Whether you are new or a pro at mountaineering, this ultimate resource to mountaineering backpacks can be of great use. For those that are new to this sport, a mountaineering backpack is created to be used for mountain climbing specifically. With this being said, the mountaineering backpack should be smaller than a regular backpack and more lean than the type of backpack you would use for day hike. The pack should be able to carry heavier amounts without the added strain on your body. They should also be able to convert into a day pack to have only the bare essentials that you require and not get in your way and impede your movement in anyway.
As with many items in life, the purchase and choice of a mountaineering backpack is a personal one. It must be a pack that you can live with and be comfortable with. It should also depend on what type of rock or mountains you are mainly going to be climbing. Knowing what type of mountaineering you may do will be very beneficial in finding the right mountaineering backpack for you. Those who are planning to climbing a mountain not covered in ice may want a pack that isn’t fully functional with the attached ice tool. Focus more on the durability and comfort of the pack for these types of climbs. If you are planning on climbing icy snow capped mountains, you will be needing that ice tool attachment as well as making sure that your pack is completely waterproof. Climbers that usually mountaineer on icy mountains or such should go for the lightest weight pack you can find. It is also a great option to get one that is resistant to abrasions.
If you are the type of climber that has a base camp, then tend to do merely day climbs and return, you may want to use a big backpack to get everything you require to your camp and then have a smaller mountaineering backpack for your climbs. Keep in mind that this method means you will be carrying the least amount of stuff on you and a lot of your extra gear will be back at camp. If you prefer to have all your gear for those “just in case” scenarios, this method is probably not the one for you. Utilizing this method is a back saver if you can do with the bare essentials during your day climbs though. Keep in mind that trying this method can be useful as if you like it, you will be able to carry less weight and move with more agility and less weight holding you back as you do your climbs. Your smaller mountaineering backpack will most likely weigh around three to five pounds. This is a big difference to carrying all your gear in a bigger mountaineering backpack each day.
Please keep in mind that my selections of mountaineering backpacks is geared primarily towards individuals that are climbing mountain ranges in the United States and Canada. It can also be used for different areas with the same types of climates and ranges around the world but is not meant for the terrain of harsher mountains around the world. These packs are made for a certain type of terrain and the type of terrain that you are climbing greatly changes the type of gear and the application of your mountaineering backpack. It is always in your best interest to calculate your length and type of route ahead of time so that you have the right mountaineering backpack as well as the right amount of gear for the climb you are planning on doing.
You will find that every mountaineering backpack is scored numerically based on certain criteria. You will find each information differs on each mountaineering backpack you look at. A little research will show you why they scored the way they did and some even give legitimate product reviews. These can be most helpful.
It is very important how much the mountaineering backpack weighs on its own. The more light weight your pack is, the easier you will be able to climb your mountain/rock. The more weight you carry on you, requires more energy from you. This can make each move you make much more difficult. Making sure you have the right weight to volume ratio is essential for the best mountaineering experience you can have.
Here is a little tip that can be difficult... Every manufacturer of a mountaineering backpack has a differing method of calculating the exact volume of their pack. This can make it more difficult to find the right pack for you. A lot of pack claim the same “volume”, however, they tend to not seem as strong and durable as the other one. This tells me that one pack could very well be able to carry more weight than another one that claims the same volume.
I highly suggest shopping around for a mountaineering backpack and getting a true feel for the pack prior to just ordering online - sight unseen. What is great for one person may not be the best for someone else. As I mentioned, it is a personalized choice as we all vary in our gear, size, and the amount we can carry and still feel comfortable.