We climbers love our gear. So why not love the gear that carries your gear as well? Whether you’re out for a day of cragging with your friends or settling in for an afternoon bouldering session, you’ll need the perfect pack for transporting your beloved gear comfortably and efficiently. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which is the best climbing backpack for you?

Here at The Adventure Junkies we understand how game-changing the perfect backpack can be. In a sport like climbing the amount of gear you carry can be overwhelming and the approaches to the crag can be long and arduous. To help you out, we’ve assembled a list of the top backpacks climbers are raving about this year along with what to look for when making the right choice for you.

 

THE BEST CLIMBING BACKPACK – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Arc’teryx Alpha FL 30
  2. DMM Vector 45
  3. Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 Outdry
  4. Patagonia Cragsmith 35
  5. Black Diamond Stone 42 Duffel
  6. Organic Climbing Roll Down Pack
  7. Trango Crag Pack
  8. Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45
  9. Mammut Neon Gear 45
  10. Patagonia Crag Daddy 45

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST CLIMBING BACKPACK

PICTURE
BACKPACK
BEST USE
WEIGHT
VOLUME
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
BACKPACK
BEST USE
WEIGHT
VOLUME
PRICE
RATING
Arc'teryx Alpha FL 30
Overall
1.3 lbs
30 Liters
$$$
5
DMM Vector 45

Overall
2.7 lbs
45 Liters
$$
4.6
Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 Outdry
Overall
1.7 lbs
30 Liters
$$
4.4
Patagonia Cragsmith 35
Overall
2.3 lbs
35 Liters
$$
3.7
Black Diamond Stone 42 Duffel

Budget
2.4 lbs
42 Liters
$
5
Organic Climbing Roll Down Pack
Budget
1.2 lbs
32 Liters
$
5
Trango Crag Pack
Budget
3.5 lbs
48 Liters
$
4.5
Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45
Cragging
4.0 lbs
45 Liters
$$
4.8
Mammut Neon Gear 45
Cragging
3.2 lbs
45 Liters
$$
4
Patagonia Crag Daddy 45
Cragging
2.6 lbs
45 Liters
$$
3.9

 

 

CLIMBING BACKPACKS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST CLIMBING BACKPACK

 

1. MATERIAL

The climbing backpacks covered in this review are made of Nylon, Cordura Nylon, Rip-Stop Nylon, or Polyester. Each of these fabrics offers great durability to protect your gear and your pack whether you’re tackling gnarly approaches or tossing your pack around at the base of the cliff.

Some of the packs we’re recommending are also waterproof or DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treated. While waterproofing and water-resistance are a plus, remember that you will rarely be out climbing in the rain. An inexpensive rain cover might be all you need to keep you protected when that unexpected storm hits.

 

2. DURABILITY

Packing your climbing backpack for the day is not like packing for a day hike. If you’re heading out cragging, you’re likely to be filling your pack with a variety of oddly shaped metal objects like quickdraws and belay devices, and maybe some cams and nuts. It is important that your backpack is durable enough that you’re not at risk of wearing through it from the inside out.

Climbing approaches can also be gnarly. You won’t necessarily be following a well-defined trail and often scrambling is required. Greater durability means that your pack is more likely to stand up against rogue branches and brambles or rock abrasion.

Denier is essentially a measure of the thickness of fibers that make up a material. Fabrics with a higher denier rating are thicker and sturdier, whereas those with lower denier are more lightweight. As expected, higher denier materials tend to be more resistant to abrasion and less likely to tear. A higher denier fabric will give you greater durability but with the trade-off of a heavier weight.

 

3. CAPACITY

The size of pack you choose depends largely on the discipline of climbing you are engaged in and how much gear you might need to carry. If you need a climbing daypack to take on route with you, something in the 16-20 Liter range is sufficient to carry water, snacks, layers and a few other odds and ends. If you’re loading up to carry your gear to the cliff for a day of cragging, you’ll like want to consider a pack in the 30-50 Liter range.

Boulderers require the least amount of gear for climbing. In fact, many boulderers stuff their climbing shoes, chalk, snacks and water right inside their crashpads for the day and avoid using packs at all. If you are a boulderer looking to invest in a backpack, choose something simple and on the smaller side.

Sport climbers and trad climbers haul out substantially more gear. In addition to shoes and chalk, these climbers require a rope and a variety of safety gear. All this equipment is in addition to the typical things you need for a small hike like food, water, first aid kit, and extra layers.

 

4. WEIGHT

Weight is super important to climbers. Remember that the weight of your gear – especially your hardware – adds up quickly and is only a portion of what you’ll be bringing to the crag. It is important to find an appropriate pack to support all the weight you’re carrying.

Fortunately, many packs for climbers are designed with weight in mind, meaning they aren’t overly heavy to begin with. You are unlikely to notice much difference in weight from one pack to another, so choosing your backpack based on other features may be a good idea. Avoid skimping on quality for a lightweight pack that might not hold up.

 

5. SUPPORT

You want to be in tip top shape when you arrive at your climbing destination, not worn out and exhausted from a poorly supported heavy load. If you know you’ll be loading down your pack with quickdraws, a trad rack and a rope, ensure you have a backpack with support to make hauling your gear more comfortable.

We strongly recommend purchasing a climbing backpack with a sternum strap and waist belt to help you carry the load. Look for padded shoulder straps and if needed, a frame in the pack for additional support.

Climbing gear weighs a lot so don’t expect your pack to be light while you’re on route to the crag. To ease the stress on your body, make sure your pack is fit to your torso correctly.

 

climbing backpacks to have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/alexbrylov

 

CLIMBING BACKPACK REVIEWS

 

1. BEST OVERALL CLIMBING BACKPACKS

ARC’TERYX ALPHA FL 30

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Alpine adventures, fast and light approaches

WEIGHT: 1.3 lbs

VOLUME: 30 Litres

MATERIAL: Nylon rip-stop, polyester and elastane

PROS: Designed for climbers and skiers, minimalist design, highly weather resistant fabric and fully seam-sealed to enhance water-resistance, white interior to better find items inside, ultralight, can be used for actual climbing

CONS: Expensive, top pack access only, some issues with shock cord durability

 

 

 

DMM VECTOR 45

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Trad climbing, sport climbing

WEIGHT: 2.7 lbs

VOLUME: 45 Litres

MATERIAL: Lightweight exterior with ballistic nylon on base

PROS: Bright interior to better find items inside, exterior guidebook pockets and compression straps, breathable shoulder straps, two grab handles, comes with handy Racksack

CONS: Despite side stiffeners, pack still often falls over, can be awkward to load with single top opening

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR SCRAMBLER 30 OUTDRY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, hiking

WEIGHT: 1.7 lbs

VOLUME: 30 Litres

MATERIAL: Polyester

PROS: Super waterproof and weather-resistant, water bottle pockets on outside, exterior gear loops, rope strap and compression straps

CONS: Small, difficult to use side pockets when internal compartment is filled to capacity

 

 

 

PATAGONIA CRAGSMITH 35

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, hiking

WEIGHT: 12.3 lbs

VOLUME: 35 Litres

MATERIAL: 630-denier nylon with 940-denier nylon on base

PROS: Easy “clamshell” back-access, DWR-treated material, large guidebook pocket, exterior rope strap, comes in four sizes

CONS: Low support while carrying heavy loads, not quite large enough for all gear

 

 

 

 

2. BEST BUDGET CLIMBING BACKPACKS

BLACK DIAMOND STONE 42 DUFFEL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, trad climbing

WEIGHT: 2.4 lbs

VOLUME: 42 Litres

MATERIAL: 800-denier nylon with 1260-denier ballistic nylon on base

PROS: Full length zipper for easy gear access, throw handles, internal zippered pockets, removable rope tarp, lightweight and simple design

CONS: No external loops for extra gear

 

 

 

ORGANIC CLIMBING ROLL DOWN PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Organic Climbing USA

BEST FOR: Bouldering, gym climbing

WEIGHT: 1.2 lbs

VOLUME: 32 Litres

MATERIAL: 1050-denier ballistic nylon

PROS: Heavy duty fabric, two daisy chains on outside for clipping extra gear to, roll-down top to change capacity and meet the needs of climbers in any season, inside zip-pocket, made in USA, stylish

CONS: Reduced back support due to lack of frame

 

 

 

TRANGO CRAG PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, trad climbing

WEIGHT: 3.5 lbs

VOLUME: 48 Litres

MATERIAL: Nylon and Titan Wrap

PROS: Minimalist design, side access zipper, mesh shoe sack, removable mini-tarp, guidebook pocket, double exterior straps, very durable catch-all “gear bucket”

CONS: Some users reported discomfort on long approaches

 

 

 

 

3. BEST CLIMBING BACKPACKS FOR CRAGGING

BLACK DIAMOND PIPE DREAM 45

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sport climbing

WEIGHT: 4.0 lbs

VOLUME: 45 Litres

MATERIAL: 840-denier nylon with 1260-denier ballistic nylon on base

PROS: Three point closure system for easy access, padded shoulder straps and waist belt, pack turns into comfy hang-out spot for those 2-hour rests between redpoint burns

CONS: Heavy, in order to use pad for lounging all gear has to come out of pack

 

 

 

MAMMUT NEON GEAR 45

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, trad climbing

WEIGHT: 3.2 lbs

VOLUME: 45 Litres

MATERIAL: 300-denier polyester with 1680-denier nylon ballistic trim

PROS: U-shaped back zip for easy access, duffel-style straps, several climbing-specific features including rope tarp, chalk sack and guidebook pouch, 3D EVA foam back ventilation, rope attachment strap, DWR-treated exterior

CONS: No external loops for extra gear

 

 

 

PATAGONIA CRAG DADDY 45

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sport climbing, trad climbing

WEIGHT: 2.6 lbs

VOLUME: 45 Litres

MATERIAL: 630-denier nylon with a 940-denier Cordura ballistic nylon base

PROS: Full length zipper for easy quick access, internal zippered pockets, mesh water bottle pockets on outside, two large grab handles, DWR coating on all fabrics, available in two sizes

CONS: No external loops for extra gear

Top 10 Best Climbing Backpacks of 2017 – Best Rock Climbing Gear Articles – Climbing Products For Men and Women – Climbing Equipment Lists Posts

About The Author

Climbing Junkie

Kim is an all-around climbing addict. She’s been pulling down on rock and plastic for 12 years and has travelled all around North America to climb. Her favourite disciplines are sport climbing and bouldering, but you may find her plugging gear as well. When not away on climbing roadies with her husband, she is based just outside the granite wonderland of Squamish in British Columbia, Canada.

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