Our Osprey Mutant 22 Rucksack Review explores a climbing focussed pack and the smallest in the Osprey Mutant series lineup. We hope you find it useful.
The Mutant series is Osprey’s Alpine focussed pack line up. At the larger end of the range there is a load hauling 90 litre option (a link to our review of this is at the bottom of this page) and a 52 litre pack suited to multi-day ascents.
Then, the Mutant 38 is a great all purpose winter, ice, Alpine and multi-day pack. Finally, the smallest in the range is the Mutant 22. Osprey describe this as suited to done-in-a-day ascents.
The Mutant series has been part of Osprey’s line up for many years, but has been through several reviews and refreshes. The latest versions draws in new fabrics, new colours and refined features to keep the packs at the top of their game. We’ve been delighted to test the 22 litre version over recent months and so here is our Osprey Mutant 22 Rucksack Review. We hope it is useful for you.
The Mutant 22 is made from Bluesign approved 210D recycled high tenacity NanoFly fabric. Nano Fly is engineered to combine light weight with durability.
The fabric is coated with a PFC/PFAS free durable water repellant coating (DWR). Bluesign is an industry standard for sustainable manufacture and details are available here. The back panel features Snowshed fabric with an Avalon frame sheet.
There are padded and contoured rucksack shoulder straps covered with stretch woven mesh. The padding is EVA foam. The Mutant also has a removable sternum strap (with emergency whistle incorporated) and padded waist belt. The non padded part of the waist belt is removable but the padded side wings are permanently attached.
Internal Load Carrying
The pack offers various load carrying configurations to suit different uses. The main load carrying compartment is accessed via a clamshell zipper. Inside this is a hydration sleeve (a hydration system is not included with the pack) and under the lid there is a zipped mesh pocket with internal key clip. There is also a rope attachment/internal compression strap inside this main compartment and a grab handle. the grab handle can also be used for racking climbing hardware.
External Load Carrying
The Mutant 22 features twin ice axe ToolLocks with bungee tie-offs. There is also a 3 loop hauling system and the haul attachments are reinforced with plastic sleeving. The rear of these load haul points doubles as a grab handle.
Across the front panel there are removable gear attachment loops that fasten into stitched daisy chains loops. This allows the configuration of the gear attachment straps to be tailored to use. The front daisy chains are designed to be compatible with ski attachment straps (often know as Voile straps or heli straps).
There are upper compression straps on the side panels and additional loops at each side of the back panel. This allows for equipment or skis to be attached (these are again Voile strap compatible). The strap configurations are designed to allow Buckles are designed to be glove friendly.
The weight of the pack is specified as 0.7 kg (although this doesn’t say whether this is a stripped down weight) and is available in one size. The dimensions are 50cms (height) x 28cms (wide) and 22cms (depth). The volumes, as the name suggests, is 22 litres. The pack comes in Tungsten Grey or Mars Orange colour schemes and retails for £125.
I think a 22 litre size pack hits a sweet spot for many uses. It could be a hillwalking pack just as easily as a rucksack fro scrambling or fast and light climbing trips. It could even serve as a day to day option.
I actually reviewed the now discontinued Mutant 28 some years ago and was always surprised Osprey stopped making that model. That review is available here. The 22 will do the same job if you can keep the load compact, but there are times a little more room is useful. But, if the 22 litre capacity works for you, let’s consider this pack option.
Firstly, I love the shape of the Mutant 22. It is short enough at the bottom to work really well when worn with a harness. It is narrow so doesn’t affect mobility when using your arms. The pack also sits low enough that you can tip your head back for upward visibility. You can climb easily in this pack just as easily as you can scramble or comfortably hill walk with it.
I also really like the stripped features of the Mutant. I will talk more about the various attachment options later, but if some or all of them aren’t needed you can easily tailor it as you wish. When completely stripped, it has an extremely uncluttered profile.
The shoulder straps and back panel of the carrying harness is simple and yet comfortable. Actually, it is just what you need for a pack of this size. The back panel is stiff enough to stop sharp items inside stabbing into your back, but is flexible enough for freedom of movement.
I am, however, less keen on the waist belt. I sometimes like a waist belt to allow stabilisation of the load when negotiating challenging ground, but I don’t see any need for the padded wings. It is also surprising the padded section isn’t detachable. The arrangement means you can remove the waistbelt but the padded wings must stay attached to the pack. It isn’t a significant problem, but I am just surprised at the design feature.
Loading & Unloading
In essence, the Mutant 22 is a bucket with a lid. This makes it a breeze to load up and also means it can work when, for example, clipped in to a belay stance. You simply unzip the clamshell zipper and everything is easily available.
The addition of the zipped under lid mesh pocket is also really useful. You can use it for the various smaller items and they are all still easily available. The mesh pocket means that they exposed to any weather when the pack is opened, but otherwise it works a treat. The clip inside the lid pocket is handy for securing those items you just can’t afford to lose (like your car keys!).
I’m not a big user of hydration systems for mountain use. The pack is fully hydration bladder compatible and yet, if you aren’t a user too, the pocket makes a great stash pocket for anything from a map or guidebook to snacks. The internal storage is simple and yet efficient to use.
The ToolLocks make it extremely easy to attach ice tools. The front bungee cords mean you can strap on a pair of crampons, a sleeping mat or stash some spare clothing. I also like that, for times you aren’t needing them, the attachment straps are simple to remove. Similarly, if you’d rather have elastic for storing items it is simple to thread some through the daisy chain loops.
There is an internal rope lash strap that can be combined with the upper external compression straps for secure rope carrying. The only downside to this is that you can’t zip the lid pocket up with this strap deployed. However, Osprey have also included a small extra loop which I assume is to stop the lid flapping about. It works really well but means the open lid loses any weather proofing.
The other configurations of external side loops mean attaching a pairs of skis or other items should be straight forward. It is kept simple and yet is very functional.
Osprey are industry leaders in sustainable manufacture and all their products feature recycled fabrics. The Transporter WP Duffel is made from Bluesign approved recycled nylon. It also features a durable water repellant (DWR) treatment made without poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). Bluesign is an industry standard for sustainable manufacture and details about the scheme are available via the link above.
Our Osprey Mutant 22 Rucksack Review details a very versatile and practical pack. It will suit many types of users for many types of mountain missions. I usually just want to load up my pack and carry it fully stacked to get to the route. Then, I want to strip out all my climbing hardware and have a compact pack to carry. With the Mutant 22 you can load it up and attach other items on the outside. Then, it carries really well once you have offloaded all this extra stuff for the ascent. You will have to strip things back and carry the basics – but most of us probably pack too much anyway!
Every detail of the Mutant is focussed on vertical adventure and it is clear the designers have thought through every feature. The original model was produced in conjunction with mountain professionals and the pedigree shows. Bravo also to Osprey for their continuing focus on sustainability. Full details on the Mutant series is available on the Osprey website here. The video below also gives a detailed overview of the Mutant series.
We have used Osprey products for many years and this Osprey Transporter Mutant 22 Rucksack Review is one of many we have completed. For example, we have reviewed previous mountain focussed packs like the Mutant 22 here, hillwalking packs like the UNLTD Antigravity 64 here and skiing packs like the Soeldon Pro Avy 32 here. We have also reviewed travel and expedition luggage such as the Transporter 120 Duffel here. Finally, we have reviewed several packs from the Osprey mountain biking range including the Raptor Pro here. All our reviews can be found in the review section of our blog here.