16/10/2014 16:04:07

Words by tcsh

Product Review - Osprey Mutant 38 Pack

We’ve got Bryan, who works part-time for The Climbers Shop and who is also a qualified Mountaineering Instructor, Winter Mountain Leader and member of AMI (Association of Mountaineering Instructors), to review the new Osprey Mutant 38 pack for us. Working as a mountaineering Instructor, Bryan seemed like the ideal candidate to put the pack to it's first use. Here is his review: 

Having used one of the earliest versions of the Osprey Mutant 38 for over four years, I had a few ideas of what I would like to see improved on the new pack and what I would keep the same. So when I was given the opportunity to test the latest version, I was intrigued to see what Osprey had done.

My first impression was how light the new pack felt, in fact Osprey have managed to shave over 300 grams off the pack. But whilst doing this, they have also stiffened up the back system, which was a well needed improvement. So far, I have only used this pack on a 3 day hill-walking expedition in The Lake District whilst working on a Mountain Leader Assessment course. The pack was a perfect size (38 litres) for all my kit, including tent, sleeping bag, thermarest, stove food and clothing etc.. All this fitted comfortably with room to spare.

In terms of packing the bag, I felt that this was a much easier task when compared with the older version, due to the much improved back system, which is stiffer and retains it’s shape. This became a problem with the older version, as unless you packed the bag carefully, the back system tended to buckle and fold loosing it’s shape completely. This became a particular issue when topping out on a route in winter, when you just wanted to stuff your climbing kit in the bag and go quickly without any faffing around. Whilst out on the hill, I found the pack to be very comfortable and stable, with about 11kg of weight, even whilst doing some basic scrambling, which bodes well for winter climbing. Another noticeable improvement I experienced, was how much cooler my back remained compared with the older version despite the hot weather we had whilst on the hill.

The pack also compressed down well. When only carrying a few items whilst out night navigating, the lid was removed, and I used the new ‘flap jacket’ system, keeping my gear fully compressed. I have also noticed that the buckles have been changed on the pack, which will hopefully be an improvement on the old ones which I found regularly froze, but until I get this pack out in winter, I won’t be able to tell for sure.

So far, I'm really impressed with this pack, and think Osprey have done a good job with improving it’s functionality. I look forward to using it this winter, and will let you know what I think.

Bryan Wakeley

Osprey Mutant 38L pack out on use
Osprey Mutant 38L pack
Osprey Mutant 28L pack

Click to view the Osprey Mutant 38L and details on how to buy. Also available, is the Mutant 28L.