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Osprey Mutant 52 Backpack Review

The Osprey Mutant 52 is a winter backpack appropriate for four-season in a single day mountaineering, climbing, or backcountry ski journeys. It’s the large brother to the Osprey Mutant 38 which I reviewed originally of the winter which has much less quantity and is oriented extra in the direction of day journeys. Like its little brother, the Mutant 52 is loaded with the entire options of a specialised winter backpack together with quite a lot of device holders, haul loops, ski straps, daisy chains, compression straps, and glove-friendly buckles.  Should you head into the backcountry steadily in winter, it truly is price your whereas to get a backpack optimized for winter use. It makes life a lot simpler when you need to use the correct device for the job.

Specs at a Look

  • Sort: Inside Body (detachable)
  • Entry: High, Floating lid
  • Pockets: 3
  • Mfg Weight: (S/M: 51.6 oz/1462 g; M/L:  54.4 oz/1542 g)
  • Precise examined weight: (M/L: 54.8 oz / 1544 g)
  • Detachable elements: High lid (5.3 oz), framesheet (7.5 oz), aluminum body stays (3.2 oz), helmet carry internet (1.6 oz)
  • Load lifters: Sure
  • Helmet carry internet: Sure (prime or entrance)
  • 3 Level haul loops: Sure
  • Reversible harness-compatible hipbelt: Sure
  • Hipbelt gear loops: Sure
  • Wand Pockets: 2
  • Hydration suitable: Sure
  • Ice device holders: 2
  • Ski carry: Bolstered A-frame straps
  • Torso vary: (S/M: 15-19 inches; M/L: 18-22 inches)
  • Supplies: Fundamental: 210D high-tenacity recycled nylon; backside: 450D recycled polyester
  • Max beneficial load: 50 lbs (based on Osprey) we expect 40 lb is extra life like.

Backpack Storage and Group

The Mutant 52 is a streamlined top-loading backpack with a floating prime lid and a important compartment that closes with a drawstring. Whereas there are wand pockets on each side of the pack, the pack lacks aspect water bottle pockets or a entrance stuff pocket, in step with its minimalist winter character. Whereas the dearth of exterior storage pockets makes the pack extra sturdy for hauling up cliffs, there isn’t a scarcity of locations on the pack to connect cumbersome gear with sharp factors. Since path circumstances can range extensively in winter, you usually want to hold a number of traction or flotation choices since you don’t know what you’ll encounter. Not like a three-season backpack, you possibly can’t retailer most of this gear (crampons, ice axe, snowshoes, microspikes) contained in the pack as a result of it is going to make all the pieces moist and rip it to shreds.

The Mutant 52 excels when it comes to external gear attachment.
The Mutant 52 excels on the subject of exterior gear attachment, together with an exterior helmet internet, twin ice axe holders, aspect compression straps, and daisy chains on the entrance the place you possibly can connect crampons.

The floating prime lid is hooked up to the highest of the pack with plastic buckles and webbing straps, making it straightforward to take away if it’s not wanted. Floating lids are an important possibility on winter packs as a result of you possibly can sandwich cumbersome gear like ropes, tent our bodies, or foam pads between the lid and the principle compartment if you have to carry further gear on strategy hikes.

Should you plan to make use of the Mutant 52 for backpacking, ensure you have a tent, tarp, or bivy sack that packs up small or that you may strap below the floating lid. The 52 liter quantity is on the small aspect for a winter backpack, which makes exterior gear storage and the usage of extremely compressible gear paramount.

The Mutant 52 has a floating top lid so you can wedge extra gear under it like this tent body or a foam pad.
The Mutant 52 has a floating prime lid so you possibly can wedge further gear below it like this tent physique or a foam pad.

The highest lid has two pockets. A cavernous, zippered important pocket (with a key fob) that’s large enough to retailer a number of pairs of gloves, hats, maps, and navigation tools. There’s additionally a second smaller pocket that incorporates a helmet carry internet with nook hooks that may be hooked up to the highest of the lid (if used) or hooked up to the daisy chains on the entrance of the pack. This small pocket can also be massive sufficient to carry a GPS or satellite tv for pc messenger, smartphone, or digicam and is a helpful place to stash stuff.

Should you don’t want the highest lid or need to scale back the burden of the pack you possibly can take away it and save near a half pound of substances weight. The Mutant 52 comes with a completely hooked up pace lid (Osprey calls these flap jackets) that covers the outlet over the principle compartment if the highest lid is eliminated and clips into the identical set of straps. A rope strap can be used to safe coils or rope or different gear on prime of the flap jacket with or with out the floating lid. Personally, I discover a prime pocket indispensable in winter for spare gloves, hats, and map storage so I want to maintain the floating lid hooked up.

The top lid can be discarded and you can lash gear to the top of the main compartment with the rope strap.
The highest lid may be discarded and you may lash gear to the highest of the principle compartment with the rope strap.

The principle compartment has a hydration pocket inside with a hook to hold a bladder and twin hydration ports positioned between the shoulder pads. There’s additionally an inner body pocket contained in the pack with a detachable body (a plastic sheet and w/ 2 aluminum stays) which you would substitute with a bivy pad, though it is going to scale back the pack’s load-carrying capability.

Compression and Exterior Attachment Factors

The Mutant 52 has two tiers of aspect compression webbing straps, which can be used to safe gear to the perimeters of the pack. Each shut with glove-compatible buckles. The underside buckle is new on this model of the Mutant 52. The earlier mannequin didn’t have it and it makes strapping snowshoes to the perimeters of the pack a lot simpler. As compared, many three-season packs have changed aspect webbing straps with cords, ostensibly to avoid wasting weight, however it makes their packs a lot much less appropriate for winter use as a result of the lineloc tensioners used to drag the aspect cords jam with ice, the cords take in water and freeze, and they’re unusable whereas carrying gloves.

Dual side compression straps with glove-friendly buckles make it easy to lash gear to the sides of the pack.
Twin aspect compression straps with glove-friendly buckles make it straightforward to lash gear to the perimeters of the pack. Be aware the carabiner attachment for an insulated (purple) bottle sleeve. You’ll be able to’t try this on the smaller Mutant 38.

There are bolstered ski loops positioned below the underside compression strap, making it potential to configure an A-Body ski carry collectively aspect compression straps. There are additionally shallow wand pockets on the pack sides that can be used to carry tent poles in place below the compression straps.

The Mutant comes with a common ice device holder system, together with two shaft holders. A pair of daisy chains and webbing straps on the pack’s entrance helps you to connect a pair of crampons with no crampon bag. Alternatively, you possibly can connect a helmet right here or on the highest of the floating lid which additionally has daisy chains accessible for that goal. The Mutant’s climbing and mountaineering pedigree are additionally evidenced by a three-point haul system, good for winching gear up cliffs and to portaledges.

The hipbelt can be folded around the front of the pack to get it out of the way when you need to wear a climbing harness
The hipbelt may be folded across the entrance of the pack to get it out of the best way when you have to put on a climbing harness

Backpack Body and Suspension

The Mutant 52 is an inner body backpack with a stiff plastic sheet and two detachable aluminum body stays, so you possibly can regulate the diploma of stiffness you need. The aluminum stays can be custom-shaped to suit your physique form if desired. The pack additionally has load lifters, that are significantly helpful on packs designed to haul heavy gear. Your entire body system is detachable if you wish to save gear weight. Tightly packed gear can usually compensate for the dearth of a body, at the least by way of pack bag stiffness, or you possibly can drop a foam pad into the principle compartment and pack your gear inside it (like a donut) to create the identical impact.

The framesheet and two aluminum stays are each removable to save weight.
The framesheet and two aluminum stays are every detachable to avoid wasting weight.

The shoulder pads, again of the pack, and hip belt wings are flippantly padded with foam and supply minimal cushioning to assist maintain the pack weight down. The shoulder pads are minimally outfitted with two hydration hose keeper loops and an adjustable sternum strap with a daisy chain height-adjustment system. The latter is helpful for attaching exterior pockets to the shoulder straps. Gone is the froth bivy pad in earlier variations, so I prefer to insert a cut-down foam Zlite pad behind the shoulder straps (in the principle compartment) for emergencies and to additional insulate my again from the recent water bottles I carry in winter.

The hip belt has gear loops instead of pockets to rack gear.
The hip belt has gear loops as a substitute of pockets to rack gear.

The hip belt comes with gear loops as a substitute of pockets to rack gear with carabiners. It can be folded again across the entrance of the pack in case you’re carrying a climbing harness. The hip belt closes with a single beefy buckle, utilizing pull-forward straps for mechanical benefit. The middle buckle can also be glove suitable and enormous, so it gained’t jam up with snow, which is an enormous downside on packs that use small buckles. Gone are also the hip belt management straps of the earlier mannequin, which on steadiness is an organizational enchancment as a result of it reduces the variety of straps on the pack.

The tapered back and snow shedding fabric make the pack easy to use with skis.
The tapered again and snow-shedding cloth make the pack straightforward to make use of with skis.

Extra Beneficial Winter Backpacks


The Osprey Mutant 52 is a light-weight inner body winter backpack optimized for climbing, backcountry snowboarding, and streamlined winter backpacking use. Weighing simply over 3 lbs, this 52-liter quantity is on the small aspect if you have to pack a winter tent and cold-weather sleeping bag, though fairly doable in case you’ve refined your winter gear checklist to be as compact as potential. Strippable elements allow you to considerably scale back the pack weight if that’s necessary, albeit with some lack of performance. Whereas the Mutant 52 has an outstanding exterior attachment system, the pack’s body and load-carrying capabilities are the place it actually shines. The mix plastic body sheet and pair of aluminum stays make it potential to hold 40-pound hundreds with ease, whereas the minimal shoulder strap and hip belt padding make the pack extremely responsive when snowboarding, climbing, and snowshoeing. This can be a actually wonderful winter backpack.

Disclosure: Osprey donated a backpack for this overview.

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Final up to date: 2023-01-17 08:09:33

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