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The fifth generation of the legendary Mutant 38 from Osprey is a fully featured mountain pack designed to deliver the goods across a variety of vertical tests.

osprey mutant
Best for...
Climbers looking for a pack to accompany them on a variety of mountain missions
Overall Score
A versatile and technical unisex pack with bucket loads of features
Fans of stripped down packs may be overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles

If you're looking for a 'do-it-all' mountain pack for alpine adventures, backcountry ski missions, and long days on the hill, then you need to have the Mutant 38 from Osprey on your list.

Durable, lightweight and mega comfortable, the Mutant 38 has just the right capacity to function as a day or overnight pack depending on the nature of the adventure in hand. Guides, alpinists and winter climbers will find more than enough room for ropes, axes, and multiple layers while those with their eye on an overnight wild camp should have enough space for a lightweight tent/sleeping bag/mat/stove etc.

When it comes to features, the Mutant 38 goes above and beyond the norm. From the internal hydration sleeve to the side ski carry, integrated helmet storage to ice axe attachment point, the Mutant 38 has clearly been designed to deliver across a variety of mountain disciplines. Fans of packs loaded with tech will find it an ideal fit but if you like your kit on the less complicated side of stripped down, you may find the Mutant all together too 'busy'.

The bells and whistles may prove divisive but the solid build of the Mutant ensures its widespread appeal. The rugged 420HD Nylon Packcloth promises to have your back when travelling in sharp, rocky, snag-potential terrain and the solid yet lightweight removable framesheet with aluminum stay provides excellent support when carrying heavy loads.

We tested the Black Ice Mutant on a winter walking mission in the Scottish hills and enjoyed the majority of what we found. Whilst we had no need to use the helmet storage, ski carry system or ice axe attachment points for this particular adventure, we were impressed by the buckles (easy to operate with gloves), the hydration system and sternum strap with emergency whistle.

The 5th generation of the Mutant waves farewell to the zig zag side compression straps of previous models which were prone to catching, replacing them instead with a lower profile, cleaner compression system which works well.

Not so great is the dark internal colour of the pack that does make locating specific gear a bit tricky at times (even with the green back panel) and we would have liked to see a zipped pocket on the hip belt for easy access to energy bars, compass, phones etc.

All in all, the 5th generation of the Mutant 38 is definitely a step forward and upwards from Osprey and looks set to attract yet more outdoors enthusiasts to this excellent range of climbing/mountaineering packs.

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