Osprey - Variant 37

The Osprey Variant on a chilly excursion out in the Cairngorms. (© Brian Pollock) 
Star Rating: **** (4 Stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £145 from Osprey

The Osprey Variant has been a staple for ski mountaineers and alpine climbers for the last 5 years. This year, Osprey have taken note of feedback from guides, outdoor professionals and climbers by subtly tweaking the design to include: 

  • FlapJackettm top cover for stripped down, lidless use
  • Simplified design of front stash pocket (1 less redundant buckle for easer access
  • Improved lightweight materials

The pack is firmly aimed at those who carry big loads, but still need to strip down and climb fast, with its removable lid and waistband. The large size comes in a 1547 gr. on our scales, 1190 gr. with the lid and waistband removed (in 30 seconds) and 939 gr. with the HDPE back panel and aluminium frame removed. 

The Osprey Variant 37 in use as an Autumnal approach bag (© Alasdair Fulton) 

Neat Features

Osprey are known to construct packs with well thought out and tested features. This pack is stacked full:

The straps joining the lid to the pack are routed through small webbing tabs, preventing the dreaded “lid flop” all too common with expandable/removable lids.

Lid straps routed through small webbing tabs.

The main lid/compressions straps are also routed though raised webbing tabs which house the tool securing elastics, again keeping the lid nicely in position, but also allowing easy access to both the tools and the lid without interfering with each other.

The tool attachment straps.
The lid itself is simple and allows easy access to its innards even when the pack is full to the brim. With the lid removed, the new FlapJacket provides some compression and protection from the elements, akin the popular roll top bags on the market.

A roomy lid pocket
Fit and Feel

The shoulder straps and waist band are well padded, with a soft but durable feeling material – not always and easy balance to strike. At 6ft/182cm the large sized pack fitted well, with good clearance between the lid and helmet.

Over the coming winter months the pack will be put thought it paces in a range of conditions.

Things we like: Plastic lined tool pocket – a point of early degradation on many packs due to highly curved tools.

Things we don't like: Fully stripped down it looks a little clumsy, losing its shape and structural rigidity a little. 

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