Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Osprey Mutant 38 Backpack

This pack is like a personal valet for your ice tools

“This pack is like a personal valet for my ice tools,” said a tester after climbing in New England. The “ToolLock” system holds all types of ice tools tight to the pack: Just extend the elastic cord on the pack’s bottom (there’s one on each side), thread the clip through the axe head’s eyelet, and cinch the cord, which snugs the pick end into reinforced fabric. Secure the handle with cord at the top.

The hipbelt fits comfortably over a climbing harness, and features tough Hypalon loops that hold even more tools or a sled attachment. On a trip to Mt. Katahdin, the gear loops held strong while others ripped from the strain of hauling a sled. The suspension is minimalist (an EVA backpanel stiffened by a framesheet), but capable: “I filled it with 40 pounds of climbing gear, rope, and water, and only wished for more padding on the shoulder straps,” says a tester after a nine-hour day.

$149

2 lbs. 2 oz (size M)

38 liters

www.ospreypacks.com