Best Climbing Packs: The Top 9 of 2019

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I took 9 of one of the best climbing packs into the mountains to battle it out on the cliffside. I got here away impressed—I’d be joyful owning most of these luggage. However it’s the Patagonia Linked that I’m happiest to make use of.

The Petzl Bug rivals the Linked for usability and luxury, and the REI Flash 18 is a wonderful price range various. The two bigger packs (Patagonia Ascensionist and Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30) are good decisions for longer outings. In case your principal vacation spot is the health club, the Black Diamond Health club 30 does the trick.

Having choices is an effective thing, as a result of the uses for climbing packs are many. A pack will get gear to and from the crag, but it might come on the climb as nicely, particularly on longer routes. Some of these packs can deal with different duties, from laptops to bike commutes.

Whether or not you’re headed to the fitness center or the high mountains, we now have you coated. Learn on for recommendations and details.

The 9 climbing packs we examined.

Patagonia Linked 18L Pack

The Patagonia Linked combines many of one of the best virtues of climbing packs. It’s sturdy, straightforward to use, and pleasant on the wall.

Don’t let the neon coloring and charming handles idiot you—this can be a burly pack. The body uses thick 940-denier Cordura nylon that barely confirmed any wear on the finish of testing. It’s the heaviest of the smaller packs, but not by a lot.

Above the drawstring closure are haul loops (that are useful for clipping to anchors) and a hook-closure compression strap. This latter is especially helpful as a rope-carrying strap.

The outdoors has a top-loading zip pocket for topos and snacks. Inside, the hydration pouch has a clip to keep bladders oriented.

The solely ergonomic draw back is the hydration port, which felt small. The Linked doesn’t deal with laptops notably nicely, nevertheless it’s a fairly flexible around-town service.

The Linked's narrow hydration port.

Each Patagonia packs had slender hydration ports.

The suspension is one other spotlight. The shoulder straps have just the correct quantity of padding, and the Linked was among the many most snug packs for both mountaineering and climbing.

The largest knock is the worth. At $99 for an 18-liter climbing pack, the Linked is the costliest per liter of any pack in the check. The REI Flash is less than half the worth.

All the identical, the standard of the Linked is tough to disclaim. If you need a multipitch pack that checks all the bins and is built to final, the Linked gained’t disappoint.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $99
  • Capability: 18 liters
  • Weight: 19.7 oz
  • Essential Closure: Drawstring

Honorable Mention: Petzl Bug

Petzl Bug

The Bug is a likable pack, nearing the efficiency of the Linked at a more approachable worth.

The Bug’s rectangular shape makes use of a sturdy foam again panel, which offers extra structure than any of the other small packs. Combined with the padded straps, it’s an exceptionally snug carry—the most effective of the small climbing packs in our check.

A compression strap over the top is joined by two compression buckles on the aspect, which collectively type a superb rope-carrying system. A smaller zip pocket and a daisy chain on the front complete the function set.

The Bug is the only small pack that would handle a 15-inch laptop computer, which fit completely. In case you like your climbing pack to deal with everyday duties, this can be a good selection.

Though the Bug makes use of thicker material alongside the bottom and sides, the majority of the body uses thinner material than the Linked or Bullet. That helps hold weight low, however it might reduce durability. I didn’t notice any points, but when you’re the sort that often scrapes up chimneys, take notice.

At an MSRP of $69.95 (we’ve ceaselessly seen it on sale for less), the Bug occupies a middle floor between the premium Linked and the budget-minded Flash. For a cushty and versatile carry, it’s value a look.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $69.95
  • Capability: 18 liters
  • Weight: 18.5 oz
  • Essential Closure: Zip

Patagonia Ascensionist 30L Climbing Pack

In the event you’re tackling a remote wall or an alpine bivy, you might end up needing of a pack that can fit extra gear but still climbs nicely. Enter the Ascensionist.

This pack simply swallowed a full rack and supplies for a day, and the hook-closure mind works like a appeal to safe a rope. On the surface are two daisy chains and multiple options for securing ice or mountaineering axes.

The straps are generously padded, but the body stays slender. That signifies that the Ascensionist is a cushty carry but remains cellular on the wall.

The Ascensionist does have its limitations. The drawstring closure is built instantly into the physique, which leaves little room for overflow on the prime.

Like the Linked, it has a slender hydration port. The Ascensionist doesn’t include any compression straps, although it does have loops on the aspect to add your personal.

The body is a relatively skinny 210-denier Cordura nylon. It held up positive over testing, nevertheless it’s noticeably less burly than the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler.

However that material keeps the Ascensionist to a svelte 23.6 oz, which isn’t much past the smaller multipitch climbing packs. For the load, the Ascensionist carries better than we might wish, and its modular design is properly suited to alpine use.

If 30 liters isn’t sufficient, Patagonia provides a 40-liter model. At $149 retail for the 30-liter measurement, the Ascensionist isn’t low cost. Nevertheless it’s the climbing pack we’d decide for the excessive mountains.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $149
  • Capacity: 30 liters
  • Weight: 23.6 oz
  • Fundamental Closure: Drawstring, Hook

The Ascensionist’s suspension strikes nicely and is definitely adjustable.

REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack

A beloved discount of a multipitch pack, the Flash punches far above its weight.

That weight shouldn’t be much to start with. At a tiny 9 oz, the Flash is the lightest climbing pack in this check. It nonetheless manages a useful 18-liter capability with a forgiving drawstring closure on the prime.

For the load, it’s extra capable than you’d assume. The front has a daisy chain with an ice axe attachment together with a clean zippered pocket.

A removable foam pad supplies some construction. An internal pouch handles hydration, with a small velcro loop to keep bladders oriented.

The compromises start to show in the suspension. The skinny foam shoulder straps are breathable, however they’re not as snug as other options. That goes double underneath heavy masses or on lengthy days.

The body’s ripstop nylon is mild but skinny. Should you’re prudent it should final nicely (I used a previous-gen Flash for years), nevertheless it gained’t hold as much as abuse just like the Linked or the Bullet.

A climber climbing with the REI Co-op Flash 18 climbing pack

An alpine lead with my previous-generation Flash, which I climbed with for years. The current-generation Flash is our prime price range climbing pack.

Underneath mild or medium masses (that are the norm for multipitch climbing), the Flash is all many climbers will need. It climbs nicely, packs properly, and has the essential options.

All that comes with an equally lightweight worth—at $39.95 (earlier than dividends and gross sales), the Flash is a steal.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $39.95
  • Capability: 18 liters
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Essential Closure: Drawstring

Full evaluate (earlier era): REI Co-op Flash 18

Black Diamond Gym 30

The calls for on a fitness center climbing bag are typically easier than mountain-bound packs. All a very good fitness center bag needs to do is maintain gear and make transport straightforward.

The BD Health club 30 is greatest for this. Its extensive maw swallows a climbing rope and multiple pairs of fitness center climbing footwear while the drawstring and hook closures permit quick entry. An internal flap and an outer zip pocket assist maintain issues organized. Round city, it’s wonderful.

The MSRP on the Health club 30 is $49.95, which is round $20 steeper than the Metolius Health club Bag. I’d still somewhat have the Black Diamond—it’s easier to pack, simpler to use, and it holds extra gear.

In a fitness center pack, I search for toss-ability: straightforward to toss gear inside, and I’m not fearful about tossing the pack round. In each areas, the Health club 30 excels.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $49.95
  • Capacity: 30 liters
  • Weight: 24 oz
  • Major Closure: Drawstring, Hook

Critiques of the four Different Climbing Packs We Examined

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry Waterproof Backpack

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry Waterproof Backpack

The Scrambler’s essential advantage is true there in the identify—it’s waterproof. With the drawstring drawn and the brain latched, gear inside stays excessive and dry.

That’s a considerable advantage, and the Scrambler follows up with a superb suspension system and useful options.

The drawstring liner permits some wiggle room for overstuffing, and the pack handles masses nicely. Compression straps make management straightforward, and the edges also have a couple gear loops.

The Scrambler even climbs properly. It’s a hair clunkier than the Ascensionist, however it’s not disagreeable. The many attachment choices make it an excellent companion for a follower.

The largest compromise is weight. At 27 ounces, the Scrambler is the heaviest climbing pack in our check, and the majority is noticeable over the lighter packs.

For the load, the Scrambler doesn’t present rather more versatility—aside from the massive important pouch, it has only a hydration pouch and the zip pocket within the brain.

On its waterproofing alone, the Scrambler is value a look for many who inhabit snowy or wet environments. Even when that’s just insurance coverage, the pack is a robust contender for longer journeys. Plus, it checks in round $20 cheaper than the Ascensionist.

Mountain Hardwear is phasing out this era, replacing it with 25- and 35-liter capacities (together with a new line of dedicated multipitch packs). The new era has sprouted haul loops but grown heavier—we’ll report back if we get our palms on one.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $130
  • Capacity: 30 liters
  • Weight: 27 oz
  • Fundamental Closure: Drawstring, Hook
The Scrambler's compression straps and gear loops.

Compression straps and kit loops assist hold gear beneath control.

Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack

Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack

The Black Diamond Bullet 16 has an extended legacy in the multipitch world. While it still shines in sturdiness, it fell brief in other areas.

The Bullet’s spectacular 1260-denier ballistic nylon feels unlikely to ever give out. Should you’re arduous in your gear, look no additional.

But that same material puts the Bullet at almost the load of the Bug and the Linked with 2 liters less capability. Two principal zip pockets don’t permit much flexibility, and the Bullet presents nothing to secure hydration.

Though the Bullet’s small frame stays out of the best way whereas climbing, the shoulder straps are much less snug than the other multipitch packs. They’ve firm edges and are positioned extensive, favoring wider frames.

If durability is at the prime of your listing of wants, then the Bullet deserves a spot on the listing. Otherwise, our award winners supply more consolation and capability in a multipitch climbing pack.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $59.95
  • Capability: 16 liters
  • Weight: 18 oz
  • Major Closure: Zip

Enterprise Pal Light-weight Packable Daypack

Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Daypack

As the finances dark horse of this check, the Venture Pal pack held up higher than I anticipated.

Made of a light-weight nylon material, the Enterprise Pal is extra of a daypack than a dedicated climbing pack. All the identical, it climbs fairly nicely and has a big capability. It also packs down into its personal pocket, which is a nifty trick.

However the Venture Pal doesn’t include any foam or again structure, which suggests careful packing is important for a very good carry. It has no hydration port or hip belt.

These drawbacks stored the Venture Pal from an award. With slightly work, this pack might go the space—install some foam and reduce a hydration port and this pack might be a satisfactory multipitch choice.

We often see it out there on Amazon for round $20, which makes it extraordinarily budget-friendly. But, when you’d like a pack that’s able to exit of the box, we’d advocate springing the extra bucks for an REI Flash.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: N/A
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Weight: 11.2 oz
  • Major Closure: Zip

Metolius Health club Bag

Metolius Gym Bag

The Metolius Health club Bag is straightforward and dependable, however that’s about all I can say in its favor.

The bag is actually an enormous zip pouch with a smaller zip pocket on one aspect. It doesn’t appear to suit the advertised 28 liters, filling up shortly after a chalk bucket and a pair of footwear.

The zipper is the one closure, and it’s finicky. The single carry strap isn’t dangerous, nevertheless it’s not notably snug. The Black Diamond Health club 30 is rather more satisfying.

The only real benefit of the Metolius is its worth of $29.95. Nicely, that, and the wild neck tattoo of the model on Metolius’s product page.

Product Specs

  • MSRP: $29.95
  • Capability: 28 liters
  • Weight: 15 oz
  • Principal Closure: Zip
Pushing the capacity of the Metolius Gym Bag.

The Metolius felt too limiting to be a very good health club climbing bag.


Listed here are the perfect climbing packs:

  • Patagonia Linked Pack 18L
  • Petzl Bug
  • Patagonia Ascensionist Climbing Pack 30L
  • Mountain Hardwear Scrambler Outdry 30 Waterproof Backpack
  • REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack
  • Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack
  • Black Diamond Fitness center 30
  • Enterprise Pal Lightweight Packable Daypack
  • Metolius Health club Bag

The right way to Select the Best Climbing Pack for Your Wants

Varieties of Climbing Packs

Climbing packs are designed for a spread of makes use of relying on the place you’re climbing (and the way lengthy you’re gone for).

Crag Packs are giant packs specifically designed for carrying gear to and from the cliff. Often in the 35-50 liter range, these packs prioritize carrying comfort and accessibility. For our recommendations, take a look at our information to the perfect crag packs.

Alpine Climbing Packs marry the carrying capability of crag packs with the climbing capability of multipitch packs. Usually within the 25-40 liter vary, alpine packs should carry gear nicely but be snug shifting over technical terrain.

Multipitch Climbing Packs are designed for use on multipitch climbs. As an alternative of clipping all provides to your climbing harness, a small pack (typically only for the follower) can hold layers, water, snacks, and topos. Multipitch packs fall within the 15-30 liter vary.

Fitness center Climbing Luggage are simple duffels that prioritize accessibility and ease of use round city and at the climbing fitness center.

Haul Luggage are designed for hauling up huge walls on multi-day ascents. Although they should have shoulder straps, haul luggage prioritize durability and capacity. They could be anyplace from 25-160 liters. We didn’t embrace any haul luggage on this check.


The largest differentiating factor among packs is capacity. Though we keep on with cubic inches elsewhere, America thankfully uses liters for pack volume.

Pack capability is an easy issue of how a lot gear it’s worthwhile to match. This varies by usage—a brief multipitch has totally different gear calls for than an extended alpine climb.


The two essential closure techniques on climbing packs are zippers and drawstrings. These could also be supplemented by a strap with a hook closure.

Zippers are faster and extra intuitive, but they depart much less flexibility on capability.

Drawstrings require more fussing to cinch and undo, but they open extensive and allow overflow to be cinched down.


The weight of a pack usually corresponds to measurement and material. The larger the capability and the extra durable the fabric, the heavier the pack. Buy in line with your priorities—should you abuse your gear, think about a cloth that can take the heat.

How We Tested

Finishing off a mantle with the Patagonia Ascensionist.

Ending off a mantle with the Patagonia Ascensionist.

Area Testing

Most of the assessment standards for packs are qualitative: carrying consolation, climbing comfort, usability, and durability.

To check these elements, I put all 9 packs by way of rigorous subject testing. I wore each pack on each an strategy and a multipitch climb to check carrying consolation in the horizontal and vertical.

I usually tried to test luggage in their space of meant use (fitness center luggage at the health club, and so forth.), however wherever potential, I pushed packs to see how nicely they performed in different situations. I attempted using numerous packs as fitness center luggage, crag packs, and even bike commuters.

Double-packing with the Patagonia Ascensionist and Linked.

Patagonia in all places.