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Description

A backpack for winter and alpine environments.

Osprey developed the Variant 37 Backpack with features any winter climber will appreciate. With crampon and wand pockets, ice tool holsters, and a three-point haul system, this pack begs to climb frozen waterfalls and glacier-covered peaks. The Opsrey Variant has a removable frame sheet and hip-belt for easier climbing or when you want to reduce overall weight. A removable top pocket with spindrift collar lets you streamline still further for missions that gram-ditching zeal.

  • Removable HDPE frame sheet provides lightweight rigidity to help transfer the load to your hips
  • Thermoformed contoured backpanel provides cushioning and is shaped to better encourage air flow
  • Contoured hip-belt curves around and pads your hips to ensure your load rests where it should; reverse-wrap ErgoPull closure makes cinching down belt easy
  • Padded shoulder straps ergonomically shaped for chafe-free performance and pressure-reducing comfort
  • Removable top lid lets you ditch extra weight for summit bids and fast-packing
  • Unique side compression straps are low-profile and let you adjust the pack's volume to fit different load sizes
  • Glove-friendly buckles improve ease of use
  • Under-lid rope compression strap holds your rope in place during mellow pitches or bootpacks
  • Dual ice-tool loops and keep your vertical gear on lockdown until it's needed
  • Dual ski loops hug your planks while you earn your turns; dedicated probe pocket keeps Ol' Probey ready for action
  • Crampon compression pocket tames your claws when they're not in use
  • Climbing loops on waistbelt provide more room for your rack
  • Reflective detailing helps keep you visible in low-light situations
  • Optimal for 25-35 pounds of gear

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Osprey Packs Variant 37 Backpack - 2100-2400cu in

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4 5

Friends and Osprey Never Let You Down

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Ok, so sometimes a friend may let you down, but hopefully not purposely. The Osprey packs have never failed to let me down and they still are on the same path with the Variant. I guided a friend into purchasing this pack and he's totally amp'd about it. He's also allowed, or should I say I begged, to test it out on a few crags and hikes.

*Fit & Color*
He got the Diablo Red and in a size medium and may allow it become notably dirtier before black. It will be a bit cramped for his size if he chooses to use it during the winter months with heavier layers beneath the shoulder harness (6' 180 lbs.) but he felt more comfortable with this size.

*Performance*
The streamlined and lightweightness of this pack should make it a great backcountry ski pack. It has all the bells and whistles including dual ice axe/tool loops along with two gear loops on the hip belt and also includes a rope system at the top. It was stated that it doesn't have a dedicated shovel pocket, but I found that the crampon and/or gear pouch can also accommodate a moderate size avy shovel. Having the ability to remove the lid is great for smaller loads and the Flapjacket closure will keep out H2O from soaking your gear.

I wasn't able to, or I should say, I didn't hammer on it in the crags hard so I'm unable to give a honest review of the durability, but feel the 420 d nylon and 310 d cordura will suffice for some years of use. You'll be glad to know that Osprey has a great warranty department.

"Osprey will repair any damage or defect in our product for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer"

Summary:
I feel this will be my next backcountry ski pack after having tried it out. With all other Osprey packs I've owned or tested, they've never let me down and believe they're one of the top Cadillac models of weekend/backcountry packs.

The photo is my friend Thomas, a Bob Marley lover, in the Wasatch Mountains.

Friends and Osprey Never Let You Down
Ski Mountaineering pack comparison

Ski Mountaineering pack comparison

Top Osprey Variant 37 and Arc'teryx Khamski 48
Bottom Cilogear 30:30 and Black Diamond Anarchist

Why the variant over the mutant 38L - both seem equally capable for alpine mountaineering and big multiday backcountry tours - is there an advantage of one over the other

Responded on

Hey Joshua,

Feel free to shoot me a call or e-mail and I'd love to run down all the differences with you.

Ben

801-746-7564
brabinowitz@backcountry.com

Even tripods

Even tripods

Yes, even a tripod fits on this beast with two pairs of poles, a pair of skis, and a full day worth of touring lunch and layers.

Travel worthy

Travel worthy

On a recent trip to England, I took my Variant as my carry on. Typically, packs with real hip belts are a hassle to stuff in an overhead bin. Two buckles and the velcro later, the Variant's belt is off and easily stowed in the bottom of the pack, keeping it out of the way for all the airport hustling.

The crampon/shovel blade pocket does a nice job of catching a laptop sleeve, making trips through security a breeze.

Side ski carry.

Side ski carry.

For doing quick boot packs, I find a full A-frame to be a bit excessive. While experimenting with this, I found that the Variant has a great way to slap them on the side.

With the leashes connected to each other, I slid one ski through the dedicated ski strap on the bottom. Then, the upper compression strap goes beneath the binding, thus holding the skis together and cinching them tight. Even better, the frame sheet and hip belt are supportive enough to make it comfy carrying the unbalanced load.

First turns of the season

First turns of the season

This is exactly the kind of thing I want my pack to be able to do: carry a day's worth of gear plus skis and boots. Approach, transition, ski, transition, walk out. The Variant has been phenomenal for this.

"You going to paddle an iceberg?"

"You going to paddle an iceberg?"

"No, I've got my pack raft in here."

Afternoon trip into Iceberg Lake to laze around on my pack raft.

5 5

A bag that hugs back

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

As you get steadily weirder on the edges of the bell curve, the gear needed to satiate those bizarre visions seems to get a lot scarcer. I've realized that I want a daypack that carries glacier travel gear, can work for ski touring, and can actually handle a bit of weight when fully loaded for a day or two with bivis. Also, it needs to be able to crunch down after stashing camping gear, because I don't a second, smaller, and lighter pack for more minimal days. Such are the strange demands I held coming into this pack.

For reference, I come to the Variant 37 from the Gregory Alpinisto 35, which I've reviewed on that page. Though a good bag, my main complaint was that it didn't handle the weight associated with full trad racks and overnight supplies.

I'm at the edge of the Medium/Large divide, but some advice from a local pack fitter suggested the Large to accommodate my larger chest.

The first thing I noticed about the carry is how connected it feels. There are very few gap spots. Padding in places where it's necessary, and tapered elsewhere. The hip belt is wide enough to cup over the top of my hips and down the sides, making for a really comfortable carry--such a huge improvement over the narrow, barely there belt on the Alpinisto.

In a Large, the internal volume stacks to 40L. The lid is floating and removable, which makes it totally doable for overnights. Thankfully, the low volume day trips I took in on were simple--cinch the compression straps, and the whole thing narrows nicely. Remove the lid, and the flapjack closure still has a little mesh pocket for keys and such.

The crampon pouch is nicely multipurpose--easily fits a big water bottle or layer or my avie shovel blade, solving the issue of quick access while skinning. Every pack needs this sort of pocket.

I've spent a few months dragging the pack around through mud, snow, and overhead bins. It still looks brand new, nothing has yet to malfunction, and I'm totally impressed.