The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Climbing Backpack: Tips, Reviews, and Recommendations


When it comes to rock climbing, having the right gear can make all the difference in your ability to climb safely and comfortably. One of the most important pieces of gear you’ll need is a good climbing backpack.

Your backpack needs to be able to carry all your necessary gear while still being comfortable to wear on long climbs. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to choose the best climbing backpack for your needs.

What is a Climbing Backpack?

best Climbing Backpack

A climbing backpack is a specialized backpack designed for carrying gear and supplies while climbing. Climbing backpacks are typically lightweight, durable, and equipped with various features that make them suitable for different types of climbing.

Climbing backpacks come in a range of sizes, styles, and designs. Some of the key features of a climbing backpack include:

  • Climbing-specific design: Climbing backpacks are designed to accommodate gear and equipment specific to climbing activities, such as ropes, harnesses, helmets, and carabiners.
  • Lightweight materials: Climbing backpacks are typically made from lightweight and durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing, such as nylon, polyester, and Dyneema.
  • Comfortable carrying system: Climbing backpacks are designed to be carried comfortably during long approaches and climbs, with features such as padded straps, hip belts, and back panels.
  • Durability: Climbing backpacks are built to withstand the harsh conditions of climbing, including exposure to abrasion, moisture, and extreme temperatures.
  • Specialized compartments and pockets: Climbing backpacks often come with specialized compartments and pockets for organizing gear and equipment, such as a hydration bladder, ice axe loops, and gear loops.
  • Versatility: Some climbing backpacks are designed for specific types of climbing, such as rock climbing or ice climbing, while others are more versatile and can be used for a range of climbing activities.

The importance of a good climbing backpack cannot be overstated. A well-designed climbing backpack can make a significant difference in the success of a climb. A good climbing backpack should be comfortable to wear, able to accommodate all necessary gear, and durable enough to withstand the rigors of climbing.

A poorly designed or inadequate climbing backpack can lead to discomfort, difficulty accessing gear, and even safety hazards. Therefore, it is important to choose a climbing backpack that is suited to your specific climbing needs and preferences.

What to Consider When Choosing a Climbing Backpack

what to know when choosing a climbing backpack

Choosing the right climbing backpack is a crucial decision that can have a significant impact on your climbing experience. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a climbing backpack:

  • Size and Fit: Your backpack should fit you well and be the right size for the type of climbing you’ll be doing. A pack that is too large or too small can be uncomfortable and pose safety risks.
  • Materials and Durability: Your backpack needs to be made of durable and high-quality materials that can withstand the demands of climbing. Look for backpacks made of tough denier nylon or similar materials.
  • Features and Attachment Points: Look for backpacks with a variety of pockets and attachment points for carrying essential gear such as ice tools, crampons, and rope. Check for both the haul loop and internal gear loop, two daisy chains, and external attachment points.
  • Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews: Conduct research on the brand and model of the backpack you’re interested in. Read customer reviews to assess the pack’s quality and durability.
  • Weight and Comfort: Consider how much weight you’re comfortable carrying and think about the type of climbing you’ll be doing. Features such as quick access, external pockets, sternum strap, removable hip belt, and compression straps can all contribute to a more comfortable experience.
  • Other Considerations: Think about what type of climbing you’ll be doing, whether it’s sport climbing, ice climbing, or trad climbing. Additional considerations include reinforced haul loops, adjustable sternum straps, sit pads, and removable hip belts.

By taking into account these various factors, you’ll be able to choose a backpack that is both functional and comfortable for your climbing needs.

Best Climbing Backpacks by Brand

When it comes to choosing a climbing backpack, there are several top brands that climbers should consider. Some of the most popular brands of climbing backpacks include Black Diamond, Mammut, and Deuter. Each of these brands offers a range of backpacks that are designed for different types of climbing and preferences.

Black Diamond Climbing Backpacks

Black Diamond Climbing Backpacks Black Diamond is a well-known brand in the climbing community and offers a wide range of climbing backpacks for different types of climbing. Their backpacks are known for their durability and attention to detail, such as gear loops, ice axe attachments, and hydration compatibility. Some of the best Black Diamond backpacks for climbing include:

Black Diamond Speed 30

Black Diamond Speed 30

This backpack is designed for fast and light alpine climbing and features a minimalist design with a streamlined shape. It has a capacity of 30 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Black Diamond Creek Transit Climbing Backpack

Black Diamond Creek Transit

This backpack is designed for multi-pitch climbing and features a burly design with a full-length zipper for easy access. It has a capacity of 32 liters and is made with waterproof materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Black Diamond Blitz 28

Black Diamond Blitz 28

This backpack is designed for fast and light alpine climbing and features a minimalist design with a roll-top closure. It has a capacity of 28 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Black Diamond Stone 45

Black Diamond Stone 45

This backpack is designed for multi-pitch climbing and features a comfortable suspension system with a removable waist belt. It has a capacity of 45 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from abrasion.

Black Diamond Magnum 16

Black Diamond Magnum 16

This backpack is designed for cragging and bouldering and features a streamlined design with a spacious main compartment. It has a capacity of 16 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Mammut Climbing Backpacks

Mammut Climbing Backpacks Mammut is another top brand of climbing backpacks that offers a range of products for different types of climbing. Their backpacks are known for their lightweight designs and innovative features, such as removable hip belts and back panels. Some of the best Mammut backpacks for climbing include:

Mammut Trion Light 28 Liters

Mammut Trion Light 28 Liters

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and features a lightweight design with a comfortable back system. It has a capacity of 28 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Mammut Neon Gear 45L

Mammut Neon Gear 45L

This backpack is designed for sport climbing and features a spacious main compartment with a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear. It has a capacity of 45 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from abrasion.

Mammut Trea Guide 30L

Mammut Trea Guide 30L

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and features a women-specific fit with a comfortable back system. It has a capacity of 30 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Mammut Neon Shuttle 30L

Mammut Neon Shuttle 30L

This backpack is designed for sport climbing and features a spacious main compartment with a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear. It has a capacity of 30 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Mammut Trion Spine 50L

Mammut Trion Spine 50L

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and features a flexible back system with a removable hip belt. It has a capacity of 50 liters and is made with lightweight materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Deuter Climbing Backpacks

Deuter Climbing Backpacks Deuter is a German-based company that has been making backpacks for over 100 years. They offer a range of backpacks for different types of climbing, from alpine to sport climbing. Their backpacks are known for their comfort and versatility, with features such as adjustable back systems and detachable top lids. Some of the best Deuter backpacks for climbing include:

Deuter Gravity Motion 35L

Deuter Gravity Motion 35L

This backpack is designed for multi-pitch climbing and features a comfortable back system with a detachable hip belt. It has a capacity of 35 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Deuter Guide 35L Rucksack

Deuter Guide 35L Rucksack

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and features an adjustable back system and detachable top lid. It has a capacity of 35 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Deuter Freerider Pro 34+ 10

Deuter Freerider Pro 34+ 10

This backpack is designed for backcountry skiing and snowboarding and features a comfortable back system with a removable waist belt. It has a capacity of 34 liters + 10 and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Deuter Gravity Expedition

Deuter Gravity Expedition

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and features an adjustable back system and detachable top lid. It has a capacity of 45 + 12 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Deuter Guide Lite

Deuter Guide Lite

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and features a lightweight design with a comfortable back system. It has a capacity of 28 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from abrasion.

Recommended Backpack Sizes for Different Climbing Activities

When selecting a backpack for climbing, it is important to consider the specific type of climbing activity you will be undertaking. Different types of climbing require different types of gear and supplies, which can impact the size and design of the backpack you choose.

Here are some recommendations for backpack sizes and models for different types of climbing:

Rock Climbing Backpack Sizes

For rock climbing, the ideal backpack size will depend on the type of climbing you will be doing. For cragging and bouldering, a smaller backpack between 16-30 liters may be suitable. This size will allow you to carry all necessary gear and supplies while remaining lightweight and agile. For longer multi-pitch routes, a larger backpack between 30-45 liters may be more suitable.

Some recommended backpacks for rock climbing include:

Black Diamond Creek Transit 22

This backpack is designed for cragging and features a full-length zipper for easy access. It has a capacity of 22 liters and is made with waterproof materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Mammut Neon Crag 28

This backpack is designed for sport climbing and features a spacious main compartment with a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear. It has a capacity of 28 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Ice Climbing Backpack Sizes

For ice climbing, the ideal backpack size will depend on the type of ice climbing you will be doing. For shorter single-pitch routes, a smaller backpack between 20-30 liters may be suitable. For longer multi-pitch routes, a larger backpack between 35-50 liters may be more suitable.

Some recommended backpacks for ice climbing include:

Osprey Mutant 38

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and features a comfortable back system with a removable hip belt. It has a capacity of 38 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Deuter Guide Lite 32+

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and features a lightweight design with a comfortable back system. It has a capacity of 32+ liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from abrasion.

Alpine Climbing Backpack Sizes

For alpine climbing, the ideal backpack size will depend on the type of activity you will be undertaking. For backcountry skiing and snowboarding, a backpack between 30-45 liters may be suitable. For mountaineering, a larger backpack between 45-65 liters may be more suitable.

Some recommended backpacks for alpine climbing include:

Mammut Trion Pro 50+7

This backpack is designed for mountaineering and features an adjustable back system and detachable top lid. It has a capacity of 50+7 liters and is made with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.

Deuter Rise 34+8

This backpack is designed for backcountry skiing and snowboarding and features a comfortable back system with a removable waist belt. It has a capacity of 34+8 liters and is made with durable materials that can protect gear from the elements.

Reviews of Specific Climbing Backpack Models

In addition to selecting the appropriate size for your climbing backpack, it is also important to choose a backpack with the appropriate features and design for your specific climbing activity. Here are some specific backpack models that are recommended for different types of climbing:

Multi-Pitch Climbing Backpacks

For multi-pitch climbing, a backpack with a lightweight and streamlined design is essential. Here are some recommended backpack models:

Petzl Bug

This backpack is designed specifically for multi-pitch climbing and features a minimalist design with a capacity of 18 liters. It has a durable and lightweight construction and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Black Diamond Speed 40

This backpack is designed for fast and light alpine climbing and has a capacity of 40 liters. It features a comfortable suspension system and a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear.

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and has a capacity of 30 liters. It features a durable and waterproof construction and is equipped with multiple attachment points for gear.

Osprey Mutant 22

This backpack is designed for multi-pitch climbing and features a minimalist design with a capacity of 22 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Mammut Trion Light 50

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and has a capacity of 50 liters. It features a lightweight and comfortable design with a detachable hip belt and multiple attachment points.

Trad Climbing Backpacks

For trad climbing, a backpack with a spacious and versatile design is essential. Here are some recommended backpack models:

Patagonia Ascensionist

This backpack is designed for trad climbing and features a lightweight and versatile design with a capacity of 40 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear.

Mammut Trion Light

This backpack is designed for technical alpine climbing and has a capacity of 28 liters. It features a lightweight and comfortable design with a detachable hip belt and multiple attachment points.

Black Diamond Epic 35

This backpack is designed for trad climbing and features a spacious and versatile design with a capacity of 35 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Arc’teryx Alpha FL 30

This backpack is designed for alpine climbing and has a capacity of 30 liters. It features a minimalist and durable design with a waterproof construction.

Patagonia Linked Pack 16L

This backpack is designed for short approaches and quick ascents and has a capacity of 16 liters. It features a lightweight and compact design with a comfortable suspension system.

Crag Packs and Bags

For cragging and bouldering, a backpack with a durable and versatile design is essential. Here are some recommended backpack models:

Metolius Crag Station

This backpack is designed for cragging and features a spacious and durable design with a capacity of 41 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and a variety of pockets and compartments for organizing gear.

Mammut Magic Gym Bag

This backpack is designed for bouldering and features a versatile and compact design with a capacity of 12 liters. It has a durable construction and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Black Diamond Stone 42

This backpack is designed for cragging and features a spacious and durable design with a capacity of 42 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Metolius Sentinel Haul Bag

This backpack is designed for big wall climbing and has a capacity of 55 liters. It features a durable and waterproof construction and is equipped with multiple haul points.

REI Co-op Crag Station

This backpack is designed for cragging and features a spacious and durable design with a capacity of 45 liters. It has a comfortable suspension system and is equipped with multiple gear loops and attachment points.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Climbing Backpacks

How much weight should I carry in my climbing backpack?

The weight of your climbing backpack will depend on the type of climbing you will be doing and the gear and supplies you will need. Generally, it is recommended to carry no more than 20-25% of your body weight in your backpack. However, this may vary depending on your fitness level and experience.

How should I pack my climbing backpack for different types of climbing?

For rock climbing, you may want to pack your backpack with climbing shoes, chalk bag, harness, helmet, and ropes. For ice climbing, you may want to pack crampons, ice axes, and extra layers. For alpine climbing, you may want to pack gear for backcountry skiing or snowboarding, a sleeping bag, and a tent.

What should I look for in a mountaineering pack?

When choosing a mountaineering pack, you should look for a backpack with a durable and waterproof construction, a comfortable suspension system, and multiple attachment points for gear. You may also want to consider the capacity and weight of the backpack, as well as any additional features such as a detachable top lid.

Is it better to carry my climbing backpack on my front or back?

It is generally recommended to carry your climbing backpack on your back, as this will distribute the weight more evenly and allow for greater mobility while climbing.

Should I carry my climbing backpack on one shoulder or both?

It is recommended to carry your climbing backpack on both shoulders, as carrying it on one shoulder can cause discomfort and strain.

Should my backpack be top-heavy or bottom-heavy?

Ideally, your climbing backpack should be balanced and evenly distributed. You may want to consider packing heavier items closer to your back and lighter items towards the top or bottom of the backpack.

Can I use a regular backpack for climbing?

While it is possible to use a regular backpack for climbing, it may not have the necessary features and design for the specific demands of climbing. A climbing backpack is designed with features such as gear loops, attachment points, and a comfortable suspension system to allow for greater mobility and organization during a climb.

Can I bring my climbing backpack as a carry-on on a flight?

It depends on the size and capacity of your climbing backpack, as well as the airline’s policies. Most airlines have restrictions on the size and weight of carry-on luggage, so it is important to check with the airline beforehand.

How do I clean my climbing backpack?

To clean your climbing backpack, you can use a damp cloth and mild detergent to gently clean any dirt or stains. Avoid using harsh chemicals or machine-washing, as this may damage the backpack’s construction.

How do I choose the right size climbing backpack for my body?

When choosing a climbing backpack, it is important to consider your torso length and waist size, as well as the capacity and design of the backpack. Many backpack brands offer sizing guides to help you choose the appropriate size for your body.

Can I use a hydration system with my climbing backpack?

Yes, many climbing backpacks are designed to accommodate hydration systems, which allow you to drink water or other fluids while on the go.

Should I choose a backpack with a top-loading or front-loading design?

This will depend on your personal preference and the type of climbing you will be doing. A top-loading backpack may be more versatile and easier to pack, while a front-loading backpack may allow for easier access to gear and supplies.

How do I properly adjust the straps on my climbing backpack?

To properly adjust the straps on your climbing backpack, first adjust the shoulder straps to fit comfortably on your shoulders. Then, adjust the waist belt to fit snugly around your waist, and adjust the sternum strap to help distribute weight evenly.

How can I make my climbing backpack more comfortable?

To make your climbing backpack more comfortable, ensure that it is properly adjusted and fitted to your body, and that the weight is evenly distributed. You may also want to consider using a padded hip belt or shoulder straps for added comfort.

Can I use a climbing backpack for other outdoor activities?

Yes, many climbing backpacks are versatile and can be used for a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, or backpacking.

How do I store my climbing backpack when not in use?

To store your climbing backpack when not in use, ensure that it is clean and dry, and store it in a cool and dry place. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as this may damage the backpack’s construction.

What is the best climbing backpack Osprey?

The best climbing backpack from Osprey will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some popular models include the Osprey Mutant 38 and the Osprey Variant 52.

Should your backpack be loose or tight?

Your backpack should fit snugly and comfortably on your back, with the weight evenly distributed. However, it should not be so tight that it restricts your movement or causes discomfort.

How much should a backpack weigh for a 6 day hike?

The weight of your backpack for a 6 day hike will depend on your individual needs and the specific gear and supplies required for the hike. As a general guideline, your backpack should not exceed 20-25% of your body weight.

What backpack does Alex Honnold use?

Alex Honnold has used a variety of backpacks throughout his climbing career, including models from brands such as Black Diamond and Patagonia.

How much can you fit in a 50L backpack?

The capacity of a 50L backpack will depend on the design and features of the specific backpack. However, it can typically hold enough gear and supplies for a multi-day hike or climb.

What backpack do Rangers use?

US Army Rangers may use a variety of backpacks, depending on their specific mission and needs.

What backpack do Navy Seals use?

US Navy Seals may use a variety of backpacks, depending on their specific mission and needs.

Is Osprey worth the money?

Osprey backpacks are known for their quality construction, comfortable fit, and versatile features, and are generally considered a good investment for avid climbers and hikers.

What backpack does Bear Grylls use?

Bear Grylls has used a variety of backpacks throughout his outdoor adventures, including models from brands such as Camelbak and Berghaus.

How big a bag do I need for a 5 day hike?

The size of your backpack for a 5 day hike will depend on your individual needs and the specific gear and supplies required for the hike. As a general guideline, a backpack with a capacity of 50-65 liters may be appropriate.

What size backpack for a 3 day hike?

The size of your backpack for a 3 day hike will depend on your individual needs and the specific gear and supplies required for the hike. As a general guideline, a backpack with a capacity of 30-50 liters may be appropriate.

Is it better to carry backpack on front or back?

It is generally recommended to carry your backpack on your back, as this will distribute the weight more evenly and allow for greater mobility while climbing.

Is it bad to carry your backpack on one shoulder?

Carrying your backpack on one shoulder may cause discomfort and strain, and is generally not recommended.

Are Alps Mountaineering backpacks good?

Alps Mountaineering backpacks are known for their affordable price point and versatile features, and are generally considered a good option for beginner and intermediate climbers and hikers.

How do you pack for alpine climbing?

When packing for alpine climbing, it is important to consider the specific gear and supplies required for the climb, as well as the weight and balance of the backpack. Items such as crampons, ice axes, and extra layers may be necessary.

What is the recommended pack size for mountaineering?

The recommended pack size for mountaineering will depend on the specific climb and the gear and supplies required. As a general guideline, a backpack with a capacity of 50-70 liters may be appropriate.

What should I look for in a mountaineering pack?

When choosing a mountaineering pack, it is important to consider the pack’s capacity, weight, durability, and features such as attachment points and gear loops. A comfortable suspension system and adjustable straps can also help ensure a proper fit.

How do I choose a climbing backpack?

When choosing a climbing backpack, consider the specific type of climbing you will be doing, as well as the capacity, weight, and features of the backpack. Look for backpacks with gear loops, attachment points, and a comfortable suspension system.

What size backpack is best for rock climbing?

The ideal size of a backpack for rock climbing will depend on the specific climb and the gear required. As a general guideline, a backpack with a capacity of 30-40 liters may be appropriate for most rock climbing trips.

What do you put in a rock climbing bag?

When packing for a rock climbing trip, be sure to include necessary gear such as climbing shoes, harness, helmet, ropes, and protection devices. Additional items such as extra layers, water, and snacks may also be necessary.

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