Mitch has been putting the new Osprey Mutant 22 backpack through the ringer with heavy-duty cragging and gear hauling at every turn. Here’s his professional dirtbag opinion.
After torturing my old daypack year after year, I’d got to the point where I was patching the patches. My beloved pack had endured being dragged up cliffs, dropped off cliffs, crushed in chimneys, chewed through by a friend’s Labrador and dunked in rivers — now at long last it was time to put this battler into retirement. My old pack was an Osprey, so when I received the Osprey Mutant 22 I had high expectations for something durable and functional.
Osprey describes the Mutant 22 as ‘streamlined, lightweight and durable alpine-focused packs made with input from athletes and guides for done-in-a-day routes and committed multi-day objectives’. The reality of living in Australia is that I’m an international flight away from serious alpine multi-pitch routes, but that didn’t mean that this pack wouldn’t be appropriate for long days on rock in warmer climes.
What I Was Looking For
My typical setup when undertaking a full day multi-pitch is to use one pack between two climbers, so there needs to be enough space for our water, snacks, warm layers and maybe a pair of shoes if the walk-in and out requires it.
Additionally, the pack has to be comfortable and unobtrusive on the approach and while climbing. Finally, for it be a legitimate climbing pack, it has to have some features that differentiate it from your regular hiking pack.
Simply put, it feels hella nice on your back. The slender profile seems to hit the sweet spot on volume without creating a bulk that feels awkward to move with. The sternum strap and lightweight waist strap do a great job on securing the pack to your body to prevent it sliding around.
Even filled up with a full rack, rope, food and water I found the Osprey Mutant to be comfortable on the approach and whilst climbing.
My favourite feature on the Mutant was the tie-down strap to lash your rope to the top of the pack — a clever addition that helps to expand the useable volume far beyond the stated 22L. The strap pokes through a hydration bladder slit in the top of the pack and hooks into a loop in the front, then when not in use it simply tucks back in and out of the way.
There’s a series of daisychain-esque gear loops on the front of the pack to clip any additional pieces of gear you can’t fit inside. The removable back support provides some rigidity to the pack, as well as creating a barrier that shields your back from the lumpy oddities you’ve stowed in there.
Overall I found that the volume was perfect a long day on the steep stuff and I had no trouble fitting in all my usual bits and pieces.
Durability & Quality
I’ve been using the pack non-stop for a few months and can confirm that the build quality is top notch. Osprey have reinforced the usual heavy wear spots so I can see it holding up for a long time.
The pack has a clean outer profile, with no external pockets or dangling straps to catch on things as you pass by. This is especially nice when hauling and lowering the pack. The orange highlights satiate my desire for bright colours while the navy gives it a degree of class to make the Mutant 22 more than passable for forays into society.
Mutant 22 — Final Thoughts
Straight off the bat I knew that this pack was a winner. There’s obvious attention to detail that means the Osprey Mutant 22 excels. The carefully considered features optimise it for climbing and raise it above what a regular daypack could deliver.
I now use this pack for the majority of my day to day needs, whether I’m on the bike, doing a day walk, out taking photos (it can fit my full-size tripod in it!) or just popping into town to grab something. As someone who tries (and fails…) to minimise hoarding unnecessary gear I appreciate the versatility. Bottom line, I highly recommend this pack.
Mitch was provided the Osprey Mutant 22 for review purposes and got to keep it. The views are entirely his own.