REVIEW: Osprey Mutant 38 Pack

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Osprey Mutant 38 montage, 3 kbIt's light, comfy and well featured - but why did this superb climber's pack have to be dark coloured, asks Toby Archer?

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In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Hi Toby,

A climbing pack should be designed to work when actually climbing, otherwise it's just a pack.

Why does any climbing pack have a padded waistbelt, that interferes with harness? In the case of this one, wraps around back, allowing it to catch on other stuff, gear, etc!

The colour is also not user friendly and it weighs too much. Less is more.....


 Basemetal 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Absolutely agree on the colour comments. I scored a Mutant 38 for £55 in a sale, yet assessing it seriously I returned it on the basis of shoulder strap comfort and colour. Black simply makes sacks difficult to work with - regardless of other virtues. Manufacturers please take note. In the end I went with a white Lowe Alpine Ascent Superlight. A much fewer featured sack, but all useable.

Post edited at 23:04
In reply to Basemetal:

Interesting, i've found it carries rather well. What didn't work with the shoulder straps for you?

 Basemetal 20 Oct 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I found the width of the shoulder straps over my shoulder a bit intrusive and restrictive for me between deltoid and collar bone. ( I'm 6', 42" chest). I found the same with the straps on a Blue Ice Warthog 40 - they cut the circulation to my arms a bit. I get on better with narrower, less padded straps like the LA Superlight, or older less cushioned designs. Even the latter LA Mountain/Alpine Attack models where the foam extends round the inner edge of the strap put me off. My ideal would probably be the double stranded thin strap system of the Cilao packs ( tho I haven't tried them yet.)

 Welsh Kate 20 Oct 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Me too. I got one of these a few weeks ago to replace an original Mutant 38 which had been a collateral loss when my car got nicked. The original had handled 7 years of abuse in mountain rescue and I was devastated not just by the the loss of the sack and its contents, but that I wouldn't get a replacement exactly the same. Good news is that I already love this version of the Mutant, it fits me extremely well (but that's like boots, isn't it - an element of pot luck re: body shape and sack design). What I haven't had to deal with yet is fiddling with the straps in cr@p conditions - it'll be interesting to see if I agree with the criticisms that have been made regarding lack of contrast in colours.

In reply to Welsh Kate:

I was packing the pack late last night - originally I was going to get up early and go over to Snowdonia early to do some scrambling and bivvy somewhere high, but the forecast was just a bit to miserable in the end for me to face the drive and a really early start. I'll do something more local this afternoon! Anyway, even without direct light on the pack I was again thinking it was annoying trying to find the right buckles but it was a definitely a 'thing' last winter in low light and bad weather. Otherwise it's a good pack. Did you get the black or the more blue-ish colour Kate? If you are an MRT member it will be interesting whether you find it annoying too when out at night and so one. The thought just occurred to me I could try painting the fastex buckles white or something. Might look odd but could help...

I noted that Raf who writes the Alpine Start blog and gear review website (who I should credit with the idea for the helmet carrier hack too - thanks Raf) also completely independently of me notes that he hates the colour too, and he tested the blue/orange combo so maybe the other colour isn't that different!

In reply to Stuart the postie:

Hi Stuart - sorry, I didn't reply earlier. It's a fair point. I suppose not everyone who buys a pack like this is doing super technical climbing like you - and me on my better days - so might be fine with a waist belt over their harness if the waist belt has usable gear loops on it.

Also, I don't mind a bit of padding when lugging a heavy bag up to where I'm climbing full of kit, but agree, either removable padding or a removable belt entirely would be better.

Having said that I don't actually remember the belt when back around the pack causing me any problems at all.


 Welsh Kate 20 Oct 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Toby, I've got the blue / orange colour - the black was just too monocoloured, plus our rope bags are black and it'd just get confusing in kit piles. The orange back panel actually stands out really well.

I'll definitely be aware of that contrast issue, and if it does happen I'll think about paint or a tiny patch of luminous tape or something like that.

 Basemetal 27 Oct 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Just realised and should clarify... I was speaking about the shoulder straps on the last model Mutant 38, not the new one you've reviewed. (It was black though, with blue tension straps.) The photos suggest the new model's straps are slimmer?

In reply to Basemetal:

Oh right! Never tried the older models so can't compare. I see why it was so cheap now. Yeah, the shoulder straps on the new model are pretty good I think, but I suppose we all have different shaped shoulders so hard to say what fits who.

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