A Love Letter to My Osprey Variant

Chicks participant crossing a mountain stream wearing an Osprey Variant backpack

High ho, a climbing we will go. Stream crossing on a Chicks trip to Mount Hood @Karen Bockel

The one pack to rule them all.

Ok, I’ll admit it: I have about ten backpacks. They hang neatly on hooks in the garage. Or, I should say, the gearage!

Some of my packs are highly specific to certain activities. For example my Osprey Kamber 40 ABS airbag is for skiing. My Osprey Mutant 28 is for sport climbing.

BUT, if I had to choose one pack, JUST ONE, for the rest of my life, to travel, to climb, to ski, to mountaineer, even for backpacking, it would be the Osprey Variant.

It’s truly the Queen mother of packs.

The Variant excels in practicality. I love practicality! Well-thought out details are exciting. Extra bells and whistles are a turn off.

The Variant is a technical backpack designed for multi-use. Which is amazing! Since I’m always on a different mountain mission: from weeklong backcountry ski hut trips; to guiding in the Ouray Ice Park; to climbing the Grand Teton.

Variant’s very Cool design features:

  • Removable hip belt and top lid, so I can ditch some weight for long days.
  • Contoured hip belt and gear loops, which works well for climbing, especially scrambling when I might want to clip gear directly to the loops.
  • Easily accessible and durable front pocket to store my sharp crampons.
  • Rope fits under the lid, held securely with a compression strap.
  • Further compression straps make sure all my stuff is safe and snug.
  • State of the art ice tool attachments hold any oddly shaped, modern ice tools like few packs can.
  • Side straps hold skis in a comfortable A-frame carrying system that allows access to the lid’s contents AND ability to stuff extra layers in the front pocket without taking the skis off—These are important features when booting up a long slope for a spring ski descent!
  • All zippers are easy to open with my gloves on.
  • Durable materials make it tough. I’ve crawled up chimneys with it. I’ve wrestled through dense brush with it–Hey! If that’s what you’ve got to do to get to a climb, that’s what you’ve got to do! I’ve hauled it with the 3-point attachment system.

What else can I say, but ‘Thank you, Osprey’!

The multi-use Variant backpack takes many abuses and lives multiple long lives.

This pack is technically ready for multi-adventure—a true leader among packs.

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