/ Best rucksack for climbing and camping

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Imedio - on 12 Sep 2018

Hey everyone, so I need a pack for day or short multi day trips which will include sport/trad climbing and camping. Specialist crag packs really don’t seem the best choice as the suspension systems aren’t really designed for long distance hikes. 

Question is what do you use? Reasons for and against other systems?

tom_in_edinburgh - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

Lowe Alpine Attack.   It's designed for climbing but also good for backpacking.   You can fit a two person tent under the rope strap.   It doesn't have the convenience features of backpacking rucksacks but it makes up for that by being really light and holding a lot.

What wouldn't work is backpacking and climbing on the same trip.  No way there'd be room for camping and climbing gear.

HeMa on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

Any of the bigger alpine climbing rucksacks should work... or expedition ones.

That said, do you really need a climbing specific one to start with? You can prolly make any hiking model work (just fit eveything inside, in IKEA bags), bar perhaps ice tools... but most hiking rucksack have more than enough straps to fasten them outside.

ben b - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

Can't really get a feel for your intended usage. Multiday self propelled climbing trips with a tent as "base camp" or moving on each day i.e. do you feel happy to carry "too much" for half a day either end and travel light otherwise? 

Pretty much any midrange trekking pack should work, more cost gets you more out of the light/strong/large/comfy axis (choose any two to three). 

I'm assuming good weather and light tents, sleeping bags etc but with at least one rope and a trad rack, multiway food etc it will fill up the pack fast. 


GarethSL on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

You could get something in the larger size alpine packs say 45-55l which will be featured and probably big enough for multi day gear with a lightweight rack and rope. You would need to be seriously smart with packing technique though. As others have said, the moment you include an overnight stay, bags will fill very quickly, with the exception of bivvying or by having super lightweight gear.

Also, unless its a bag that can be stripped down significantly and compressible, I would imagine it would be a pain to climb with if you plan to do anything multi-pitch.

I would suggest you get a decent sized trekking bag that is comfortable with heavy loads. You can load up it up with the necessary gear, without being too conservative and then throw in a lightweight daysack. That way you are not limited by how much you can carry and can mooch off on your adventures with a dedicated climbing bag that is suited for purpose, whilst leaving the rest of your gear at base. If you plan to relocate your camp, then its just to pack everything back into your trekking bag and off you go in relative comfort. If you're only doing a daytrip then you just take the daybag.

I use the Cierzo 28 or Alpha FL 45 depending on season, when doing weekend long trips that also include (normally multi-pitch) climbing. They weigh next to nothing, take up almost no space in the pack and add a massive amount of flexibility.

Dom Connaway - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

OMM. Bought mine in 07 and it's been my only pack ever since. Regularly overloaded for camping; big days on 4000ers; many Munro's. Even use it for the Sainsbury's run. And hill running too.

Superb quality and fits likes dream. The range has changed a bit but a Classic would do you. 

Imedio - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to ben b:

Yes so like you say. Weekends or more spent moving between locations, hiking and climbing. I am conscious of weight although have never had any issues in the past with my set up. 

A major issue is most packs now are made to be light much to the expense of durability. Most good packs are made with something like 210 rip stop which I fear just isn’t going to stand up to the beating.

does anyone have any issues with Osprey packs and a short life span with this kind of use? Which is most comfortable and durable? Weight isn’t an issue for the pack

And no, no intention to do multi pitch with it and if I did I have a compact pack to take up with me for that.

Post edited at 08:21
In reply to Imedio:

It sounds like you're after a trekking pack rather than a larger alpine pack? If so, we reviewed 14 larger packs in 2017, and I'm sure one or other of those would fit the bill:


RX-78 on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Second the lowe alpine recommendation. After lots of researching rucksack we settled on the lowe alpine range.  Very comfortable, light, expandable, reasonably priced and easy to get..

tlouth7 on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Imedio:

I have a (fairly old) Deuter Aircontact Lite 45+10

This is a bit big for single day multipitch, but with lots of compression straps can be shrunk effectively. Great for hiking (comfy waistband, adjustable back length), fantastic for Scottish winter (the large separate base pocket keeps extra clothes away from climbing junk).

I even used it for alpine climbing, though it was a bit tight with axes, crampons, lightweight rack, rope, bivvy gear, stove and food for two days. Haven't done multi-day UK wild camp climbing with it, but wouldn't hesitate to do so (either bivvy or super lightweight tent).

It's just a great size, and has lots of pockets/straps while still being lightweight and not bulky. Might not suit someone who prefers the currently fashionable minimalist sack. As a bonus it is just about small enough to take as hand luggage on flights.

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