Osprey Mutant 52 Winter Backpack Evaluation

Osprey Mutant 52 Backpack Review

The Osprey Mutant 52 is a winter backpack appropriate for four-season in a single day mountain climbing, climbing, or backcountry ski journeys. It’s the large brother to the Osprey Mutant 38 which I reviewed initially of the winter which has much less quantity and is oriented extra in direction of day journeys. Like its little brother, the Mutant 52 is loaded with all the 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.  In case you head into the backcountry continuously in winter, it truly is price your whereas to get a backpack optimized for winter use. It makes life a lot simpler when you should utilize the precise 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 parts: 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 (high 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: Strengthened A-frame straps
  • Torso vary: (S/M: 15-19 inches; M/L: 18-22 inches)
  • Supplies: Primary: 210D high-tenacity recycled nylon; backside: 450D recycled polyester
  • Max really useful load: 50 lbs (in line with Osprey) we expect 40 lb is extra practical.

Backpack Storage and Group

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

The Mutant 52 excels when it comes to external gear attachment.
The Mutant 52 excels in the case 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 may connect crampons.

The floating high 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 incredible possibility on winter packs as a result of you may sandwich cumbersome gear like ropes, tent our bodies, or foam pads between the lid and the principle compartment if that you must carry additional gear on method hikes.

In case you plan to make use of the Mutant 52 for backpacking, be sure to have a tent, tarp, or bivy sack that packs up small or that you would be able to strap underneath 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 high lid so you may wedge additional gear underneath it like this tent physique or a foam pad.

The highest lid has two pockets. A cavernous, zippered most important pocket (with a key fob) that’s sufficiently big to retailer a number of pairs of gloves, hats, maps, and navigation gear. There’s additionally a second smaller pocket that comprises 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 digital camera and is a useful place to stash stuff.

In case you don’t want the highest lid or wish to scale back the burden of the pack you may 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 may also be used to safe coils or rope or different gear on high of the flap jacket with or with out the floating lid. Personally, I discover a high pocket indispensable in winter for spare gloves, hats, and map storage so I desire 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 will be discarded and you may lash gear to the highest of the principle compartment with the rope strap.

The primary 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 inside body pocket contained in the pack with a detachable body (a plastic sheet and w/ 2 aluminum stays) which you possibly can substitute with a bivy pad, though it’s 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 may also be used to safe gear to the edges 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 edges 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 edges of the pack. Be aware the carabiner attachment for an insulated (crimson) bottle sleeve. You’ll be able to’t do this on the smaller Mutant 38.

There are bolstered ski loops positioned underneath the underside compression strap, making it doable to configure an A-Body ski carry collectively aspect compression straps. There are additionally shallow wand pockets on the pack sides that may also be used to carry tent poles in place underneath 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 enables you to connect a pair of crampons with no crampon bag. Alternatively, you may 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 will be folded across the entrance of the pack to get it out of the best way when that you must put on a climbing harness

Backpack Body and Suspension

The Mutant 52 is an inside body backpack with a stiff plastic sheet and two detachable aluminum body stays, so you may regulate the diploma of stiffness you need. The aluminum stays may also be custom-shaped to suit your physique form if desired. The pack additionally has load lifters, that are notably helpful on packs designed to haul heavy gear. The complete body system is detachable if you wish to save gear weight. Tightly packed gear can typically compensate for the dearth of a body, no less than when it comes to pack bag stiffness, or you may 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 hold 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 useful for attaching exterior pockets to the shoulder straps. Gone is the froth bivy pad in earlier variations, so I wish 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 an alternative of pockets to rack gear.

The hip belt comes with gear loops as an alternative of pockets to rack gear with carabiners. It may also be folded again across the entrance of the pack should 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 huge, so it received’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 material make the pack straightforward to make use of with skis.

Extra Beneficial Winter Backpacks


The Osprey Mutant 52 is a light-weight inside 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 that you must pack a winter tent and cold-weather sleeping bag, though fairly doable should you’ve refined your winter gear listing to be as compact as doable. Strippable parts allow you to considerably scale back the pack weight if that’s essential, albeit with some lack of performance. Whereas the Mutant 52 has an excellent 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 doable 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 glorious winter backpack.

Disclosure: Osprey donated a backpack for this evaluation.

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Final up to date: 2023-01-16 17:57:29

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