 litersS/M: 36 litersM/L: 18 inches -23 inchesS/M: 16 inches -19 inches M/L: 28 inches - 50 inchesS/M: 26 inches - 45 inches
Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack M/L: 40 litersS/M: 38 litersM/L: 18.5 inches - 21.5 inchesS/M: 16 inches - 19 inches M/L: 28 inches -45 inchesS/M: 26 inches -40 inches
MYSTERY RANCH Scepter 50 Pack 50 litersL/XL: 17 inches - 24 inchesS/M: 15 inches - 20 inches 30 inches - 40 inches
Fjallraven Bergtagen 38 Pack 38 litersNo information availableNo information available
Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 Pack M/L: 57 litersS/M: 55 litersM/L: 18 inches - 21 inchesS/M: 16 inches - 19 inches M/L: 29 inches - 50 inchesS/M: 27 inches - 48 inches

1. Osprey Mutant 38 Pack


Going to the summits is a challenging task. But for the Osprey Mutant 38 Pack, it is just another day at the field. You see, this pack features an internal frame sheet that includes aluminum stays. Such a construction enables it to generate a lightweight but reliable suspension system. In turn, it lets the pack haul loads of up to 50 pounds. You can also customize the pack to reduce its weight. By removing its framesheet, rope attachment strap, top lid, side compression straps, and helmet attachment, you will be able to streamline its weight!

Its top lid has a FlapJacket beneath it, which, in turn, provides the pack with sufficient coverage against the elements. Meanwhile, its reinforced ski-carry loops work hand-in-hand with the compression straps so that they can create a more stable ski carry. With its dual ToolLocks, users would be able to access their ice gear as quickly as possible. You'll also be impressed by its padded hip belt since it has been designed to work with climbing harnesses. The belt includes numerous attachment points and gear loops. 


  • Bag material - Nylon
  • Frame type - Internal frame
  • Frame material - Framesheet with aluminum stays
  • Gear capacity - 36 liters / 38 liters
  • Weight - 43 ounces / 45 ounces
  • Access point - Top
  • Number of exterior pockets - Main compartment + 1
  • Dimensions - 29 inches x 13 inches x 12 inches

2. Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack


You are up for a good time on the peaks with the Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack. This pack has a streamlined construction, allowing you to remove some of its parts, depending on the nature of your trip. Specifically, you can detach its framesheet, lid, and waist belt. Offering comfort on your ascents, this pack also guarantees stability while treading various routes. The Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack is an excellent lightweight storage system that you can use on different terrains. It can conquer both rocky and icy terrains with ease. 

Furthermore, this pack is designed to deal with the alpines. It got snag-free crampon straps and a rope strap where you can store your ice equipment. There's also the patented PickPockets where you can stash your other tools. This bag has a top-loading system; its lid is removable, and the drawcord skirt closure ensures secure concealment of your items. Keep in mind that the Black Diamond Speed is compatible with hydration reservoirs. But you have to purchase them separately. 


  • Bag material - Nylon / closed-cell foam
  • Frame type - Internal frame
  • Frame material - Polycarbonate
  • Gear capacity - 36 liters / 40 liters
  • Weight - 26 ounces / 26.7 ounces
  • Access point - Top
  • Number of exterior pockets - Main compartment + 2
  • Dimensions - 24 inches x 13 inches x 4 inches

3. MYSTERY RANCH Scepter 50 Pack 


Scaling through arduous terrains is quite doable as long as you are equipped with the MYSTERY RANCH Scepter 50 Pack. This pack is designed to possess exceptional stability, weight management, and durability. Moreover, it excels in cold regions, thanks to its weatherproof architecture. This unit included a double-hook access point that lets you access its expandable pocket. It also got another access point to its main compartment, which features an extra drawstring shroud. Its zippered interior pocket enables quick item organization. Since it can cater to hydration reservoirs, dehydration would be the least of your problems. 

Interestingly, its lid has an ergonomic shape that enables it to secure helmets and ropes. The compression-molded back panel of the pack guarantees its wearer's comfort and carrying stability. Meanwhile, its stretch-woven yoke quickly sheds off snow and moisture. You'll also notice that its detachable compression straps have been integrated with aluminum hooks where you can secure your other loads. 


  • Bag material - Nylon / closed-cell foam
  • Frame type - Internal frame
  • Frame material - Carbon
  • Gear capacity - 50 liters
  • Weight - 53.4 ounces
  • Access point - Top
  • Number of exterior pockets - Main compartment
  • Dimensions - 25 inches x 15 inches x 12 inches

4. Fjallraven Bergtagen 38 Pack


The Fjallraven Bergtagen 38 Pack is crafted exclusively for mountaineering pursuits. It is downright rugged and can sustain multi-week expeditions on high altitudes. The pack is tailored from Fjallravern's own Bergshell fabric, which is both ripstop and waterproof. This material uses recycled nylon, so it can also appeal to those who are looking for sustainable gear. Unlike other mountaineering packs, the Fjallraven Bergtagen retained a simple architecture; it only has the essential components that are useful on various alpine treks. 

Furthermore, the Fjallraven Bergtagen 38 Pack features an internal wooden frame. Specifically, it is rigged with a birch frame, which is downright durable and stable. But at the same time, you can guarantee that it won't hurt your back. In fact, this pack provides a convenient, snow-resistant carrying system so that you can haul it for extended periods. It is also easy to organize your items inside and outside of the bag, thanks to a number of interior zippered pockets and attachment points. 


  • Bag material - Nylon / closed-cell foam
  • Frame type - Internal frame
  • Frame material - Birch wood
  • Gear capacity - 38 liters
  • Weight - 54.3 ounces / 56.4 ounces
  • Access point - Top
  • Number of exterior pockets - Main compartment
  • Dimensions - 21.25 inches x 11 inches x 6.75 inches / 22 inches x 11.5 inches x 7.1 inches 

5. Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 Pack


The Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 Pack has been a reliable bag for many mountaineers all over the world. It has seen numerous destinations and summits. And this time, it is your turn to take it to brand-new adventures. The pack boasts a rugged structure. For instance, its shoulder straps and hipbelt are fully padded so that you can carry heavy loads without straining your body. Specifically, its hipbelt has been engineered to pivot efficiently, which, in turn, helps in the proper weight distribution to your body. 

It also includes a lightweight but highly rugged 7000-series aluminum frame, which is capable of dealing with heavy hauls amidst harsh terrains. Its technical fabric features high tensile strength; the 840-denier carbonate-coated nylon guarantees that the pack will never get worn even in continuous use. Furthermore, the Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 is equipped with a compression webbing that keeps overloads secure. It also reduces the pack's volume so that its size would remain stable and climb-friendly. 


  • Bag material -  Spectra ripstop nylon TPU / carbonate-coated plain weave nylon
  • Frame type - Internal frame
  • Frame material - Aluminum
  • Gear capacity - 55 liters / 57 liters
  • Weight - 74 ounces / 74.8 ounces
  • Access point - Top
  • Number of exterior pockets - Main compartment + 3
  • Dimensions - 33 inches x 13 inches x 12 inches / 34.5 inches x 13 inches x 12 inches

How To Choose The Best Mountaineering Backpacks

Several considerations have to be taken into account to ensure that you can get the ideal backpack for mountaineering. The guide below can help you on this matter. 


The Durability Of The Pack's Fabrics

It's important for mountaineering packs to be durable. In this way, it can outlast the challenges that the outdoors will bring. 

Technically speaking, the durability of a pack is determined by the quality of its fabrics and the ruggedness of its other components--such as the attachment points and straps.

When assessing the durability of fabrics, one should look at the denier. The latter refers to the thickness of the fabric. The higher the denier, the more rugged and refined the fabric is. But this also means that the fabric is heavier. You can say that 300-denier nylon is way lighter and thinner than 1000-denier nylon. 

Also, different fabrics exist out there. Most mountaineering packs are crafted from ripstop nylon. This material has excellent resistance against tearing or abrasion. It's very light but still strong enough to withstand heavy loads. 

The best thing about ripstop nylon is that it doesn't absorb water that much. If you're planning to use your bag in rainy conditions, then ripstop nylon is perfect for you. For full waterproofing, the nylon should have a polyurethane coating. You may also want to get mountaineering packs that use various materials on their structure. 

The Durability Of The Pack's Components

You should also pick a pack that has a durable construction. This means that all of its parts and components should be able to withstand constant use and abuse. Otherwise, your trip would become inconvenient. For instance, you wouldn't want the pack's straps to snap suddenly while hauling heavy loads. 

Also, if any part of the pack fails during your adventure, you'll have no means of replacing or repairing them immediately. So make sure that the pack you choose has sturdy attachments and reliable stitching. 

Weight And Size

Another consideration when choosing mountaineering backpacks is weight. A lightweight backpack is easier to carry around. But at the same time, it may also indicate that some of its parts aren't that rugged or thick. 

Surely enough, striking the perfect balance between weight and durability is a tricky thing to achieve. When it comes to mountaineering, people are often required to compromise their comfort to ensure that their gear and well-being remain afloat. 

But don't worry! There are many ways to find the right balance between these two factors. One option is to buy a medium-sized backpack. These bags usually weigh less than 15 pounds. They offer great versatility, and they come with plenty of space inside. However, they might not be suitable for long trips because of their small size.

If your adventure will take several days or weeks, use large mountaineering backpacks. These types of bags typically weigh up to 20 pounds and provide ample storage capacity.


As mentioned earlier, fit matters too. In order to avoid discomfort and injuries, you need to purchase a backpack that fits properly. That said, most mountaineering backpacks feature adjustable shoulder harnesses. With such features, you won't have to struggle with finding the correct position every single day. Instead, you just adjust the strap according to how comfortable you feel. 

In addition to having adjustable shoulder straps, you should consider getting a waist belt. Such belts can help keep your load secure even as you hike uphill. Moreover, they prevent your body from sliding down the mountain. 

Other Considerations

There are other things that you must think about before buying a mountaineering backpack. Some of those include:

  • Waterproofness - Make sure that the fabric used by the manufacturer is fully waterproofed. Waterproofing helps protect your belongings from moisture damage. It prevents rainwater from seeping into the interior of the bag.
  • Breathable fabric - Another important factor to look out for is breathability. Most manufacturers recommend using fabrics that allow airflow through them. This ensures that there isn't an accumulation of sweat within the bag. Sweaty clothes tend to attract insects which could cause serious health problems.
  • Attachments - You shouldn't forget about the accessories included in the package. If possible, get one that includes additional pockets and compartments. Those extra spaces can prove useful on longer hikes where you'd like to store more items.

In Summary

Choosing the best mountaineering backpack doesn't have to be difficult. All you really need to do is follow our tips above. I hope this guide helped you make the right decision. Good luck on your next trip to the summit. 

That's it for now. If you have other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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