For extreme winter assaults, fresh lines, and good times in the cold.

The three-point haul system of the Osprey Variant 52 Backcpack makes lugging your stuff up a wall, mountain, or glacier way easy. The big volume and convenient pocketry of this winter pack make your gear easy to access, and the removable hip-belt and frame sheet shed weight when you need to go light. Stash your crampons, ice tools, or probe in their own dedicated locales for quick gettin' and puttin' away. A water-resistant zippered front pocket keeps maps dry, and dual ski loops carry your sticks with ease.
  • Removable HDPE frame sheet provides lightweight rigidity and pairs with aluminum tubing 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
  • Water-resistant front pocket protects your map from flying snow
  • Reflective detailing helps keep you visible in low-light situations
  • Optimal for 35-50 pounds of gear

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Osprey Packs Variant 52 Backpack - 3000-3400cu in

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Here's what others have to say...

Skiing the Sliver Couloir w Variant Pack

Grand Teton National Park, WY

5 5

Best all-around pack I've used

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Variant 52 is nearly perfect. I've beat this thing up pretty well with crampons, ice tools, mountaineering tools, skis, and lots of rock gear. If you're into shedding weight you can take out the back lining and replace it with a very light sleeping pad. The hipbelt and brain come off to create a combined daypack if needed. It carries heavy weight impressively well. Haul straps are well-positioned. The whole pack is very adjustable.
Like other reviewers mentioned, the side pockets are oddly short. I assume this is to accommodate nalgene removal without taking the pack off, but if I'm climbing I biner all bottles anyway.

Osprey in the Arctic

Osprey in the Arctic

SUP-to-Ski in Svalbard, Norway with Osprey Variant 52. Photo Credit: Gabe Rogel/Ice Axe/BoardWorks Surf

Responded on

How did you get it to hold your skis well? Is it stable?

Responded on

Hey Gravity Slave,

This Ospray pack comes equipped with straps dedicated to supporting your skis either diagonally as Kim has hers situated or in an A-frame shape. It is stable, though you should definitely consider securing your tips with a Voile strap if you opt for the A-frame method (my favorite --as it seems to weight more equally than the diagonal method).

My best pack ever

My best pack ever

Got my Variant this spring and here it is packed with everything for a 4 day hike in Hornstrandir, Iceland, tent and all. Great design and fits everything nicely (although tightly)! Can't wait to see how it performs this winter!

5 5

Awesome everywhere overnight pack

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When an objective calls for a comfortable overnight, this is my go-to. Not quite as waterproof as the seam sealed arcteryxs so my stuff has gotten wet in NW rain/snow mix, but where its just snow or spring corn everything stays dry. Easy to pack in 4-5 days of stuff for backpacking, skiing, or anything in between. Lasted well so far and fit is spot on medium 5' 10" 145.
I do wish it was a bit more streamlined, but then I just bring a smaller pack and live less comfortably in camp.

5 5

Perfect Transporter for Climbing gear

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

After using this pack this past spring and summer for climbing pursuits, I have found that this pack works great in any condition. Although the pack is meant to specialize in ski mountaineering and alpine climbing, I would argue that this is the pack that gets it done for any activity because of its size and storage systems. Hoping to use this up on Mt. Rainier, Adams, and Hood this upcoming Spring/Summer for ski touring and ascents.

5 5

Ski Pack

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used this pack for the entire ski season however; I truly put it to the test this past weekend in late June. I enjoyed a two day backpack ski trip into the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. I had to pack my skis for close to a mile just to reach the snowline. The pack handled the weight extremely well. Total weight of the loaded pack with skis - 55 lbs. Make sure to tie you ski brakes into the closed position (like when your boot is locked into the binding). This will keep the ends of the brakes from rubbing against the sides of the pack. The best feature of this pack is the ability to compress the bag for tiny loads. Once I'd set up my base camp, I was able to pack it with just the essentials and ski the couloirs above Moraine Lake. By the way, when I bought it in December I wondered why a ski pack would have a hydration bladder sleeve? I really needed it while skiing in 60+ degree weather! Great pack!

Ski Pack
5 5

Doesn't get much better.

I'm not sure where to start. All I can say is, it's the best pack I've ever owned. It just works. You know how some of the gadgets and things in your life "just work" and you can make little customizations to them that make them truly unique to you. It's like putting on your favorite pair of pants or shoes. This pack has everything I need when I need it. Nothing I don't when I don't need it.
If you're on the lookout for a pack that can literally handle any situation you want to throw at it (outside of maybe an expedition), look no further. Get this pack.

5 5

Variant 52 Review

I have only had a chance to use this pack a couple times since receiving it, so durability is still a wait-and-see. As far as utility goes, it's an amazing pack. It fit my sleeping bag, air mattress and 3+ season tent well with room for the extra stuff. It's a little snug to fit in all the overnight gear, so the length of your trip might be limited to a few nights. If you're using this for mountaineering and splitboarding like myself, that's a good thing so that you don't end up with too much weight. The profile is awesome and it is comfortable. Will also work for backpacking in the summer, but you may want a partner with a little bigger pack to help carry some stuff, not much though. Highly recommend for people looking for a multi use pack.

On the top of the lid there are four loops,...

On the top of the lid there are four loops, what are these for?

Best Answer Responded on

They're anchor points for lashing light, oversized items like sleeping pads and tents.

2 5

Variant 52 Pack

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

I have the Variant 28 and love it. I use it for everything. So I bought the Variant 52 when my overnight bag blew out its shoulder strap. Unfortunately I sold it after 5 days of use. I found it does not fit me particularly well. I think I am between sizes and was left with a pack that never quite sat on my hips so my shoulders took a beating. It is a nice design and has some cool features (though a bit heavy) but it did not work for me. Try it on first!

Responded on

Hey Eric, I had the same problem and just exchanged the hipbelt to a smaller size. The medium belt fits good.

Osprey 52

Osprey 52

Alexis descending the steep N Face of Wedge Mountain with his Osprey Variant 52.

5 5

Do it all pack

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

I have had this pack for a few years now and it is my do it all backpack. I use it for ski touring in the winter, lugging climbing gear around in the summer and also use it on backpacking trips. The outer crampon pocket is very useful and easy to access. The best thing about this pack is that it doesn't feel big and bulky when you only have a few things in it unlike other backpacking backpacks. The ski carry straps are also super burly and will fit pretty big skis.

Do it all pack
The Variant in the Alta, UT backcountry

The Variant in the Alta, UT backcountry

March 2012 photo: Tommy Chandler/

Variant 52 on the Grand Traverse, Tetons

Variant 52 on the Grand Traverse, Tetons

Travis McAlpine rocking the Variant 52 on the last half of the Grand Traverse in Grand Teton National Park August 2012

4 5

A solid alpine pack

It's a solid alpine pack equipped with all needed features.

* comfortable backpanel and suspension
* comfortable hip-belt tightening system
* convenient gear loops on hip-belt
* convenient crampon pocket
* nice gloves friendly buckles
* easy to adjust floating top lid with roomy pocket
* light for size
* easy to use solid ice tools mounts

* no dedicated ice screws holder mount (really not a big deal)
* does not climb itself (ha-ha)