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Newman55

Osprey Packs - Skiing / Climbing?

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I have a number of Osprey Packs for backpacking and day hiking. I like them for those activities. Just wondering what thoughts people had about the Osprey brand packs for Skiing and Climbing?

 

Model names are Kode, Kode ABS, Mutant, and Variant

 

Thanks

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The Kode packs are total shit. I have no experience with the Mutant. The Variant is nice, but heavier than anything I wish to carry.

Edited by TwoFortyJeff

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variant and hornet look good to me on paper, but I have no experience with either... the mutant is heavier than I'd care for, although the features look attractive. I'm most attracted to the hornet (on paper) - the variant looks better for larger loads (over 30lb?)

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I use an older Osprey Exposure 50 for longer day trips and light overnights. I really like it for splitboarding because I can carry as a board or skis easily and still have attachments for axe/tools. It has taken quite a lot of abuse but doesn't show any wear. Very comfortable until the load exceeds about 40lbs.

 

It looks similar in design to the Kode but mine is a bit heavier so I don't know if the materials are comparable. I looked at the new Kode in the store and wasn't impressed. I guess it depends on what features you need.

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I have a Kode 38 for long days in the BC, it is heavy but has the features I wanted (hip pocket, back panel access, drink tube sleeve built into the shoulder strap, wet pocket for shovel, tools & skins, helmet carry dealio, multiple ski carry options, no top lid) It's treated me pretty good for one season. Admittedly, I've turned into a bit of a gear hoarder the last few years and picked up whatever the smallest Kode is for resort skiing and side country excursions. It's also just fine for what it is and was pretty inexpensive, like $50. Both seem to be well constructed and durable but they've only been lightly used so far.

 

That being said, some of my ski buds appear to only own one alpine style pack for all of their climbing, skiing and hiking, which they do a lot more frequently than me. Something like an older BD Speed 30 or other manufacturer's equivalent.

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I don't personally own any osprey packs, but am definitely a gear hoarder and I'll reccomend four packs:

 

BD Speed 22. It carries skies extremely well and is very, very basic with no real bells or whistles. It's stood up to a ton of use and has carried skis A-Frame and both dead vertical on one side plus two ice tools/whippets/ski poles. I use the 22 for basic/non-technical overnights up to about two nights. This pack does not have any gear loops on the mid belt, but its a very minimalistic hip belt and does not interfere with your main climbing harness.

 

Mammut Trion Lite 28. Also carries skis exceptionally well in the same two styles as above but has a more rigid back panel and has a little more volume - this is my technical or 3+ night kit and it has been outstanding. This pack does have gear slings on the mid belt and I have been able to use them without also having to use my main harness slings, so the mid belt just rests on top of my minimalist couloir harness (making the entire setup much more comfortable).

 

BD Axis 33 which again carries skis like a champ and has a really good hip belt (carries weight like you don't even have it) but is just too big for most of my applications - I have used it a couple of times but was impressed (what I don't like about it is that it's height interferes with you helmeted head when trying to really far up). It also has the gear slings on the hip belt and they would work same as the Mammut above.

 

Arcteryx Silo 40, but haven't used it in several years since I just don't pack that much stuff into any trip anymore - when I did use it though, its bombproff (but so is the price ...).

 

I have also found that really, really dialing your system helps streamline your kit (examples: I carry a little ditty bag with snack food for the day and it clips the the should strap and dangles near my hips; I keep 1 liter of water on a shoulder sling inside my jacket for easy access and it keeps it from freezing in my pack; I always avoid bringing a tent in the winter, I do either an open bivy or snowcave). Unless I'm doing a snow pit I can usually go an entire day tour without ever really needing to get stuff from my pack unless the temps are wildly fluctuating. For climbing with a pack I really like being able to get a pack that does not interfere with normal body movement, though to predict how that will work without actually getting into the motion but the first two packs I talked about are great, the second two are not as good (but have limited laps with them since I at all cost try and stick to one of the first two).

 

I've come to believe that Osprey packs are more inclined to bells/whistles and the backpacker / hiker than the serious ski tourer/climber. When I started hoarding a few years ago I looked into the Osprey packs, but always ended up with something else. Sry no direct help with the Osprey, but I hope the info I gave is at least useful.

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I have the variant 52 and have grown to really enjoy it for full days climbing and light overnights. It is a little on the heavy side but the 2014 model has the weight shaved down to 3lb 10oz for the large which is closer to a 55L pack. not bad for a pack with a frame sheet, brain and hip belt that can be changed out.

 

jeb

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one "trick" I use to reduce the "manufacturers weight" is to lose all the plastic-framesheet-aluminum-stay crap and just slide a folded half-length ridge-rest foamie into the body of the pack for a "frame". between the plastic and aluminum and extra pad that I don't have to carry, I've saved in the neighborhood of two pounds. Unless youre carrying 40lb loads, you really don't need all the overbuilt frame stuff.

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I have a previous version of the mutant 38 and use it for longer alpine rock routes, ice climbing and ski touring. It a-frames fine. It is not super light, but it carries well for having just a foam backsheet, which is a good tradeoff for me.

 

My only complaint is that it attaches hammerless ice tools poorly and requires me to clip a biner through each tool head to keep them in the pack. I am carrying those carabiners anyway, but it is still an annoyance. I don't know whether that's been addressed in the newer version.

 

 

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Never had good luck with any of Osprey's packs, so I stay away from them. Too much frivolous stuff on them for my tastes. Durability was pretty terrible in my experience too; even worse than my cilogear pack that only lasted a season...

 

I'd recommend:

Alpine Threadworks Selkirk; the only ski pack you'll ever need. A little bit more $, but it's made to your back length. Perfect fit. I have used it to carry heavy loads on multi-day trips too and it works great.

 

or

 

Cold Cold World Chernobyl or Valdez; awesome climbing packs that carry skis well too. They will last forever.

 

The guys who make CCW and ATW packs are actually out there doing these things; their designs are all well thought out for actual use. Plus, I like to support the little guys.

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I don't know what BootsandPants does to his packs, but I'm fairly rough on gear and my Osprey packs have held up fairly well. My impression is that the Kode pack would suck for climbing and I don't like the ice ax system for the Mutant. The Variant (which I own) is a good multi-use pack. It has a few bells and whistles, but most of them I have appreciated at one point or another.

 

If you're used to the kind of packs that Osprey makes, you'll probably find CCW packs a little spartan.

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I have had good luck with Osprey packs. I still use the original Aether pack (made in Golden CO in 1995) that weighs 16oz for day trips and spring skiing. I also have an Exposure 66 that I used to use guiding 6-day trips in the Cascades (but is too big for skiing). Both have been great and have held up well to considerable use.

 

I'm a fairly casual skiier so I don't find myself wishing I had a ski-specific pack. My alpine packs are what I reach for when I hit the slopes and I haven't been disappointed. Some of the organizational features of ski packs might be handy if I went more often, but I've done fine so far without.

 

If I was in your position I'd take a few ski trips with the packs you already own. Maybe they'll work for you. Maybe you'll find you need something different. Ultimately everyone customizes a setup that works best for him/her.

 

If a new pack is the preferred course of action, I second the Cold Cold World suggestion, assuming your torso is shorter than 20 inches. Mine is not and I've never been able to make those packs fit well.

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