Today’s sponsor spotlight is on our dear friends at Osprey Packs, who are year-round loyal supporters of our Chicks Rock! and Chicks with Picks climbing programs. They not only provide us with the financial support to keep our programs running, but they ship packs to nearly half a dozen locations for our Chicks to demo at every single climbing clinic, and donate packs to our annual slide show and auction fundraiser events for the Ouray Ice Park and local women’s shelter! It’s so generous of Osprey to ship packs because it’s really helpful to try out a pack before committing to a purchase so that you can test out the capacity and sizing before making the financial commitment. And Osprey wants you to do just that at our Chicks clinics!
As an individual, I can honestly say that I’ve been a fan of Osprey packs since long before I became involved with the Chicks organization. For several years I had an older version of the Variant 37, which is the focus of this blog post today (the new one that is, not the old one!). My recent upgrade to the Variant 37 was made after one of those fat, greedy squirrels in Yosemite ate a hole through the lid of the pack (which had NO FOOD in it, by the way!). Other than that (which I’m pretty sure I could get fixed if I took some initiative; I just couldn’t deal with not having a lid!) I loved the older version of the Variant *almost* as much as the new one. Let me tell you why.
Since I like to ice climb just a wee bit more than rock climb, the Variant 37 was a pretty obvious choice for me. The exterior features easy storage of not only your ice tools, but your crampons as well. The exterior crampon pouch was the stellar upgraded feature I got with my new Variant 37, and I absolutely think it’s the best part about the pack. The size of the Variant 37 is perfect for stowing all the extra layers I need to bring with not only for climbing in the park, but in Canada’s much colder weather as well. It is no problem to have two water bottles, lunch, three(+) extra layers, two extra pairs of gloves, along with ice screws, draws & helmet comfortably stuffed in the pack. If you also want to get a 60m rope into the pack, well then you may want to upgrade to the 52L, but I don’t mind carrying it on the top, just underneath the lid since there’s a perfect strap for that there, too.
So, even though Osprey makes packs specifically for rock climbing, I actually prefer to continue using my Variant 37 year-round. Why? Not only because it’s so comfortable and the hipbelt is absolutely right-on for my torso but…(drumroll please) the crampon pouch is the perfect place to stuff flip-flops for cragging days, or even a guidebook for multi-pitch and/or route finding days. I actually love that feature, as silly as it sounds, but it’s actually quite practical. Let’s say, for example, you’re at Indian Creek and you don’t want to hike up to the base in sandals. Right on, I am with you. However, after jamming and twisting your feet in cracks for hours on end, a little bit of flip-flop time can feel like absolute heaven, and it’s just the perfect storage space. It’s also really nice to have the guidebook easily accessible on the outside of the pack in the perfect spot for your partner to pull out and consult – sometimes quite frequently when you’re in an unfamiliar area!
[I should mention that the Variant 37 capacity is a perfect fit for rock climbing too – when I’m carrying ropes it’s no trouble to fit two 60m doubles inside along with all of my other assorted gear, and my partner Tonya is able to easily fit her large trad rack into her own (identical!) 37L along with the rest of the day’s climbing supplies.]
The only issue I have with the Variant 37 is that lots of us Chicks have the exact same pack (literally) so I put a piece of (pretty) duct tape on mine just to decrease the amount of random goodies I’d sometimes find in my lid 🙂
Learn more about all the technical features the Variant 37 has to offer here, and for those needing more space here’s the link to the Variant 52. Those of you signed up for a clinic you can look forward to checking out even MORE Osprey packs (and getting a MAY-JAH coupon for purchasing one afterwards 😉 since Osprey takes good care of us Chicks!)
Finally, thanks again to the team at Osprey for seeing the value in our Chicks Climbing women’s climbing clinics. If you are so inclined, you too can say thank you to them here on their Facebook page.